A journey across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast by foot and fat-bike
to reach the most famous shipwreck on Earth…

 

A journey across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast by foot and fat-bike to reach the most famous shipwreck on Earth…

Namibia means Vast Place. The sand dunes of the Namib Desert and the famous Skeleton Coast are perhaps 2 of the most photographed landscapes in the World – in equal part alluring, evocative, mysterious and foreboding. In the ancient expanse of the Namib Naukluft desert, endless skies merge with towering dunes for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Nothing else. Just sand and sky. And then at the coast, the Atlantic breakers come crashing onto the shore amid colonies of 1000s of seals, rolling in on the cold seas of the Benguela Current all the way from Antarctica.

When we were looking at locations for the Rat Race Bucket List, our eye was drawn to this corner of South West Africa and a stunning photo of a shipwreck landlocked in the desert. You will probably have seen that photo too, but you are unlikely to know much else about it. The wreck is the Eduard Bohlen on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia – perhaps the most famous shipwreck in the World. We were so intrigued that we went to find it; our journey could not have been more spectacular. The route took us across the mighty Kuiseb Riverbed system to the highest sand dunes on Earth in the Namib Naukluft National Park. Then across them to reach the wild Skeleton Coast – exploring abandoned diamond mines and coming across abundant wildlife such as seal, oryx, jackal and the litter of endless whale bones to which the coast gives its name. The place was beyond rugged; beyond wild. And there, sticking out of the desert nearly 1km from the shore, lay the final resting place of the Eduard Bohlen.

Join us as we journey there again; this time with an intrepid group of Rat Racers covering either 300km on fat-bikes and foot to reach the Bohlen or 200km on foot only.

 

In November we’ll travel from the source of the Kuiseb River and over the Sand Dune sea of the Namib Naukluft National Park. Special permissions have been obtained to make the first-ever multi-sport crossing of this ancient landscape on a route that promises a quite extraordinary palette of terrains, vistas and an objective so eerie and unusual you will be quivering with delight for time eternal. This is Race to the Wreck.

 

Ask Allie – our Test Pilot who has taken on Mongolia, Panama and Namibia! Ask her anything from what to kit to take, what to expect, what the experience was like or just to get some general advice about these incredible journeys. Drop her a mail on askallie@ratrace.com.

 

OPTION ONE: MULTISPORT

DAYS: 7.5

(2 logistics days, 1 briefing/ admin/ kit check day, 4.5 days on the route)

DISTANCE: 303km

(200km on fat bikes over 2 days and 103km on foot over 2.5 days)

DATES:

17th – 24th November 2019
(2019 EVENT SOLD OUT)
15th – 22th November 2020



TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • 303km one-way journey across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast
  • 200km on fat-bikes followed by 103km on foot over 4.5 days
  • Terrain includes mountain, dry river, canyon and the World’s largest sand dunes in the Namib Naukluft National Park
  • Follows the course of the ancient Kuiseb River until it is blocked by the Sand Dune Sea. Then goes over the dunes, giving a traverse of the breadth of the Namib
  • Extraction back to civilisation by 4×4 desert convoy, or bush plane
  • Party in the Namibian tourist hotpsot of Swakopmund and onward travel from there back to Windhoek or stay around and enjoy Namibia on our tour extensions

INCLUSIONS

  • Fully supported including 4x4s, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully catered including all meals, pit stops plus hot and cold beverage provision en route
  • 7 nights accommodation: Luxury desert camp (2 nights), desert camp (4 nights), 4 star hotel (1 night)
  • Hot showers most nights, including under the stars in the desert
  • All in-country transfers from airport back to airport
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and other secret items
  • Ground-breaking satellite tracked for safety and supporter interaction
  • Fat bike hire included plus mechanical assistance en route
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp
  • Desert camps tooled up with satcomms and WiFi (extra charges apply)
  • After event party

OPTION TWO: RUN/HIKE

DAYS: 7.5

(2 logistics days, 1 briefing/ admin/ kit check day, 4.5 days on the route)

DISTANCE: 203km

(203km on foot over 4.5 days)

DATES: 17th – 24th November 2019 (2019 EVENT SOLD OUT) / 15th – 22nd November 2020



TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • 203km one-way journey across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast
  • 203km on foot over 4.5 days
  • Terrain includes mountain, dry river, canyon and the World’s largest sand dunes in the Namib Naukluft National Park
  • Follows the course of the ancient Kuiseb River until it is blocked by the Sand Dune Sea. Then goes over the dunes, giving a traverse of the breadth of the Namib
  • Extraction back to civilisation by 4×4 desert convoy, or bush plane
  • Party in the Namibian tourist hotpsot of Swakopmund and onward travel from there back to Windhoek or stay around and enjoy Namibia on our tour extensions

INCLUSIONS

  • Fully supported including 4x4s, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully catered including all meals, pit stops plus hot and cold beverage provision en route
  • 7 nights accommodation: Luxury desert camp (2 nights), desert camp (4 nights), 4 star hotel (1 night)
  • Hot showers most nights, including under the stars in the desert
  • All in-country transfers from airport back to airport
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and other secret items
  • Ground-breaking satellite tracked for safety and supporter interaction
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp
  • Desert camps tooled up with satcomms and WiFi (extra charges apply)
  • After event party

“It was bleak, astonishing and humbling. A world lost in sand and time.”

Allie Bailey

 

Sunday 17th November

Arrive Windhoek OR Walvis Way. See the ‘FOOD‘, ‘ACCOMMODATION‘ and ‘TRANSPORT’ tabs for more info on arrival options. Transfer from airport to our luxury desert camp accommodation.

Monday 18th November

Enjoy the surroundings of your stunning desert camp setting. Today’s schedule will also include briefings, a kit check plus opportunities to be sized for and trial your fat bikes. Another night accommodated in the camp and then it’s off into the desert.

Tuesday 19th November

Race to the Wreck Begins!

MULTISPORT: Cover 90km on fat bikes over gravel roads through the Khomas Hochland region, roughly paralleling the course of the Kuiseb River through rough, mountainous desert country to our overnight tented camp. Enjoy hot showers, braai, beers and vast starry skies. Want to know more about the terrain? See more detailed route info in the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

RUN/HIKE: Cover 50km on foot over gravel plains, rusty red dunes and rolling sand until you near the Kuiseb River and our overnight tented camp. Enjoy hot showers, braai, beers and vast starry skies.

Wednesday 20th November

MULTISPORT: Day 2 sees an early start to cover a massive 110km on the fat bikes, now descending into the sandy dry river bed of the Kuiseb itself and its towering gorges and really feeling the rhythm of that fat bike in the sand. Today we will reach the home of the Top’naa people at Homeb. From here you can literally touch the massive dunes of the Namib Naukluft, which tower above your overnight camp in the cool river bed.

RUN/HIKE: As the dunes get bigger you’ll rack up another 50km as you run towards the jawdropping canyon of the Kuiseb River before descending into it via an adrenaline filled dune drop off. Surrounded by towering gorges you’ll work your way to our canyon camp which are shouldered by the massive dunes of the Namib Naukluft which will tower above you.

Thursday 21st November

Day 3 sees the transition to foot for the Multisport participants as we merge onto the same course for a massive 40km day (approx) as you get a taste of the dunes this area is so famous for before reaching our stunning overnight desert camp.

Friday 22nd November

Be ready for Day 4, with over 9000ft of ascent packed into this 43km section it’s an exhilarating and exhaustingly long day on foot over another marathon’s worth of sandy terrain. Taking on over 21 dune formations will test you to the limit but the views are well worth it. The Day 4 camp will sit amongst these sand mountains in a truly spectacular setting.

Saturday 23rd November

The final 20km and the exit from the dune awaits you on Saturday morning, as you hit the coast you will also take in some of the abandoned mining settlements around Conception Bay. By lunch time Rat Racers will reach their incredible destination – the Eduard Bohlen where a celebratory lunch and a cold beer will be waiting in its shadow. Once everyone is in we’ll be extracting you via our brilliant 4×4 excursion down the coast and over the dunes back to the afterparty in Swakopmund.

Sunday 24th November

Transfer for those who want it back to Windhoek or to Walvis Bay Airport. OR hang around and enjoy Swakopmund. Or see some of the rest of Namibia on one of our extension tour itineraries for those who wish, departing from Swakopmond and transferring you seamlessly to the likes of Etosha Game Reserve, back to the dunes for a 4×4 dune driving adventure, a trip to the famous salt pans of Sosussvlei or elsewhere in Namibia. For all extension options, see the ‘TRANSPORT‘ tab. If you wish to delay your departure back to the airport at Walvis bay or Windhoek another day or two and leave on the Saturday or Sunday, that is also fine – a small surcharge will apply. See all transport options in the ‘TRANSPORT’ tab.

*NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND MAY CHANGE

Rat Race will provide: 

  • 4×4 Vehicle support throughout, including sweeper service, medical support and pit stop food and beverage provision. See Food/ Accommodation/ transport for more details on the pit stops and other trip catering provisions.
  • Satellite tracking and GPS routing device: Rat Race will provide ground-breaking satellite tracking, with units which allow us to see where you are at all times for your safety. It also allows your loved ones and supporters to keep track of your progress, should you wish to share. The device will also be uploaded with a track of the route, for you to follow on the device across certain stages. This ensures that the route is extremely easy to follow and also ensures you and we know where you are at all times.
  • Fat bike hire is included (Multisport only); and covers bike provision and full mechanical service en route (bring your own helmet and clothing – see below)
  • Bag transfer from camp to camp. You take a day pack and we carry the rest
  • Special-edition Race Bib to go over all items of clothing (lightweight fabric)

The participant will provide:

Their own footwear, running gear, daypack, plus a larger hold-all sized bag for overnight gear (strict size and weight limit applies). Cycling clothing , water bottle and helmet are also required.

