Wayne Bolton, of One Land Love It (OLLI), is a 49 year old family man, and a respected entrepreneur from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with an investment in and a passion for the natural heritage of Africa. His heart bears the title of his Expedition: One Land Love It.
Bolton has cycled 6000km across South Africa inside 80 days to all 19 South African National Parks. This journey spans the heat of summer: 28 November 2015 to 13 February 2016. And each park signed the Scroll of Unity in Conservation like many South Africans have committed themselves to doing their bit to conserve our natural heritage together.
Cycling to connect ordinary South Africans to our National Parks, and to connect each park in a symbol of unity, Wayne and other ordinary people are cosigning the Scroll of Unity in Conservation at the gate to each park. This symbol of unity is timely in our country whose tourism livelihood has been struggling and is a call to each of us to “Do One Thing” to show our love for our land and heritage.
One of the key elements of the marketing around this expedition has been the slogan “joint custody” reflecting our connectedness in conserving our heritage. There have been many individuals that have cycled parts of the way alongside Bolton, not least of which have been his daughter Laura (19) and son Daniel (22) who are both students at NMMU. However, this aspect of joint custody was highlighted by the members of the public who came out to join them as they cycled the last of 6000km into Addo Elephant National Park‘s reception area.
The atmosphere of those waiting, including SANParks staff, family, friends, media and Kingsley Holgate was electric. Kingsley Holgate was heard saying “when ordinary people get committed to a cause together, then extraordinary things can happen.”
While the temperature started high at the Kruger National Park when Bolton began his journey with a feber and illness, it has peaked above 50 degrees Celcius (122’F) as he has travelled the arid regions of the Northern Cape. This ordinary adventurer has gone beyond where he thought he could and achieved more than he expected. For this African summer the heat is on and it shows just what any one of us can do when we decide it is time.
It was such determination by all of our forefathers that established the National Parks as an inheritance for us and continues to maintain them. Each of the South African National Parks (SANParks) has unique features that they celebrate. From geological finds to large game, from two oceans (The Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet at Aghulas National Park) to annual displays of flowers and those that are part of the fastest growing desert in the world (The Namib Desert) where you can view animals as they adapt to their environment, SANParks showcase a variety of heritage in close proximity that you will find nowhere else on Earth.
Bolton has also had the pleasure of cycling along remote roads in wild and beautiful countryside teeming with life and had the occasional race against warthogs and ostrich. This journey involves a personal connection with the environment and brings home the value of our diverse natural heritage and the need to conserve it.
The SANParks that have been visited are: Kruger, Mapungubwe, Marakele, Golden Gate Highlands, Mokala, Augrabies Falls, Kgalagadi Transfronteir Park, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Namaqua, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast, Table Mountain, Aghulas, Bontebok, Garden Route, Karoo, Camdeboo, Mountain Zebra and Addo Elephant.
Along the route many establishments heard of this adventurer and his support crew and offered beds and food: vital to the success of the expedition. Some even offered little extra’s such as a walk with elephants.
People passing on the road stopped, spoke, donated and even cycled part of the way to show solidarity with the cause. Rangers at the South African National Parks (SANParks) were inspired and astounded in equal portion. They were quick to offer reciprocal support and encouragement. Patrick Cromwell, the founder of Awesome South Africans, is one such person. “I saw Wayne cycling and wanted to show support. So I raced home to get my motorcycle to escort him through Cape Town to Table Mountain National Park. By the time I caught up to him again he was nearly there. His commitment and fitness are amazing and what he is doing to raise awareness for poaching and rehabilitation is awesome. This is why I have nominated Wayne as an Awesome South African.”
On one of his stops to replenish his water supply, Bolton registered an eyebrow raising 59’C (138F). SANParks Rangers at the Kgalagadi Transfronteir Park who understand the impact of temperature, wind and topography are “amazed that he is taking on such a challenge under those conditions”, so Section Ranger Micho Ferreira and his rangers showered encouragement and appreciation for Bolton’s efforts. Section Ranger Nardus du Plessis showed his support by joining a 20km cycle with Bolton on his pre-dawn exit from Augrabies Falls National Park.
There is an African Proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with friends.” Nikki Bolton, Waynes’s wife of 27 years, headed up the support crew for the 80-day expedition. She was joined by their two children, Laura (19) and Daniel (21), the two fathers, and a family friend, Melissa Farquhar. Of Wayne’s epic efforts Nikki says: “We’re just trying to keep up! Wayne is determined and has amazing endurance and will power despite some exceptional circumstances and I am so proud of him. We can also see that what he is doing is inspiring the Rangers and other ordinary people like us, which makes this journey worthwhile.”
Bolton has been very complimentary of the people he has met along the way. “Staff at SANParks, staff and volunteers of the beneficiaries, establishments on the 6000km journey, people who have stopped us to chat and become informed or pass encouragement, and people who have just hooted their support as they pass have all done their bit to encourage us on our expedition. Long may the positive energy around this journey rest in peoples lives. Even the little positive actions make a big difference.”
The South African National Parks Rangers have more chance of engaging poachers in armed combat than the National Defence Force does. This shocking piece of information puts into perspective just how serious the poaching “issue” is in Africa. If ordinary people, like Wayne and his family, don’t participate in this war then the very real prospect of extinction faces large species such as rhino, elephant and lion. Therefore the first beneficiary is these noble rangers who are on the front line.
Incidents involving orphaned baby rhino’s have escalated as poaching has escalated. It takes special dedication of up to 18 months to rehabilitate just one of these magnificent, and threatened, creatures. Care for Wild Africa is one such centre that works hand in hand with the South African National Parks veterinarians, rangers and zoologists to ensure that these babies are “counselled”, fed, trained and rehabilitated for reintroduction into the wild.
Donating to the beneficiaries is easy. Find out how to donate here: www.oneland.co.za/donate.
Funds raised for the beneficiaries is well on its way to the goal of R300,000. Again, any donations can be made at the link provided either through One Land Love It or directly to the beneficiaries (we just ask that you acknowledge OLLI as your inspiration so that we know the reach of our message).
“We are all ordinary people. The silence or lack of action from “good people” has led to a qualified 1071 rhino poaching incidents in 2015 according to www.stoprhinopoaching.com. Ordinary people can and should make a positive contribution to conserving our natural heritage. It starts at home.
This expedition was an exercise in #JointCustody. The success of our journey would not be possible without the support of my family, our sponsors who make the expedition possible, and ordinary people in ordinary companies making the conservation of our natural heritage possible. Thank you to each and every one of you.”
For more information visit www.oneland.co.za or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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