Article contribution by Sarah Davies – Elephant Charge Committee Member.
Amongst the tribulations and challenges of this year, we weren’t even sure that the Fuchs Elephant Charge 2020 would take place. It was the darkest of depressions for the Elephant Charge committee who have looked forward to the annual event since 2008. Could it be that this year would be cancelled?
Luckily the COVID pandemic in Zambia has started to ease off over the past few months and our movement and gathering restrictions lifted to the point that a socially distanced Elephant Charge looked like it might be possible. The Elephant Charge was keen to go ahead in any workable way, adhering to all protocols, most importantly to continue to support our conservation beneficiaries in Zambia, such as the “Chongololo” Conservation School Clubs. Many of the projects that the Elephant Charge supports rely on significant funding from the tourism industry whose income has reduced immensely. So somewhere in mid-August 2020, the final decision to put our foot on the pedal was made.
This year’s offroad 4×4 challenge event was met with huge enthusiasm from teams. Although we did have fewer vehicles than 2019, understandably, the 2020 event saw 23 teams enter from all over Zambia. The course set by the committee this year was in the valley of the Kawanga River, off Chifwema Road approximately two hours from Lusaka. With sandy hills, rocky riverbeds and precipitous ravines as obstacles the teams set off at 7 am from their first checkpoint hoping that they would see it again before 3 pm in order to complete the course in time.
Congratulations to our shortest net distance (distance minus funds raised) winner, Team Eco-Charcoal in a 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser VX 80 Series and to our shortest distance winner, Team Camel in a 1995 Landrover Defender 90 TDi. With heated competition for the ladies’ team trophy this year between four contenders, hats off to the winners, Lady Hogs!
We are delighted to announce that the Fuchs Elephant Charge raised ZMW 2,892,895 ($144,644) for our conservation projects, even more than last year with a third fewer teams! This takes the total conservation funds raised in Zambia by the Elephant Charge to $1,176,284.
Thank you as always to all of our supporters, too many to be named, but a few here: Fuchs, Geotab, Omega Security, CC Systems, Pilatus Zambia, Zambia Air Force, Afrityre, Country Choice Chicken, National Milling, Kal Tire, Autoworld, NewGrowCo, LDC, Omnia, Turaco, Leopards Hill Memorial Park, Chakanaka Farms, Jean Dollery, Trade Kings, Signs of the Times, SATIB Insurance and the Bright Future Project.
*The Elephant Charge is an annual event which challenges teams of cars and motorbikes to complete a gruelling course through the Zambian bush. The Charge is held to raise money for conservation in Zambia, focussed on conservation through education. The event is held at a different location each year over the course of a weekend in September or October.
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