For camp, you will bring your own sleeping bag and we would advise a headtorch plus overnight essentials like toiletries, some loo roll and books/ entertainment devices. We will provide all other items of camp equipment, including tents and roll-mats. Please note that there will be no charging stations or power provision for devices at the desert camps so bring your electronics fully charged. There will be charging opportunities at the camp on nights 1 and 2 and in the hotel on the final night.
A full kit list will be published soon, with detailed information on kit required, weights, dimensions and recommendations, plus all specialist items required. Most of what is required is ‘standard’ running and cycling gear for hot weather climates, although there are 1 or 2 specialist (inexpensive) items we will recommend for the desert environment.

BE SURE TO READ OUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING ADVICE AND GUIDANCE SHEET HERE, BEFORE THE EVENT

Mandatory Equipment

The below has been prepared by the Rat Race Race Director, in conjunction with Darren Grigas, who was a test Pilot in Namibia with us and ran the route in November 2018 and who has also prepared the training plan for the event.

Anything in BOLD is mandatory kit. There are numerous notes and recommendations to assist you with gear selection. Where a product is linked as a recommendation, it is just that: A recommendation and you are free to use the brands and products you see fit. What works for someone on fit, style or size may well not work for someone else, so please do not take our recommendations as a fait accompli. But please do remember, if the item is listed in BOLD, it is mandatory.

Intro from Darren…
So, let’s get this clear, you’re going to be running/marching/crawling across a desert, an actual desert, with sand and everything. You’re crossing a national park around the size of Belgium, with some of the biggest sand dunes in the world. This 55-million-year-old desert is affectionately called The Sea of Sand, and you’re going to damn well believe it too.

You’re sharing these massive plains with all that live on it, including those that hunt on it! You are very likely to see Zebra, Oryx, Ostrich, Springbok and various big birds, you’ll witness big bugs and lizards darting around, the lizards move so fast that your eyes can barely keep up.  Along the route you may find evidence of big cats such as leopards and cheetahs, and even baboon prints as they hang around the riverbed you’ll pass through. You may even get a visit to camp from a local rarely sighted brown hyena, (this is a special honour).  Yours is going to be an incredible adventure you’ll treasure forever, but for it to be most enjoyable, you’ll want all the right kit.

Mandatory kit list

Commentary is included on recommended items and some best practice/ advice where relevant. There is a host of information out there about running in deserts (some of it quite conflicting!) and our list constitutes the gear we know you will need, coupled with selections we can recommend that have worked for us. Do your homework and choose what you’re happiest with at all stages.

The kit list is not onerously long (you’re in a desert, you don’t need many clothes!) but there are some items that you simply can’t do without.

To wear:

  • Cap/hat with neck protection: Protecting your head and neck from the sun is a must. There are several variations but something like either this from My Race Kit or this from Raidlight will do the trick. The removeable neck protection function is useful, although it does not need to be removeable. You’ll want all the shade you can get on this event and this starts with your head.
  • Sunglasses – We advise wrap-around sports sunglasses to give you maximum field of vision and maximum sun protection. These can vary massively in price, but anything with good UV protection will be fine as long as they’re comfortable on your hot sweaty face. Cat 3 protection minimum spec.

Darren: I steer away from spending too much on glasses on these trips as you have a good chance of getting them ruined at some point.

  • Buff – Or neck gaiter, neckerchief or bandana.

Darren: A buff keeps the sun off your neck and is especially cooler if under the shade of your hat, and you can wet it at water stops too, which is heavenly when you’re part-baked!

  • Suncream/block

Darren: You’re in a desert and it’s hot. Of course. Plus that sun is out all day from early on and it is fierce on the skin. Another from My Race Kit, specially made to cope with extra sweaty desert runners, Tingerlaat has a good reputation amongst racers Also pack some sun blocking lip cream like this too

  • T-shirt – Generally a loose-fitting lightweight t-shirt (not cotton) is advised. Short or long-sleeved are permitted but our strong advice is long-sleeved and with some element of UV protection built in if you can find it. Raidlight do a good range of such garments.

Darren: Even the right cheap and simple shirt from the local sports store can do the trick, but in contrast to this, during the recce of the Namib, I tried the DNAmic Ultimate Cooling top and bottoms which proved to be fantastic in extreme heat and I can definitely recommend these garments. Anything from Raidlight is usually good, lightweight and well-made and our firm recommendation is to go LONG-SLEEVED. Anything with SPF in the fabric will also stand you in good stead. It’s one less part of the body to worry about sun-damage from if you have garments with SPF built-in.

  • Shorts – Whatever you’re most comfortable in to be honest. You can wear compression shorts/tights underneath for extra support if you choose.
  • Tights – (Not mandatory). You can wear shorts if you prefer; but if you want to keep the sun off your legs and avoid heat rash, cooling tights are well worth packing, plus the compression also helps with recovery.
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket – however unlikely it is that it may rain, a lightweight waterproof is recommended
  • Socks and at least 1 spare set – Your final sock choice is up to you and can be quite personal. Our strong advice would be a double sock system with a toe sock and a good wicking lightweight running sock over the top.

Ininji liner socks are fantastic. Coupled with something lightweight and breathable and ‘friction-free’ such as the Hilly Monoskin anklet or the Rat Race merino sock for outer layer – with excellent moisture wicking properties.

Darren: Toe Socks like Ininji, can prevent blistering between toes. These have been fantastic for me and I wouldn’t go to a desert without them now. If toe socks aren’t your thing, then Hilly are a great brand and will sort you out.

  • Running shoes – In deep dry sand, trail shoes aren’t going to get you much more traction than road shoes. So we are not saying you MUST use trail shoes. Road or trail are OK. The important thing here is to have plenty of support and comfort and to ensure your sizing has enough space for some foot swelling in the heat and to accommodate a double sock system, if that is what you choose.

Darren: Hokas are growing more popular for long distances so would be well worth checking out. The bossman Jim swears by his pair. My desert-pal Allie Bailey had zero problems with her trusty Altras and would strongly recommend these.  Personally I’ve found both Brooks GTS and Saucony Exodus to work great for me over deserts and have been the envy of camp with little to no blistering or rubbing throughout.

Footwear size: Is bigger really better?

You’ll hear advice to go bigger on your shoe size in a desert running environment and some advice tells you to even go as much as two sizes up. We think that is too much. Your feet may well swell, but they won’t swell longer, so perhaps go half a size up, one at most, but the important thing is to choose a shoe with a wide fit and plenty of room in the toe box. Too much space could have adverse effects as your feet rattle and slide around inside and lead to blistering. So, 0.5 – 1 size only on the size increment is our advice. We strongly advise you to attend a physical running shoe shop and try on different brands and models, plus take the advice from guys who know about fit and gait. Do not buy blind from the internet on this one!

  • Sand gaiters – These are a must for the desert to keep the sand from going in your shoes. A good pair that is well attached will spare you the horrors that a tiny amount of sand could do inside your shoes – even a few grains can be enough to ruin your feet before you even finish day one.Darren: The Raidlights have been great for me across two deserts, and whilst others are available, I’ll stick with these, “if it ain’t broke…”. You’ll need to get a local cobbler to stitch/glue velcro around the edges of your shoes for the gaiters to attach to as they use a Velcro attachment system typically. This will pretty much guarantee keeping all the sand outside of your shoes and save your feet from misery.  If you live in the UK and if you choose gaiters from MyRaceKit.com they offer in-house stitching although you might get a better price locally, I paid about £25.

    The absolute go-to guy in the UK, who does this for many desert runners is a chap called Alex who runs Alex Shoe Repairs in Wandworth, London.  It’s not a cheap service, but nearly 8 months after the recce trip, with pretty much weekly use since then and a few Ultras under his belt too, bossman Jim’s Velcro is still fully intact with a completely unbroken ring of Velcro around the shoes, glued firmly on them still. Not very fetching, but you absolutely NEED the Velcro to be bombproof to make this system work.Alex is available on +44 (0) 207 223 4931.Address:103C Lavender Hill
    Clapham
    London
    SW11
    5QL
  • Nightwear – You’ll want to change into some non-running gear at the end of each day, and it cools down a fair bit at night, in Namibia (especially towards the coast when the fog forms at night with the cool sea air hitting the hot desert sand), so pack a few base layers for top and bottom halves, maybe some favourite PJ’s. A lightweight down jacket or or fleece is also recommended for evenings as they do get cool. For your feet, some comfy slippers/sliders or crocs will air your feet and give you something to wear around camp. It is very important to give your feet a break each evening.

Equipment

  • Poles – These are mandatory for this event. It is our strong view that without poles, you will struggle on this event. Even if you don’t use poles normally, you WILL use them on this one.

Darren: When used properly, poles are a huge benefit on sand, and definitely on the dune climbs, oh the climbs! Even if you don’t normally use them for running, I highly recommend them for desert crossings. There will be many sections where you’ll resort to a steady march or a long difficult climb and poles will really help to propel you forwards, you’ll be glad you have them. Go for the larger baskets to reduce how much they sink into the sand.

  • Daypack or Ultra Vest– You only need a handy day pack as the crew will carry your full load of gear from camp to camp.  15 – 20l is recommended. Although it is up to you – you will need to fit the mandatory kit inside, plus 2l of water, food (min 400 kcal) and spare clothing. It’s entirely up to you.
  • Waterproof liner or drybag for daybag – This may sound strange in a place which has pretty much zero rainfall. The simple answer is that, if it’s waterproof, it’s sandproof. A waterproof liner or drybag will prevent sand getting all over your items inside your bag, which it will. It gets everywhere.

Darren: Credit where due, Rat Race have developed a really good running vest here which competes well with the top brands. Personally, I’ve been really pleased with the Salomon 12 set (I also have the 5L) both of which have been amazing for several years.

These are the top end of the price range and cheaper packs are available, however, you usually get what you pay for when it comes to cheaper day packs, and I’m more than happy I got my money’s worth with these. So be smart about where and when to save money. There’s space for a bladder in the back as well as two 500ml soft bottles at the front on both the Salomon and the Rat Race one, plus so many pockets for all the things you never realised you’d need or want.

