Cycling World Magazine July 2017 - Page 63

July 2017| 63 targets for poaching recruiters and in Inambao’s class of eighteen, eight boys have been killed through anti- poaching efforts and two are now in prison. We learnt that many of the kids are acting out of necessity and that Inambao had personally been confronted more than once by Angolan recruiters. Although the poachers know the dangers, they are the breadwinners for their families and with a lack of jobs, they are forced to look for alternative methods to support their families. The ourney down allowed us to perceive imbabwe in a slightly different light to the one painted in ictoria alls. Within the first ten minutes we were met with the “dreaded roadblock” and police swamped the car in their striking uniforms. Luckily for us, our driver knew the protocol and, after a five-dollar handshake, we proceeded on our way this process was repeated five times over the next two hours. Having spent the previous week in Botswana, who have a very strict policy against poachers, it was fascinating to get some insight into the bigger picture and how shooting poachers on first sight is perhaps only a short- term solution which can cause dramatic long-term effects within the community. On arriving in Dete, the main gate to Hwange National ark, we were met by avid, the manager at The ainted Dog Conservation. In true African style, we were thrown on the top of his car whilst he cruised through the bush and we were expected to dodge the overhanging branches. Luckily, the four of us managed to arrive at PDC with only a few scratches and were welcomed with some fine hospitality. We left Kazangula in high spirits, albeit in slight trouble. After launching the drone for some aerial footage, the local women’s club had rushed to the headman’s house in terror saying there was a “spy jet following them.” owever, after clearing up the confusion we set off. Livingstone The cycle into ivingstone was our first glimpse of civilisation since we had departed Francistown almost two weeks earlier and with our sanity becoming questionable and peanut butter jelly sandwiches running low, we welcomed a couple of days off with open arms. Visiting Victoria Falls had been hyped up hugely and the four of us were incredibly excited to arrive at the park on the Zambian side. Passing through the gate was like entering a rain cloud just before it released its contents and with the river so high it was incredibly difficult to see anything. Although the visibility was poor, it was amazing to experience the immense power of the river and it was every bit as mighty as I had imagined. We spent the remainder of the day trying to rescue a damsel in distress’s passport that had been stolen by a baboon, but ed in true heroic fashion after a local had tried to help the situation by hurling a stick at it. The border crossing from ambia into imbabwe took us across a small bridge with a panoramic view of the falls and after declining twice to participate in the bungee jump due to “time restrictions”, we entered Zimbabwe. From left, right and centre, salesman trying to sell us three trillion dollar notes confronted us and we struggled to break free of their fine-tuned hustle. After a good nights’ sleep we were ready to head down to our second filming spot. aving decided not to cross the border in Botswana and not wanting to retrace our steps back through the lion-infested parks, it was time for our first public transport experience. The Road To Hwange Catching a local shuttle in Africa may be a lengthy process, but it comes with its moments. Having been adamant that no one else could fit in the car, our driver and his young apprentice spent the next hour patrolling up and down a 100m stretch of the road enticing more people to sit on our laps. With three in the front, six in the back and one in the boot, we finally convinced our driver it was time to proceed towards Hwange National Park where we intended to film the ainted og Conservation. Painted dogs (more commonly known as wild dogs) have now become one of the most endangered species on the planet with only , left in Africa. To put things in perspective, there are 300,000 elephants left in Africa. I’m really excited to spend the next few days in Hwange and learn more about The ainted og Conservation and their efforts to conserve one of the world s most endangered species. Things we’ve learnt: You can always fit one more into a car. • Wadi doesn’t always sleep in tents. • Locals can confuse drones for spy jets. • Pap is surprisingly tasty. • Wadi has bowels of steel, even when six laxatives fall in his coffee by accident . • We don’t get yoga. Follow the boy’s adventures at: www.cyclingforrangers.com.