In December 2015, ex-England cricketer and icon, Sir Ian Botham aka Beefy will walk across South Africa to raise money for four charities. Botham, his crew and supporters will cover a distance of 160 kilometres over eight stages, commencing on December 10 in the Western Cape (Llandudno, Cape Town and Stellenbosch), before passing through Port Elizabeth and Durban en route to Gauteng (Soweto and Johannesburg), with the last leg ending in Pretoria on December 17.
The walk will celebrate Beefy’s 60th birthday and the 30th anniversary of his first fundraising walk from John O’Groats to Lands End in 1985. Commenting on December’s Rainbow Nation Challenge in the Dailymail earlier this year, Beefy said: “South Africa has always been a country close to my heart, I love the culture, the people, the scenery the wine and the safari.”
All monies raised will be equally divided between four deserving local charities close to Beefy’s heart: Nazareth House (CT), the Waitrose Foundation, the Kliptown Youth Programme and the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF).
The CRF was established in 2010 to protect and preserve the critically endangered African Black rhino, of which only 4,800 survive, and near-threatened African White rhino of which only 20,000 remain, as poaching levels reach crisis point. Between 2000 and 2013, 2700 rhinos were slaughtered, with another 1215 rhino butchered in 2014. According to the last official statistics from the Department of Environmental Affairs (27 August 2015), 749 rhinos have already been poached this year.
Established by Brent and Chantelle Cook, along with business partner Paul Naudé, CRF is a NGO run by volunteers. It specialises in continuously sourcing, testing and funding technology for effective monitoring of rhinos, relocation assistance across Southern Africa and providing anti-poaching teams on the ground with vital equipment and Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) gear. CRF also funds tracking and apprehension rhino dogs and focus on collaboration and working partnerships with wildlife reserves and likeminded NGOs.
To show their support of the cause and gratitude to Beefy and his crew, members of the Chipembere Rhino Foundation – including Sammy, CRF’s first anti-poaching tracking and apprehension dog – will walk alongside Beefy during part of the Port Elizabeth leg on December 13. “The funds raised from Beefy’s Rainbow Nation Walk will be greatly appreciated and beneficial to all the charities involved,” says Brent Cook of CRF. “The money allocated to CRF will go a long way in funding monitoring and tracking technology, APU equipment, and the introduction of K9 tracking and apprehension units, as well as enabling rhino translocation assistance across Southern Africa, all of which contribute to the effective monitoring and protection of rhinos at privately-owned and governmental reserves.”
Cook notes that saving a species from extinction requires both a national and global effort. “Although the poaching numbers are staggering, I shudder to think how many more rhino would be lost without the efforts of the community and individuals who provide ongoing funding, which allows us to save one rhino at a time through tracking and monitoring tools that help to protect and preserve our precious natural heritage.”
Beefy’s Rainbow Nation Challenge CRF will not only be supported by great sponsors including South African Airways, Waitrose, Sun International, Food Lovers Market, Bidvest, Old Mutual and Kumala Wines, but also by local reserves in the Eastern Cape and by the community in the area. PE’s most loved tea and coffee specialists and enthusiastic supporters of Chipembere Rhino Foundation, Mastertons, will set up ‘Chipembere’ coffee stations at the beginning and end of the PE leg of the walk to contribute to Beefy’s fundraising. In addition, continuing their fine tradition of authentically hand-roasted coffee, Mastertons has also hand-crafted a rich Arabic African ‘Chipembere’ Blend, roasted for a cause. For every 250 grams of ‘Chipembere’ coffee purchased by retailers and coffee-loving rhino supporters, R5 is donated to rhino conservation efforts.
For more information about the walk, please visit http://www.beefywalkingtherainbownation.com/ If you would like to be one of the 120 day walkers, please register by visiting https://www.webtickets.co.za/events/featured/join-beefy-walking-the-rainbow-nation/1458570959 or if you prefer, follow the progress of the walk on https://www.facebook.com/Chipembererhinofoundation . For more information on the Chipembere Rhino Foundation: http://www.chipembere.org .