  • Water carrying system – We will ask that you have a MINIMUM carrying capacity of 2 litres on you at any one time. You may carry bladders, plastic ‘hard’ bottles or flex bottles. Soft flex bottles or something like this raidlight (with a straw for easy access and continual sipping) work well. A combo of both systems (flex flasks and bottles) will also work. Bladders are also fine. Anything combination is fine. Provided you can carry 2 litres.

Darren: I’d recommend going with the soft flexi-bottles that come with the Salomon set (or similar, such as the Rat Race ScRUNch), it’s great that they squish away as they empty, instead of large empty rigid bottles with the last of the liquid swishing around.

Some guidance on water issues in the desert to aid your thinking on water carrying selections:

The current scientific thinking is to DRINK TO THIRST.  We’ll have no shortage of water although there will be a personal allowance. You should therefore not concern yourself with running out. Mores-o think about how and when you are going to drink. Regularity is key here – set up a regime and sip to it.  whether it’s three minutes, five or ten it doesn’t matter as long as it’s regular and you sip to thirst.  This regularity will prevent slipping into heat injury and just as important it’ll avoid hyponatremia   (see attached).  This is such a simple thing to get right but regularly claims victims in all desert events.  So keep it simple, drink to thirst within a regime and focus on the run without worrying about hydration.

  •  Head torch – waterproof to IPX7 standard, minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch

Daren: You need to find your way around camp at night, and just in case you get caught out on the trail after sunset, you’ll want to find your way to back. The Black Diamond 325 is neat and effective, offering red and green light too, which saves blinding your campmates when chatting at night. Don’t forget spare batteries! 

  • Portable charger – for that phone for selfies! But also for the charging of your GPS device – see below.

Darren: I’ve been using the Anker Powercore 20100 for a few years and it’s been flawless, offering almost 7 full phone charges for an iPhone and five for my Galaxy S8, and two USB ports so you can help out a mate at the same time!

  • GPS device – We require that you have a GPS device that is capable if having a GPX file downloaded to it. This can be a watch (See below) or a handheld device. This is an important piece of equipment that will assist you with following the GPS-generated route line on the ground. If you are not familiar with such devices don’t worry – they are easy to use and just like a satnav for people (vs cars). You should practise with your device prior to arrival at the event but we will also assist you on arrival with these GPX files and ensure you know to download them to your device. The key is that is MUST have enough battery life to last a full 15 hr day and you must have the ability to re-charge it (portable charger, see above).
  • GPS watch(Not mandatory). Your GPS device CAN be a watch or it CAN be a handheld. So a watch per-se is not mandatory.

Darren: Imagine sharing 130 desert miles to Strava when you get home! For multi-stage ultras with some days up to 15 hours long, there are only a few real contenders to keep recording and to also join up the days.  The Garmin Fenix 5 is unquestionably one of the best on the market, the price tag is pretty beefy though, so you could look for an older 2nd hand model if you wanted to save a few bucks. I’ve been more than happy with my older Fenix 3HR since about 2014 and it’s not a great deal different to the latest model.

  • Compass – Ideally you won’t need this or you might have a compass built into your watch, but an old-skool physical compass a must have ‘just in case’ your GPS device fails and you need to take a bearing. One like this will do the trick
  • Mirror – Not for checking your make-up, but for reflecting the sun to flash for attention/help if you get into trouble. You can get these within expedition first aid kits or buy here
  • Whistle – As long as it makes a loud toot, then you can pick one up very cheap. Some backpacks have them built in. That is fine. So it’s an integrated backpack whistle; or a stand-alone one.
  • Pen knife or multitool – any type of leatherman is great. Or a swiss army knife.
  • Gaffer tape or electrical tape for unexpected kit repairs.

Top Tip: to prevent you having to carry a full roll of duct tape, use a hotel key card or credit card-sized item and wrap the tape around it.

 Food

We will provide you with Pit Stop support along the route. We ask that you maintain some emergency rations on you at all times. As a minimum, 400kcal. This equates to 4 gels or similar energy bars products.

You may also want to take your own foodstuffs and/ or sports nutrition as you know what works best for you and you may have a system you are comfortable with, or simply want some of your own preferred scooby snacks. Given we are transporting an overnight bag for you, there is the facility for this to be carried for you camp-to-camp and you top up with what you need prior to each stage.

Darren:

  • You’ll need to keep your energy up for hours on end so whatever works best for you, snack bars with oats and seeds provide good carb energy, I can honestly say the Rat Race Pit Stop Bars are great, and pack a lot of energy into a few easy bites.
  • Include electrolytes in the mix as you’ll lose a lot of salts through sweating, I personally like to add powders to one of my water bottles so I get a constant top-up to prevent hitting a wall, SIS powders are always very good.
  • Stash your favourite salty/savoury items, peanuts, gels and some sweets for a nice sugary hit when you need it. 
  • Salt tablets or Sticks – To be clear, these are mandatory kit.

Darren: We lose a lot of essential salts through sweat and sweating is something we do a lot in the desert. As well as the powders, gels and snacks, it’s handy to have an extra dose of salts to avoid burning out and dehydrating. These salt capsules are a sure way to keep topped up and moving forwards.

  • Blister care – We have not laid out a mandatory ‘kit’ other than to say, you need a mandatory blister and foot care kit. Decisions such as whether you want to tape toes and ‘hot spots’ to prevent blisters in advance; or whether you treat blisters if/when they occur is personal and entirely up to you. Each school of thought has its merit. We have laid out some guidance and advice below, which we hope you find useful. Again, this is all from personal experience of this particular environment.

 

General footcare advice – taping


Food taping. For those wanting to do this, it’s worth knowing how to tape up well; and to have the right kit for it. Our recommendation is Rory Coleman’s method here. For this, you will need:

  • Hapla Band
  • Pen knife with scissors
  • Benzoin Tincture – this hardens the skin so helps prevent and dry out blisters
  • Plus, some iodine wipes and sterile blades/needles if you want to lance your blisters. (You might get these in your first aid kit, although you can also use the tiny scissors on a swiss army knife after a quick wipe with some alcohol.)

Darren: If you have known problem areas, I’d strongly recommend preventative measures and covering them before you start. Compeed blister plasters are brilliant, and whilst you can find similar from other brands like Scholl and Boots own, I find that these lead the way in my experience. 

General footcare advice – other products

  • Silicon lube – For the ultimate anti-blister regimen, some people lubricate feet with this in the morning prior to putting on their socks. This product is silicon based so won’t wear off.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Take this to dry feet and blisters out at the end of the day. It is better than popping the blisters, which can lead to infection. There is no better way to dry feet that using rubbing alcohol.
  • Another tape recommendation, to tape problem toes and to tape over blisters to keep them sterile and prevent infection. Top tip: Put a plaster on underneath.

The ‘foot bag’
Prepare yourself a ‘foot bag’ with everything you need in it and keep it separate to other items and to your general med kit. Items to consider including, include…

  • Compeeds or other blister plaster pads
  • General plasters – various sizes
  • KT (Kinesiology) Tape – for taping feet and for taping other joints
  • Hypafix tape – ideal for covering blisters. Hypoallergenic and wheras KT tape won’t hold feet when wet, hypafix tape will
  • Rubbing alcohol (70% alcohol)
  • Sterile needle or scalpel blade
  • Iodine

 

Medical

You will require a medical kit. We will make some mandatory stipulations a little closer to the time, but here are some items to consider:

  • Sudocrem – to prevent or treat chaffing in the most inconvenient areas and promote healing of cuts and scrapes
  • Blister pack as detailed above – SEPARATE from med kit
  • Personal First Aid kit to include adhesive dressing, steristrips and triangular bandage as a minimum. Find a decent small personal med kit and squeeze in some of the other things on this list to keep it all together in one bag
  • Hand sanitiser – you won’t find many washrooms on the dunes and personal hygience is of paramount importance when you’ve gone remote. A simple bug can bring everyone down, do keep the handy, handy!
  • Alcohol rub for your feet from a bottle or as wipes, this can be a life saver and really sort your feet out at the end of each day. As mentioned in blister care, above
  • Insect repellents for skin and spray for clothing is worth having too. The rumours are true about Avon Skin So Soft, proving to be a great repellent too, and it leaves your skin silky smooth as a bonus!
  • Personal medication as required – make sure you have it all on you. You will be asked to disclose medical history to our medics nearer the time so they understand any requirements you have in its respect.

 

Seeping gear

  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner

 

Other mandatory kit

  • Toothpaste & brush – all those gels and sugary snacks will leave your teeth feeling grim
  • Personal toiletries
  • Holdall or duffel for us to transport your gear between camps
  • Casual clothing for transit and overnights
  • Towel – travel micro towel or full-size
  • Spork or other eating utensil
  • Small drybag/s – for electronics. Sand WILL get everywhere and can compromise the effectiveness of your equipment and/ or scratch and damage items easily

 

Other recommended kit

  • Phone/CameraWho wouldn’t want a selfie or two at the top of some of the biggest sand dunes in the world?!  You’ll be repeatedly amazed by the views and wildlife, so it’s likely your phone won’t stay in your pocket for long
  • General trekking or travel trousers
  • Robust outdoor footwear are recommended just given the type of destination (your running footwear are fine if you do not wish to bring another pair of shoes)
  • Reading material
  • International plug adaptor

 

Bike Only Kit list – for those doing bike/ run ONLY

  • Your bike will be provided unless you wish to use your own
  • Helmet – you may provide your own or rent one from us for $10 US
  • Bikes will be supplied with flat pedals. Cleated pedals (SPD) may be attached if you wish to bring your own cleats. If doing so, please also bring a pedal spanner
  • Please bring a basic tool kit to include puncture repair patch, bike multitool and tyre levers
  • Please bring a small portable pump (PRESTA valve) to carry with you ojn the bike. Track pumps will be available in camps

 

Cycling clothing

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Cycling jersey – lightweight
  • Cycling gloves
  • Socks for cycling
  • Footwear appropriate for flat pedals (running trainers are fine) or SPD footwear if using cleats
  • Chamois cream

 

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 6/10 and Endurance rating 8/10.

