After 5 days and 22 hours organisers, volunteers, athletes, supporters and sponsors have officially begun wrapping up the 2016 edition of Expedition Africa. This gruelling 500km adventure race ventured teams and individuals on a mixture of self discovery and hard competitive racing.
The Garden Route played host to the 6th annual event on the Adventure Racing World Series circuit, seeing 53 teams gather at Pine Lake Marina for this exquisite race. Starting on the picturesque Knysna Lagoon, through the surrounding indigenous forests, untouched coastline, dry desert like region of the Klein Karoo and then finally finishing at Pine Lake Marina . Not many races like this come close in terms of bio diversity, experienced by the athletes at this year’s Expedition Africa.
Race Village is packed once again, but this time with tired, limping athletes sharing highlights of their race experience. Athletes gathered for the unveiling of this year’s community project at the Sedgefield Mosaic and Outdoor market this afternoon. This exciting project raised over R20 000 for the Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children and will now live in the market for years and years to come sharing in the legacy of Expedition Africa 2016 and their host; the home of adventure.
As teams travel back to their countries and homes, they will be taking back stories of brokenness, elation and total awe of the route that they accomplished. Sharing the tales of untouched, dark water canyons where the sleepmonsters gnawed at their tired minds. Athletes will tell you where sleep over came them, that they awoke with sea lapping at their faces or on the side of a gravel road. They may tell you these stories, but their faces will tell you what those words can’t describe.
“Dot Watchers” will now have the opportunity to catch up on sleep, and the Garden Route communities can now get back to work after the excitement passes through their beautiful countryside. It goes without saying that the support and camaraderie each team experienced throughout the race was a highlight.
Tonight, teams will celebrate under a full moon, Lake side as fires burn bright continuing the event festivities for one last night. The closing ceremony will honour their accomplishments no matter what placing. Team Featherbed Painted Wolf are this year’s champions, but each and every athlete that took part in the 500km adventure race are heroes.
Race Directors, Heidi & Stephan Muller, put on a true masterpiece, connecting the very best of the Garden Route for the teams to visit and explore as they took on Expedition Africa. The experience and focus of this dynamic duo has created one of the most elite and sought after races on the ARWS circuit. So without further ado; that is a wrap for Expedition Africa 2016 and in the words of Heidi Muller, “It’s all about love.”