The first Kalahari Desert Adventure will test contenders and their vehicles (4x4s, quads and motorcycles) over 3000km in nine days in the overwhelming wilderness of Botswana – without the pressure (or interference) of professional racers. This adventure will lay the foundation of a Dakar-style event here in South Africa by 2012.
“The need for a long distance challenge has been long overdue in South Africa” says Skean Drummond, one of the main organisers of the Kalahari Desert Adventure. Skean has been part of the organising team of the Toyota Botswana Kalahari 1000 Desert Race for eighteen years and chaired its organising committee for the past four years. He regularly officiates major off-road events in Southern Africa.
“This adventure is for serious off-roaders who have always wanted to test themselves against mother nature. It can be compared to the Australasian Safari, the enduro runs in Europe and the desert runs in the US. The difference is that our event will be fully catered and we will see to all safety and other needs in the bush of Africa. Every day will offer quick gravel stretches, along with deep sand, rocks, thick bush and spectacular scenery.”
The adventure will kick off in Gaborone on 20 August to 29 August. Finding the right route in this untamed territory will be one of the biggest challenges facing participants. Sound navigational skills and good preparations will be essential.
A road book – which will be handed out to all participants at the starting point – will help a little. The book illustrates landmarks, bridges and dangerous sections and gives brief descriptions and supplementary information. Competitors will also receive GPS waypoints to guide them along. Their GPS track logs will be recorded by officials and the team that completes the event over the shortest distance will be deemed the winner.
“Safety is our prime concern,” says Sharon MacDonald, co-organiser and marketing and media expert. Sharon is a qualified marshal and has successfully managed and executed the Toyota Desert Race for 2009. “Competitors are ensured of state of the art back-up with helicopters and medical teams on standby.”
One day of the adventure challenge has been set aside for social responsibility where competitors will be visiting rural villages along the route and giving back to the communities that host the campsites.
“With the help of 4×4 Megaworld’s Off-road Club, we will be distributing libraries, setting up basic kitchens and laying out soccer and netball fields,” says Sharon.
The race ends on Sunday 25 July at the Grand Palm Hotel and Casino, where contestants will enjoy a well deserved night of luxury, fabulous food and an awards ceremony.
“The Kalahari Desert Adventure is not just an adventure,” says Sharon. “It’s going to be an experience of a lifetime, so expect the unexpected.
The basic package of R9000pp includes full catering, medical backup, security, ablutions, campsites, helicopter standby, tracking, survival pack, recovery sweeps, shirt, cap, and the prize-giving dinner. Luxury accommodation can also be arranged. Entries are now open.