What does this mean?

Technical rating 6/10

This is a committing proposition with a very good support system around you. It does not require super-human skills to access, however. The cycling and the running/ trekking stages are both open and accessible to anyone who has a decent level of fitness and who is up for a challenge.

Fat biking
Whilst you may not have experienced a fat bike previously, it is ‘just like riding a bike!’ The terrain is certainly rugged in places and there are a variety of terrains here, including good hard-packed gravel roads and soft sandy river bed.

Running/ trekking
You can walk or run the foot stages. They are long and arduous but are not massively technical, with the majority of the travel on sand dunes (which, admittedly, is unusual!) and on coastal hard-packed sand. Owing to the way they form, the dunes can be soft in places and these will be leg-sappers; but the dunes are never more than 35 degrees at the top of the ‘slip faces’ which means, whilst steep in places, these are brief interludes between longer and flatter sections in between the ‘dune streets.’ For more on the dunes and the desert environment, see the ‘LOCATION’ tab.

 

Endurance rating 8/10

Participants should expect a long outing here over 4.5 long days. This is a mighty Challenge. As with all Rat Race events however, the concept is designed to be tough, but achievable. This is not a ‘sufferfest.’ More-so it is a stunning journey through a sensational and surreal landscape. The undertaking should not be under-estimated of course, particularly the foot sections. A good dose of general fitness is required and will stand you in very good stead for completion of the job-in-hand.

Enjoy the journey and feel the burn in the legs after a job well done!

 

Provided within the trip costs are:

Meals at overnight accommodation and meals in camp

    • Including hot and cold options for breakfast, hot dinner and pit stop provision when out on the course. Soft drinks, squash and water are provided with all meals (or similar). Hot drinks are provided at breakfast also. Meat will feature heavily but a vegetarian option will always be provided.
    • Where we spend the night at a hotel, lodge or desert camp, the food is all included. That is 3 squares/ day. We also include a buffet dinner on the last night, when you have completed the journey.
    • Catering begins with dinner on Sunday 17/11/19 and ends with celebration buffet dinner at Swakopmund on Saturday 24/11/19

    There are no participant cooking facilities provided at the camps so if you do wish to cook your own food, you may do so with a small private stove, which we will transport for you with the rest of your gear.

    See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Pit Stops

  • We will offer savoury and sweet snacks, sports drink (carb-based powder for you to add to your water at your own discretion) and water are provided at the designated pit stops.
  • Please note that the provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. You are welcome to bring your own foodstuffs and we will transport it with us on the route. We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you.
  • See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Alcohol (!)

  • Complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink offered with our compliments at the finish line; available for all participants upon arrival at the Eduard Bohlen to celebrate a job well done!
  • 2 Party drinks per person to get you into the swing at the party on Saturday night back in Swakopmund

Participants will cover costs for:

  • All meals pre and post Challenge (outwith the times and sates stated above)
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the hotel and lodge bars and any items charged to your rooms all participants to settle own room extras bills
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the post-Challenge buffet (except 2 complimentary drink from ourselves)

What will I be eating?

Example meal menus for camps and hotels will be made available in advance, as well as information on camp meal menus (although some choices may not be available and menus are subject to change). Namibia is well known for its delicious meat and its braai (barbecue grilling) culture. It is less well known for its vegetarian options. We will always endeavour to ensure there are some hearty veggie options however.

Gluten-free, Vegan or other dietary requirements

Some Gluten-free and Vegan provision will be made at the pit stops and desert camps; although if you have food intolerances please do ensure you check with us on our provision as you may need to augment with your own supplies in the desert camps. Please contact us in advance with any specific dietary requirement questions well in advance – on booking you will be asked to list dietary requirements.

Lodges

Upon arrival and transfer from the airport at Windhoek or Walvis Bay, you will spend your first 2 nights at a comfortable lodge. Accommodation will be based on 2 sharing (doubles and twins available). Limited singles (with supplement fee) are available on request.

Desert Camps

This is the essence of the Namib experience and we will pride ourselves on the quality and ambience of these campsites. Ride or run into camp and enjoy a night under a desert sky filled with stars, a good hot plate of food, a roaring fire and (at some, a hot shower too). The latter certainly is a real luxury that no other outfitter of such events provides. We will provide tents, roll mats, toilets, showers (at 2 of the 4 camps) full catering service. There will also be the “Wrecked” on-site bar, limited WiFi facility and satcomms for those who wish to call home. Medical facilities, bike mechanics, massage and other event services will also feature.

Hotel

On the final night of your adventure, we will be laying on 4-star hotel accommodation in Swakopmund, full slap-up buffet, drinks and presentation of medals, mementos and awards. Plus a screening of footage from the event. Save some energy for the dance floor!

Camplife

What can I expect?

Quite simply, you can expect a campsite experience that will blow your mind. All of these sites are in stunning desert locations. The locations are remote but the level of facility is high

Calling these campsite moments life-affirming or life-changing experiences, alongside the clear epic nature of the challenge itself, is no cliché.

The camps are extremely well appointed, but are of course still camp sites. You will supply your own sleeping bags and we supply the rest – tents, toilets, showers (not all sites) and food and drinks. It is all laid on. We even have a bar, WiFi and satellite phone services for those who want to check in with ‘back yonder.’

Campsite layout and facilities

The camps will be laid out with your pre-pitched tents, with your overnight bags in your designated tent. You will sleep 2 per tent. There will be a central cooking point and food will be served in the evening and the morning from here, together with hot and cold drinks. Our bar will be open for the purchase of alcoholic drinks each night also, for a few sun-downers in the desert. You’ll find medical services, admin services, toilets cubicles and tents (long-drops or thunder boxes) and showers at some of the locations.

The WiFi and satellite communication services will be charged at extra rates.

Personal Hygiene

This one’s important. Which is why we insist on mandatory anti-bac wipes and anti-bac handwash. Bugs spread around people living in close quarters fast; going to the loo and not washing hands and handling food with dirty hands are the dangers. Keep washing those hands and you’ll not go far wrong. Any cuts and scratches should be attended to with antiseptic early too, to prevent infection taking hold in this remote environment.

 

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transfer from Windhoek Airport to the start area and accommodation at Namibgrens Farm. Transfer from Walvis Bay Airport to Namibgrens Farm is also offered for a surcharge
  • Transfer post-event from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay Airport (Delayed transfers are available for those who wish to enjoy Swakopmund for a while: Surcharge applies. Transfer back to Windhoek is also available: Surcharge applies)
  • During the event all of your overnight belongings will be transported and sweeper vehicles will transport YOU to the next camp if you require withdrawal from the event

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to and from Namibia
  • Airport transfers from our start and finish areas if outwith our stated transfer days (and any surcharges for ‘special’ transfers – see below)

Getting to Namibia

The nearest airport to the START of the event is Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, which has international flights from Europe (KLM and Lufthansa) and from all over Africa. The other option is to fly into Walvis Bay, served domestically from Windhoek and from South African airports like Cape Town and Johannesburg, which is nearer to the finish and then be transferred from there to the start. See below for more on these options. Inclusive in the price of the event, we offer transfer to the event accommodation from Windhoek airport on Sunday 17/11/19 and then from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay airport on 24/11/19.

Both Walvis Bay and Windhoek have multiple connections from South African airports each day, making international connections on South African, British Airways and other international carriers very straightforward.

  • Journey time to Cape Town or Windhoek direct from Europe: 10 hours
  • Journey time on connections between Cape Town or Jo’ Burg and Walvis Bay or Windhoek: 2 hours

Which airport do I fly into and transfer options to/ from the Start/ Finish

Owing to the on-way nature of this journey over a 300km route, you will be finishing far away from where you started. The nearest airport to the START is Windhoek, which has international flights from Europe and from all over Africa. The other option is to fly into Walvis Bay, served domestically from Windhoek and from South African airports like Cape Town and Johannesburg, which is nearer to the finish and be transferred to the start. See the ‘TRANSPORT‘ tab for more info on ‘Getting to Namibia.’ Inclusive in the price of the event, we offer transfer to the event accommodation from Windhoek airport on Sunday 17/11/19 and then from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay airport on 24/11/19.

If you wish to transfer BACK to Windhoek after the event, (having used our inclusive transfer from Windhoek to the Start area) that is fine and we can arrange that for a surcharge.

If you wish to transfer to the START from Walvis Bay airport on 17/11/19 (and then return to Walvis Bay airport after the event on our inclusive transfer) we can also offer that service, for a surcharge.

If you wish to stay around in Swakopmund after the event and transfer later on to Walvis Bay airport, we can arrange that, together with extra nights at the hotel.

 

What is the format of the event?

Race to the Wreck is a fully-supported 7 day adventure event. 4.5 days are spent on the adventure itself, with 1 prep day and 2 logistics days (owing to the remote nature – getting to and from the start/ finish). Fully supported means we provide the lot – all meals, accommodation, event support functions whilst you are on the route, bike hire for the fat bikes you will use, transfers to and from the airport, the lot. For more on what is included, see the ‘Inclusions’ section above.

What’s so special about it?

Quite a bit! The permissions in place for this event are one-of-a-kind. Access to the Namib Naukluft, which is the jewel in the crown of the Namib desert, is restricted, so simply going in there amongst those enormous dunes is special. Then there’s the route – 4.5 days with 4 different terrains and 4 very different characters, all connected with stunning desert camps and first-class event support. The multi-sport nature of the challenge: No-one has attempted such a crossing of the Namib and certainly not on this audacious scale. The objective – the ‘Wreck’ – is the Eduard Bohlen – the most famous shipwreck on Earth. When you get there, after this journey, you’ll know what it’s all about…and of course then you need to get back to civilisation as you are miles from anywhere, literally. So the special sauce is the final instalment of adventure –a giant 4×4 convoy across the sands to get you back to civilisation. So you say, It’s so special that even the post-event ‘bus ride’ is special! 

