Lesotho hosts 10th anniversary of Expedition Africa

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Staff Writer

KINETIC Events has lined up 10-day activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the adventurous Expedition Africa race at the Afriski Mountain Resort in Butha-Buthe.

The 10-day celebrations are penned in for 9 to 19 April 2020 and aim “to create a magical race in the Kingdom in the Sky”.

Adventure racing is a multi-discipline endurance sport where competitors compete in teams, navigating from control point to control point in a number of disciplines.

Disciplines include horse riding, mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, rope work and orienteering. Teams are expected to navigate using a map and landmarks.

The teams must operate in harsh remote environments in all weather conditions. They travel throughout the night and can decide if when and where to rest.

The first team to complete the whole course, with all the control points visited will be declared the winner. The teams are required to complete the entire distance together (always within hearing and visual distance of each other), helping and assisting each other.

Organiser, Heidi Muller, told the Lesotho Times that they would invite teams to join in traditional ceremonies and customs to allow them to fully immerse themselves in the unique culture of the area.

“The opportunity to engage with the people of Lesotho promises to be a very special part of the event,” Muller said.

“The Kingdom of Lesotho; an adventure lover’s ultimate playground, will be part of the 500 kilometres of the non-stop adventure race course, constituting approximately 20 percent paddling, 30 percent trekking and 50 percent cycling. It will include rope work and some special surprise activities.

“The MTB and trekking legs will traverse far-reaching valleys and mountains and navigate teams through rugged national parks. These include sections the Liphofung Nature Reserve, Tšehlanyane Nature Reserve and Bokong Nature Reserve. Another highlight will also include a section through the Maluti Drakensberg Park.”

She said another leg will feature traditional donkey and Basotho pony as added cultural experience.

The host venue and race village for Expedition Africa 2019 will be Afriski Mountain Resort, one of only two ski resorts in Southern Africa. Located at 3050m (10 006 ft) above sea-level, it is the second highest resort in Africa and boasts skiing opportunities all year round.

Muller said 40 teams of four people each from around the world have already registered for the epic adventure.

“Some of the countries are Switzerland, Ireland, UK, Australia, South Africa and France. International media, the team media and international volunteers will also join us to cover this magnificent race.

“Lesotho is a land of great diversity and hope and Kinetic Events believes that by hosting Expedition Africa in the region, it will create a framework for local government departments, businesses and communities to be involved in the event through adventure tourism.

“The opportunity to highlight the amazing adventure options the region has to offer is a primary focus. To this extent, Kinetic Events has been working closely with the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) to promote Lesotho as a major travel destination.

“Head of strategic marketing, Tebello Thoola has been working alongside the Kinetic Team and is optimistic about hosting the event in the area in April 2020,” Muller said.

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