A mix of all our India trips in 2017 as we create our first ever Expedition India adventure race. It was most probably the craziest thing to do but a great success!
Confessions from the Heart
It's that time of year again, where athletes from all over the globe ready themselves for Africa's grueling Adventure Racing World Series 500km event - Expedition Africa, commencing this Sunday, 20 May 2018.
Power Duo; Stephan and Heidi Muller have ventured through the Namaqua West Coast area since July last year discovering the perfect places that will showcase this spectacular yet arid land to all 52 teams taking part.
The route has been carefully designed to incorporate all the beautiful aspects of this magnificent area; not only exposing teams to such beauty but creating experiences that teams will unite over and develop the most memorable expedition. According to Heidi Muller "our goal for each Expedition Africa is to create life changing moments; this event takes heart and soul and if this event doesn't change you to some degree; then we have lost the plot".
Expected distances and disciplines have officially been released to teams, who are conducting their final mental and physical preparations. The estimated 556km race will challenge teams as they tackle the 8 leg event over a maximum of seven consecutive days. This hefty course will include a 50km paddle, 198km cycle and 59km trek/abseil to name a few.
According to athletes and repeat service providers, this year's Expedition Africa is a "going back to basics" race due to the remoteness of the event, large legs and desolate terrain. Athletes will need to prepare well to ensure dehydration is kept under control within the team, and navigation is spot on.
The small town of VanRhynsdorp will create the perfect race village, hosting all 52 teams and support crew over the next two weeks. Host venue; Letsatsi Lodge is already setup and ready to welcome each team as they arrive, register and attend all official pre-race procedures commencing from Thursday this week.
As part of the Northern Cape Famous Lodges; a collection of pristine Kalahari lodges that are ideally situated en route the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Letsatsi Lodge of VanRhynsdorp is the ideal stopover on along the N7 between Cape Town, Springbok, Upington and Namibia. This stunning venue will also feature as race Head Quarters, where organisers, crew, supporters and photographers will welcome each team as they cross the finish line which has been setup at Letsatsi.
Excitement is truly brewing all over the globe, as teams travel towards Namaqua West Coast over the next couple of days and anticipation for this adventure race of a life time. Follow this incredible event and witness your favourite teams chase down the winning title of thus year's Expedition Africa via the Live Tracking available from the comfort of your couch - http://live.arworldseries.com/africa18/. This site conveniently features all race media content, social media highlights and so much more, so get ready to sit back, relax and dot-watch your way through Expedition Africa 2019.
We look every year for what is most needed in the area closest to our Host Town and found this wonderful organisation who is so desperately in need of Funding. Our whole idea is to get the teams participating with a local child which will benefit from our contributions and make a Mosaic Creation which will be a Landmark in the Town of Sedgefield. All sponsors names will be engraved into this landmark and while teams are racing the Masithandane group of tilers will finish the Landmark. After the event teams can go back and take their Team photo's of this Landmark of which they were part of. Contact me if you want to assist me with this Dream!! #loveyouexpeditionafrica
We had the most amazing morning spending time with some of the local children as they were showing my Werner and Isabella all about Mosaic. You can also see the spot where we are going to make this Landmark!! See photo's below.
PRESS RELEASE: Expedition Africa Mosaics for Change Community Project
The Garden Route, known locally as the "Home of Adventure" will host Expedition Africa 2016. Teams from all over the world will arrive in less than six weeks to take on this team challenge of mountain biking, trekking, orienteering, kloofing, kayaking and abseiling in the picturesque Garden Route.
Organisers; Heidi and Stephan Muller have always ensured the local community benefits from their Expedition Africa events, and this year the Bursary Fund for Children of the local Non-Profit Organisation Masithandane has been chosen. Masithandane is a registered Non-Profit Organisation No. 052-253 & Public Benefit Organisation No. 930025275 and has been working in the area for 10 years. The Bursary Fund is used to assist families in need with transport costs to school, school fees and uniforms.
According to Jacky Weaver of the Masithandane Fund, "there are no High Schools in the area, and no public transport systems in place for children living in Sedgefield and its outlying rural area." The majority of the Greater Sedgefield Area's population is located in formal and informal settlements away from infrastructure, services and employment opportunities.
"The Bursary fund is a preventative measure needed to prevent high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse and the dangers associated with hitch-hiking" shares Weaver.
"Expedition Africa is more than just an adventure race; it's about changing lives!! This type of event will change the lives of not only the competitor; but also affect every person who is part of this event and ultimately give back to the Community. It's about making amazing memories and leaving a legacy behind" expresses Heidi Muller of Kinetic Events. Kinetic Events have aligned this year’s Expedition Africa with the Masithandane organisation to create a Mosaic Landmark showcasing this year's exciting event.
“Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market is proud to host the Expedition Africa 2016 participants. We are honoured to be chosen to provide the backdrop for the mosaic masterpiece that will be crafted as a memory for the community project” shares Cliff Elion, owner of the Mosaic Village and Outdoor Market.
According to Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners, "one of the goals of hosting the event in the Garden Route was to establish and cement the claim that this region is the Home of Adventure within the Western Cape. "
The 53 participating teams will unite the day before their Expedition Africa adventure begins; creating a master piece that will feature the legacy of each individual taking part in this year's Expedition Africa and their representing countries. Teams will be given the necessary tools and equipment to develop a mosaic creation on a tile that will feature for years to come at the famous Sedgefield market, celebrating Expedition Africa 2016.
"We are delighted that the local community will benefit from this international event taking place within the true home of adventure, and look forward to witnessing the organisations success in reaching their fundraising objectives" shares Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners.
The contribution towards the project required is a minimum of R1500.00 per tile. Local children and artists will be part of the interactive team experience on the 14th May 2016 creating 53 unique tiles that will form this master piece. Moreover this project will contribute to the Masithandane Bursary Fund for children and help generate income for ten local mosaic'ists and their families, and further support economic opportunities for local business.
Teams participating in this year's Expedition Africa are encouraged to spread the word to families, supporters and sponsors to support this worthy cause. Contributors will have their names engraved into the mosaic master piece, meaning their names will also live forever in Sedgefield, Western Cape, South Africa for years and years to come; celebrating 2016's Expedition Africa's Adventure Race.
The Garden Route is rich with resources when it comes to the natural beauty of the Knysna Heads, the tranquil forests and still lakes and rivers leading to the rolling ocean. This is the perfect opportunity to appreciate and uplift the local communities of this beautiful land by investing in their education, culture, fellowship and upliftment.
Help change lives with this year's Expedition Africa, make your contribution, make your change!
Expedition Africa Mosaic for Change Community Project 2016:
Expedition Africa teams will cycle from their Host Venue; Pine Lake Marina to the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Sedgefield. Family and friends are welcome to witness and experience this project at the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market.
Date: Saturday, 14 May 2016
Venue: Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Sedgefield
Beneficiary: Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children
Contact: Heidi Muller (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to get more involved with this event, eg: sponsoring toward Branded T Shirts, food packs etc.
Contact: Jacky Weaver (email@example.com) for banking details. As a contributor/sponsor, your name will be engraved into the Expedition Africa Mosaic Landmark. Certificate to RSA Businesses will be given for Tax benefit.
Expedition Africa 500km Adventure Race 2016
Date: Sunday, 15 May 2016
Start Time: 08h00
Venue: To be announced at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, 13 May 2016
Live Tracking: www.expafrica.live
Host Venue: Pine Lake Marina www.pinelakemarina.co.za
Note: All local families and supporters are welcome to attend the start of the event.
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 an 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 over the past 24 hours.
The ECPTA provided an amazing experience to 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 or sorts.
Adventure photographer Bruce Viaene trekked 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 river. The Baviaans is a place of true beauty and a photographers dream, I could of 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" before arriving at Transition 6.
"I had the opportunity to walk far down into the Baviaanskloof from CP 18 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" shares Heidi Muller; co race organiser of Expedition Africa.
The 7th edition of Expedition Africa; South Africa’s only multi-day adventure race, will take place in the Baviaans and Kouga Regions between 14 and 21 May next year, with Cape St Francis acting as the base of the competition. The announcement was made in Johannesburg by race organisers Stephen and Heidi Muller from Kinetic Events, and welcomed by local sportsmen and businesses.
This annual event, one of 11 around the globe and part of the Adventure Racing World Series (http://arworldseries.com/ ) is a non-stop 7 day long race where teams of 4 navigate an unmarked route by trekking, cycling and paddling. Elite and entry level adventure racers will navigate by map only their way between Control Points through the Baviaans and Kouga, the Klein Karoo and Tsitsikamma, however Baviaans, home to the well-known Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, will be the highlight of the 500km route.
“The Kouga Local Tourism Organisation invited us to host the event on their home ground, and we are thrilled with the prospect to let it happen in the Adventure Province,” Muller said.
“We grabbed the opportunity with both hands as we are very excited to include the Baviaans, a true wilderness area into the route. This much sought after venue is perfectly suitable for adventure racing,” says Muller.
