News

Expedition Africa going strong in Swaziland

Posted on: Tuesday, June 09, 2015
news_20150601expeditionafrica

With Expedition Africa now into its third day, we thought it was time to catch up with what's been happening so far in this amazing event in Swaziland.

Images from the event are being loaded daily on the Kinetic facebook

Here are the reports from the organisers for Days 1 and 2:

Day 1 - for the video highlights, click here

The dots are moving! http://www.kineticgear.org is alive and adventure junkies have been sitting up since Sunday 07h30 (GMT+2) watching Expedition Africa 2015 rolling out in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Boarding the bus with bike helmets on, clutching half eaten muffins and boxes of pizza, frantically checking last night’s football championship on a phone snatched from spectators, the 92 competitors heading off to the start line of an Adventure Racing World Series event, may not have struck the hotel staff as uber athletes setting off for a few days of non-stop adventure.

The bus driver took them on an unplanned scenic tour to the start venue, admitting he was slightly lost. A familiar experience for all the racers. But exiting the bus and looking up at the impressive granite monolith of Sibebe Rock, there was no doubt that they had arrived. The highest granite monolith in the world greeted and summoned them to the summit. With the echoing drum beat soon matching their heart rate, they set off directly up the sheer sides of the volcanic dome which rises up almost 450m above the start line.

From the first checkpoint at the top they undertook a 33km trek through rural landscapes, past homesteads and intrigued villagers and then into an uninhabited wilderness of wetlands, woods and grasslands to reach the start of the canyon.

Meanwhile, the media teams conducted their own adventure race, dodging traffic police and navigating across the Malolotja Nature Reserve to try and catch the leading teams as they entered the canyon section an hour earlier than predicted.

Hence, Estonian Ace Adventure team lead the way off the first of several waterfalls and into the icy cold water without any paparazzi to document it. Ten teams slipped by before the photographers could finally get down to the canyon and capture the moments of absolute dread and hesitation in the features of some very brave souls.

The Royal Air Force team of guys however, would’ve made their Queen - should she have been dot watching - so proud, as they put all their experience of leaping out of planes into useful practise as they smoothly walked along the river and straight off the 10m high ledge without a moment’s hesitation. From there, they had a 1km stretch of potholes and bum slides and everyone emerged shaking, many quite shaken. For some, they had just faced their worst fear. For others, that is yet to come deep in the caves some hours later.

Exiting the river, teams made their way 9km down to the Komati River, bush whacking all the way in order to pick up the kayaks and paddle the 22km length of the Maguga Dam before picking up their bicycles for a 69km stretch. Not too long, but after +2324m of elevation, tired legs were happy to unclip at the Transition 3 room.

Tactics and strategies are proving interesting in this race. Another long bike leg on Day 2 should bring the leaders into their fourth transition at around 22h00 and well into the dark zone where nobody may be on the river. Paddling will be only be allowed from 06h30 on Day 3 (Tues) followed by rafting.

Currently the Estonian Ace Adventure team, Sweco, Jabberwock and Peak Performance are in the lead. Strong contenders and twice previous winners, Merrell Adventure Addicts and also Cyanosis are further back.

So are the teams pushing ahead to maximise their hours of non-stop sleep available to them tomorrow night or are some being kinder on the muscles by not straining too hard just now?

 

Day 2 - for the video highlights, click here
Lost: One times Sense of Humour at Bottom of Cave

“I want to go to sleep now” was uttered in several different languages and with varying degrees of
exhaustion this morning and throughout the second day of Expedition Africa 2015.
Team Merrell Adventure Addicts rolled in ahead of Peak Performance to Transition 4 and the enforced dark zone, ordered burgers and got first choice of beds on which to lay themselves down until race restart at 06h30 Tues morning.

Night kayaking cannot be permitted down the river, which is populated with crocodiles and hippos, so the leaders get a long relaxed evening and a good sleep even before some teams pull into T3 with the caving experience and long mountain bike ahead of them.

