Join EHRA's Fundraising Challenge Trek
Dates for 2017 are 30 September - 6 October.
The trek is a sponsored 141km walk through Damaraland over 7 days to raise funds for our conflict prevention programmes, including the water point protection programme, the elephant patrols and our elephant educational project, The PEACE Project. The walk is great for anyone looking for a trekking or walking holiday, whilst completing a personal challenge and raising money for the conservation of the desert elephants in Namibia.
Through committing to this challenge, you can help make a real difference, by helping EHRA promote a future where these very special elephants can live in harmony with local farmers. In return we promise you a week you will remember for the rest of your life. Key EHRA staff will also be walking with the group and will impart to you their intricate knowledge and understanding of our desert elephants, learned over the last 10 years.
How it works
The cost to participate in the trek is ₤2000 pounds sterling (or your currency equivalent). This includes all transfers, accommodation, food and equipment whilst on the trek. Excluded are flights, insurance and then food and accommodation when back in Swakopmund. Advice will be given on getting the best deals. For those who would like to fundraise, support is available through sponsor forms and fundraising ideas; once you sign up you will be mailed a pack full of ideas, kit list and training advice to help prepare you for the challenge.
The route starts near Ugab Wilderness Camp at the foothills of the Brandberg and leads in a north-westerly direction into the sand dunes, and further towards Doros Crater. From there it swings west to Klein Gai-Ais, from where it turns south to end at the Ugab River. Total distance is a measured 141 kilometers. There is the opportunity to join an EHRA patrol at the end of the trek or we can help you plan an adventure to explore the rest of Namibia.
DAY 1: total distance 8km
Transfer from the meeting point of Swakopmund to the start of the trek at the foot of the majestic Brandberg Mountain. At 2573m, this massive volcanic feature is one of the highest in Namibia and will dominate the route as you make your way towards the Skeleton Coast. From where the coach leaves at our first camp under the stars, we take a "warm-up walk" of 8km around the area adjacent to the Ugab River. Tonight the group will be briefed by EHRA staff about the challenge, the route, the area and in particular the desert elephants.
DAY 2: total distance 20km
After an early rise and breakfast, you head through the ephemeral Ugab Riverbed up onto the calcrete escarpment north of the river, where you will have lunch after your first 10KM morning.
The afternoon’s walk follows the escarpment line towards the dune fields with dramatic views of the Ugab River valley and the stunning Brandberg. Our camp for this evening is after another 10km where we can enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets the Namib can offer.
DAY 3: total distance 30,2km
We rise early to face a long and tough day. We make our way north-west from the river across the vegetated dune fields where we could catch a glimpse of the elusive kudu found in this area. Climbing out of the dune field, we head for the only Mopane tree on these unforgiving sandy plains where we stop for lunch. After lunch we continue towards the Goantagab River through rugged sedimentary hills, scattered with commifora trees looking like miniature baobabs. This area is frequented by the desert-adapted black rhino, (Diceros bicornis bicornis). Nearly hunted to extinction in the 80’s, their numbers are up to more than 130 individuals walking free in the northern part of the Namib Desert, but with home ranges of up to 750 square km’s and their secretive nature, we would be lucky to even see their tracks. Tonight we camp amongst granite outcrops in the wilderness area south of Doros Crater, an afternoon's walk of 15.4 km.
DAY 4: total distance 20,9km
After breakfast, we head north over the plains towards Doros Crater. We break at the foot of this 140 million year old volcanic crater before we follow mountain zebra footpaths up the rim of the crater, walk through the caldera and up the opposite rim for some amazing views towards the Skeleton Coast, then down to our lunch spot, a walk of 11.3km. After lunch an ancient elephant path leads us to our camp for the night which is 9.6 km away, through beautiful granite features and an area frequented by oryx, ostrich and springbok. After dinner there will be an optional talk and practical session on astronomy, as the night sky in this area is renowned for the plentitude of stars and incredible visibility.
DAY 5: total distance 20,5km
This morning’s walk takes us towards the Mikberg, following game trails through typical Damaraland landscapes. Here we find the ancient Welwitchia Mirabilis plants eking out an existence on the plains. After lunch we walk through fascinating geology and onto the Doros Plains where we are likely to see herds of giraffe, zebra and oryx. Our camp is a sand stone outcrop once inhabited by bushman and is EHRA’s most favourite camping spot in the desert! For sunset, we walk up a ridge to a breathtaking viewpoint watching the mist roll in from the Atlantic Ocean.
DAY 6: total distance 27,9km
Our last day! Today’s walking takes us down to the Ugab River again, through valleys of folded sediments covering over 200 million years of geological history. Lunch is in one such valley after 15,4km, from where we continue to our camp close to the linear oasis of the Ugab. In this area the famed desert elephant roam, and we will tread carefully! The afternoon’s walking is stunning as we weave our way through canyons, with water springs and beautiful scenery. Tonight there is a slide show about the elephants and the work EHRA does.
DAY 7: total distance 13km
A final walk out of the river valley brings us to the Brandberg West Mine where our vehicles await us for the journey to Swakopmund, transfer time is 2.5 hours.
Tonight is the celebratory party, where we can let our hair down and celebrate our achievements!
Today everyone is free to explore the quaint, small town of Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast, or sadly make their journey home! Swakopmund is an interesting little town with lovely cafes, restaurants, and great shopping. It is also a very safe place and perfect for relaxing after the hard week. For those who are heading out on an EHRA patrol, today is also a free day, with transfer back to the Ugab on Sunday morning.
Cailin Human - South Africa
"I didn’t know which was going to be harder: Raising money for some elephants in a desert in another country (amidst an economic recession), or hiking 141km in the Damara desert . . . Both turned out just fine, and I will most definitely be doing the same next year!
In order to raise funds I organized a fundraising event at a friend’s fancy house in Bantry Bay, Cape Town. People bought tickets to the event, which covered a delectable finger lunch and local wines.
To my surprise it wasn’t hard to find sponsors for the lucky draw at all. As soon as you start to tell your story and give people the details about the cause you are supporting, you will find that there are actually many people who want to contribute, if they are only given the opportunity!
I had special labels printed by Getwine for the wine bottles, and we had a big screen monitor up with EHRA picture slides in the background the whole afternoon. During my short presentation on EHRA and the details regarding the 2009 Fundraising Trek, we had the lucky draw. One lucky winner won a weekend for two at a cottage in Pringle Bay. And another one won four wine- and biltong tasting tickets at Stellenbosch Hills winery.
People who wanted to contribute R100 or more were entered into another lucky draw, and could win a weekend for two, B&B, at the Noordhoek Hotel in Noordhoek Village, Cape Town.
People who wanted to contribute R500 or more to the cause were entered into the big draw for a helicopter flight for FOUR with Base 4 Helicopters at the V&A Waterfont in Cape Town.
And, this is how I managed to raise R4 400 within 60 days!
The beauty is that, by doing all of the above, such awareness was created for EHRA and the desert elephants, that I was approached by Overhex Winery in De Doorns. They were specifically looking for a marketing project for their unique range of wines, namely BALANCE. The Balance logo and wine label is of a little elephant balancing on a small chair, and this is where our connection started. Thanks to Overhex: Balance I was able to raise another R10 000 for EHRA towards this year’s fundraising trek!"
For more information on the trek please contact Rachel.