Expedition Africa Namibia

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Expedition Africa Namibia. The race of a Lifetime and the End of an Era

Press Release / 15.05.2024See All Event Posts Follow Event
Stephan and Heidi Muller planning Expedition Africa Namibia
Stephan and Heidi Muller planning Expedition Africa Namibia / © Expedition Africa

Racers from 11 countries will line up at the start of Expedition Africa Namibia on Sunday May 26th for a unique non-stop, multi-day adventure race. Now in its 12th edition, Expedition Africa has been the iconic expedition-length adventure race on the African continent for 13 years, and this will be the last and the end of an era.

Twenty-five years ago, Heidi and Stephan Muller came into the sport of Adventure Racing as competitors.  After 10 years of racing, this dynamic South African duo began organising short, urban adventure races that were loved by the local community. Seeing the need for more longer-distance events, they introduced 12 and 24 hour events, and then created Expedition Africa.

Last year, Expedition Africa hosted the 2023 Adventure Racing World Championships. With 109 teams representing 40 countries, this event was a celebration of competition, excellence, participation, and the coming together of different nationalities for the first World Championship held in Africa.

Instead of taking a year off after hosting the World Championship event, the Mullers embraced the opportunity to host one last Expedition Africa event in Namibia. For Namibian-born Heidi, it’s a fitting finale to Expedition Africa.

“This will be an emotional race for me,” she said. “Over the years Expedition Africa has taken our family to so many special places and introduced us to wonderful people from all around the world.  It’s their support and love which has made Expedition Africa what it is and we felt that love at the World Championship last year when the world of adventure racing came together to celebrate with us. 

“Hosting a World Championship in Africa was a dream come true, and might have been the time for Expedition Africa to finish on a high note, especially with the increasing demands of my role as CEO of the Adventure Racing World Series.  But there was one more dream still to be fulfilled and that was an expedition race in Namibia! 

“It’s the country of my birth and is so beautiful and spectacular, yet there has never been an expedition race there before.  We had to have one last Expedition Africa, in Namibia!”

Expedition Africa Namibia

The race starts near Swakopmund, a small city that was founded by German settlers in 1892. With the Atlantic Ocean on its western edge and desert all around Swakopmund is embraced by the towering sand dunes of the Namib Desert that meet the sea on this famous coastline.

The teams taking part have already been issued with a flow chart that indicates the order of the sporting disciplines – kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, rope work and camel trekking – and the distances. This chart aids the pre-race planning and packing of gear and food.

The total race distance is approximately 490 kilometres and the majority of this will be covered on mountain bikes (335km). The course, designed by Stephan Muller, will take teams into uninhabited areas which are seldom visited.

The starting 35km kayak leg will showcase the area’s coastal beauty. This bird-watching destination draws tens of thousands of coastal and marine birds from 150 species. Long-distance migrants from Europe and northern Siberia travel 10,000 to 15,000 kilometres to summer in the wetlands and lagoon around Swakopmund.

The anticipated trekking legs (120km total) will immerse the teams in the sands of the Namib Desert. One of the trekking legs includes additional teammates: camels!  Teams can only hope that their camels are of a favourable disposition on race day!

In adventure racing, teams navigate by map-and-compass and the use of GPS devices is not permitted. Navigators will be challenged by the sometimes featureless terrain, and those following the event from the comfort of their homes through the live online tracking platform are certain to find themselves shouting at their screens, “No, not that way!”

Follow the race online with live GPS tracking and social media updates

Each team carries a SPOT GPS tracking unit. Family, friends and supporters around the world can follow their teams and watch the race unfold by keeping an eye on the live tracking through their computers or smart phones. Dot watching enables adventure racing to be a spectator sport as supporters can follow the progress of the teams from one checkpoint to the next throughout the day and night.

Photographers, videographers and journalists with the teams will provide followers with updates and imagery. Look for regular social media posts on Adventure Racing World Series and Expedition Africa social media channels (@expafrica and @arworldseries) and follow the race reporting on www.SleepMonsters.com

A non-stop challenge

From the start, teams determine their pace and strategy, deciding when to rest or sleep. Team Merrell Songlines is the highest ranked team in the race line-up, but their place at the top of the podium is far from guaranteed. Illness, injury, flaws in navigation and strategy, as well as competition from other experienced and competitive teams will ensure the race favourites are challenged every step of the way.  The prize is to join the select group of Expedition Africa winners and to claim a free place at the next Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador later in the year.

The first teams are expected to finish by Wednesday, 29 May 2024. Those behind will have until the morning of Saturday 1st June 2024 to reach the finish line.

Expedition Africa Namibia is proudly supported by event sponsors Debmarine and Merrell.

DebMarine is Namibia's leading marine diamond recovery company and is a recognised world leader in marine diamond exploration and mining. Merrell has long been a respected brand in the sport of adventure racing, known for their durable footwear, and the brand sponsors the ARWS Africa Series and two of the leading teams in Africa.

Quick reference:

  • Event: Expedition Africa
  • Type of event: Expedition-length, multi-day, adventure race
  • Location: Swakopmund area of Namibia
  • Host venues: Arebbusch Travel Lodge in Windhoek and The Delight Hotel in Swakopmund
  • Team format: four-person mixed gender teams
  • Race distance: 490km
  • Sporting disciplines: trekking/hiking/running (25%), mountain biking (68%), paddling (7%), navigation, ropework, camel trekking
  • Legs: 8 legs
  • Flag Parade and Opening Ceremony: Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 09h00 (GMT +2)
  • Race start: Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 10h00 (GMT +2)
  • First team expected: Wednesday, 29 May 2024 (66 hours), Swakopmund
  • Last team expected: Saturday1stJune 2024 (6 days)
  • Live GPS tracking: www.expafrica.live
  • Social Media: @arworldseries @expafrica
  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ARWorldSeries
  • AR World Series: www.arworldseries.com
  • Social media tags: @expafrica @arwsafrica @arworldseries @sleepmonsters @merrellsa@debmarinenamibia @squirtcyclingproducts @gondwanalodges @radbag.co.za @foreverfresh.sa
  • Hashtags: #expafrica #expafrica2024, #Namibia#namibdesert #adventureracing #arworldseries #merrell  #visitNamibia #debmarine #radbag #squirtcyclingproducts #foreverfreshmeals #gondwanalodges#iamanadventureracer

About Expedition Africa

Started in 2011, Expedition Africa Namibia will be the 12th edition of the event. Expedition Africa has been held in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland (eSwatini), Rodrigues Island, and now in Namibia. 

Race Directors Heidi and Stephan Muller have been involved in the sport of Adventure Racing for 25 years, first as competitors and then as event organisers. In October 2023, Expedition Africa hosted the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Cape St Francis area of South Africa, proudly welcoming 109 teams from 40 countries.

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