small is BIG Cape to Vic Falls fundraising cycle ride successfully completed

20 Jun



Eelco Meyjes successfully completed the 3628km small is BIG, Riding for a Purpose, fundraising solo cycle ride from Cape Town to Victoria Falls on 6 May 2017. The end of ride photo was taken at Vic Falls on the bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Courtesy Tom Varley


The ride which started from Nobel Square at the Waterfront in Cape Town on 19 February included crossing the Namib Desert in Namibia.The ride took a total of 77 days of which 49 were ride days and 28 were non ride days. Of the 28 non ride days 23 were rest days and 5 were waiting for rain, wind to stop or to meet with important people. Carrying a kit of 37 kg an average of 74 km was achieved on ride days.

To help add some fun to the journey a series of entertaining cartoons were created and donated by Alastair Findlay to use on the regular Eelco Meyjes Facebook updates.

   The Rare Finch Conservation Group is extremely proud to announce that the Cape Town to Vic Falls unsupported solo cycle ride via Namibia was a success. The small is BIG Riding for a Purpose was done to help raise awareness and funds for Africa’s smallest finch, the Orange-breasted Waxbill which now needs conservation help.

Why small is BIG ? Africa’s smallest finch is a small bird with a big responsibility that is destined to make it a BIG HERO.

Photo Chris Krog

Photo Chris Krog



Recent unexpected declines in the Orange-breasted Waxbill (Amandava subflava) has resulted in the urgent need for the species to be researched. Research has already commenced to find out why the bird has become so scarce in certain parts of its natural habitat. The species has also been selected by BirdLife South Africa as a key sentinel (watchdog) bird for South African wetland bird species’ including eight threatened and 84 common bird species. This conservation project is a proud collaboration between BirdLife South Africa and the Rare Finch Conservation Group.The eight Red-listed species, ranging from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered, plus all 84 common species will all benefit from this important conservation project.

The 8 threatened species as listed in the updated 2016 Eskom Red Data book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland are as follows :OBW news-12-2014f 8 THREATENED SPECIES

The Rare Finch Conservation Group and BirdLife South Africa would sincerely like to thank all the facilities that kindly sponsored accommodation to help make the Cape to Vic Falls small is BIG Riding for a Purpose fundraising ride a success.

Riviera Hotel, Veldrif, West Coast. Cape Province

Highlander Rest Camp, Trawal. Northern Cape

Van Rhyns Guest House, Van Rhynsdorp. Northern Cape

Kroon Lodge, Kamieskroon. Northern Cape

Springbok Lodge and Restaurant, Springbok. Northern Cape

Grunau Hotel, Granau. Southern Namibia

Savanna Guest House, Southern Namibia

Alte Kalkoffen Lodge, Southern Namibia

Klein-Aus Vista Lodge, Aus, Southern Namibia

Tiras Campsite, Namib. Namibia

Aubres Campsite, Namib. Namibia

Betta Campsite, Namib. Namibia

Keerwerder Wardens, Namib. Namibia

Namib Sky Balloon Safaris, Namib. Namibia ( As an incentive sponsored a free flight over Sossusvlei )

Rostock Ritz Mountain Desert Lodge, Namib. Namibia

Okahandja Country Hotel, Central Namibia.

Outenique Jagd+Guestfarm, Central Namibia.

Khoi Khoi Lodge, Central Namibia

Roy’s Rest Camp, Northern Namibia

Mururani Campsite, Northern Namibia

Ngandu Safari Lodge, Rundu, Northern Namibia

Shamvura Camp, Rundu, Northern Namibia.

Divundu Guest House, Caprivi, Northern Namibia,

Muchenje Campsite and Cottage, Northern Botswana

Kasane Self Catering, Northern Botswana.

Tom Varley Photography. Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe

Pumusha Lodge, Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. All donations will be publicly acknowledged , unless otherwise requested, on the RFCG website. Donations can be made to the following account. Rare Finch Conservation Group, Nedbank. Account number 1933 198885 Branch : Sandown 193 305 South Africa ( For international donors please add ) SWIFT NEDSZAJJ.
For more info visit or write to the secretary at






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