The Elephant Charge celebrates ten years of 4×4 adrenalin fueled adventure for wildlife conservation in Zambia.
In 2008 a group of four friends in Zambia ventured out into the bush, built a course of ten check points, printed a map, set up a tent with a white board and waited. Ten years later they have raised $760,000 for wildlife conservation in Zambia and created a unique event attracting 4×4 teams, sponsors and interest from across the globe.
The Fuchs Elephant Charge 2017 shifted up a gear on 14 October clocking the highest contribution to conservation projects on record at $110,000. Twenty-seven teams braved a grueling course of eleven checkpoints (a new addition for the tenth anniversary) in the Miombo woodland of Zambia’s exquisitely wild Luano Valley.
Fourth-time victors, the Conservation Lower Zambezi Mudhogs claimed the Shortest Distance trophy with a competition distance of only 23.96km in their modified Nissan Patrol (the “Animal”). This team have been on the scene since the second Charge, with a low center of gravity, wide-base, light-weight vehicle and (dare we say it) diverse skill set, they are a unique and winning combination. Winners of the Shortest Net Distance, the Carnivore came in at 39.86km and raised $11,000 alone in their monster Mitsubishi Pajero with grit, driving skill and determination they finished the course even after losing their winch but not their courage!
Several new teams revved their engines on the starting line this year with the Shortest Distance from a new team being claimed by Hard Okra in their short wheel-base Toyota Land Cruiser with team members travelling all the way up from South Africa. Other international teams included the Swamp Donkeys from Botswana and American bespoke atelier, Duncan Quinn.
Tough terrain greeted the teams on this year’s tenth anniversary course. Did we expect any less from Clerk of Course, Peter Castle? Limestone ridges and boulders lay in wait for unsuspecting runners at the top of steep ascents. Swampy dambos made for tricky obstacles for drivers to maneuver even with those all-important waffle boards and bridging ladders for river crossings. Most daunting of all the ravines was “The Gauntlet”, three proximate checkpoints this year sponsored by Maxxis, Afgri and Avis. The distance travelled by each team between these notorious points is tripled and so this is the place for epic endeavors if anywhere. The most daring teams used rear winches to lower their vehicles down what seemed to be an almost vertical gradient. Talk about it all going downhill!
Exploding winches, broken prop shafts and live bands ensured that this year’s event and after party did not disappoint. Thank you to everyone for their support both moral and financial through checkpoints and many other ways, making this the best Elephant Charge yet!
This year’s funds will support conservation through education in Zambia at the Wildlife and Environment Conservation Society of Zambia, Kasanka Trust, Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust, Game Rangers International, Conservation Lake Tanganyika, Conservation Lower Zambezi, Conservation South Luangwa and Zambian Carnivore Program.
Please join us for the Elephant Charge Review Night on 16 November 2017 at Sugarbush Café. Check out our website and social media for further updates. And join the herd.. start putting your Charge team together for next year at the Elephant Charge 2018! The adventure continues…