The just ended Nedbank Tour de Tuli; a fundraising mountain bike event recently saw 257 cyclists from across the world cycling for charity and raising an estimated P7.71 million for Children in the Wilderness programme. The Cycle Tour took place in the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA (Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa) and gave cyclists the opportunity of cycling in remote Africa. The cycle route which was predominantly single and jeep track, saw all participating cyclists riding along ancient elephant tracks.
The event which was hosted at Limpopo Valley Airfield in Botswana was open to corporate group bookings as well as friends and families just wanting to enjoy some time together on their bikes. Cyclists were grouped according to their cycling ability however, as this is a Tour and not a race, the primary basis of allocating cyclists to groups, was based on who “you” the cyclist want to ride with.
Every cyclist who took part in the tour had a standard registration of P30 000 to cycle in over 2800km terrain in three countries namely Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana from four camps. The four camps included Limpopo Airfield in Mashatu, Amphitheatre Bush Camp Loop (Botswana), Maramani Camp (Zimbabwe) and Mapungubwe in South Africa).
The eight country member listed company; Wilderness Safaris seeks disadvantaged children in every of their member states and make donations to their daily courses.
Founded in Botswana in 1983, Wilderness Safaris, Africa’s Leading Safari Tour Operator is widely acclaimed as the continent’s foremost ecotourism operator.
“We give our guests life-changing journeys in some of the most remote and pristine areas in Africa and in so doing help conserve Africa’s spectacular biodiversity and share ecotourism benefits with rural people. In Botswana, we have made donations at Lentswe Le Moriti at their primary school last year and this year we are going to Shashe to extend our donations,” said Wilderness Safaris.
Among the cyclists who took part in this year’s Nedbank Tour de Tuli included South African journalist and #eNCA Sport Editor, Onkgopotse OG Molefe who has been cycling for over five years. Molefe took part courtesy of his sponsor Nedbank.
“I usually do road cycling but this one is more challenging. Raising funds for charity is a good course and I’m really humbled to be a part of this initiative,” said Molefe.
Meanwhile, a group of aspiring Batswana cyclists used the tour to prepare for the upcoming cycling challenges, both locally and internationally. The Batswana cyclists had received funding through a donor in South Africa at the recommendation of the Minister of Tourism and Natural Conservation, Tshekedi Khama.
Among the Batswana cyclists was the 17-year-old St. Joseph’s College student, Tshepo Sentsho who has won numerous awards in his infant cycling career. He has previously won the Mascom Challenge and was also a runner-up in both the Wharic and Orange Challenges all in the year 2016 respectively.
“I use cycling to refresh from my school work. I have to balance the two; as for this tour I was extremely happy to have met up with other professional uneven terrain cyclists. Normally, I cycle on the road which is calculative. I was a bit scared at the beginning but gained momentum as the race continued,” he said.
Furthermore, Bokang Ebudilwe (21), from Tsela Riders who is currently ranked 4th and 146th by the Union Cyclists International for the under-23 athletes said she will be using the Nedbank Tour de Tuli to prepare for her dream, the Olympics qualification in Tokyo 2020.