The Great Plains Foundation Ride for Lions, Kenya

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Highlights

  • An epic physical challenge
  • Raise money for lion conservation
  • Travel with the leaders in eco-tourism
  • Authentic fly camps & luxury lodges
  • Come face to face with Africa's iconic wildlife

Key Facts

  •   Kenya

  •   Great for active adventurers & thrills seekers

  •   6 days

 

The Great Plains Foundation Ride For Lions is no ordinary ride. It is, quite simply, one of the most exceptional cycling experiences on the planet. Set yourself a challenge, absorb the beauty of nature on a unique and highly exclusive safari and convert your sweat and effort into saving lions, expanding corridors and helping people along the way.

The objective of ‘Ride for Lions’ is to raise money for Land for Lions – a fund securing an important wildlife corridor between Kenya’s Amboseli and Tsavo Ecosystems through which lions, elephants and other wildlife that rely on connectivity migrate. In places this corridor has been reduced down to just 160 meters wide so the aim is to secure the land necessary to widen each of its lateral borders by 1km and increase its total length by an extra 5 kms.

This 4 day cross country cycle expedition explores Kenya’s priceless Amboseli-Tsavo region, known for its grand scale nature and wildlife. 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, but rather your opportunity to feel the camaraderie of your team, look up and take in the abundance of Mother Nature in the shadow of Kilimanjaro.

Beginning in the West of Amboseli National Park you will follow bush tracks, elephant trails and footpaths across vast swathes of savannahs, game-rich wetlands and finally through the lava world of the Chyulu Hills. Your journey will end at the luxurious ol Donyo lodge where you’ll be greeted by Maasai warriors in their traditional dress, ready to celebrate your success.

This journey is your opportunity to embrace a great adventure, share experiences with likeminded riders, endure challenges, triumph, emerge with new insights, and, most importantly, make a heroic difference for lions.

 


 

Itinerary Details

Day 1 : Arrival Day               

Welcome to Kenya. On arrival at Nairobi airport you will be met and transferred to overnight at the expedition base camp in the Amboseli. Take some time to rest and prepare for your ride ahead.          

Day 2 : Stage 1 | Commence cycle from Amboseli to Bush Camp 1 | Approximately 60kms, 400m ascent    

Enter the western side of Amboseli National and ride alongside some the greatest variety of wildlife on the planet in a green space that teems with everything from elephants, to pelicans, to packs of hyenas. Ride into the shadow of the great Mount Kilimanjaro and expect your first glimpse of the proud Maasai in traditional dress. 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 elephant country and the rider needs to be ever alert. The climb is about 10 kms long and tough in places. Your day ends at the Bush Camp - a small green haven at the top of this climb offering a well deserved overnight rest and legendary Great Plains hospitality

Day 3 : Stage 2 | Cycle from Bush Camp 1 to Bush Camp 2 | Approximately 60kms, 750m ascent  

A swift downhill drops you into 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 where the struggle for preservation is being played out. This section of the route is fast and in no time, you’ll reach the main road leading to Kimana village and enter the Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary teems with wildlife and you’ll spot a wide variety of game, including lions. Witness for yourself the constant battle between wildlife and mankind.

After a flat 15 kilometers, bomas and small clusters of homes give way to low scrubland darkened in places by massive lava trails that once flowed. Follow a jeep track steadily upwards into the foothills of the Chyulu Range until the trail breaks open onto the savannah and you reach a slightly elevated plateau dotted with Baobab trees which is the location for your camp.

Day 4 : Stage 3 | Cycle from Bush Camp 2 to Bush Camp 3 | Approximately 48km, 863m ascent 

Make your way to the base of the imposing Chyulus Hills, famous for the big tuskers of East Africa whose tusks scrape the ground. The upward climb is approximately 12 km long but the vistas are worth the pain and the Mist Forest with its ancient olive wood trees dripping with moss and vines showcase a completely different eco system to any you’ve seen so far.

Staying high, the trail traverses the Chyulu Hills until you reach a spectacular lookout point, with views of the Tsavo National Park. Finally you will tackle the descent into Crater Camp and less expert riders will have to take care as the rutted track drops away steeply.

Day 5 : Stage 4 | Complete ride from Bush Camp 3 to ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills | Approximately 53 kms, 311m ascent 

Ride the iconic great plains of Kenya with the thick grass undulating in the breeze and herds of animals roaming freely. A gentle descent along the edge of the lava flow gradually spills out onto the plains where you might catch a glimpse of Maasai warriors in their traditional dress. Wind your way across the plains towards the twin peaks of El Mau then head for your final destination - the luxurious ol Donyo Lodge. Champagne, snacks and a warm welcome await you followed by a long soaking bath or swim in your infinity pool.

Luxuriate at this beautiful lodge, toast your success with your fellow riders and indulge in some well earned fine dining! 

Day 6 : Departure Day             

You will be transferred from ol Donyo Lodge back to Nairobi to continue with your onwards arrangements or begin your journey home. Congratulations on your remarkable achievement!

Mission Statement

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.

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.

Dereck Joubert,
National Geographic Explorer in Residence,
CEO Great Plains Conservation and the Great Plains Foundation


Key Facts

  • This event occurs annually in May. Please contact us for the dates of the next event
  • 5 nights / 6 days
  • Begins and ends: Nairobi
  • The participation cost is USD3,000 per rider per night
  • Departures are limited to a maximum of 10 riders
  • Total distance cycled: approx. 220 km.
  • The costs of the event are covered by sponsors meaning that every dollar of your contribution goes directly into conservation
  • The Great Plains Foundation is a registered 501 (c) 3 non profit USA organisation.
  • Highly trained rangers from Kenya Wildlife Services and Big Life Foundation will escort each group and specialist mountain biking guides will participate in every stage alongside guests.
  • This event is in high demand. Please register your interest now if you are interested in participating.

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