In true Adventure Racing and World Series style, the route of Expedition Africa 2017 remains a secret until race day, and teams from all over the world are waiting in anticipation for the start location to be announced. The winners will receive an entry in the World Championships, to be held in the USA in August 2017.
The Kouga Region, part of the Eastern Cape, includes the world famous surfing mecca Jeffreys Bay, rustic holiday destinations St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis as well as the fruit basket of the Eastern Cape, the Gamtoos Valley. It borders both the Baviaans and the rugged Tsitsikamma, allowing the race organisers to create a route filled with diversity and contrast.
The Addo Elephant Park, the third largest national park in South Africa is the only national park in the world to conserve the “Big 7” adding the great white shark and southern white whale to the traditional big 5. The park is situated a mere 90 minutes drive from the race venue, and is a fantastic opportunity for the international teams to experience the African Wildlife.
Teams are equipped with GPS trackers which enables viewers from all over the world to follow and support the event live throughout the race, 24/7.
“This gives us an amazing opportunity to showcase our best to over 40 000 online viewers per day. As teams move through the region, a narrator highlights the Points of Interest which are included in the route. We must take ownership of this event and make the most of this opportunity,” says Esti Stewart, Marketing Director of the KLTO. The race will be organised with the full support of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA), the Kouga Municipality and Sarah Baartman District Municipality.
Teams, organisers and media crews will stay at the Cape St Francis Resort, co-sponsor and host venue for Expedition Africa 2017. "We are ecstatic about the Resort’s support as it offers top class accommodation and facilities for our teams e.g. airport transfers, spa treatments, shuttle services to local shops and an amazing restaurant and bar"; Heidi Muller excitedly said.
Participating teams will also get involved in a local environmental project. The selected project for 2017 is SANCCOB, the Sea Bird and African Penguin Rehabilitation Centre in Cape St Francis. The centre specializes in rehabilitating injured or sick penguins to be released back into the breeding colony. A local community school, Talhado Children's Haven as well as Nomvula's Knitters, will also be included in the project.
Heidi and Stephan Muller will spend several weeks in the Kouga and surrounding areas to ensure Expedition Africa 2017 will be an adventure never to be repeated. Their dream is “to create memories for a life time”.
The official launch of Expedition Africa 2017 will take place at the Cape St Francis Resort, on Thursday 6 October 2016.
For more information, visit http://www.kinetic-events.co.za/Events/Expedition-Africa
3 days, 12 hours and 33 minutes is how long it took for Expedition Africa 2016's champions to complete 500km of pure adventure racing. Cheers from the side lines howled as team Featherbed Painted Wolf neared the spectator filled shoreline at Pine Lake Marina this evening.
The local come back team drew massive support from all over the Garden Route throughout the race. "Some of the guys would pop out while we were paddling the Keurbooms, saying: I'm watching you live!" shares Mark Collins. According to the athletes; the Expedition Africa live tracking made a major difference to the sport in South Africa.
The Home of Adventure created the perfect playground for Stephan Muller's masterpiece of a route. The local team confirmed that they have officially ventured through parts of the Garden Route they didn't know existed. "That cave was spectacular! I had never seen that section of Robberg , and I would love to back into that cave; particularly to find out how the organisers expected us to come out of the coasteering leg, as we came up through the Robberg Quarry!" Mark Collins shares laughingly with a Mitchells beer in hand.
Expedition Africa has become one of the most highly rated Adventure Races in the world." The New Zealanders dominate the sport, but they have acknowledged Expedition Africa as one of the accredited event, and we have just won one of the best accredited events in the world" proudly shares Collins.
As the team enjoyed their first meal (pizza), seated on leather couches at Pine Lake Marina, media asked questions and photographers flashed away. Giving this team the true feeling of champions as the Merrell Adventure Addicts race their way to the finish to claim second place. The Merrell Adventure Addicts are expected to cross the finish line around midnight on Wednesday, as teams Sweco Adventure, Raid Gallaecia Fridama and Cyanosis Adventure Racing compete for third, fouth and fifth place.
Expedition Africa 2016 has proved to be an exciting and entertaining event for dot watchers, marshals and supporters here in the Garden Route. With over 50 teams to still cross the finish line at Pine Lake Marina by Friday this week the entertainment continues watching dots on a map, but more importantly watching adventurers racing a race of a lifetime.
"We have never received such an amazing support system in an adventure race. We would like to ask the people of the Garden Route, South Africa and abroad to continue the support that is streaming in as the rest of our teams race their way 'home'" shares Heidi Muller, co race director of Expedition Africa.
