Kouga gearing up for toughest adventure race

2017-04-27 06:00
: Some 39 teams from 13 countries have entered this year’s Expedition Africa 2017 race that will play out in the Kouga and Baviaans, pinnacle parts of the well known Adventure Province.                                                           PHoto: SUPLLIED

: Some 39 teams from 13 countries have entered this year’s Expedition Africa 2017 race that will play out in the Kouga and Baviaans, pinnacle parts of the well known Adventure Province. PHoto: SUPLLIED

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THE final countdown to Africa’s biggest adventure race, Expedition Africa, has begun. Athletes from all over the world will begin arriving in the Kouga in less than two weeks to tackle the most gruelling 500km footrace.

Some 39 teams from 13 countries have entered this year’s race that will play out in the Kouga and Baviaans, pinnacle parts of the well known Adventure Province. The event is sponsored by the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and the Kouga Local Municipality, while the accommodation host of this year’s multi-discipline event is the Cape St Francis Resort.

“The Cape St Francis Resort has been waiting in anticipation to lay eyes on the people who make up each team that will be taking part in this gruelling super-human endeavour. We would like to give each of them a tumultuous welcome to our race village,” says Fasie and Fiona Malherbe of Cape St Francis Resort.

Organisers Stephan and Heidi Muller once again have kept the start and the route of Expedition Africa a secret. Media, supporters and athletes will only receive information regarding the route, disciplines and transition areas incorporated in this year’s race at the Opening Ceremony which will take place at the Cape St Francis Resort at 14:00 on May 12. The public is most welcome to this ceremony where the teams will be introduced to supporters and the media.

This phenomenal World Series Adventure Race has always kept the local communities at heart, and this year the organisers have chosen to assist the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation and Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) situated on Seal Point, Cape St Francis. SANCCOB specialises in rehabilitating and building a better future for the endangered African penguin and other sea birds. Teams will take a tour of the facility on Saturday, May 13, before they each lay a stone into an Expedition Africa landmark at the centre, which will be part of the event’s legacy. Another unveiling will take place thereafter, marking Seal Point as the south-easternmost Tip of Africa.

The well-anticipated race will kick off at 07:00 on Sunday, May 14. Locals are invited to support the teams along the route, which will be revealed through the live tracking while families, friends and supporters at home can cheer on their teams via the live tracking feed. The feed will feature a leader board, all transition areas and checkpoints along the route on www.expafrica.live. Local supporters are welcome to meet athletes in designated Transition Areas, all visible on the live tracking page.

This year’s Expedition Africa race will not only be a physical struggle, but a mental one. Teams have a rugged adventure race to look forward to, as they are expected to race through the carefully designed course, which incorporates all the challenging, yet beautiful attractions the the 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 of the Eastern Cape,” said Muller.

“We are ready to welcome the 39 teams from 13 countries to our shores, before they tackle what we believe will be one of the toughest races yet these organisers have put together,” says Esti Stewart for Kouga Tourism. “We will be at each transition area to cheer them on, and our locals will show true Eastern Cape hospitality at every possible opportunity” she said.

According to Muller, teams are expected to explore the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest of its kind in Southern Africa. The 225 000 HA mega-reserve boasts unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain featuring spectacular landscapes exposing athletes from far and wide to an entirely new kind of beauty. For the first time in the history of Expedition Africa there will be a “Dark Zone” along one of the hiking legs, as teams will not be allowed to travel during night. This is to ensure the safety of the teams as they will traverse though an African Wildlife area.

The staff at Cape St Francis Resort wishes each athlete taking part in Expedition Africa a wonderful and relaxing stay at their Resort. “Our dynamic hospitable team will be cheering each team on at the finish, where our ‘resort family’ will be on standby to cater for all team needs,” shares Fasie Malherbe of Cape St Francis Resort.

Important Information to remember

  • Live tracking: www.expafrica.live
  • Start date and time: Sunday, May 14 at 07:00
  • Venue: Start venue to be announced on Friday, May 12

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