Annual Bike Ride in Kenya managed by the well respected Great Plains Conservation Group.From their press release. We would suggest you add on a week to ten days of a marvelous safari before or after your ride!
There has been a staggering drop in Africa’s lion population over the last 50 years.
450,000 lions in Africa 50 years ago
200,000 lions in Africa 20 years ago
20,000 lions in Africa remain
2,000 lions in Kenya
200 lions within Amboseli-Tsavo region
Take a moment to sit back and visualize the feeling one gets when an exceptional achievement or goal is accomplished. Where the resultant reward is multi-dimensional: in terms of self, in terms of giving back and having made a positive impact on the world in which one lives. When Ride For Lions first began, our intention was to run a Great Plains Conservation safari styled cycling adventure to raise money to support an area’s predator compensation project. Since then, the model and policy has transformed to incorporate securing larger tracts of land which form wildlife corridors, not only for predators, but for all species migrating through Kenya’s Amboseli and Tsavo ecosystems.
The important wildlife corridor that runs between Amboseli and Tsavo has been reduced, through human encroachment, to being just 160 meters wide. Ride for Lions’ 2018 objective is to raise money to secure key strategic pieces of land on either side of this ‘narrow walkway’, widening its lateral borders by a kilometer on either side and by increasing its total length by an additional 5 kilometres. The result: an expansion from a narrow 160-meter wide corridor to one that will protect over 10 square kilometres.
The Ride For Lions program is a 4-day cross country mountain bike expedition, showcasing the striking landscapes of the Amboseli-Tsavo region and encountering the wildlife which inhabit this ecosystem. This is not a race, but a journey of appreciation and discovery: taking in the shadows of Mount Kilimanjaro, feeling the camaraderie of participating in something so much larger than ourselves, interacting with local communities who live and breathe this beautiful land and following in the trails and tracks of Africa’s largest wildlife species.
- Day 1 – Arrival Day: Transfer from Nairobi and overnight at our Expedition base camp in the Amboseli.
- Day 2 – Stage 1: Commence cycling from Amboseli to Bush Camp 1
- Day 3 – Stage 2: Cycle from Bush Camp 1 to Bush Camp 2
- Day 4 – Stage 3: Cycle from Bush Camp 2 to Bush Camp 3
- Day 5 – Stage 4: Complete ride from Bush Camp 3 to ol Donyo Lodge in the beautiful Chyulu Hills
- Day 6 – Departure Day: Transfer by air from ol Donyo Lodge back to Nairobi
- The Great Plains Foundation Ride For Lions is no ordinary ride. It is, quite simply, one of the most exceptional cycling experiences you will ever have. It is very seldom that one gets to do something for yourself that has a positive impact on the planet at the same time. It is where you convert your sweat and effort into saving lions, expanding corridors and helping people along the way.
- In keeping with the singular intimacy of this experience, departures are limited to a maximum of 10 riders.
- It is a 4 day cross country cycle expedition, exploring Kenya’s priceless Amboseli-Tsavo region… a showcase of Nature’s grand-scale artistry and wildlife spectacles. It is this magnificence that you will witness, experience and conserve. This is not a race where you look at your front wheel for 4 days, and really experience what you missed in the Go Pro footage later. We want you to look up, laugh, feel the camaraderie, and take in the shadows of Kilimanjaro.
- You will follow bush tracks, elephant trails and footpaths. From the vast swathes of savannahs with green smudges of game-rich wetlands, you will gradually ascend into the lava world of the Chyulu Hills.
- RideFor Lions is imbued with the Great Plains Conservation’s defining ethos: exquisite attention to detail, luxurious finishes, beautifully appointed locations, outstanding guiding, non-negotiable safety measures, fine dining and inimitable style. You can look forward to a perfect synergy of exceptional touring and exceptional care.
- There are echoes of the Hero’s Journey in this spectacular event. Like the archetypal Hero, you will have embraced a great adventure, shared experiences, endured challenges, triumphed, emerged with new insights, and, most importantly, you will have made a heroic difference for lions.
- It is an exceptional event, for exceptional people, in an exceptional environment, for an exceptional cause.
- Event dates The Departure dates for small groups of a maximum of 10 riders will be staggered over the 6 day event, this includes the 4 day cross country cycle expedition. composition Participation is for interesting people, interested in making a difference in a stylish and real experience. We are inviting groups of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 that we will either keep as a unit or mix with other invited guests on request.
DATE 22 May 23 May 24 May 25 May 26 May 27 May 28 May 29 May
Please note that we will take care of transporting you and your bicycles from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Amboseli National Park to start the ride. We will also transport you and your bicycles from ol Donyo Lodge back to Jomo Kenyatta Nairobi International Airport at the end of your ride.
