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The four Climbers for K9 made their way from the Chain Ladders at Witsieshoek in Free State on 25 May after a festive send-off by SANParks Honorary Rangers from KZN, friends and family. They reached Mont aux Sources on Day 1, and proceeded to Stimela Peak and took a quick dip in the Senqu River. They went past the Vulture Colony and summited Cleft Peak on Day 3, encountering snow, and then overnighted in Roland’s Cave – in heavy fog. From there, the Climbers scaled the mighty Mafadi and made their way to Giant’s Castle and the Langilabele Pass before Grant solo-summited the highest peak in Southern Africa, the Thabana Ntlenyana on Day 10 – with one boot broken! From there – lost, in deep snow and out of energy – he was guided to Sani Mountain Lodge by a friendly Basotho for the first and only Re-Supply event and a day of rest on June 04.
Ian left the hike at Sani, but the three remaining Climbers for K9, Grant, Jeffery and Robert were sent off by friends and family for the final 42km leg from Sani top to Bushman’s Nek on Day 11 in the morning. Neither of the 3 had done this route before – and they lost their map, ending up in a steep gully which required a bit of technical climbing before they were on the home stretch. On Day 13 – after dark and quite exhausted, the expedition climbed down the Boesman’s Nek pass to the SAPS Border Post, their rocky path lit only by head lamps. At 18.15 on 06 June they arrived and were picked up for the Grand Finish celebration at Bushman’s Nek Berg and Trout Resort with family, friends, fellow SANParks Honorary Rangers and Ezemvelo Honorary Officers in attendance too. The hikers received the special edition Honrary ranger Project Watchdog medallions for their epic efforts to complete the 230km route across the Drakensberg from Witsieshoek to Bushman’s Nek in 13 days with only one re-supply stop at the top of Sani pass. Despite their exhaustion, a good braai and good fun was had by all. We are very happy to have the Climbers for K9 safely back!!
The campaign has been very well received in the media with over 40 features since we began on April 20, and so far, we have raised R79 200 for the SANParks anti-poaching K9 Unit. The fund raising campaign continues till end July. We hope more people will donate funds to help meet the needs for equipment and supplies for the 70 specially trained detection, tracking and attack dogs that work so hard in our seven SANParks to keep rhino and other wildlife safe from poachers.
Please donate at www.givengain.com/cause/2552/campaigns/17669/ or by EFT TO the SANParks Honorary Rangers NEDBANK account no. 1585392448, Branch code 158550. Please use the reference: “your name.KZN-DGT.K9” to enable us to keep track of contributions and send a copy of your deposit slip to ClimbforK9@gmail.com