How far is the route

The Multisport route is 303km – 200km on fat-bikes and 100km on foot and the Run/Hike route is 203km. The exact final route distance is subject to change and might be a little above or below these figures. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing. For an overview map of the route with stages, the ‘THE COURSE‘ tab.

Is this a multi-day event?

Yes. 4.5 days. 1 stage per day.

How far is each stage and in which order do I bike and run?

MULTISPORT: You will bike for the first 2 days and then run or trek for the final 2 days, in that order. Each stage distance is subject to change but in round numbers, the bike legs are 90km on day 1 and 110km on day 2; the run/ trek is 40km on day 1 and 43km on day 2 and 20km on final morning. A route map can be viewed in the ‘COURSE’ tab.

RUN/HIKE: Day 1 is approx. 50km, day 2 is another 50km, day 3 is 40km, day 4 is 43km followed by a final 20km on the final morning.

Are there cut-offs? How long do I have to complete each stage?

There are cut-offs, although they are very generous and are not there to make you fail. We want everyone to finish and the cut-offs are generous. If you do end up lagging behind and you really cannot make it in time, we will pick you up in an event 4×4 sweeper vehicle and transport you to the overnight camp. You can re-start the next day if you wish. There is none of this ‘if you miss a cut-off you’re out’ stuff on this event. Each stage will have a published time limit and a designated starting window in the morning, so if you want to use every available hour on the course, just start as early as you can! Our limiting factor is daylight as we cannot drive our sweeper vehicles in the dunes once nightfalls, the cutoffs on each day will allow you to finish in daylight – expect some early starts to maximise this time!

Do I need to run on the foot stages?

No. There’s enough time available to walk it all, although you will need to sustain a decent average pace in order to get the job done.

How hard is it and how much training should I do?

It’s certainly a big outing. But it’s been designed for anyone – not just seasoned adventure athletes. That is the Rat Race way. We have provided some commentary on the nature of the challenge and the ‘ratings’ we apply to it (Skill rating and Endurance rating) which can be viewed in the ‘SKILL‘ tab. In terms of training, this is a personal thing, but a general training plan will be released shortly, which should act as an overall guide to help you prepare and get the most out of this epic adventure.

What type of terrain is it?

The bike is gravel roads and sandy river bed, plus some rocky sections. The run is a mix of sand dunes and hard-packed coastal sand. For a description of the route and a general overview of the map, see the ‘COURSE’ tab.

Do I need to navigate my way along the route?

For the bike, not at all. The trail will be obvious and there will be some way-markers out if there is any danger of taking a wrong turn.

For the foot sections, not really, but sort of, but don’t worry about it. We will provide a ‘track’ for you to follow which is uploaded onto a satellite navigation aid – it is basically a GPS for people instead of cars. And it’s a unique system. You can also download the track onto your own smart phone so that you will be able to follow it on your own device if you wish, too. The route will not be hard to follow at all. If you can follow a standard satnav route, you’ll be fine!

What if I get lost?

Unlikely. But if you do get lost we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. You will all have a satellite tracking device that is also capable of texting us and us texting you. So we can text you if we see you going off course. Or you can text our crew and they will put you back on track, either by giving you text instructions or by physically coming and getting you in the vehicle and plonking you back on route if it comes to that. But it won’t. You should not worry about getting lost. At all times our support team 4×4 vehicles will not be far away.

What if I get hurt?

As above. You’ll be in satellite text reception for all of the trip so help will not be far away. In a true Emergency your device also has an SOS button. We can always see your position, so we can always come straight to you. We have highly trained expedition paramedics on the event. So if you need assistance we will be there; similarly if you need or wish to withdraw from the route, we will come and get you. You can either withdraw at a pit stop or you can text us on the satellite device and we can come and get you.

Where will we stay?

Quite simply, some outstanding places. See the ‘ACCOMMODATION’ tab to learn more about the accommodation we will offer.

What is included?

Check out the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT’ tab to see what we provide on kit/equipment. What is included as far as food/accommodation/transport is concerned in the adjacent tabs.

 

 

What happens when we get to the Wreck? Isn’t it in the middle of the desert?

Yes. But that’s kind of the point. It’s 200km from the nearest human beings. We will finish at the Wreck before making a spectacular 4×4 convoy return north to Swakopmund up the Skeleton Coast and across the dunes. On the way back we will pass landmarks such as the wreck of the Shawnee and Sandwich Harbour, with its enormous dunes and its flocks of pink Flamingos.

Is there any hazard from the wildlife on the route?

There are snakes and scorpions in the sand that can deliver a nasty bite or sting; but nothing fatal. It is unlikely you will see these and with general precautions such as checking your shoes in the mornings, your trip should be hassle-free. We will have medics trained in the treatment of such injuries. Along the coast and inland you will see Oryx and towards the coast you will see jackals and seals. These don’t pose a threat to you.

How safe is the area and the country in general?

They call Namibia ‘Africa for beginners.’ It is a safe country with good tourism infrastructure, welcoming people and stunning natural wonders. Of course, it is not crime-free and general awareness and commons sense in the towns and cities are vital, as in any travel to unfamiliar lands. In the desert, there is no-one there to cause you any issue. Literally no-one.

What’s the weather like? It is really hot?

It can be very hot during the say and actually quite cold at night. The desert is a land of extremes of all descriptions, weather included. It is not overbearingly hot however and the heat is very dry, making it far more manageable than humid climates with lower temperatures. One phenomenon which is unique to the coastal Namib is the fog that rolls in off the sea every morning. Aside from supporting all life-forms in this desert area, it has a cooling effect. One thing the weather is here is predictable: The fog burns off every day by mid-morning and the day heats up, before cooling down after dark.

What equipment do I need?

There is a list in the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT‘ tab of what is provided for you by the event and what we require you to provide. A full kit list will be provided in due course.

How much special gear do I need to buy for this event?

Not much. The fatbike is provided by us. There are 1 or 2 desert recommendations we will make for inexpensive items that may make your life a little more comfortable in these conditions, such as sand gaiters. But in general, you need running/ trekking gear and cycling clothing (plus helmet) for a hot climate. Check out more on kit and equipment in the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT’ tab.

Do I need my own bike?

You can use it if you wish but no, you do not need one. We will provide fat bikes for participants. If you do decide you use your own, it is important to note that Day 1 does not require a fatbike (can be done on a regular mountain bike) but Day 2 definitely DOES need a fatbike. So unless you intend on using 2 different bikes (we cannot transport these, so it is not practicable) then a fatbike is the weapon of choice here.

Why fatbikes and not normal mountain bikes?

The 2 days of biking in this format both have different characters. Day 1 is on gravel trails and roads. A mountain bike would cover this ground fine. BUT on Day 2, we are into the soft sand of the Kuiseb Riverbed system and here, a fatbike is 100% required, owing to that soft sandy terrain. A normal mountain bike would just sink into the sand and be difficult to ride. A fat bike floats over it. It’s a fantastic ride. You’ll love it.

Is riding a fat bike hard? Or different to a ‘normal’ bike?

It is exactly the same as riding any other bike. You peddle and it goes. It has gears and it has brakes. It looks just like a normal mountain bike except the tyres are, well, fatter. Absolutely nothing to fear.

Do I have to carry all of my kit with me?

No. This is a supported format, which means that we transport gear for you. You will need to carry a daypack, which will have food, water, emergency gear and spare clothing in it, so you will have to carry something. But not all of your kit. We will do the hard yards on your overnight supplies by carrying a bag for you from camp to camp, plus all of the camping gear. This is a large logistical operation and is part of the value offered in this very special trip.

What food will be available? Do I have to pay for food or is it included?

This is a fully supported, fully catered format. Once you are with us on the trip, you don’t pay for your food (unless you want to bring your own, which is also fine). There is lots of information on the food and beverage provision in the ‘FOOD‘ tab.

Can I bring supporters?

On the course itself, no. We have a convoy of 4x4s supporting this trip and there is no space to take passengers. We can however provide extra beds at supporter rates in the luxury desert camp at the start and the hotel at the finish, together with catering so you can eat and stay together pre and post-trip.

Can my supporters follow the action at home?

Absolutely. Our bespoke and unique satellite tracking system is on-part safety system and on-part giant online-viewing gallery. Your supporters can see you on the map at all times and follow your progress.

What medical support is provided?

The best. Rat Race are renowned for their commitment to the very highest standards of safety management and medical cover. We will have an Event Doctor on the trip, plus paramedics and all of the gear and drugs required for such an undertaking in this environment.

How do I get to the start and away from the finish?

We offer airport transfers at either end. For the full low-down on this, together with a description of all of the options, see the ‘TRANSPORT’ tab.

What inoculations do I need?

Nothing fancy. The usual suite of ‘general’ injections is usual, such as typhus, tetanus, Hep-A and Hep-B. But nothing unusual.

Can I run for a charity?

Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer and raise £5000 we will refund you your entry fee and throw in a free Rat Race backpack. How’s that for a deal! You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart, however.

Can I volunteer?

Yes you can. We welcome support from across the Globe and if you do decide you want to come and work with us on this very special event, we will make sure we look after you. Plus you will be rewarded with an unbelievable experience in a phenomenal part of the World, of course. Check out the ‘VOLUNTEER‘ tab to see the lowdown volunteering on Rat Race Bucket List events across the World.

