On 3 August 2020, two men will set off to traverse some 32,000 hectares of South African bushland for 20 days to raise awareness and donations to relocate 20 endangered rhinos.
The passionate and determined sibling team comprising of former British Army Officer David Bozas and conservationist Jonty Bozas, will embark on the journey across the wilds of South Africa’s Zululand for the ‘Wild Again For 20’ initiative.
The ‘Wild Again For 20’ initiative follows on in a tradition of siblings walking for wildlife, first initiated by Josh and Amy Attenborough on the Wild Again for 19 challenge, with funds going to support the work of the Zululand Conservation Trust.
Meet the Bozas brothers
David Bozas cut his teeth in conservation working with a herd of rogue elephants in Zululand with Lawrence Anthony. He has a real passion for South Africa’s local communities and wildlife heritage. Having previously been a Commissioned Officer in the British Army and completing several tours of duty, he is no stranger to adventure. He is currently working with local communities in building game reserves and promoting wildlife economies.
David Bozas recalls his first ever encounter with a rhino.
“Growing up in Zululand, we often visited the local National Park and I do remember seeing a number of rhinos on those family trips. My first concrete memory comes from when I was maybe 12 years old, and happened on a small reserve in Zululand. It was a family friend’s reserve; my father had built the lodge and my brother was the first game ranger at this reserve. They had organised a rhino relocation and two rhinos arrived. I was tasked with keeping an eye on them after they had emerged from the truck and when everyone went back to the lodge, I climbed a tree to keep a vigil over the rhino. The reserve owner Lawrence was worried about the herd of elephants turning up and being aggressive to the rhino, which were still slightly sedated, but the herd were miles away … so we thought.”
“I caught a glimpse of what I thought was an elephants ear far in the distance, and then the whole head and another ear, another head another ear and then I could see the whole herd, and they were on the way towards the rhino. I ran as fast as my skinny legs could go to call David and Lawrence. We then jumped into two landys (Landcruiser 4wds) and rushed out to the rhino, thinking we may need be use the vehicles to protect the rhino. Luckily, the elephants were so relaxed and just fed peacefully around the rhino, and we sat for hours just enjoying being surrounded by the elephants and the rhino together. I thought, what a great afternoon, one I will never forget and one I have always remembered.”
Jonty Bozas has been working in the guiding world for more than a decade and has had the privilege of working at some of the best and most prestigious properties and lodges in South Africa. With a passion for wildlife, communities and adventure, this journey was a no brainer for Jonty.
The rugged reserves of the Kwazulu Natal Province are home to the big 5 – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo and will present challenging terrains and drastic temperatures, with warm highs during the day and freezing lows during the night. Despite this, the two Bozas brothers will embark on the 20-night challenge roaming through over 32,000 hectares of bushland, carrying everything that they need to survive. They will have water drop offs but other than that they will be on their own – no tents, no rifles.
The goal of this walk is to raise funds for the relocation of 20 white rhinos from the Manyoni Private Game Reserve to the Somkhanda Game Reserve, and to raise awareness around the Zululand Rhino Orphanage and the fantastic work that is ongoing with the Zululand Conservation Trust.
Armed with only a camera to capture the action, the two brothers will be posting updates and short video clips on Instagram and Facebook for all to see. They plan to eventually create a documentary covering their survival and dealings with the local and dangerous wildlife.
Despite the dangers of being in the wild, Jonty Bozas said he thinks the biggest challenge of the walk will be missing their family.
“I am sure the first thing I will be looking forward to after 20 days in the wild is seeing family, and a nice big, warm meal.”Jonty Bozas
David Bozas said he doesn’t think it will be too tough spending the 20 days alone with his brother as they are very close.
“We have been fortunate to spend a lot of time together, often in highly stressful situations. We know we have each other’s back out there”
“I am guessing we will pass time with some sort of game to challenge each other during the 20 nights as we are very competitive.”David Bozas
Poaching and complicated land management issues have plagued this region of South Africa for many years. This has led to local conservation trusts like the Zululand Conservation Trust supporting reserves such as Manyoni Private Game Reserve with their rhino management projects, which focuses on the fundamentals of rhino conservation; protection and preservation.
Managing such large creatures and properties is costly. This is where the donations and support help, with all money raised from ‘Wild Again For 20’ going towards relocating the 20 rhinos.
The funds being raised for ‘Wild Again for 20’ will be used by the Zululand Conservation Trust for our Rhino Management Programme, which will include;
- The move of 20 rhinos from Manyoni to Somkhanda
- Rhino protection on Manyoni Private Game Reserve
- Contribution to anti-poaching efforts
- Costs associated with the rehabilitation of rhino calves at the Zululand Rhino Orphanage
Donations can be made via https://zululandconservationtrust.org/wild-again-for-20/.
Main Image Credit: Matthew Willman