Land Rover ambassador Kingsley Holgate, his son Ross and a hardy team of modern-day explorers have returned from their first Living Traditions expedition. Over 66 days the legendary explorer and his support crew from the Kingsley Holgate Foundation traversed 12 countries and improved more than 38 000 lives, before reaching the South Omo region in Ethiopia.
Leading the charge in Ndhlovukasi – the same Land Rover Defender 130 that reached the Heart of Africa – tailed by two Discoverys, Phokot and Turkana, and with some of the expedition members in land yachts and by mountain bike, Kingsley crossed the Chew Bahir salt ocean as well as the Chalbi and Karoli deserts of Northern Kenya. The focus of this, his 22nd expedition, was to document, record, research and photograph the continent’s rich collection of colourful cultural practices – starting with the nomadic tribes and cultures of Northern Kenya, they then moved on to Southern Ethiopia to document the tribes and cultures that are in danger of being forgotten by time.
“Exploring and seeing the lesser-known parts and people of Africa is what every Land Rover owner dreams of, but these treacherous regions are often dangerous for outsiders to visit,” said Richard Gouverneur, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. “Kingsley and his team bravely set out to visit these beautiful regions and chronicle the traditions of those inhabiting them. Not only that, they also set out to improve lives and provide aid.”
The expedition was more than just a voyage of discovery and recording African cultures for future generations. The Land Rovers were also packed with anti-malaria mosquito nets, LifeStraws and reading glasses – all part of Land Rover’s Hope Crosses Any Terrain programme, which intends to create opportunities for 10-million lives by 2020.
On this expedition, with Land Rover’s assistance, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation distributed 10 320 insectiside-treated anti-malaria mosquito nets to rural villagers, and specifically mothers of children under the age of five. Young children are most susceptible to the dangers of malaria, and one net can provide protection for up to three people for between three and five years.
Through the Rite to Sight project, 5 247 villagers now have a new outlook on life. The project assists those with poor eyesight using a simple, yet effective solution: a pair of reading glasses. Nomadic livestock herders in Northern Kenya and Ethopia’s South Omo also had their quality of life improved thanks to the distribution of water-purifying LifeStraws. One of these devices can purify up to 1 000 litres of water, enough to remain hydrated for a year.
Kingsley and his expedition team also spread an important conservation message through the Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s Elephant Art project. More than 10 000 children were educated on the importance of saving the continent’s elephants, with messages spread through handmade drawings, messaging and paintings of the majestic animals.
“The crossing of Chew Bahir by Land Rover, land yachts and by mountain bike is a world-first, set in a canvas of vanishing cultures and livestock wars, the interaction with wild nomadic tribes was softened by great humanitarian and community conservation work – a never to be forgotten Land Rover Living Traditions Expedition,” said Kingsley.
“Kingsley lives and breathes Africa, and his passion for the continent is seen in the successes of his expeditions,” said Gouverneur. “Land Rover is incredibly proud to support his efforts to conserve and share Africa with the world.”