 

About the area

The Namib desert stretches for hundreds of miles along the coast of Namibia, reaching the swirling South Atlantic abruptly at the forbiddingly-named Skeleton Coast. We will be following the ancient Kuiseb River (which only flows about once every 5 years due to the lack of water in these parts) from its source near the Namibian capital Windhoek, to the edge of the famous Sand Dune Sea of the Namib Naukluft National Park, containing the highest sand dunes on Earth. The Naukluft is the jewel of the Namib Desert and special permission must be obtained to access it, which is only possible with rugged 4×4 vehicles. The highest sand dunes on Earth can be found here and we will be going over those dunes to reach our objective at the coast, the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen. This multi-sport crossing is a true World-first in many respects and the permissions granted for this event are truly unique. All up, a very special journey awaits into the heart of a very special piece of Africa. 

What can I expect?

Desert mountains, dry riverbeds, the highest sand dunes on Earth and the ethereal thunder of waves along the Skeleton Coast. The Namib Naukluft National Park is special in many ways and we have unique access for this event to the very heart of this incredible landscape. Couple with that the Kuiseb River, the Top’Naa community of Homeb and the Wreck of the Eduard Bohlen itself and you have a very special journey indeed. Your journey will involve both biking and running and your overnight locations will be fully-serviced campsites under the stars, lodges and one hotel stay. You can expect first-class safety, service and organisation. And as far as Namibia as a whole is concerned, you can expect to want to come back.

Weather

It can be very hot during the say and actually quite cold at night. The desert is a land of extremes of all descriptions, weather included. It is not overbearingly hot however and the heat is very dry, making it far more manageable than humid climates with lower temperatures. One phenomenon which is unique to the coastal Namib is the fog that rolls in off the sea every morning. Aside from supporting all life-forms in this desert area, it has a cooling effect. One thing the weather is here is predictable: The fog burns off every day by mid-morning and the day heats up, before cooling down after dark.

Wildlife

The cold Benguela current brings a fog that shrouds the dunes of the Namib, supporting a surprising array of lifeforms. You will come across Welwitschia plants, nourished by the fog to live for over 2000 years; These truly are some of the oldest living things on Earth. Then there are the animals – oryx, jackal, seal, springbok have all adapted to this environment and especially at the coast, there is an abundance of these critters.

Post-event, the opportunity to fish at Meob, near to where we will finish the event, provides some of the finest beach-casting in the World. Catch it, cook it. Further north, the great Game Parks of Erindi and Damaraland provide opportunities post-race to spot the ‘Big 5.’

Other highlights en route

The Bohlen itself is the real star of the show, providing a worthy objective after 4 days of heavy-duty dune-bashing, bush and sand riding. But en route to the Bohlen, this fascinating area throws up more surprises. 100 years ago this was diamond mining country and the first diamond mines sprang up in this harsh area. Water was found and small mining settlements were established for hardy prospectors to make their fortune. The diamonds came and went but the remains of those settlements are still there, rusting in the desert and standing testament to nature vs Man. The sand and the sea air has claimed much, but as you journey south along the coast to the Bohlen in the final 20km, you will pass the old harbour at Conception Bay where the boats would deposit miners and pick up diamonds. A few ruined buildings remain, together with wreckage of mining  equipment. Another surreal turn along this eerie coastline.

Key Facts

Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetahs.

The Welwitschia Mirabilis is a plant which is endemic to the Namib desert. Named after Friedrich Welwitsch who “discovered” the plant in 1859, some of the specimens are estimated to be between 1000 and 1500 years old.

Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world.  It has a population of around 2 million and is twice the size of California.  Only Mongolia is less populous.

Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution

Namibia is named after the Namib Desert, which, at 80 million years old, is the most ancient desert on the planet.

In Namibia, pedestrians can be breathalysed if involved in a collision with a vehicle. 

 

MULTISPORT COURSE

 

 

RUN / TREK COURSE

 

The Challenge

What is the route?

It is a one-way solo crossing of the Namib Desert, from (approximately) the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, to the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen at the coast. The route covers 4 distinct stages over 4.5 days, covering highland ‘bushveld, dry river bed, massive sand dunes, then sand dunes and coastal hard-packed beach. The Multisport route is 303km in length, with 200km completed on the bikes and 103km on foot, split between 40km, 43km and 20km respectively. The Run/Hike route is 203km in total.

Is it safe?

Yes. It is remote, it will be hot in the day and (relatively) cold at night. There are some nasties in the desert, such as scorpions and some snakes, but not very many. This is all true. But this event is well considered. We are not in the business of taking blind risks for our customers or our crew. We have recce’ed it and we have excellent local facilitators and guides. There are risks, inherent by the remote nature of such a challenge, but these risks are managed via the design of this event and via the systems we have put in place to operate it.

How hard is it?

Well this distance will never be a walk in the park, but add to that some pretty fierce daytime temperatures and a generally pretty hostile environment, (plus a bit of sand in your shoes) and this is a biggie. But we have designed it to be achievable. We don’t want you to fail. You need the right mind-set. It is worth a shot; it has to be. When else do you get an opportunity like this…?

Can I walk the foot sections?

Yes. In fact, even if you are a seasoned Ultra runner, you may be hard-pushed to run the whole thing due to the energy-sapping nature of the sand dunes. But we have designed it to be completed by a normal walker achieving an average pace of 4kmh (including pit-stops).

Biking 
How many times do you get to ride a fatbike across the desert? You may be wondering about this fatbike and what it is/ how it differs from a ‘regular’ bike. Well, it’s basically a mountain bike with fat tyres. They are a lot of fun and very similar to riding a mountain bike. The tyres are ‘fat’ to give you maximum traction on soft surfaces, like sand! Of course, that extra traction does mean ou need to push a bit harder on certain surfaces and you certainly won’t be setting any land speed records on these. But they are great bikes and absolutely 100% the tool for the job in these parts. Embrace the fatbike!

Can I use my own bike?

If you can get your own fatbike to Namibia, then sure, that is no problem. We do not offer any discount for this, but it is fine to do so. You must bring it in a bike box and we reserve the right to transport it in or out of the box. But if you are happier on your own steed, bring it along.

We will also ask you to wear a helmet, which is part of the mandatory kit list.

How long have I got each day?

We will have cut-offs but these will be extremely generous. If you can average a 10kmh pace on the bike and a 4kmh pace n foot, you will be OK. It will take you a long time, but you will make it. If you do find yourself at the back and off the pace, we will scoop you up and shuttle you further up the field, although we will aim for this to be a last resort so you have your best shot at doing the whole thing by your own means of travel.

What if I get injured, or need to withdraw from a stage or from the whole thing?

Our medical team will be on hand to assist with injury and depending on the type and nature of the injury can treat or transfer you accordingly. If we need to get to you to urgent medical attention in a hospital, there is a hospital at Walvis Bay, which we can access by helicopter or by a long drive out in a 4×4. We will be insisting that everyone has global evacuation insurance in place, in case we need to request a helicopter evacuation. See here for what this is and what it covers.

If you need to withdraw from a stage, our vehicles will move you onwards to the camp for that night. if you wish and if you are up to it, you may re-start the following stage the next day.

If you need to withdraw from the event as a whole, you will need to remain with the event convoy for the duration of the event, unless it is an Emergency, when we will evacuate you by helicopter or 4×4 depending on the nature of the situation.

Pit Stops

These will be situated regularly along the route and will be operated out of mobile vehicles, with hot and cold drink provision, plus some energy foods. We will have medical staff on hand immediately beyond the pit stops also.

Will I get too hot whilst on the course?

It’s possible but only if you don’t follow the guidance on clothing and water intake; and if you are slow in taking action to resolve if you do end up getting too hot. The absolute key is to ensure you ‘keep on top of it’ and to take on water, electrolytes and salts. We will have ll of these things at the pit stops, but you will also be required to carry a minimum quantity of water and minimum quantities of food, to ensure you are always self-sufficient until the next aid station. The absolute key is good hydration and good shade (cover) for your head. See the mandatory kit list for more information on kit and hydration.

Darren Grigas is our ‘go-to’ lead runner on our bucket-list series recces, and for good reason. He’s an extremely well-versed ultra-runner, having run races up to 250 miles long, over mountains, deserts, jungles and arctic conditions around the world.  He has featured in and on the cover of national running magazines, giving training and kit advice and has twice been invited to share his experiences at Buckingham and St James’ Palace as well giving talks at many other events across the country. 

Darren is a Rat Race veteran and has raced most of our events across the UK, regularly being among the top finishers just missing the win down to 2nd place in our Dirty Double of 40 miles and 400 obstacles.  So, he was a perfect choice when we needed a lead runner for our Bucket List recces, all of which he’s completed with a smile and an understanding of the Rat Race ethos and what our adventures are all about.