We can recommend a departure date where you would be riding with fellow riders of similar riding experience. Day 1 Arrival Day Transfer from Nairobi. Overnight at our Expedition base camp in the Amboseli. Day 2 Stage 1 Commence cycling from Amboseli to Bush Camp 1 Day 3 Stage 2 Cycle from Bush Camp 1 to Bush Camp 2 Day 4 Stage 3 Cycle from Bush Camp 2 to Bush Camp 3 Day 5 Stage 4 Complete ride from Bush Camp 3 to ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills Day 6 Departure Day Transfer from ol Donyo Lodge back to Nairobi.
It is May, water is beginning to dry up as autumn settles in. Millions of years of embedded instincts drive the animals from the foothills of Kilimanjaro to seek water in the wetlands of Amboseli National Park. A green space that teems with everything from elephants, to pelicans, to packs of hyenas. And this is your playground. We enter the western side of the reserve and ride alongside some the greatest variety of wildlife on the planet. Once we’ve had our fill, we leave the rich, densely populated marshes behind us and ride into the shadow of the great Mount Kilimanjaro.
You can expect your first glimpse of the proud Maasai in traditional dress. These brightly dressed and friendly traditional people have become our partners in saving lions, stories that you will hear from them and us around the campfire at night. This is where Dereck and Beverley Joubert have faced up to famous families of long tusked female elephants and have seen herds of migratory animals moving against the backdrop of the grand old lady with her white bonnet. In the distance is a lone peak, dwarfed by Kilimanjaro, but still a landmark.
As you wind your way along still flat tracks, you’ll reach a small village where the children will no doubt cheer you on as you pick your way through the dense thorn trees to begin a rocky and technical climb towards the fast approaching peak.
This is once again elephant country. The bush is thicker, the grass more dense and the rider needs to be ever alert. The climb is about 10 kilometres, long and tough in places. The Bush Camp is a small green haven at the top of this climb. A chance to stretch the legs and enjoy the legendary Great Plains hospitality.
- DAY TWO | STAGE ONE Nado Soit Camp to Bush Camp 1 | Approximately 60kms, 400m ascent RIDE FOR LIONS | MAPS & ROUTE OVERVIEW 14 15 A swift downhill – while being on the lookout for elephant – drops you to a wide gravel road. You cross over this and enter a different eco-system of cacti, tall pampas grass and thorn trees. You are riding in the corridor between Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills. This is the historic migratory path of the animals since the dawn of the continent. This is where the struggle for preservation is being played out. The conflict between humans and wildlife is ongoing and Great Plains Conservation, together with their partners, has been pre-eminent in creating space and tolerance for all. This section of the route is fast and in no time, you’ll reach the main road leading to Kimana village. The small river that gives the village its name, is the lifeblood of the communities of the area as well as the animals that roam the corridor. You’ll enter the Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary and ride within its borders. The Sanctuary teems with wildlife and you’ll spot a wide variety of game, free to roam as it’s done for eons. As you leave the green umbrella of the Sanctuary, you re-enter the landscape where the constant battle between wildlife and man is enacted on a daily basis. The intervention by Great Plains allows these two groups to co-exist but it is always an uneasy truce with vegetable gardens tempting the elephants and cultural traditions threatening the great cat predators. After a flat 15 kilometers, bomas and small clusters of homes and fields are left behind as you enter a time warp. Scrub gives way to dark stains on the landscape indicating the massive lava trails that once flowed in fiery trails onto the plains. All of this with the green backdrop of the rising Chyulu mountains to beckon you on. A mid-morning snack under some spreading acacias will fortify you for the adventure to come. This is also lion country. The reason why you are here. Keep your eyes peeled. A jeep track winds its way steadily upwards into the foothills of the Chyulu Range and the trail breaks open onto the savannah. A slightly elevated plateau dotted with Baobab trees is our camp for night two.
- DAY THREE | STAGE TWO Bush Camp 1 to Bush Camp 2 | Approximately 56kms, 200m ascent There are very few occasions where one can participate in a safari, enjoy great exercise, have the experience of a lifetime and do it all for the right reason! For me, that right reason is saving iconic wildlife. When I first thought of this event, it was to run a Great Plains Conservation safari styled cycling adventure, raising money to support an area’s predator compensation activities and habitat expansion. Since then, I have revised our entire conservation policy. Unless we are securing larger wildlife corridors, and having a major discussion around the massive livestock explosion in Africa today, we can save as many lions as we like but will forever only nibble at the edges of conservation. We have identified an important wildlife corridor between Kenya’s Amboseli and Tsavo Ecosystems through which lions, elephants and other wildlife that rely on connectivity migrate. Today it has in places been reduced down to just 160 meters wide! Large herds of Amboseli elephants need to migrate to the giant bulls of the Chyulus and Tsavo regions to breed. Ride For Lions’ 2018 objective is to raise money for Land for Lions – a fund securing key strategic pieces of land on either side of this narrow ‘walkway’ and thus widening each of its lateral borders by a kilometer and increasing its total length by an extra 5 kilometers. The result is an expansion from a narrow 160-meter wide corridor to one that is over 10 square kilometers!
