Athletes experience pure grandeur

2017-05-18 06:01
The Baviaans and Gamtoos Valley brought a true element of magic to this year’s Expedition Africa.                                                  Photo:BRUCE VIAENE

The Baviaans and Gamtoos Valley brought a true element of magic to this year’s Expedition Africa. Photo:BRUCE VIAENE

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THE Baviaans brought a true element of magic to this year’s Expedition Africa.

The tranquillity, the rugged beauty and the wild life are all factors that create a true African splendour.

The 59km canyon ventured all 39 teams through an untouched picturesque part of African soil. Race organiser, Stephan Muller, predicted that the Baviaanskloof region would certainly be a highlight for athletes racing Expedition Africa 2017.

The Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest of its kind in Southern Africa. The 225 000 HA mega-reserve boasts unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain featuring spectacular landscapes. Athletes from far and wide were introduced to an entirely new kind of beauty.

The ECPTA provided an amazing experience for every single athlete by granting the relevant permissions for Expedition Africa to race through this unspoiled area. SANParks rangers patrolled the Baviaans area day and night providing an element of safety to all teams racing through the area, in turn providing the opportunity for athletes to experience such grandeur.

This part of the world is extremely pristine, and to capture it through a lens of any kind is a privilege of sorts.

Adventure photographer Bruce Viaene trekked through parts of the canyon with teams, capturing the diversity of this beautiful area. “There is something magical about walking on a sandy “beach, dwarfed by tower stone pillars and an ice cold, clean flowing ri-ver. The Baviaans is a place of true beauty and a photographers dream, I could have stayed in there for days.”

Many teams exiting the area commented on the beauty and wildlife they had come across throughout the day. Eland, Wildebeest, Baboons, Buffalo and snakes were at the top of the list, especially for the foreign teams who have now truly experienced what Africa is all about. Plett AR athlete Kate Southey expressed that the canyon leg was a “trek of a lifetime”.

“I had the opportunity to walk far down into the Baviaanskloof and it was spectacular. What a beautiful place. The clean water and magnificent steep red rocks. It was a privilege to get to experience that area,” shares Andreas Strandh from Sweden

“I feel extremely touched each time I see the photos and the video footage of this specific area, as if every person that experienced this part of the Baviaans was touched by an angel. This place is truly magnificent, and I feel so honoured that we were able to share this part of our beautiful country with the world,” says Heidi Muller, race organiser of Expedition Africa.

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