Darren has created a six-month training guide to help prepare our entrants for this challenge. Having experienced it first-hand, there are few people better placed to prepare you for what lies ahead. Contact Darren for a free consultation to create your bespoke training plan and discuss his coaching packages tailored around your lifestyle and abilities:

darrengrigas@hotmail.com   |   https://www.instagram.com/darrengrigas   |   https://darrengrigas.com/videos

 

Hills Run up as fast as you can, recover on your way down. Repeat several times
Dunes, lots of dunes! If you live among hills, then do most of your miles over these hillls to get the most from your training.
If you don’t have hills around then here are some alternative solutions:
Become best friends with a Stairmaster, climb those stairs!
Increase the incline on a treadmill, run/march
Cross-trainer – great for getting used to using poles (highly recommended) and a full body workout
Load-bearing Core strength & stability – ie planks, Russian twists, kettlebell swings, lunges
And of course, miles, lots and lots of miles… In the dunes, you move much slower than you’d expect, but embrace it, you’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy. Mix your miles between shorter faster runs and long slow runs/walks/hikes
Poles Walking poles are strongly recommended, with wide baskets to reduce sinking into the sand.
Get desert tough Building balanced overall body strength will help avoid injury

 

B2B Back to back days
LSR Long slow run (easy-steady)
EASY Conversational pace without losing breath (all-day-long pace)
STEADY Comfortable manageable pace 60-70%MHR
HARD Race pace 70-80% MHR
VERY HARD Interval/Tempo fast sections 80-90% MHR
MHR Max heart rate

 

Six Month Training Plan: Run/Hike

Weeks

Total miles

No. runs/hikes

Primary focus

Supplementary training

Cycling add-on for multi-sport crossing

1-2 10-15 3 3x Easy (comfortable enough to hold a conversation) 1-2x core & cross-training 1x 10 miles
3-4 10-15 3 2x steady, 1x hills 1-2x core & cross-training 2x 10-15 mile rides
5-6 15-20 4 2x steady, 1x hills, 1x tempos 1-2x core & cross-training 1x 15 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
7 20-25 4 2x steady, 1x hills, 1x tempos 2x core & cross-training 1x 20 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
8 15-20 4 Recovery week – reduce miles, slow down 1x core & cross-training 1×20 miles easy
9-10 20-25 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 2x core & cross-training 1x 10 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
11-12 25-35 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 2x core & cross-training 2x 20 miles B2B, 2x intervals/spin (1hr)
13-14 30-40 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training 1x 50 miles, 2x intervals/spin (1hr)
15 20-30 4 Recovery week – reduce miles, slow down 2x core & cross-training 1×20 miles easy
16-17 40-50 4 1x steady, 1x hills, 2x B2B LSR 2x core & cross-training 2x 20 miles B2B
18-19 60-70 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training B2B 40-50 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
20 70-80 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training 1x 30 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
21-23 30-40 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training 2x 20 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
24 30-40 4 Taper week – reduce miles and pace, pack, re-pack, pack again. 2x core & cross-training 1×20 miles easy
25 127!! 4.5 Sand dunes, river beds, amazing views, zebra crossing, snake racing

 

Six Month Training Plan: Run/Hike/Bike (add-on training)

As above, plus Cycling additions Reduce run/hike miles by 25%, replace intervals with cycling
Hills Get used to riding in rough terrain, uphill, in very low gears to keep momentum, there will be a lot of this.
Sand in the desert? If you have a beach nearby, take a bike and try it out, road bikes are not going to do well here.
Borrow a Fat-wheeler and try the beach so you’re mentally prepared. It’s no easy ride in the park.
Wattbikes are great to increase riding strength, that or any machine you can increase the resistance.
Spin classes: feel the burn and get comfortable with it

 

 

17th – 24th November 2019

  • Prices are per person

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    Register after 1st May 2019

  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $2200

  • RESERVATION FEE

    Due within 60 days

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR MULTISPORT*

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $1750

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR RUN / TREK*

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $1450

  • TOTAL

    To be paid

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $3650

15th – 22nd November 2020

  • Prices are per person

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    Register before 31st December 2019

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    Register after 1st January 2020

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    Register after 1st August 2020

  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $500

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $750

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $2250

  • RESERVATION FEE

    Due within 60 days

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $1500

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $1500

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR MULTISPORT*

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $1750

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $1750

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $1750

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR RUN / TREK*

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $1450

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $1450

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $1450

  • TOTAL

    To be paid

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $3750 / $3450

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $4000 / $3700

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $4000 / $3700

 

All prices are in US Dollars. An admin fee of 1.99% will be added to all payments. Your deposit is due 60 days after you pay your Registration Fee.

*Final balance is due by 1st July 2019 for 2019 event and 1st October 2020 for 2020 event.

All payments are non-refundable. If you wish to withdraw and lodge your request within 60 days of paying your Registration fee you may transfer this fee to another Rat Race Bucket List event or exchange it in totality for entry into a UK Rat Race event of your choosing.

Entries are non transferable to another person.

Please see here for full terms and conditions and our cancellation policy.

What’s Included 

  • Fully supported including 4x4s, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully catered including all meals, pit stops plus hot and cold beverage provision en route
  • 7 nights accommodation: Luxury desert camp (2 nights), desert camp (4 nights), 4 star hotel (1 night)
  • Hot showers most nights, including under the stars in the desert
  • All in-country transfers from airport back to airport
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and other secret items
  • Ground-breaking satellite tracked for safety and supporter interaction
  • Fat bike hire included plus mechanical assistance en route (Multisport only)
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp
  • Desert camps tooled up with satcomms and WiFi (extra charges apply)
  • After event party

 

Ever fancied working on an event at the Ends of the Earth? We have limited spaces for Volunteers to come and experience these sensational Bucket List events from the coalface with our volunteer programme.

We have spaces for volunteering within our event team at these events. Tasks include assistance at our overnight camps, inside the race team and behind the scenes on logistics and customer services in-country at the events. For those intrepid enough to take up the challenge you will be rewarded with the same mementos as the participants, plus accommodation and food whilst on the trip. Just get yourself to and back from the specified international airport in the host country and we will look after you during the trip.

Please note: we have had a lot of interest for our Bucket List Series so are no longer taking applications for volunteers.

Let us know which of our Bucket List events you’re interested in.

 


 

Fancy helping us create the next generation of Bucket List challenges and go where no-one has gone before? We’ve been busy combing the planet for the next wave of seriously out-there Adventures and now we’re looking for a few hardy souls to come with us and be “test-pilots” on these amazing new trips.

 

You’ll need a sense of adventure (and a sense of humour!) and of course you’ll understand that these trips aren’t the “finished article” yet, so an open-minded trailblazing spirit will help too! We’ll publish a kit list and there will be a financial contribution; plus you’ll need the time off, of course. These trips will take between 7-14 days depending on where in the World we are headed. The outcome? Authentic World-first Adventures. With you as part of the crew.

Join us as test pilot and see “the other side…”

For a list of destinations and approximate dates please email events@ratrace.com for more details.

RAISE AT LEAST £5000 FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND GET YOUR ENTRY FREE REFUNDED!

SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK: JOIN THE CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK TEAM AND HELP SAVE MORE YOUNG LIVES

By joining the 2019 Children with Cancer UK Race to the Wreck Team you will help the charity raise funds which will be invested into vital specialist research to improve survival rates in children and young people to create a world where no child dies of cancer.

Raise at least GBP£5,000 (excluding gift aid) for Children with Cancer UK by 17th November 2019 and Rat Race will refund your total entry fee up to the value of GBP £2,500.

Please note; USD$500 of your Registration Fee paid to Rat Race is non-refundable. Your refund will be made in USD$, with the exchange rates dependent on the time of processing. Refunds will be made between 2 and 3 months after the event is completed.

Refunds are not mandatory; participants are welcome to opt-out of receiving their refund. Should participants opt-out, their refund will instead be used by Children with Cancer UK to help fund vital specialist research into childhood cancer.

TO CREATE YOUR VIRGIN MONEY GIVING PAGE AND START FUNDRAISING SIMPLY CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE.

If you choose to support Children with Cancer UK and raise £5000, you will also receive;

  • A Children with Cancer UK fundraising and training pack
  • Regular Children with Cancer UK updates
  • A dedicated point of contact at the charity
  • A technical Children with Cancer UK t-shirt to wear with pride
  • Free Rat Race back pack (ideal for use on Bucket List events!)

If you go the extra-mile with your fundraising and help save the lives of every child with cancer you can be eligible for our fundraising incentive set out below.

Rat Race events are perfect platforms for fundraising. A solid and tangible physical and mental objective for you, the participant. Plus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the route; and perhaps raise some cash for a cause close to your heart.

There is no obligation to fund raise of course and people come from all walks of life and all over the World to take what they wish from these amazing experiences. If you do decide to raise cash, we welcome fundraising for any charity or non-profit.

If you are a UK resident, please read below for an exciting opportunity to raise money AND get your entry fee back, when you raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.

For more information on Children with Cancer UK please visit www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk. Alternatively please contact the Sports Team on 020 7404 0808 or email sports@childrenwithcancer.org.uk to find out more about this route to taking part in a Rat Race Bucket List event. Children with Cancer UK is a registered national charity (no. 298405)

READ ABOUT OUR £1MILLION CHARITY GOAL HERE

Onward tour options after the finish of the Event

Please get in touch via the ‘Contact us‘ link below if you’re interested in any of our Bolt On Options.

Option A:  Meob Fishing

The Namib Desert holds a sense of mystique and fascination for travellers and fisherman alike.  It is perceived as the last out post that must still be conquered … a destination to be ticked off on the bucket list. The fascination with the desert dates back to early days when diamond prospectors entered this vast sea of sand and many myths and fables originated as well as the stories of many a ship that became a victim of the Namib.  This sensitive desert forms the fundamental portion of the Naukluft Park and for that reason operations and movement are restricted. Concession holders are permitted to take groups of people through the desert and now we have also obtained permission to take groups on fishing trips to Meob Bay.  The waters around Meob is untouched … the ultimate experience for any fisherman.  Fishing is allowed on a catch and release basis.  Pack your gear, get your fishing buddies and come to Meob Bay for a fishing trip in the world’s oldest desert.

ITINERARY:

Day 1: 24 November 2019: Depart for Meob

Meet your guide early morning in Swakopmund. Ensure that you have enough drinking water, snacks, drinks and bait.  You don’t want to worry about this when your focus should be on fishing. You will receive a short briefing before departing towards Sandvis.  Depending on the tide you will either negotiate the Langewand or move inland to cross the dunes. Some of the landmarks to be on the look-out for is the wrecks of the Shawnee and Eduard Bohlen. The Eduard Bohlen was stranded near Conception Bay in 1909. This rusty wraith is something exceptional to behold and the icon of the Namib. You will reach Meob Bay late afternoon.

O/N Share tented accommodation (lunch and dinner)

Day 2: 25 November 2019: Fishing at Meob

Full day for fishing. Fishing at Meob is on a catch and release basis. The climate is cool.  This is due to the cold Benguela current that flows out of the Arctic and this presents the ideal conditions for excellent fishing.  Shoals of fish are waiting to be caught.

