Just over a month after setting off on a mission to follow the entire land border of South Africa and track the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastlines along with a circumnavigation of landlocked Lesotho, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s Mzansi Edge Expedition has reached its halfway point.
The trip was devised by global Land Rover ambassadors Kingsley and Ross Holgate as a continuation of their efforts to deliver around 450 000 meals to rural communities bordering wildlife parks in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. These are the community that was hit the hard during months of the pandemic when a lack of tourism had a devastating impact on jobs and income.
The Mzansi Edge expedition is now assisting those in need with meals, masks, sanitising soap and digital thermometers on a much broader scale around the perimeter of the country. The 70-day, 10 000km journey has now entered the Western Cape and will assist rural communities in the area with food provisions and other life-improving necessities.
Expedition team leader Ross Holgate said: “We’ve crossed some important milestones on our first-ever South Africa-only expedition, and after travelling in an anti-clockwise direction from our home in Zinkwazi, following the borders of Mozambique, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana, we reached the Union’s End and the SABONA beacon (standing for South Africa, Botswana and Namibia).”
“So far we’ve distributed a further 90 000 nutritious DoMore porridge meals and other much-needed items to hundreds of families and 45 early childhood development centres and creches close to conservation areas, including the Tembe Elephant Park, Ndumo Game Reserve, Songimvelo Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe Heritage Park.”
At the halfway mark the humanitarian explorers have delivered aid to 1 253 children in Acornhoek through a partnership with the Kruger National Park and Hlokomela, and 180 families in the impoverished community of Mbuzini where the fences of South Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique meet.
The expedition has also distributed meals, soap and masks to every mother with young children in the remote Den Staat community on the banks of the Limpopo River next to Mapungubwe Heritage Park.
The Mzansi Edge also represents the first long-distance test of the new Land Rover Defender, with a Defender 110 P400 leading a host of previous generation models along the expedition route.
The Holgate Foundation’s Defender is fitted with an Explorer Pack featuring a raised air intake, lockable side gear carrier, an expedition roof rack and underbody protection among others. The Defender P400 is powered by a three-litre straight-six mild hybrid (MHEV) drivetrain with 294kW of power, making it the first petrol, and first electrified expedition vehicle in the Holgate fleet.
Kingsley Holgate said: “From the rocky, boulder-strewn Lubombo Mountain gullies, to the high dunes and deep, soft sand of the Kalahari, the new Defender has conquered everything in its path. We’ve crossed countless rivers and covered seemingly endless kilometres of bone-shaking corrugated gravel roads, yet we look forward to the second half of the Mzansi Edge Expedition and making a difference to the lives of thousands along the way.
“This journey, along with so many before it, has highlighted once again how teamwork and camaraderie among the expedition crew and those we meet en route make us all capable of great things. With the zen of travel still on our side, we’ll continue tracing the eastern border of South Africa, complete a lap of Lesotho, and finish up back in Kosi Bay late in November.”
The new Defender is built for adventurous hearts and curious minds, for those who know the value of community and strive to make a difference. These are all contributing factors to the #TeamDefender manifesto, which in short, means being capable of great things and helping those around us.
This ethos fits the Holgate Foundation’s mission statement of improving and saving lives through adventure perfectly. Follow the Holgates along the Mzansi Edge journey on social media using the #TeamDefender hashtag. Regular updates will be shared by the expedition team and Land Rover South Africa on Instagram @LandRoverSA, Twitter @LandRoverZA and Facebook @LandRoverSouthAfrica