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The Countdown to Expedition Africa Namaqua West Coast has begun!

Author : Press Release

PhotoCredit : Expedition Africa

Date Posted : 2018/05/02

Recce for Expedition Africa 2018

With the start of one of the world’s most prominent adventure races just weeks away, South Africa’s magnificent Namaqua West Coast region is all set for the arrival of athletes from 22 countries, including a host of local and international champions. The epic challenge to take place from 18-27 May puts global attention on a region known for its sprawling wilderness and incomparable hospitality..

A total of 52 teams will take part in Expedition Africa Namaqua West Coast this year with 20 international teams from countries including the US, UK, Russia, Switzerland, France, Japan and Norway lining up at the start. The balance is made up by South Africans from across the country, with top competitors Cobus van Zyl (Team Jabberwock) and Graham Bird (Team Merrell Mentored) amongst them. Well-known adventurer Peter van Ketz takes part in Team Grit Nyamezela with South African sports photographer Jacques Marais following and documenting every step they take.

The event is presented by diversified mining company Tronox Limited and Namaqua West Coast Tourism in association with stakeholders Matzikama municipality, Namaqua Wines, Klawer Cellars and Lutzville Vineyards. It is endorsed by West Coast Tourism and provincial tourism, trade and investment promotion agency Wesgro.

Growing international interest and coverage

Expedition Africa is followed by hundreds of thousands of outdoor and adventure racing enthusiasts and many more who track the Adventure Race World Championship. In addition, interest is growing at a substantial rate – during 2016/7, when Expedition Africa covered the Baviaans and Kouga regions of the Eastern Cape, publicity exposure tripled.

This phenomenon is set to be fuelled even more at the Namaqua West Coast event by for example the Japan-based Team East Wind, which will be accompanied by its own TV crew for the duration of the event; and, the Addicted2Adventure team, which has a substantial following on social media.

CANSA to benefit as official beneficiary

Team Merrell Cancer Crew is drumming up a storm as it raises awareness of the fight against cancer. It comprises cancer survivors Donovan Sims, who is a top adventure racer; Mike Clarke; and, Angie Austin. Donovan’s wife, Athena is also part of the team. “Cancer brings incredible stress for everyone in a family. When my cancer was in remission, I thought that if we could survive this and complete these hectic adventure races, we have a positive message to share. The story we want to tell is one of hope and positivity,” says Donovan. “Cancer is not a death sentence.”

The team is hoping to visit local cancer clinics as part of the event and has also set up a donation link via its Facebook page with a target of raising R100 000.

Follow the action

As with events like the Cape Epic, satellite tracking devices will allow Expedition Africa spectators around the globe to follow the progress of competitors online and throughout the race. In 2016, some 85 000 people went online to watch the start of Expedition Africa Knysna. The SPOT tracking devices supplied by Globalstar Satellite Africa also include SOS functionality, which allows help to be dispatched effectively should emergencies arise.

Water-neutral event

“Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Western Cape and a focus of local and provincial government,” says Namaqua West Coast tourism manager Monika de Jager. “The benefits of Expedition Africa have already been significant, especially as an important morale booster for a region currently battling a severe drought.”

In fact, Expedition Africa Namaqua West Coast has been pro-active in eliminating any impact on local water resources thanks to water sponsorship by aQuellé. As a result, the event will be completely water neutral.

Why visit the region?

Easily one of the Cape’s most unique travel destinations, the Namaqua West Coast in the Matzikama area is a place of raw, iconic beauty and diverse contrast, where a tradition of wholesome generosity remains alive in old fishing and farming communities. Situated 2,5 hours north of Cape Town, the region is home to the world-famous blooms of Namaqualand; swathes of prized wine vineyards; the vast plains of the Knersvlakte; and, fertile river valleys that wind through arid landscapes.

Its stark and rugged coastline comprises kilometres of solitary beaches, undulating dunes and sandveld while the interior highlands soar in the mountain ranges of the Gifberg and Matsikamma. Long the open-secret among lovers of the great outdoors, Namaqua West Coast offers some of the most outstanding and challenging landscapes for every activity, from mountaineering to hiking, 4x4 to trail-running.

In the run-up to the event, race organisers spent weeks exploring the region to formulate the course, which will end in Vanrhynsdorp, home of Expedition Africa Namaqua West Coast 2018 chief venue sponsor Letsatsi Lodge. The occasion has put the small village centre stage with the convergence of international media, race support teams and observers.

“We have no doubt: this will be the best Expedition Africa to date,” declares Expedition Africa organiser Heidi Muller. “Having explored the region to create a custom-made experience, we are excited about what awaits race competitors. Namaqua West Coast is raw, beautiful and visually stunning. Combined with the excitement of this adventure race, the experience is going to be absolutely awesome.”

Who to watch?

Muller envisages a very interesting race in the leader pack this year as any team can take the win. Teams racing for a podium spot are South Africans (2) Jabberwock; (18) Merrell Mentored; and, (41) Keyhealth Nevarest; as well as (12) Agde Raid Adventure, France; (29) Raid Gallaecia Fridama, Spain; (31) Blizzard, Russia; (33) East Wind, Japan; (38) 24H Meals Adventure, Sweden; and, (43) Omjakon, Findland/Estonia.

Among the highlights of this year’s events is the presence of a handful of competitors who have completed all seven Expedition Africa races; a team from Cape Town that comprises two married couples; and, the father-and-son team of Oliver and Jules Gautier of Reunion.

For more information about Expedition Africa, visit www.kinetic-events.co.za or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kineticeventsafrica). Get more information about the Namaqua West Coast at www.visitnwc.com. Follow the tourism bureau on twitter @namaquawestc and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VisitNWC/).

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