Saddling up for big race

Athletes’ excitement builds for tough Expedition Africa

EPIC RIDE: It is time again for the Expedition Africa with all the beautiful sites making up for a gruelling course and tasks. Thirty-nine teams from 13 countries will be participating in the race Picture: BRUCE VIAENE

ADVENTURE Racing World Series event, Expedition Africa kicks off on Sunday in the Baviaans and Kouga Region.

Thirty-nine teams from 13 countries will arrive at Cape St Francis Resort, host venue to this year’s multi-disciplined international event that will play out in the Baviaans and Kouga region, pinnacle parts of the well known “Adventure Province”.

East Londoners Craig Powell, Garth Peinke, Don Sims, Michelle Powell, Troy Sims and Dean Findley have accepted the challenge of taking on the gruelling and exciting 500km adventure race of a life-time, featured in team Castle Lite and team Merrell Mentored (aka team Slummies).


“Our team are the fittest they have ever been, and this year we are racing for a podium finish,” Castle Lite team captain, Craig Powell said.

Team Slummies (AKA Merrell Mentored) is made up of experienced adventure racer; Donovan Sims and newcomers, Troy, Michelle and Dean, newcomers to the Expedition Africa experience. “You will hear our team coming before your see us,” said Donovan, expressing the camaraderie of his new team.

The organisers, Stephan and Heidi Muller, have once again kept the start of Expedition Africa a secret. Media, supporters and athletes will only receive communication regarding the route, disciplines and transitions of this year’s race at the opening ceremony which will take place at Cape St Francis Resort tomorrow at 2pm.

This phenomenal World Series Adventure Race has always kept the local communities at heart, and this year the African adventure organisers have chosen to assist Cape St Francis-based Southern African Foundation for the Conservation and Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), who specialise in building a better future for the endangered African penguin and other sea birds the organisation cares for.

On Saturday, teams will be introduced to the invaluable work done by SANCCOB and get the opportunity to adopt a penguin. Thereafter teams will each lay a stone into the Expedition Africa landmark, which will be part of the event’s legacy. Another unveiling will take place thereafter, marking of Seal Point as the south eastern most point of Africa.

The race will kick-off on Sunday at 7am.

You can cheer on their teams via the live tracking feed which will feature a leader board, all transition areas and checkpoints along the route. Witness your favourite team’s progress on as they endure a race of a lifetime.

This year, organisers are using the SPOT Gen3 satellite tracking device from Globalstar Africa. Due to the very remote destination of the event, these “off the grid” units have been tested, creating the way forward for the event.

“It is of utmost importance for us to know at all times where each team is and for our viewers around the world to follow the event,” Muller said. This year’s race will not only be a physical struggle, but a mental one too.

Teams will have to race through the carefully designed course, which has incorporated all the challenging, yet beautiful attractions the glorious Baviaans and Kouga regions have to offer.

“Teams will trek, kayak and cycle through extremely remote areas, venturing where few humans have set foot before. Expedition Africa 2017’s teams will explore through magnificent mountain ranges and onto beautiful coastlines,” Muller said.

According to Muller, teams are expected to explore the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area and a Unesco World Heritage Site, the largest of its kind in Southern Africa. The 225000ha mega-reserve boasts unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain, featuring spectacular landscapes exposing athletes from far to an entirely new kind of beauty. For the first time in the history of the expedition, there will be a “Dark Zone” along one of the hiking legs, as teams will not be allowed to travel during the night. This is to ensure the safety of the teams as they will traverse though an African Wildlife area.

Official photographer for Expedition Africa, Bruce Viaene, will be capturing the essence of this year’s event, as he has for the past five years. “We’re in such a unique and beautiful part of South Africa, and working in this diverse environment is going to be extremely exciting,” Viaene said.

Managing race headquarters and all media relations for event is East Londoner Trystan Viaene.

“I am extremely excited for this year’s event, as we get to expose our part of the world for a change. The Eastern Cape is absolutely beautiful, and I believe it is going the perfect playground for Stephan and Heidi Muller’s masterpiece of a race,” Trystan said.


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