Kingsley and his Foundation team have driven across the continent over hundreds of thousands of kilometres through all 54 countries over the last three decades, distributing mosquito bed nets and other much-needed healthcare relief to the remotest parts of the continent.

Kingsley isn’t only inspired by adventure: he’s a humanitarian and a proud African ambassador. For the Holgate family, malaria prevention and treatment have been at the forefront of their 40 expeditions after seeing the ravaging effects of this disease firsthand in remote villages. “Africa endures 95-percent of all cases and deaths worldwide, and 14 of the world’s most vulnerable countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. Our expedition team has also suffered from constant bouts of this silent killer – I have had malaria over 50 times.

So, as a family and team and using our own funding initially, we started distributing life-saving mosquito bed nets and malaria prevention education to pregnant mums and mothers with children under the age of five. Land Rover, Goodbye Malaria and other partners joined in, and the programme has grown from strength to strength.” The Kingsley Holgate Foundation isn’t only about this man with the big beard and muddy Land Rover. As ambassadors for Goodbye Malaria, every Kingsley Holgate Foundation expedition brings them closer to eradicating malaria from Africa.

The expeditions use the principles of adventure to improve and save lives. Its latest expedition, the Transcontinental Defender Expedition, is its 40th journey into the wilds of Africa. It runs from October 2021 to July 2022, over 30,000km from Cape Agulhas (Africa’s most southerly point) to Nordkapp (Europe’s most northerly accessible point by road in Norway’s Arctic Circle). Kingsley, his team and Goodbye Malaria are taking the tools to fight malaria to the communities across sub-Saharan Africa.
Delivering mosquito nets and providing is best done by Land Rovers: it takes the provisions directly to the most vulnerable communities in Africa. It also takes Kingsley to each village, school, and home. On the ground, face-to-face meetings and eye-to-eye conversations with pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of five are the only way to stem the tides of malaria deaths effectively. This is micro support with global effects

Kingsley’s son Ross serves as the Foundation’s expedition leader. He’s partnered with his dad on every one of the 40 expeditions. None of this would be possible without a fantastic team behind them: Sheelagh Antrobus (co-driver and researcher), Mike Nixon (expedition cyclist), Fiona Nixon (co-driver, logistics, and research support), and Anna Holgate (logistics). Every expedition is an opportunity for the Holgates to further spread good throughout Africa. And for this expedition, the team aims to help over 300,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa and say, ‘Goodbye, Malaria.’

The Transcontinental Defender Expedition drives five other significant initiatives, too. Kingsley and Ross will provide eye tests and distribute reading glasses to poor-sighted people in remote communities as part of Mashozi’s Rite to Sight initiative. “The difference an ordinary pair of specs makes to a person’s quality of life is instantaneous and always extremely gratifying,” said Kingsley about this campaign started by his wife over a decade ago. To date, this campaign has distributed nearly 260,000 pairs of reading glasses to the elderly and poor sighted.

Water purification is another central element of the Transcontinental Defender Expedition. Kingsley believes in the impact and value of Life Straws: “Dysentery is also a killer, so another of our humanitarian projects is the distribution of Life Straws – a water filter that hangs around your neck, providing close to 1,000 litres of potable drinking water – very necessary, especially for nomadic tribesmen in dry regions where sometimes the only source of water is a muddy, dung-infested waterhole.”

The Kingsley Holgate Foundation also encourages preserving and protecting Africa’s wildlife and habitats through ongoing education campaigns. Getting community buy-in for nature conservation adds longterm economic sustainability to their region. Nutritional food packs and Early Childhood Development (ECD) teaching materials are also distributed to children and teachers. This expedition also aims to be carbon-neutral through a spekboom-thicket and tree-planting initiative to offset the expedition’s carbon footprint.

Born in KwaZulu-Natal, Kingsley was an adventurer from a young age. The great Victorian explorers inspired his travels, such as David Livingstone, spurring his journeys into Africa. His Land Rovers, calabash, beards, open arms, and ready smile are known throughout Africa. The Holgate family is made of the stuff of legends. They’ve always travelled as a family, from Cape Town to Cairo, even circumnavigated its outer edge, and driven through all 54 countries on the continent.

These past expeditions have achieved two noteworthy geographic world-firsts – in the fashion of Kingsley’s role model Livingstone: the discovery of the geographic centre-point of Africa in the rainforests of the Republic of Congo; and he’s reached all seven extreme geographic points of the African continent.

“When you get to a village and hear a mother screaming for help, her child in a malarial coma and the nearest clinic 100 kilometres away by dugout canoe, it’s like a thud to the heart,” said Kingsley. “It’s unbelievable that in this modern day and age we live with a disease that’s been around since the dawn of time, that’s still killing hundreds of thousands of people every year – lives that can be saved by a simple insecticidetreated mosquito net along with knowledge and education.”

Malaria stops with us. “Tchau Tchau, Malaria.”

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