Race for Rhinos 2018 set to break World Record

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The fourth Race for Rhinos is shaping up to break the Guinness World Record, by having 120 aircraft take part in this year’s Race for Rhinos. 

The venue for the 2018 race will be Sua Pan, Botswana, and entries are now open.

For the past two years (2015 and 2016) the Race for Rhinos was held at the Kubu island, but due to the good rains in the area the pan was waterlogged and prevented the organisers from building not only a mini ‘international city’, but also preventing the building of two temporary runways. However, this presented no major problem for the Botswana Tourism (BTO) organising committee and the race was moved to the spectacular Sua Pan for the 2017 race, which is a large natural topographic depression within the Makgadikgadi area of Botswana. It is located near the village of Sowa, whose name means salt in the language of the San. The Sua salt pan is one of three large pans within the Makgadikgadi, the other two being Nxai Pan and Nwetwe Pan.

The Sua Pan was first described to the European world by David Livingstone, pursuant to his explorations in this region. Significant archaeological recoveries have been made within the Nwetwe Pan, featuring stone-age tools from peoples who lived in this area when a large year-round lake occupied the Sua and Nwetwe Pans.

The Brines of Sua Pan being one of the largest playa lakes in the world spans approximately 24000 square kilometres. While sodium chloride is the prime constituent, there are many other salts found within this area such as sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium sulfate, and minor amounts of potassium chloride(potash).

Currently, Sua Pan is a seasonal lake; it fills with water during the Summer rainy season and retains water until April or May. Among the more successful wildlife conservation projects in Botswana was the community-initiated Nata Bird Sanctuary in the northeast of this area. It opened in 1993 and was awarded that year the "Tourism for Tomorrow Award" for the Southern Hemisphere. It is supported by members of four nearby villages, who have helped make it a success.

One of the tributaries of the Sua Pan is the Mosetse River. The village of Mosetse is named for it and lies along the river.

As part of the initiative to establish the area’s natural wildlife population, and as the name “Race for Rhinos” implies, four rhino were released on the reserve over the race weekend. Speaking at the release, a spokesperson for the Tlokomelo Botswana Endangered Wildlife Trust, said that it was heart-warming to witness many different sectors coming together in the centre of Botswana, all for one common cause, and that was to raise funds for the relocation of the rhinos. Last year (2016), in Paris, France, BTO won the prize for the most innovative tourism campaign with its annual Race for Rhinos, now considered the best air race on the African continent. Q

Once again, Botswana Tourism has given its full support to this year’s event, and both PSG Insurance and Century Avionics are conformed as two of the major sponsors for the 2018 race.

The 2018 race also opens with its new web site, and we trust that you will enjoy navigating through the site.