On a blisteringly hot and windy day just before Christmas‚ a group of nearly 80 mountain bikers rose well before sunrise‚ determined to make their personal contribution in the war on rhino poaching.

Many left the Hillcrest shopping centre outside Durban at 2am and would sweat and strain throughout the day to reach Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve by sunset – an almost impossible task‚ considering that they had to pedal nearly 340km to reach their destination in just 16 hours.

Buoyed by a video message by Tour de France veteran Chris Froome‚ who commented that the cyclists were all “a bit mal” to attempt such a ride‚ they pedalled their hearts out along sugar cane‚ forestry and wildlife tourist tracks to reach the famous KwaZulu-Natal rhino reserve that is now under daily attack by international rhino poaching syndicates.

“People really put themselves out there. They bled‚ and it was beautiful to see what the human body is capable of‚” remarked adventure mountain biker Jeannie Dreyer.

And earlier this week‚ several of the cyclists gathered in Durban once more‚ when organisers of the uBhejane Xtreme MTB event handed over R400[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]000 to Project Rhino‚ an alliance of several conservation groups set up to combat horn poaching in KZN.

The money was raised from entry fees‚ mostly from the full Long Horn route of over 300km‚ along with the Short Horn (240km route) from KwaDukuza.

Thanking the cyclists‚ Project Rhino partner Kingsley Holgate said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“There are a lot of people who wonder just what they can do to stop the rhino poaching crisis. So there is a lot of doom and gloom.

“We all have challenges in our daily lives‚ but we can’t give up on this fantastic continent we call Mama Africa – and you guys have pedalled your guts out‚ displaying the heart‚ passion and determination we need to ensure that rhinos live on into the future.”

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