The final countdown to Africa’s biggest adventure race, Expedition Africa – Baviaans, has begun. 39 teams from 13 countries will be taking part in the gruelling 500 km adventure race, set to take place in the Kouga and Baviaans areas of the Eastern Cape from 12 to 21 May 2017.
The event will be hosted by the Kouga Local Tourism Organisation and the host venue will be the Cape St Francis Resort. “Cape St Francis Resort has been looking forward to hosting the event and will be giving each of them a big welcome to our ‘race village,” said Fasie and Fiona Malherbe of Cape St Francis Resort.
The organisers, Stephan and Heidi Muller, have kept the start of Expedition Africa a secret. Media, supporters and athletes will only receive communication regarding the route, disciplines and transitions incorporated in this year’s race at the opening ceremony, which will take place at Cape St Francis Resort on Friday, 12 May 2017, at 2pm.
The organisers have always kept local communities at heart and have chosen to assist the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation and Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), located at Cape St Francis. The organisation specialises in building a better future for the endangered African penguin and other sea birds.
On Saturday, 13 May 2017, teams will be introduced to the invaluable work done by SANCCOB and get the opportunity to adopt a penguin. Each team will then lay a stone at the Expedition Africa landmark, which will be part of the event’s legacy.
Another unveiling will take place thereafter, marking Seal Point as the “south-eastern most point of Africa”.
The race will officially kick off on Sunday morning, 14 May 2017, at 7am.
Families, friends and supporters alike will be able to cheer on their teams via a live tracking feed which will feature a leader board, all transition areas and checkpoints along the route. The live tracking feed can be accessed at www.expafrica.live.
Local supporters will have the opportunity to meet these amazing athletes at designated transition areas, all visible on the live tracking event page. This year, organisers are using the SPOT Gen3 satellite tracking device from Globalstar Africa, the leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies. Due to the very remote destination of the event, these “off-the-grid” units have been creating the way forward for Expedition Africa. “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,” said Heidi Muller.
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 a carefully designed course, incorporating 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 both magnificent mountain ranges and the beautiful coastlines of the Eastern Cape,” said Muller. According to Muller, teams are expected to explore the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area.
A Unesco World Heritage Site, the area is the largest of its kind in southern Africa. The 225 000HA mega-reserve boasts unspoilt, rugged mountainous terrain, featuring spectacular landscapes, exposing athletes from far and wide to an entirely new kind of beauty.
“We are ready to welcome the teams to our shores before they tackle what we believe will be one of the toughest races the organisers ever to be put together by the organisers,” said 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.”
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen thanked Kouga Tourism and the race sponsors for securing the event for Kouga. “It is the first of two big international events that have been confirmed for Kouga this year. We believe Expedition Africa will, like the JBay Winterfest, be a major economic injection for Kouga,” she said.
Important Information to remember:
Live tracking: www.expafrica.live
Official race start date and time: Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 7am
Venue: Start venue to be announced on Friday, 12 May