The 2018 Ride For Lions route will go right through here. You will have the opportunity to engage with the local tribal elders and conservationists along the way. Be prepared to be welcomed like returning heroes. I am convinced that by securing this land for conservation, our efforts will ensure the futures of the lion and elephant of this region. “This is a life changing experience!” was the mantra of the 2017 riders: I know there are hundreds of ‘life changing’ experiences out there but many of this year’s riders were drawing on their feeling part of something bigger to express themselves through tears. I would like to invite you to join me in May 2018 and become a part of this major conservation effort.
- DAY FOUR | STAGE THREE Bush Camp 2 to Bush Camp 3 | Approximately 42km, 1380m ascent Finally, you get to ride the great plains of Kenya with the thick grass undulating in the breeze and herds of animals roaming as they have always done. You’ll ride towards the Kopjes, past the giraffe that as Karen Blixen wrote, ‘float like delicately painted ladies draped in mists and fineries.’ Dereck has done some of his best giraffe filming here, against Kili and with the Kopjes in the foreground. In a grassy plain still tinged with summer green, the Kopjes stand out like a rocky beacon, a cluster of boulders that leaves one curious as to how they got there. With the Chyulu mountain range now at your back, this gentle descent along the edge of the lava flow gradually spills out onto the plains where you might even catch a glimpse of Maasai warriors in their traditional dress. The return is a little tougher as you wind your way across the plains towards the twin peaks of El Mau. From this landmark, the trail heads home, the luxurious elegance of Ol Donyo Lodge is calling. Approaching the lodge, the bush is thick and sightings of elephant, kudu, warthog, gemsbok are common. Champagne, snacks and a warm welcome await you followed by a long soaking bath or swim in your infinity pool. You have arrived in the heart of GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION.
- DAY FIVE | STAGE FOUR Bush Camp 4 to ol Donyo Lodge | Approximately 46 kms, 360m ascent We highly recommend bringing your family along, and there are a number of packages we can suggest before, during and after your ride for them. We also recommend that you wind down after this cycling experience, with an extension to your stay at ol Donyo Lodge or fly to one of our Maasai Mara based safari camps – Mara Expedition Camp or Mara Plains Camp – with your family or friends. Family and friends and decompressing after your ride.
SAFTEY & SECURITY safety & security Ride for Lions encompasses a route running along southern Kenya’s border with Tanzania. Highly trained rangers from Kenya Wildlife Services and Big Life Foundation will escort each group. Specialist mountain biking guides and expert Maasai guides from ol Donyo Lodge will also participate in every stage alongside guests. Additional security measures will be implemented in accordance with specialist advice. There are absolutely no travel advisory restrictions for this beautiful area.
RIDE FOR LIONS | COSTS & RELATED BENEFITS
Participant Costs The participation cost is rate for the ride is $15,000 per person. per rider per night for this 5 nights / 6-day safari experience.
Each entry must comprise of a group of two sharing.
We have costs for single riders. Each departure will comprise groups of 2,4,6, 8 or up to a maximum of 10.
Our sponsors are covering the costs of the event so that every dollar of your contribution can go directly into conservation.
The cost per team excludes international flights into and out of Kenya but is inclusive of all costs from the chartered flight from Nairobi to Amboseli at the start of the event and the return chartered flight to Nairobi.
Tax Relief Benefits The Great Plains Foundation is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit USA organization. All sponsors will be eligible for a United States Donations Tax Exemption
RIDE FOR LIONS | THE CAUSE OVERVIEW ‘Conservation Tourism’ is the founding concept and impetus behind Great Plains Conservation and its associated non-profit organization, Great Plains Foundation.
It is a co-operative approach that recognizes the crucial role played by the local community in any conservation endeavor. In line with this ethos, the revenue generated for the Great Plains Foundation by this event, will be equally apportioned between related community and lion conservation needs.
To conserve is an act of power. It is an active choice to preserve and protect something precious and irreplaceable; to gift the generations to come with a living legacy.