The iSimangaliso MTB 4 Day powered by Bell Equipment covers 270km of awe-inspiring nature in Big 5 country.
“This is nothing short of a bucket-list experience,” one rider was heard remarking last year, as the riders finished the unique adventure ride that took them through iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s uMkhuze, False Bay, Western Shores, Lake St Lucia Estuary and Eastern Shores sections of the Park, as well as Phinda Private Game Reserve (Munyawana) and Hluhluwe River Lodge. From mountains to floodplains, through thorny bushveld savannah, grasslands and virgin coastal dune forest, the landscape unfolds to reveal the depths of beauty and diversity that won this Park World Heritage Site status in 1999.
“It’s moments like these that confirm iSimangaliso Wetland Park as a unique wildscape experience,” said an upbeat Andrew Zaloumis, CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. “Where else in the world can you mountain bike through a World Heritage Site that transverses eight interlinking ecosystems and see a rhino and elephant in one day, followed by whales the next? Where else can you glide along tracks etched in the soil by hippo and antelope footprints, nature’s most accomplished trail designers?”
An integral part of this and all similar ‘Eco-Series’ events in iSimangaliso is the compulsory conservation donation to iSimangaliso’s Rare and Endangered Species Fund, which is built into the event’s entrance fee. This fund assists in monitoring, protecting and reintroducing animals into the Park. During the five years since its inception, the ride has aided the introduction and collaring of oribi, the purchase of foot collars for rhino and satellite collars for lion as well as associated conservation costs. In 2017 a marine project is being funded as iSimangaliso is also one of less than 50 Marine World Heritage Sites in the world.