NEWS TRAVEL

Defender 130 clocks 40 000kms throughout Africa Expedition to distribute mosquito nets

THE Kingsley Holgate Foundation has completed leg two of its Afrika Odyssey Expedition, travelling across 13 African countries in a pair of Defender 130s to distribute 7,643 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

Benefiting mainly pregnant women and children under the age of five, it is projected that each mosquito net protects at least three children. This means the Kingsley Holgate Foundation, during their current expedition, has potentially kept almost 23,000 African children safe from malaria, a disease that claims the lives of approximately 1,320 children every day.

In the six months since June 2023, the expedition team has travelled in a pair of Defender 130 models across more than 40,000km through South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Ross Holgate, expedition leader and son of legendary explorer Kingsley Holgate, said: “That’s more than 6000km a month on some of the most treacherous roads on the continent. This would have been a real challenge for most overlanding vehicles. But our expedition Defender 130s – nicknamed Moyo (heart) and Isibindi (courage) – have performed flawlessly.”

“The incredible capability of the new Defender continues to amaze us at every turn, as well as all the people we come across on this journey. Thanks to the Defenders’ unsurpassed all-terrain performance, Moyo and Isibindi easily tamed all types of tricky situations we encountered – from the desert sands of Angola to the flooded swamps of the Congo.

Defenders’ powerful engine allows the vehicle to be laden to capacity with humanitarian aid items, camping gear and months’ worth of supplies. The extra loading capacity of the Defender 130 makes it the ultimate combination of space, safety and comfort for the modern expedition vehicle.”

With record rainfall and flooding in Uganda and the DRC, the Defender 130s’ class-leading 900mm wading depth kept the team on the move even when roads were transformed into raging rivers. Navigating though the blinding torrential rains was also aided by the Defenders’ 3D Surround Camera with ClearSight Ground View.

Following a brief respite during the festive season, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation team will now head to the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria and Benin, for the second half of the Afrika Odyssey Expedition.

In addition to distributing mosquito nets, the team also provides reading spectacles to poor-sighted individuals in the countries they visit and conducts community conservation education campaigns aimed at youths.

Image (Legendary explorer Kingsley Holgate- synonymous with unshaven beard- along some of his team members- outside the Akagera National Park-Rwanda). 

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