July has arrived and that means that the Nedbank Tour de Thuli is just around the corner. You could sense the excitement as 2022’s participants gathered on a cold winter evening at The Roof Bryanston.
New and old participants attended the function, and with local comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout there to set the tone, you could sense that this is a cycle tour unlike any other.
Schalk was sure to allude to the absolute lunacy of a tour that goes through the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Area, a vast, untamed wilderness.
The trail follows old elephant tracks and crosses the Crocodile River – which is usually dry around now -and this year’s generous rainfall has meant that the ominous-sounding river is deeper than usual.
It didn’t take long for the cyclists’ banter to begin as the route was presented and mention of a previous year’s ‘Mampara of the tour’ got the room laughing.
But this tour is not just about the bravado of the cyclists taking on the wilderness, it’s for Children in the Wilderness (CITW).
The Nedbank Tour de Tuli is the programme’s primary fundraising event, with all funds raised going towards CITW, which facilitates sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.
‘As the sole beneficiary of the Tour, the Children in the Wilderness programme is an environmental and life skills educational initiative for children that is focused on producing the next generation of decision-makers. The programme is intended to inspire them to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of these areas in the future,’ noted Tour Director, Bronwen Blunden.
Conservation remains top of mind for Nedbank, and all funds raised by the Tour de Tuli are channelled into the CITW programme, helping to ensure the sustainability of the programme across all the regions within which it operates.
‘Over the last 15 years, the Tour has hosted approximately 3 900 participants and raised over R20 million for CITW. This, in turn, has enabled over 5 600 children to be hosted on our CITW camp programme, and over 11 000 children on the Eco-Club programme,’ commented Grant Woodrow, COO of Wilderness Business Development and CITW South Africa board member.
Upholding its 16-year tradition, the 2022 tour will allow participants the opportunity to experience cultural interactions with villagers, while also spotting wildlife against the backdrop of Africa’s unspoiled natural wilderness – a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list journey – all the while supporting an important initiative.
The Nedbank Tour de Tuli takes place from 19-24 July. For more information, visit the Nedbank Tour de Tuli here.