By David Findlay, Autoworld Rally Team Captain
The Elephant charge is an off road rally challenge filled with adrenaline and adventure. Each team of up to 6 members drive in mountainous terrain in a 4x4 trying to get the shortest possible distance around the course of 10 checkpoints. That’s it!
It’s not so much speed that wins, but slow and very technical driving. The race is an 8 hour event and in that time the winning team should complete a total distance of 25-30 km. This is easier said than done as there are hardly any roads on the course and teams solely rely on GPS navigation. However the Elephant charge is not only about being thrown about in a 4x4 for eight hours in order to stand a chance of winning a trophy. Its true purpose is one of greater importance ...
Raising money for conservation
That’s the key! The teams have a mammoth task ahead of them each year to approach companies and individuals to seek sponsorship. This can be done in many different ways. However the Autoworld team has partnered with all our local and international suppliers around the world. When they offer special discounts on purchases we buy, we pass these onto the Elephant charge each year. This has been a highly successful method, raising a total of USD156,443 from 2010 to date. And still counting!
The sponsorship funds raised each year are used for conservation, specifically for education and anti-poaching initiatives. There are many conservation organisations from all over Zambia supported by the Elephant charge. These are listed here https://www.elephantcharge.org/beneficiaries
Besides raising money for conservation, Team Autoworld has won three trophies for the shortest net distance, one trophy for the overall race and tsetse line, and four trophies for the gauntlet (a section of the course designated as ‘extreme terrain’).
Our Elephant charge team finds it a great pleasure and privilege to represent not only Autoworld but also the many suppliers that support this cause!
The Autoworld Rally car - ups and downs
In 2010 the Autoworld team started the race in a Fiat Jeep which broke down after only a few kilometres. We completed the race in a standard Land Cruiser vehicle - with poor results.