Kingsley Holgate starts 10 000km humanitarian expedition exploring South Africa’s Edge
Durban - South Africa’s intrepid explorer Kingsley Holgate hit the road again on Friday in a epic 70-day, 10 000-kilometre humanitarian journey to track the outline of South Africa, while alleviating hunger in remote rural communities.
His Mzansi Edge Expedition started this morning with Holgate symbolicly filling his traditional Zulu calabash with the waters of Kosi Bay before the team put two expedition-kitted Landrover New Defenders through their paces over the rough African terrain.
Begining at the most easterly point near Kosi Bay, the expedition will travel in an anti-clockwise direction staying as close as possible to South Africa’s ‘edge’, to reach the most northerly point on the border with Zimbabwe, the extreme westerly point at the mouth of the Orange River and Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point of the African continent. While journeying up the Indian Ocean coastline, the expedition will break away to circumnavigate the border with Lesotho, before re-joining the east coast and ending back at Kosi Bay in late November.
The route will include World Heritage sites such as Mapungubwe, ancient deserts, coastal dunes, precipitous cliff trails and river crossings, rare geological formations and extreme mountain passes, iconic landscapes, unique biomes and world-renowned wildlife areas. It also aims to reach all 52 lighthouses along the west and east coasts and will research and record stories of life on South Africa’s ‘edge’.
It’s humanitarian focus is on alleviating hunger with food provisions to rural families bordering wildlife areas still impacted by the loss of tourism income from the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I’m itching to get going,” said Holgate before he left. “After five months of lockdown, you can well imagine how a fellow like me who suffers from constant wanderlust is desperate to get out and explore again.
“So many of our journeys have been in search of wild and distant destinations deep in Africa, but now an opportunity exists for us to explore our own ‘Mzansi’. We’re looking forward to outlining this ‘world in one country’ that we are proud citizens of, and showcasing the beauty, diversity, culture, history, wildlife and adventurous spirit of South Africa.”
His son and expedition leader Ross Holgate says that the Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened their resolve to use their journeys to improve and save lives. “For the past few months, we’ve been assisting the ‘Feeding the Wildlife Community’ volunteer teams with the distribution of nutritional food parcels to hundreds of rural communities bordering game reserves, who were devastated by the complete collapse of the tourism industry during lockdown and the massive loss of jobs and income. “
“Even though the lockdown restrictions are easing, it is going to take time for income to start flowing again and widespread hunger is still a major concern,” he continued. “So, as September is Tourism Month, it is only right that the Mzansi Edge expedition’s humanitarian focus will be on distributing over 200,000 nutritional meals to needy families close to wildlife parks, as well as to rural communities, in partnership with the DoMore Foundation and others. We will also distribute face-masks and sanitizing soap to families, as well as digital thermometers to community groups and organisations that need to maintain Covid-19 health protocols.”
The Holgate team will be joined by other South African adventurers to tackle parts of the route by mountain bike, canoe and on foot. These include veteran mountain biker ‘Shova Mike’ Nixon, one of only four people in the world to have completed every ABSA Cape Epic; Everest mountaineers Sibusiso Vilane and André Bredenkamp; and adventure runner David Grier, the first person in history to run the Great Wall of China in both directions.
They will also meet up with fellow Land Rover ambassador and international rugby player Bryan Habana in Cape Town and assist the Habana Foundation with its humanitarian outreach in Cape communities.
The Independent on Saturday