Xtrym Adventure at Rhino Charge 2012


Take a bunch of crazy, insane drivers, and let them loose in the bundus with super-modified monster trucks and cars, and you have yourself a rhino charge.

Photos from Xtrym Adventures

It’s not that simple really, but from my spectator point of view, that was exactly what happened – drivers went crazy in the workshop, ended up with monster trucks, then brought them out to the wild to bash it out.

I was in Il Ngwesi, in the middle of the vast wilderness of Samburu.

Getting there wasn’t easy – I think the organizers make it deliberately difficult. Bags and camping gear packed, we set out as a team of almost 40, with Xtrym Adventures, in a couple of huge overland trucks. The first lesson I learned is that when you put 40 people into two trucks, they’re bound to make interesting company during the trip. From the jokes and stories that were told it was an easy time driving through the countryside, and getting our way to Samburu.


Best vehicle for transporting a large group and goods, in comfort!

After making stops through Karatina, Nanyuki and Isiolo, we followed the well crafted map into Il Ngwesi, just as the sun dropped down behind the hills to our west. Traffic was decidedly heavy, and there was the expected holdups. Eventually we spotted a suitable camping area, and pitched tents there.

The first and biggest disappointment of the weekend came in when we realized that Tarpo Ltd had gone MIA on us, and we had no bathrooms and water. Lucky for us, the overland truck had a water storage tank big enough to cater to our group, and we made do with that. Well, at least I got to wipe down the dust each day, there was no luxurious shower out there.

Grinning and bearing the dust and dirt, I slept through the night without any mishaps, and woke up to a blazing sunrise in the hills of Il Ngwesi. In the far background I could spot Mt. Ololokwe in the distance, reminding me of a trip I had made just the other day. But that’s a story for another day. We quickly had our breakfast and set out to follow the rally cars as they had already started the race, with dust whirling in the distance signaling their location.

The Rhino Charge is a Kenyan annual off-road event in which competitors are required to visit 13 points scattered over approximately 100 square kms of rough terrain within a 10 hour period. Competitors are supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue, co-ordinates of the 13 Control Points and their Start position (at one of the Controls). Each competitor must plot the Control Points on the map and decide his/her route. Navigation is by compass/GPS and the winner is the competitor who visits all controls in the shortest distance (GPS measured).

Held in Kenya since 1989, it is a unique and exciting competition that requires bravery and a high level of skill in off-road driving and navigation. The event, organized by The Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, is held to raise funds for a very noble cause – conservation of Kenya’s Aberdare Ecosystem.

We made it to the headquarters’ location, which simply is a mass of tents by main sponsors and event organizers. At this point, the overland truck was not allowed beyond, as it would probably get stuck in the rough terrain. Before I could say “rhino!”, a couple of pickups pulled up going our way and we hopped onto them and hitched a ride to a huge lagga where the water had dried off. Here, we spotted an army truck making the crossing through the sandy bottom, and we again hitched a ride to ‘the gauntlet’. It was either we hitch the rides, or walk through 4km of bush.

The gauntlet is a tough piece of land that competitors charge through defying all odds. Crashing through the bush, winching cars up rocky slopes and through murky waters, the drivers managed to either get firmly stuck, or succesfuly navigate the treacherous landscapes to the thrill of the crowd.

In the end, Rhino Charge 2012 raised Ksh 84,627,119.33. This beat last year’s figure of Ksh 77.3 million adding another Ksh 7.3million to secure another all-time record.

The event was won by Terry Childs (Braeburn Seven Squared) in car 49 with a distance of 47.6km. The course’s straight line distance was just less than 30 km.

In a tough contest at the gauntlet, Peter Bonde-Nielsen (Team Garmin) in car 64 took the first position with a distance of 1.29 km. Second position went to Mahesh Bhatti in car 7 with a distance of  1.32 km. Third place was taken by Adil Khawaja (AK 44) in car 44 with a distance of 1.44 km.