Our Champions are home, but the teams who are still out in the wilderness are our heroes as they battle physical and mental drain with sleep monsters biting at their hills. This is Adventure Racing at its finest.
Image: Bruce Viaene
Preparations for the Expedition Africa 2018's closing ceremony is in full swing, whilst the remaining 14 teams of the 52 make their way to the finish line at Letsatsi Lodge. Over the past 24 hours, 38 teams have completed this year's gruelling 560km course, all bearing smiling faces as they crossed the finish line.
In 2017, race organiser; Heidi Muller created the #itsallaboutlove brand, one that flows through every aspect of the plans and preparations that have gone into creating Expedition Africa. The incredible fact is that adventure racing has truly become a love story, showcasing passion, love, torment, admiration, trust and a dedication to the sport itself. Physical, emotional and mental challenges are all obstacles teams may face when racing as one. "You may go fast as one, but you will go further as a team" shares Expedition Africa Photo Director, Bruce Viaene; a sentiment that motivates recurring entries into an event like Expedition Africa.
A unique friendship is created amongst four people when taking on the challenge of racing as a unit, especially when the task is to complete a 560km course by navigating multiple cycling, paddling and trekking legs in 7 consecutive days, with minimal sleep.
Whilst the final teams mission to conclude their Expedition Africa journey, finishers have congregated around Letsatsi Lodge throughout the day, sharing war stories and experiences of the race they've all just completed. Fires, music, wine, beers and lawn loungers have added to this 'rustig' and vibrant atmosphere as families and friends get ready to welcome these remaining 14 teams 'home'
Expedition Africa 2018 will officially come to close tomorrow evening at Die Keldery: Namaqua Wines in Vredendaal, when all 52 teams wave their country's flag high, and are awarded for their achievements in tackling such a race. Rankings will vary, featuring 'Full Teams' who have completed the 560km course and collected every checkpoint, 'Missed Checkpoints', and 'Partial Teams' who have crossed the finish line with less than the four members the teams started with. At this point, 38 of the 52 teams are ranked in the 'Full Team' category of finishers.
Congratulations are awarded to Russian team; Blizzard for their brilliant efforts in claiming this year's winning title and will now represent their country at the Adventure Racing World Championships later this year. The team have won their entry into this esteemed event, which will take place on Reunion Island from the 5th - 16th November 2018.
The show is not over folks... monitor the final hours via www.expafrica.live, show your support, send in your messages as Expedition Africa's real champions race their final legs. These remaining 14 teams have journeyed for the longest and pushed their bodies to no end... and so, the end is nigh.
Photo: Bruce Viaene
Day two of Expedition Africa - Namaqua West Coast presented its own set of challenges as teams prepared themselves for the daunting 198km cycle ahead. Already, these athletes have endured over 36 hours of non-stop racing and the navigational element of this year's 560km race continues to challenge teams as they tackle leg 4.
Course director; Stephan Muller presented teams with a route choice like no other this year, adding a new element of navigational 'risk' to 2018's Expedition Africa with the option of collecting CP 22a or CP 22b. Each check point bears its own set of challenges: option A, will take teams along a shorter path, however will be required to carry their bikes the entire way, whilst option B, features a safer, yet longer route, venturing teams for a further 20km in order to obtain the checkpoint.
The top 10 seeded teams of Expedition Africa 2018, opted to collect CP 22 A, selecting the shorter, more intense route of the two. According to sources, team Sani/Best 4 Sports regretted this route choice and wished they had chosen the less strenuous path.
South African teams; Plett AR and Black Diamond are amongst the brave who have risked the epic and exhausting 2km bike hike for a shorter cycle. Whilst teams Secretos De Ullum (SPN), Bucket of Hope (RSA), Grit Nyamezela (RSA), Rustproof (RSA) and Park Rangers (RSA) are amongst the group of teams that have opted to collect CP 22B.
The risk in it all is a simple calculation of a lengthily, conservative activity versus a short, high intensity activity. Knowledge of team mates strengths and weaknesses will come into play, as navigators make their risky route choice of the day.
Lack of sleep is beginning to take its toll on athletes as they push themselves to reach the halfway mark of the 198km cycle. An hour or two of well deserved sleep and a warm meal are keeping teams motivated as they push their bodies a little further.
Historically, day two's strategic sleep deprivation is usually when navigational mistakes are made, and in turn when the leaderboard changes the most. Don't miss out on the excitement by tracking each team via the Expedition Africa's live tracking platform: www.expafrica.live