“I am fundamentally an optimist … Part of being an optimist is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.” ~ Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
These inspirational words from one of the greatest Africans ever rings very true as we celebrate the final go-ahead around our BEYOND THE DESERT EDGE Expedition. Adventurer Peter van Kets will be tackling a gruelling off-road mountain biking route in September 2017, pedalling all the way from the Kunene River mouth on the Angolan border.
He will start off along the inhospitable edge of the Skeleton Coast National Park before crossing the dune fields into the desolate Hartmann’s Valley. From here, his ride will take him through the arid and desolate Namibian hinterland, passing via Brandberg and Spitzkoppe en route to the finish line at Walvis Bay, approximately three weeks later.
Along the way, Peter van Kets will joined by adventure photo-journalist Jacques Marais, who will ride sections of the route with him while recording this incredible adventure. Peter Kirk and Graham Kirk will offer additional support along this epic wilderness crank, running communications, setting up camps and capturing video footage of a ride that has never been done before.
Huge thanks must go to our headline sponsors DUNLOP TURES (SA) for their unflinching backing and financial support, and it will certainly be a privilege to test one of their new tyre models along this rugged and dramatic route. Further financial assistance from SPAR (EC) will help with key provisioning as we traverse the remote desert landscape, while two double-cab 4×4 vehicles from ISUZU (SA) will ensure consistent re-supply and contact with the media team.
Our BEYOND THE DESERT EDGE Expedition could never have happened without WILDERNESS SAFARIS, either. Their environmental ethos and knowledge of the region we will be passing through is key to the success of this great adventure, and hopefully we will be able to highlight the plight of the delicate ecosystems through which we will be travelling. Care will be taken to stick to exisiting tracks to ensure we tread lightly, thus minimising any damage to the fragile desert eco-system.
‘Beyond the Desert Edge’ will be the first of a series of five ‘Beyond Expedition’ Adventures planned by Van Kets and Marais over the next four years, with each of these missions highlighting a specific region under environmental threat. Documenting and filming these adventures will not only highlight relevant issues, but will also raise funds for a range of environmental charities, including our main beneficiary, ‘Children in the Wilderness’.
Both Peter van Kets and Jacques Marais are #ChildrenintheWilderness ambassadors, and their aim would be to raise maximum awareness and funds for a charity fully focussed on sustainable solutions for conservation of wilderness areas. We will in due course explain in more detail how the general public can assist and contribute to their cause, but for more information you can check out www.childreninthewilderness.com, or follow the ‘BEYOND EXPEDITIONS’ Facebook Page.