CYCLING FOR CHANGE
Documentary films, anti-poaching protests and social media campaigns aside, Wayne Bolton is cycling his way to a better future and protecting our heritage, one kilometre at a time
While sitting in his “man cave” in December last year, 49-year-old Wayne Bolton felt the familiar stab of disappointment that sometimes comes with an end-of-year reflection. Despite his work as a SANParks Honorary Ranger at the Addo Elephant National Park outside Port Elizabeth, Wayne still felt he had to do more to protect our country’s natural heritage. His solution? Raise awareness for conservation by cycling over 6000km to all 19 South African National Parks.
The expedition, dubbed One Land Love It (OLLI), started on November 28th at Kruger’s Pafuri Gate and is estimated to end on February 11th at the Addo Elephant National Park. He aims to raise awareness for conservation and highlight the many benefits of eco-tourism, specifically for the communities on the fringes of the parks.
“I felt it was time to step up and do something,” explains Wayne. “It’s too easy to assume someone else will solve the challenges of protecting our natural heritage. There’s never a right time to do the things we want to do so we have to take a step in the right direction and just have faith.”
To physically prepare for the expedition, Wayne spent several months following a carefully constructed training programme, aimed at building a solid foundation to strengthen his muscles while simultaneously avoiding injury. He was physically assessed by the Human Movement Sciences Department of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) who provided him with guidance and specified exercises during his training. For the next three months, Wayne will cycle, on average, 100km a day; no easy feat for a man with limited experience on a bike.
The expedition will raise funds for two beneficiaries: the first is volunteer organisation, SANParks Honorary Rangers – OLLI will contribute money to anti-poaching equipment for rangers on the ground who risk their lives to protect South Africa’s wildlife. As someone who has spent many years involved with SANParks, Wayne acknowledges the organisation as the official custodian of our natural heritage. Secondly, OLLI will gather funds for Care for Wild Africa, an organisation outside Mbombela that focuses on the support and rehabilitation of endangered species, specifically baby rhino.
INFO Follow Wayne and the OLLI team on Facebook and Twitter under the name One Land Love It Expedition. Donations to OLLI, SANParks and Care for Wild Africa can be made on the website, www.oneland.co.za. (041) 364 0088, firstname.lastname@example.org