If the canyons of the first day tested a fews fear of heights or water, the Ghobolo Caves revealed even more. After a brisk 2km hike through the forest, teams entered through a small hole, where they had to find their way, assisted only by a thin piece of string, to a snug, chimney like exit, 800m away via a labrinth of passages 9m below the surface. Often crawling, sometimes in cavernous spaces, always watched by bats and the creatures of the dark.

The cycle route took them through Swaziland's oldest nature reserve, Mlilwane Wildlife sanctuary, where plenty wildebeest and zebra roam, with an eye always on the crocs. And it sent them up. A lot. Over 3000m of undulating ascents to admire the expanse and ruggedness of plantations and hills. 
Making Merrell's leading strength even more remarkable is that new team member Robyn Kime only recently took to a bike and has never cycled more than 80km in one day. In the past 30 hours she has pedaled 235km.

What is constant, at these races, is the diversity of athletic abilities displayed. Top of the world ranked teams start at the same line as a group of friends who thought, a while back, that they would give this thing a bash. The unifying element is that every entrant has a powerhouse of mental energy igniting the physical capabilities of their body. Just to contemplate the distances and suffering is too much for the average individual but these racers all have a belief in the limitlessness of their self.

Anyone involved in these events is positively affected; inspired, encouraged and left in awe. At those who win with incredibly fast times, and at those who just keep putting one foot forward. Marshals and staff are brought to tears countless times seeing participants' joy, determination and grit and the heartfelt and hardwon respect and camaraderie amongst team mates.

Team Cyanosis, strong contenders earlier on, unfortunately had to withdraw, bitterly disappointed, due to illness, and Racing Denmark lost one member due to severe cramping.

The kayak, raft and trek legs yet to come provide ample opportunities for the photographers to indulge us with more spectacular images which are loaded daily on the Kinetic facebook page and website.
The dots are moving on www.kineticgear.org Some are peacefully still this evening.

 

Other current news items

Why Swaziland should be top of your list for 2018 travels

Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2017

Inyatsi Swazi Frontier all set for 2018

Posted on: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

First ever Swaziland Birding Spectacular in January 2018

Posted on: Tuesday, December 05, 2017

STA congratulates 2nd Tekuvakasha Tourism Awards winners!

Posted on: Friday, December 01, 2017

Tekuvakasha Tourism Awards date revealed

Posted on: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Swaziland's 50/50 Celebrations 2018

Posted on: Thursday, November 09, 2017

Swaziland Newsletter: October 2017

Posted on: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ngwenya Glass Celebrates 30 Years

Posted on: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tourism Excellence Awards

Posted on: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Special offers this month at Royal Swazi Spa

Posted on: Thursday, September 07, 2017

STA sets up Swazi Village at Swazi Rally 2017

Posted on: Friday, August 25, 2017

48 Hours in Swaziland

Posted on: Thursday, August 24, 2017

Swaziland begins Accommodation Grading

Posted on: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sky World expands to offer tours of Swaziland

Posted on: Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Entries are open for Inyatsi Swazi Frontier

Posted on: Tuesday, July 04, 2017

2017 Reed Dance Dates Announced

Posted on: Thursday, June 29, 2017

Swazi Rally back in August

Posted on: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Swaziland Newsletter: June 2017

Posted on: Monday, June 26, 2017

Swaziland hosts 70 tour guides in training course

Posted on: Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A look back at MTN Bushfire 2017

Posted on: Friday, June 16, 2017

Imvelo 2017: That's a Wrap!

Posted on: Thursday, June 08, 2017

Swaziland wins at African Responsible Tourism Awards

Posted on: Tuesday, June 06, 2017

MTN Bushfire now sold out!

Posted on: Thursday, May 25, 2017

MTN Bushfire Survival Guide

Posted on: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UK Media Discovering Swaziland's Secrets

Posted on: Wednesday, May 03, 2017

TransMagnific extend service

Posted on: Thursday, April 13, 2017

MTN Bushfire 2017: More Performers Announced

Posted on: Thursday, April 06, 2017

Mountain Inn keeps improving!

