This week local adventure racing teams and their fans received a double whammy of good news as two major announcements hit the wires. Both came from Kinetic Events, the team behind the Expedition Africa Adventure Series.
Firstly, this year’s regional Adventure Racing Championships will be held right on Sedgefield’s doorstep, with Blackwaters River Lodge as the host venue. This means that South Africa’s top AR teams (and those of surrounding countries) will be here, battling it out to see who is best as they test the mettle of our rivers, mountains, bush trails, ocean waves, and everything else these gruelling 500km events throw at the courageous participants. Furthermore, this event will mark race four of the Adventure Racing World Series qualifier calendar, and teams will be racing for the win and the coveted first prize – free entry into the World Championships in 2023.
A clearly emotional Elmay Viljoen Bouwer of Blackwaters River Lodge said, “We are so excited to be the host venue for Expedition Africa Garden Route. We almost lost everything when our special place of magic and parts of the beautiful Goukamma Nature Reserve burnt down in the 2017 fires, so it’s very meaningful for us to be a part of such an incredible event on the reserve that has recovered so remarkably.”
Secondly, another batch of great news is that The Adventure Racing World Championships will be coming to Africa for the first time next year!
The 2023 Adventure Racing World Championships will be hosted by Expedition Africa and held in the Kouga region of the Eastern Cape of South Africa in October. The race will be the 18th Adventure Racing World Championships and the first to be held on the African continent. The 700km race will be the culmination of the 2023 Adventure Racing World Series, which unites in competition the world’s best endurance athletes at the premier expedition adventure races around the world.
The race directors of Expedition Africa, Stephan and Heidi Muller, launched the ‘Adventure Racing World Championships Kouga 2023’ at the Lombardi Game Farm.
“We are honoured and delighted to be chosen by the Adventure Racing World Series to host the most prestigious race on the adventure racing calendar,” said Heidi, “When we staged our first Expedition Africa 11 years ago, we never dreamed of this, and over those 10 races, we have met wonderful athletes and teams from all around the world. Our race is always as much about the people as the place, and it has become a global family. We want them to share in our African World Championship in Kouga next year! It will be a celebration of all that is good about adventure racing; exploration, achievement, teamwork and connecting people from around the world.”
The first Expedition Africa was held in 2011 in the Western Cape, and the race has visited most provinces of the country, as well as neighbouring Swaziland. In 2019 the island of Rodrigues played host to Expedition Africa, and this year’s 10th-anniversary race took place in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
The Estonian ACE Adventure Team, who are regular competitors, were the winners in Lesotho. Their team captain Silver Eensaar said,
“Expedition Africa is a very special event. It’s a race that always delivers great adventure courses in unique terrain and a cultural environment. Above all, it provides a sense of community and love that is different to other races. Expedition Africa is probably the most loved adventure race in the world, and teams keep coming back. Dot-watchers enjoy exploring Africa while following the teams, and the race always provides world-class media content for fans around the world. They will stage a great World Championships.”