On 25 May, the three seasoned KZN hikers Grant Melville, Ian Shooter, and Jeffery Mthabela will attempt the 230 km trek across the Drakensberg mountain range in support of the SANParks counter-poaching K9 Units, calling their expedition "Climb for K9."
Hiking unassisted, the Climbers for K9 will start from the Sentinel peak in Free State. Traversing five 3000m+ peaks, they will be re-supplied only once at the top of Sani Pass before finishing at Bushman's Nek near Underberg around 7 June. The terrain is gruelling and at this time of year, snow is possible!
Grant and Ian are applicant SANParks Honorary Rangers in the KZN Region - a totally voluntary organisation that supports SANParks. The expedition wants to raise awareness about the need to protect the pristine Drakensberg mountain range, and the plight of the rhino and other wildlife that is under threat from poaching.
The Climb for K9 team are keen to highlight what the SANParks K9 units are doing to fight back against rhino poaching. Compared to 2015, the number of arrests of suspected poachers in Kruger National Park doubled last year, and the canine (K9) units were involved in 90% of these arrests. The dogs have been a game changer. Some of the 52 dogs on duty in Kruger National Park detect firearms, ammunition and wildlife products at the entry gates, while others are deployed by helicopters and on foot to track down and help arrest poachers. They work unassisted in remote areas, just like the Climb for K9 expedition - and that is why Grant, Ian and Jeffery decided to hike to raise funds for their upkeep.
Making sure that all K9 units are fit and healthy, well trained and equipped for their dangerous job is a huge challenge, as SANParks has a limited budget. As Grant says: "We really hope to raise funds for the SANParks K9 Units, which are doing such amazing work." You can follow the progress of the Climb for K9 on twitter @climbforK9 and on Instagram: climbfork9. To help, please donate to the Climb for K9 campaign on the secure or contact them on
SANParks Honorary Rangers KwaZulu-Natal Region
Volunteers in support of SANParks
Established 1964 Non-profit organisation number: 086-703-NPO/Public Benefit Organisation: 930010091