Christopher Tosi’s #86daysinkruger is a journey of one man’s experience living in the wilderness of Kruger National Park, which started on 29 June 2022. Chris is still in the Kruger, ten months later, documenting every moment of every day on Instagram with stories showcasing the jewel of South Africa to the world, the Kruger National Park (KNP), with the aim of raising R8.6 million for Smile Foundation South Africa.
With an Honours degree in Visual Communication and Design, and having been a freelance graphic designer for over 24 years, COVID provided the opportunity for a six month sabbatical. Chris decided to traverse South Africa from Cape Point to Crooks Corner in the Kruger in “Dusty”, the trusty 4motion Volkswagen Tiguan.
Chris originally checked in to the KNP in January 2021, for a planned three week break after 12 years in retail and really wanting to call it quits. He has always had a soft spot for the Kruger, and had been visiting it with his godfather since he was 5 years old, with early childhood memories of playing in camp with his brothers and cousins. Little did he know that he would end up staying, because he found no real reason to leave the Kruger … and so the initial 86 days in the Kruger began.
Now he’s back doing it again! The foundation’s mission is to transform the lives of children affected by facial abnormalities and severe burns, through the best possible surgical and psychological care. Their vision is to help children live a life inspired by confidence and possibility, no matter their circumstances.
His team has created huge awareness as to who Smile Foundation is, and what they do amongst SANParks staff and their communities, to all the local and international followers of his quest. So far Chris has raised nearly R 300 thousand directly to Smile Foundation, to pay for surgeries in upcoming Smile weeks. The foundations goal for 2023 is to perform a thousand free surgeries for children from disadvantaged communities. This is however a global awareness campaign, and is not limited in any way to the Greater Kruger area and SANParks.
The aim is to increase morale and loyalty amongst the SANParks rangers, and change the lives of staff whose children require surgery. There is also access to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counselling for the anti-poaching rangers that require that help, as well as the supply of various support items for the anti-poaching units. The promotion of tourism in and around the Greater Kruger area, will hopefully, though indirectly, help create greater job opportunities and growth. As a side note, Chris is well on his way to ‘graduate’ fastest as an Honorary Ranger in the Kruger in June this year.
There are various ways Chris is raising the money – through donations, raffles, and competitions. Of course he is on the mission for public engagement and contributions. You can follow Chris’s daily stories as he offers unique insights, tips and tricks to get the most out of your sightings and trip to the Kruger, on Instagram: @christophertosi. Take a look and support this worthy cause.
#86daysinkruger, @christophertosi, https://smilefoundationsa.org/donations/86daysinkruger/