WWF Desert Challenge Day 7: It’s a wrap
On the final day of the WWF Desert Challenge, the participants rode 45km from De Hoop campsite back to the start point at Sendelingsdrift, cutting a line through the park from river bank to river bank.
For many people, it was the cycling highlight of the trip. From De Hoop, the landscape opened up into a wide gravel wash and the mountains seemed to drift further and further away. Eventually we were all on the plain with each cyclist deciding on his or her own route across the sun-hardened sand. There were no vehicles and much of the time no road either – just infinite space and the pleasure of moving through it.
We had tea from a Jetboil stove on top of Akkedis Pass, then it was downhill almost all the way to Sendelingsdrift – a bittersweet downhill because none of us wanted the adventure to end.
After sundowners overlooking the river and yet another feast prepared by Marion and her team, photographer Patrick Black showed a slideshow of the week’s events. He described the Challenge as an adventure with a purpose, and he thanked everyone – participants and crew – for buying into the vision of helping to preserve our planet’s last remaining wilderness areas. It was a message that rang true.
What a privilege to have spent a week in this particular wilderness. The Richtersveld is as unforgiving as it is generous. At midday everything seems overexposed, but when the sun gets lower and the whole world goes purple, or when you can see the Milky Way stretched right across the sky, you fall in love all over again.
The WWF Desert Challenge is not for everybody. It’s not a race with hundreds of participants and it’s not a survive-or-nothing slog. It’s a boutique experience across multiple disciplines where you’ll test your own limits while being looked after comfortably. And because the experience is in aid of such an important cause, getting to the finish is that much sweeter.
See you in the Richtersveld in 2018!
What was the highlight for you?
These daily blogs are by Jon Minster, a travel writer and freelance journalist who was invited to join the WWF Desert Challenge.