In October 2018, the Grumeti Fund (GF) partnered with BRAVE, a South African non-profit organisation, to host the inaugural Serengeti Girls Run in Tanzania. This all-women run across the Serengeti wilderness raised funds and awareness for the GF’s girl and women empowerment programmes which are specifically aimed at providing opportunities for women in conservation, local commerce and community leadership. Runners of all levels joined this once-in-a-lifetime event that demonstrated the strength and determination of the women involved as well as the capacity for all of us to achieve more when we work together.
Day one saw the arrival of the international participants who were welcomed at the Singita Grumeti airstrip by members of staff from the GF, many of whom would be joining in the multi-stage run themselves. The rest of the day was spent settling in at Singita Explore, the private-use camp on the plains of the Serengeti which would be their base for the next five nights, getting to know each other and seeing some of the reserve on a sunset game drive.
On their second day at Singita Grumeti, the women got the chance to stretch their legs on a solidarity “fun run” with girls from the local community. Hundreds of high school girls arrived for inspiring empowerment talks and a 3km run through the village with the participants, followed by a career fair where the participants could share their inspiring stories with the girls. Another game drive, a wholesome meal and an early night then awaited the runners as they prepared for day three; the start of the main event.
At sunrise on the third day of the trip, the nine participants watched the start banner being unfurled as they limbered up for the first leg of their journey on foot across the Serengeti. Each runner selected their own pace and distance, covering up to 30 km per day and accompanied all the way by game scouts from the Grumeti Fund anti-poaching unit. The run offered the participants a truly unique wildlife experience, not just because of exciting big game sightings, but also the sheer number of plains game like zebra, wildebeest and giraffe found along the route, who watched curiously as the runners went by.
Each evening, when the running had finished for the day and the participants had enjoyed a restful afternoon or an expertly-guided game drive, they gathered around the fire at Singita Explore to share their incredible stories from the day. Developing this bond with each other mirrors the purpose of the guest experience at Explore, which is designed to bring you close to nature; to give guests the opportunity to find an authentic connection with the landscape and wildlife of this miraculous place. This camp provided a space for the women to connect and unwind; to charge their batteries for the physical and mental challenges of this remarkable endurance event.
The end of the third day of running was a jubilant occasion as each woman began the final stretch of their epic journey, cresting Koroya Hill and crossing the finish line amidst the excited cheers of support. Tired but exhilarated, there was a profound sense of achievement for their own accomplishments as well as what they had contributed to the upliftment of women and girls in rural Tanzania. The group celebrated that evening with a special dinner out on the plains where they were honoured by dancers from the local community.
On the final day, before departing in the afternoon, the particpants paid a visit to the GF Joint Operations Centre where they met the elite anti-poaching task force, the operations team running the Domain Awareness System and the highly-trained canine unit. Here, they learned about the 165 dedicated staff members who protect, manage and monitor the Singita Grumeti concessions, and deal with conservation issues like poaching, illegal resource extraction and human-wildlife conflict within neighbouring communities.
Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration. The long-term sustainability of the reserve through conservation and community partnerships is managed by the Grumeti Fund which relies on the generosity of private donors in order to carry out its essential function. Find out more about how you can make a contribution to their important work »