Riding next to giraffes.
Their hooves glided almost silently over the hard packed red soil. Goose bumps crept up my arms and down my legs. Tears of joy started to brew in my eyes. This was a moment I would never forget.
I pedaled a little slower trying to soak in the sight, the smell and the sounds. Seven reticulated giraffe were elegantly running parallel to us for at least half a kilometer. I was leading the group of adventurers and only hoped that each and every guest enjoyed the experience.
We breached the next hill and stopped for a rest. I turned around and one of the guests, Bill, said, “That was pure magic. I have never, ever experienced something quite like that. It was just breathtaking”.
It was day six of the 12-day adventure ‘safari’ through Laikipia, Kenya. Eight guests were partaking in a trip of a lifetime, a bike and hike adventure dedicated to rhino conservation, called Adventure for Rhinos. We were riding our bikes through Lolldaiga Hills, a 49,000km2 conservancy and ranch dedicated to protecting the future of wildlife and habitat in Laikipia.
After we crested the hill, we rode our mountain bikes down one of the many hills into the Ole Naishu Conservancy, a conservancy also dedicated to wildlife conservation and ranching. Both Lolldaigas and Ole Naishu are privately owned conservancies in the Laikipian landscape that are investing money into protecting the wildlife of Kenya and are keen to have endangered rhinos on their lands in the near future.
The eight guests on this trip each dedicated 20% of their trip cost to the #RhinoRevivalFund, a fund focused on expanding the rhino landscape in Laikipia, Kenya. The rhino is seen as the umbrella, keystone species. By protecting the rhino, you are not only protecting all other wildlife, but you are also employing and engaging community, educating children and empowering women. We can say that the trip was dedicated to rhino conservation, but it’s larger goal is to protect the landscape of Laikipia and Laikipia’s wildlife. So that future guests can have the privilege of riding their bikes next to an even larger group of reticulated giraffes. So that my children have the chance of camping and riding bikes next to Kenya’s big five- the elephant, the rhino, the lion, the leopard and the buffalo.