INTREPID cyclist Wayne Bolton received a hero’s welcome at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom where his epic 2 000 kilometre ride connecting 20 game reserves to raise funds and awareness for rhinos came to an official close. He was flanked by his children and former Springbok rugby captain John Smit who joined him for part of the last leg of the journey on 2 August. The finale of Bolton’sOne Land Love It (Olli): Frontier Rhino Ride was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Durban, Fawzia Peer, Linda Mthembu Brand Manager for Durban Tourism, members of the media and special guests. The finale was followed by a fund-raising breakfast at Sibaya on 3 August with Smit to raise funds for the campaign’s beneficiary Care for Wild Africa, a rhino orphanage supporting both SANParks and private reserves. Bolton’s journey began on 1 July at Kragga Kamma Game Reserve in Port Elizabeth and has taken him through the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to the Mozambique border where he planted a flag with the message, “Close the gates”. During the expedition, he connected 20 parks, these included the KZN parks of Gwahumbe, Tala, Thula Thula, iSimangaliso, Hluhluwe iMfolozi, Phinda, Thanda, Manyoni, Kube Yini, iThala and Thembe before finishing at the Mozambique border. KZN has seen over 140 rhinos poached and killed for their horn this year. Due to the increased anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park there has been a rise in rhino poaching activity in what Bolton refers to as the “Frontier in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal”. Bolton has experienced his fair share of ups and downs. There have been mountain passes, hills, strong headwinds, extreme temperatures and weather conditions, narrow roads and traffic. Bolton averaged 79.2kms per day and climbed an impressive 1293 metres per day, so in effect in that period of time he climbed Mount Everest 3.51 times. A life-size, fibre glass rhino named Olli, with the words, “One cyclist, 20 game reserves, riding for rhinos from Nelson Mandela Bay through the Zulu Kingdom to the Mozambique border,” has travelled the entire journey with him on the “Olli Trolli” towed by the team’s support vehicle. Along the way, the public has been able to purchase an “Olli Footprint” to be painted on Olli the rhino. Over R11 000 has been raised just through “Olli Footprint” sales and Woodridge pupil, Brandon Booth (13), has raised R5 160 for the orphanage as he joined Bolton on the first leg and completed 108 kms. This year’s expedition follows the success of his first Olli expedition which saw him traverse 6 000 kilometres connecting 19 SANParks creating awareness of the plight of South Africa’s rhinos. Through the campaign, R150 000 was raised for the SANParks Honorary Rangers and Care for Wild Africa.- Supplied.