I can’t really explain what drives the competitors to do this other than with a little crazy, high and with a desire to raise money and conserve the Aberdares Ecosystem, they fix cars and then bash them through the landscape.

See you at the next rhino charge, wherever that may be!


View more pictures on the Xtrym Adventures album

Get more details on Xtrym Adventures

Read more on Rhino Charge and why they do it on their website

Getting there:

From Nairobi, you can either fly or drive to Il Ngwesi.  Il Ngwesi Lodge is reached using a 4WD from Borana Ranch or a short flight from Nanyuki. You can also drive from Lewa Conservancy to Il Ngwesi.

Read more on Il Ngwesi, and where to stay.

Il Ngwesi Group ranch (14, 500 Hac), is located at northwest edge of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and is owned by Il Ngwesi community of the Mukogodo division of Laikipia district.

Il Ngwesi Lodge lies adjacent to the Ngare Ndare River on the edge of the Mukogodo Hills with commanding panoramic views across Northern Kenya.

  • Name *

    all this happened really??? i need to focus next time… my version is we left Nairobi and and got to isiolo stayed for a couple of days then back to Nairobi there was so much dust and noise cos my clothes were dusty and my ears hurt plus yeah i had a Big hangover on Monday!! guess that explains why i missed all this.. Damn!

    • Naomi Mutua

      Hahah, I forgot to add the bits where everyone (but a few) were high by the time we got to Thika, and stayed that way till we got back.

      • I got home from work yesterday afrtneoon and mowed the lawn and blew leaves before the rain came today. After I mowed my lawn, I went next door to my neighbors house and mowed his lawn and blew the leaves off his property. I slipped a pay it forward card under his door mat when I was finished. He came over and thanked me for what I’d done, and also asked me about pay it forward. I often do things for other people, but yesterday it felt a little different because it gave me the opportunity to tell him about paying it forward; also in hopes that it would have a chain reaction and many lives would be effected by such a positive and simple notion of paying it forward .

    • Join Xtrym Adventures and be part of great adventures and safaris.

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      • National Memory Screening DayFree, confidential meromy screenings for anyone concerned about meromy loss and early Alzheimer’s disease detection and intervention, sponsored by Visiting Angels in cooperation with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.WHEN:Tuesday November 13 2012Noon 4pmWHERE:Avalon Missionary Church. 1212 Lower Huntington Rd. Fort Wayne IN 46819INFO:National Memory Screening Day is an annual initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA). Visiting Angels is proud to be a partner in this important first step in finding out if someone has a meromy problem, and in helping patients and families become aware of the resources and assistance that is available.While a meromy screening is not a substitute for a consultation with a physician, it can help to determine whether additional testing is warranted. With as many as 5.1 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and many more with mild cognitive impairment and dementia, early detection and intervention can be critical to making informed decisions for greater health and quality of life.For more information on meromy screening and resources to assist with ageing in place, cognitive impairment, mild dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, contact Visiting Angels at 260-482-CARE (2273).

    • I took it out of the Valley. Was in Pioneer Square in a tight parking space. We nectiod 4 homeless guys standing around, smiling and talking. They actually helped us get the truck parked without hitting a pole. We bought their breakfast! So simple goal is to follow my heart and look for opportunities to give a little every day. Nancy

  • Calvo

    Cool stuff, really loved it to the bone!

    • On October 3, thirty high shoocl students from Mount Si’s Key Club visited the homes of two elderly folks in North Bend. Armed with gloves, garden tools, and determination ..they set out to offer assistance to these homeowners where the labor had simply become too big an obstacle. The students split and stacked firewood, trimmed overgrown bushes and hedges, brought garden beds back to objects of beauty, raked leaves, and filled an enormous trailer with discarded and rotting lumber that was taken to the dump. The best part of this endeavor was the smiles and hugs given by the homeowners to these high shoocl Key Clubbers. That so many showed up at their homes to Pay it Forward was overwhelming and one of the most heart-warming experiences I have seen. Way to go Mount Si Key Club!

  • I miss Rhino Charge already! 🙂

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