Stronger Together, We Did It! Burpees4Conservation Challenge 2021.

Written by Krystle Woodward, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR) Chief Operations Officer.


Why did we take on the challenge?

We have done a lot for conservation, but this must be one of the most motivating and spirit-raising initiatives that we have joined thus far, the Burpees for Conservation (B4C) challenge, initiated by the Tshembo Africa Foundation. (Read our background blog here)

The question would be, why would we have not wanted to take on this challenge? People from all over the world know the wildlife-richness that these Greater Kruger Private Reserves have, and without their protectors, we may not have been able to use the word ‘richness’ at all. Being a field ranger is not just a job to these brave men and women, it is a burning passion that ignites their drive to keep fighting, keep protecting, in order to protect and preserve the wildlife we all love so dearly. The long hours, the sleepless nights, and putting their life on the line all deserve rewards for these heroic acts. An initiative like B4C not only motivates the rangers to push on but also builds a sense of pride for the work they do. Rewarding a ranger with training is an everlasting skill that will enable them to act with knowledge and see a boost in their career path.

We took on the challenge.

After agreeing to take up the challenge with five (5) TPNR field rangers, the training began. We met for our very first time on the airstrip, field rangers filled with fire and ready to do whatever it took to get us fit and prepared to complete our first 100 burpees of the 6000 burpees which we had pledged to do over the 10-day challenge period.

We had consulted with a personal trainer to give us some tips and exercises to ensure that we could get our bodies ready for the task ahead, to be honest, we started this training with a team who had never done or heard of a burpee before, but it did not scare them, and they quickly learned.

It wasn’t long before DAY 1 of the challenge arrived. Every morning we met at 7:00, come rain or shine. On a few of the occasions, the field rangers were out nights before responding to possible incursions and had very little rest however they were there with smiles on their faces – ready, to burpee for conservation.

10 sets of 10 burpees in 1min30sec was our goal and we stuck with this throughout the challenge.

Day 1 to 3 were the most difficult, mentally & physically, and we remembered Bruce Lawson saying that it would be, but together we knew we were not going to give up, some days some of us pushed through our sore aching bodies and our injuries, but one thing we never did was lose sight on was why we were doing this. We discussed it many a time and motivated each other to keep going. We filmed our sessions, shared them across social media platforms and shared them with motivational groups to help keep local participants motivated and inspired. It worked, and very soon the #TimbavatiWarriors were motivating and inspiring people from across the globe to get involved.

For 10 days we did more than just burpee, we came together as a family and started our days off on an active, positive, and grateful note, our sessions always ending in ‘high-fives’ which soon reverted to ‘low-fives’ as our arms were sore from the numerous burpees. This initiative sparked motivation in all our field rangers and by the end of the extended challenge we even had general staff members joining us every morning creating overall happiness and teamwork at the Headquarters.

A word from Sargent Orlart Ndlovu:

“This challenge was very interesting and exciting I must say, my best memories were of our final day on the Nailors airstrip. We pushed harder than ever before. Not only because the ground didn’t favour any of us since it wasn’t level but also because it showed the courage and determination amongst everyone doing it.”

We are so proud of ourselves and the people all over the world who accepted this challenge and did it for all the wildlife heroes, the field rangers of the Greater Kruger Private Reserves.

From our side, we thank you – Stronger Together, always.

A big thank you to Tshembo Africa Foundation and the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF) for initiating and driving this challenge, we look forward to accepting the next one!