Posted on: Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Bushfire - Bring Your Fire Zone: Create & Sustain

Posted on: Friday, March 31, 2017

SkyWorld offer Bushfire Packages

Posted on: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MTN Bushfire 2017: First Artists Announced

Posted on: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MTN Bushfire 2017: Africa's Global Festival

Posted on: Friday, March 17, 2017

Introducing Imvelo 2017

Posted on: Thursday, March 16, 2017

Big Game Parks run World Wildlife Day 'Clean Up' Campaign

Posted on: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Swaziland Newsletter: March 2017

Posted on: Monday, March 06, 2017

Maguga Lodge celebrates 10 years

Posted on: Friday, March 03, 2017

#ResolutionRun 2017: Results & Reflection

Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Marula Festival starts this weekend

Posted on: Thursday, February 09, 2017

Budget Safaris in Swaziland

Posted on: Friday, January 27, 2017

Big Game Parks offer Safari Specials

Posted on: Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Swaziland at the Shows - Free & Discounted Tickets available

Posted on: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Inyatsi Swazi Frontier supports local communties

Posted on: Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Explore 'Undiscovered Swaziland'!

Posted on: Friday, December 16, 2016

Swaziland: Hot for 2017

Posted on: Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Incwala Festival, Swaziland's Summer Solstice Event begins

Posted on: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Swaziland Newsletter: October 2016

Posted on: Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Yebo! take part in International Art Exhibition

Posted on: Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Swazi Rally attracts international visitors

Posted on: Friday, October 28, 2016

Swaziland: Hub for the Creative Arts

Posted on: Thursday, October 27, 2016

Umhlanga Reed Dance 2016 Hits New Highs

Posted on: Monday, October 24, 2016

Sky World Travel & Tours increase access to Swaziland

Posted on: Thursday, October 20, 2016

Yebo Mzala Yebo Gogo Arts Festival takes place this weekend

Posted on: Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Swaziland's Big Game Parks Launches Rhino Song on #WorldRhinoDay

Posted on: Thursday, September 22, 2016

Swazi Rally takes place this weekend

Posted on: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tourism Excellence Awards

Posted on: Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 Reed Dance dates announced

Posted on: Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Mlawula Challenge Walk a great success!

Posted on: Thursday, August 04, 2016

Nkonyeni Special Offers

Posted on: Friday, July 29, 2016

Tour Operators' love for Swaziland continues!

Posted on: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Swazi Trails re-launch white-water rafting experience

Posted on: Thursday, July 14, 2016

Swaziland Newsletter: June 2016

Posted on: Thursday, June 30, 2016

SkyWorld offer 3-Day Reed Dance Tour

Posted on: Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2G Classic MTB 2016 announced

Posted on: Friday, June 24, 2016

Imvelo 2016: That's a Wrap!

Posted on: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ramblers Holidays launch brand new Swaziland tour

Posted on: Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Hayes Classic Golf Series comes to Swaziland

Posted on: Monday, June 13, 2016

Mlawula Magadzavane Challenge Walk 2016

Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Take on Swaziland's Festival Challenge!

Posted on: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Yebo! host 32nd Exhibition at MTN Bushfire

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Luphohlo Recreational Park now open

Posted on: Tuesday, May 03, 2016

MTN Bushfire 2016 announce final programme

Posted on: Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bring your fire (not your wellies) to MTN BUSHFIRE!

Posted on: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Swaziland Newsletter: April 2016

Posted on: Thursday, April 14, 2016

Yet more Swaziland Tours - from Acacia Africa

Posted on: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

10 Reasons to visit Hlane

Posted on: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Introducing Imvelo 2016

Posted on: Friday, March 11, 2016

Swaziland's Big Game Parks Features in Music Video

Posted on: Tuesday, March 08, 2016

MTN BUSHFIRE Announces Exciting & Diverse Line Up for 2016

Posted on: Thursday, March 03, 2016

Adventure Operators go Mad for Swaziland

Posted on: Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Marula Festival begins this weekend

Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2016

#ResolutionRun returns this February

Posted on: Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Explore's New Swaziland Tour Takes Off!

Posted on: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sibane Hotel Reveals Special Conference Package

Posted on: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Incwala Festival, Swaziland's summer solstice event

Posted on: Monday, December 21, 2015

Upgraded Camping Facilities at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted on: Friday, December 11, 2015

New Swaziland Tour from Cox & Kings

Posted on: Thursday, December 10, 2015

Swaziland at the Shows - Get Free/Discounted Tickets

Posted on: Saturday, December 05, 2015

Tucan Travel Ventures to Swaziland

Posted on: Friday, December 04, 2015

Rhino Re-Introduction in Swaziland

Posted on: Friday, November 27, 2015

Exciting Tour Launched by Mountain House Holidays

Posted on: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Adventure Highs and Lows in Swaziland

Posted on: Monday, November 02, 2015

Mlilwane Wins 2015 Trip Advisor Award

Posted on: Friday, October 16, 2015

Go Golfing Amongst the Swaziland Wildlife

Posted on: Friday, October 09, 2015

Yebo designs new colouring book for adults

Posted on: Friday, October 02, 2015

Sense Africa launches Nordic Walking Tour

Posted on: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Swaziland Tourism Newsletter: September 2015

Posted on: Friday, September 25, 2015

On World Rhino Day, Swaziland celebrates 50 years of Rhino

Posted on: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Big Game Parks launches #Nailit4Rhinos campaign

Posted on: Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Better Reed Dance Experience For Visitors

Posted on: Thursday, August 20, 2015

Science In Action - Swazi Team Win Award

Posted on: Friday, August 14, 2015

Renovating Hiking Trails in the Ngwempisi Wilderness Area

Posted on: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Breakfast At Brackenhill

Posted on: Tuesday, August 04, 2015

2015 Reed Dance Dates Confirmed

Posted on: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MTN BUSHFIRE 2016 - Celebrating Ten Years!

Posted on: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Swazi Rally set to celebrate its 22nd year in August

Posted on: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hilton Buidling Hotel in Swaziland

Posted on: Monday, July 13, 2015

Building Love at Nkonyeni

Posted on: Thursday, July 09, 2015

Swaziland - The Kingdom of Adventure!

Posted on: Monday, July 06, 2015

Yebo Contemporary Art Gallery Opens New Shop

Posted on: Friday, July 03, 2015

Swaziland Tourism Newsletter: June 2015

Posted on: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Imvelo Winners!

Posted on: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Cockroach found in Swaziland's Lubombo Mountains

Posted on: Friday, June 05, 2015

#WearYourFire with Gone Rural boMake at MTN Bushfire 2015

Posted on: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Safari Specials at Big Game Parks

Posted on: Friday, May 15, 2015

'BRING YOUR FIRE' TO MTN BUSHFIRE

Posted on: Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Tour - A Week in Swaziland.

Posted on: Friday, May 08, 2015

European Visitors to Swaziland On the Increase

Posted on: Friday, May 01, 2015

MTN BUSHFIRE 2015: Artist Line-up Announced

Posted on: Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Swaziland Map

Posted on: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Entries for Imvelo MTB Classic Nearly Sold Out

Posted on: Thursday, April 09, 2015

News Update From Bulembu Lodge

Posted on: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Get Ready For Imvelo 2015

Posted on: Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Swaziland is gearing up for Expedition Africa

Posted on: Friday, February 27, 2015

Swaziland's Marula Festival Has Begun

Posted on: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Mahamba Gorge Hike Date Has Been Released

Posted on: Friday, February 20, 2015

Incwala Ceremony an Experience of a Lifetime for Tourists

Posted on: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Expedition Africa 2015 to take place in Swaziland

Posted on: Monday, January 12, 2015