O/N Share tented accommodation (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 3: 26 November 2019: Fishing at Meob

Full day for fishing at Meob Bay area. Gather around the campfire tonight and listen to the stories of the big one that got away today.

O/N Share tented accommodation (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

 Day 4: 27 November 2019: Return to Walvis Bay

After breakfast we will be entering the dunes for the drive back to Walvis Bay.  The tide will once again determine if the route will be via the dunes or the Langewand. Arrive late afternoon in Swakopmund.

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast, lunch)

Day 5: 28 November 2019 Depart

Breakfast and check-out. Group transfer to Walvis Bay airport to check-in for return flight. (breakfast) End of service

 

TOUR COST per person sharing:

Based on a minimum of 4 people taking up the tour:  R36510.00 per person
Single supplement:  R1250.00

(Please send copy of passport for fishing permits to be arranged)

INCLUDED:

  • Transport in stretch 4 x 4 vehicle
  • Guide in own vehicle to accompany group
  • Communication radio’s for vehicles
  • Meals as specified
  • Hiring of fishing gear
  • Tented accommodation
  • Fishing permits for adults
  • Concession and park fees
  • Rental of camping chair, sleeping bag, pillow and towel, cutlery
  • The camp has hot showers, flush toilets and equipped kitchen
  • 1 x night at Strand Hotel on BB basis in a standaard room
  • Group airport transfer

EXCLUDED:

  • Meals not specified
  • Fishing bait
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING:

  • Torch & batteries
  • Camera (extra films & battery)
  • Sunglasses & sun tan lotion
  • Clothing – it will be more cold than hot in the desert.  Please take enough warm clothing.
  • Toiletries
  • Prescribed medicine

EXTRA: The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. The tour cost is based on a specific room type and vehicle.  Final cost will be determined by available room type and vehicle. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client. The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 


Option B:  Swakopmund Adventure

Swakopmund is Namibia’s playground, a holiday destination for tourists and locals alike. The city itself resembles a small German town and manages to create a feeling of timelessness with its palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and museums. And while there’s plenty to do within city limits, the real action happens in the desert surrounding Swakopmund. Visit the welwitschia fields, the Moon Landscape, do some sand-boarding or take a cruise of the lagoon an harbour in Walvis Bay. Swakopmund serves as a good break during a busy vacation. Relax and have fun in a place well suited for both.

ITINERARY:

Day 1:  24 November 2019: Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour

You will be met at the hotel for transfer to Walvis Bay. Spend the morning on the water sipping champagne, eating oysters and other delicious treats while keeping a look out for bottle nose dolphins! See Pelican Point, bird island, seal colonies, bird’s nests, and so much more! We start the afternoon half of our adventure by introducing you to our beautiful lagoon and salt pans filled with pink flamingos, before starting the amazing trip to Sandwich Harbour, through the dry Kuiseb Delta. Experience the crashing waves of the sea on one side, and the soaring heights of the sand dunes on the other. Should the tides be against us and the seas cut us off from the lagoon, we will climb the mighty dunes and take you to a view top instead. Included in this tour are some delicious platters, soft drinks, Namibian beer and juice. It’s a day to remember!

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast)

Day 2:  25 November 2019: Welwitschia Moon Landscape Tour

This tour departs from Swakopmund and lasts approximately 5 hours. Explore the welwitschia and moon landscape about 30 kms east of Swakopmund.  Frequent stops are made to point out all features of interest including the desert adapted plants and any small creatures to be found.  Larger mammals such as springbok, klipspringer, baboons, jackals and ostrich can also be encountered. Return to the hotel and rest of the day at leisure.

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast)

 Day 3:  26 November 2019: Scenic Flight           

Enjoy a 1 hour 36 minutes scenic flight over the Namib. Fly with the seagulls and flamingos. Savour the contrasting Namib Desert and the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean dotted with shipwrecks. Get a bird’s eye view of the Walvis Bay lagoon, the saltpans and Sandwich Harbour, famous for its countless numbers of birds. 2 – 5 Passengers will be accommodated in a Cessna 210 and from 6 passengers onwards in a Quest Kodiak. Rest of the day at leisure

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast)

Day 4:  27 November 2019

Breakfast, check-out and transfer to Walvis Bay Airport. End of services.

 

Cost per person sharing:

Based on a minimum of 2 people taking up the tour:  R22290.00 per person
Single supplement:  R1380.00

INCLUDED:

  • 3 x nights at the Strand Hotel in a standard room BB
  • Full day Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour tour
  • Half day Welwitschia and Moon Landscape Tour
  • One hour and 36-minute Diamond Coast scenic flight
  • Group transfer from hotel to Walvis Bay Airport on 27 November 2019

EXCLUDED:

  • Meals not specified
  • Drinks
  • Optional activities
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance

EXTRA: The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. Accommodation is quoted on a specific room type.  Final cost will be determined by the room type available. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client. The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 

 


Option C:  Erindi (Safari)

Our quote and programme are based on Erindi Game Reserve, but the final cost and programme will depend on availability.

Erindi Private Game Reserve is a protected reserve in central Namibia. Erindi, meaning “place of water”, is a sustainable natural wonderland. The reserve is a custodian to the most prolific amount of endemic species and multiple conservation projects. With 70,719 hectares of pristine wilderness the management have undertaken an immense task to pursue conservation initiatives in the name of eco-friendly tourism, whilst empowering local communities. Today, Erindi is an idyllic retreat boasting two camps, a rich cultural heritage, knowledgeable guides and unmatched hospitality – ensuring visitors have the kind of safari that lives in memory for a lifetime.

ITINERARY:

Day 1:  24 November 2019: Depart for Erindi

Check-out and met by your driver guide. Depart and drive through Damaraland to Erindi Private Reserve.  The reserve is about 300 kms from Swakopmund. Erindi is a stunning 71 000 ha wildlife wilderness.  It is home to many endangered species as well as lion and leopard, black rhino and the rare African Wild Dog. Arrive in time to join an afternoon game drive.

O/N Old Traders Lodge (breakfast, dinner)

Day 2:  25 November 2019: Erindi

Full day at Erindi to enjoy the game drives in the morning and afternoon. While spotting game you will be driving through beautiful landscapes. It varies from savannah to mountains with beautiful sunsets and sunrises.  Erindi is a Herero word meaning “The Place of Water”. You can also relax at the viewing deck at the lodge over looking a waterhole.  Game passes through there during the day and at night game drink and graze at the floodlit waterhole.

O/N Old Traders Lodge (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 3:  26 November 2019: Depart for Windhoek

Breakfast and depart for Windhoek. The drive to Windhoek will take about 2 and a half hours. Upon arrival you will check-in at your accommodation.  The rest of the afternoon at leisure.

O/N  Safari Court Hotel (breakfast, dinner)

Day 4:  27 November 2019: Depart

Breakfast and at leisure until transfer to the airport. Check-in for your flight. (breakfast) End of service.

 

Cost per person sharing

Based on a minimum of 2 people taking up the tour:  R23950.00 per person
Single supplement:  R1195.00

INCLUDED:

  • Guide, vehicle and fuel.
  • Guide accommodation and meals
  • 2 x nights at Erindi Game Reserve in a luxury suite
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Erindi
  • Afternoon tea / coffee at Erindi
  • PM and AM game drives at Erindi
  • 1 x night at Safari Court Hotel on DBB basis
  • Group transfer from hotel to Hosea Kutako Airport.

EXCLUDED:

  • Meals not specified
  • Beverages
  • Extra activities
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance

EXTRA: The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. The cost is based on specific room types and vehicles.  Final cost will be determined by the availability of room types and vehicles. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client. The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 


Option D:  Damaraland (Safari)

Damaraland is a scenic part of Namibia located in the central part of the country.  It is rugged and beautiful with postcard views of grasslands, dry river beds and granite koppies.  The Brandberg, the highest peak in Namibia is found here, the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein and the petrified forest are some of the sights not to be missed when visiting Damaraland.

ITINERARY: 

Day 1:  24 November 2019: Damaraland

Breakfast and meet your driver guide. Depart Swakopmund and drive in a northern direction to Damaraland. The lodge is about 5 hours drive from Swakopmund.  You will however stop en route to visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings. Twyfelfontein is famous for its San rock paintings and rock engravings … 2 500 were counted.  The age of the engravings fluctuates and a period of 1 000 – 10 000 years is stated.  The motives of the paintings depict hunting scenes and animal engravings. The engraving of a seal is remarkable as the ocean is 100 kms away.  UNESCO declared Twyfelfontein a World Heritage Site in 2007. Proceed to the lodge and check-in.

O/N Mowani Mountain lodge (breakfast, dinner)

Day 2:  25 November 2019: Mowani Mountain lodge

Full day at leisure at the lodge or enjoy some of the optional activities. Optional:  Elephant / Nature Drive 4 – 6 hours @ N$ 850.00

O/N Mowani Mountain Lodge (breakfast, dinner)

Day 3:  26 November 2019: Drive towards Etosha

Breakfast and check-out. Drive towards Etosha.  En route you will also visit two other icons of the area.

The Petrified Forest … not really a forest. It is actually fossilized tree trunks which are about 280 million years old.  The trunks were washed down to this area during a flood.  It was covered in sand and mud with no decay and the organic material of the trunks conserved in this way.  While in this area you will also see beautiful examples of the Welwitschia Mirabilis plant, an astonishing and unique plant.

The Organ Pipes is a rock formation consisting of columnar basalt, which looks like organ pipes.  They were formed 150 million year ago due to the intrusion of liquid lava into a slate rock formation.  Over some time, it was exposed to erosion.

Arrive at your lodge near the gate of the Etosha National Park.

O/N Etosha Safari Village (breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner)

Day 4:  27 November 2019: Game drive in Etosha

Breakfast and them depart on a full day game drive in Etosha. Etosha National Park spans an area of 22,270 square kilometers and gets its name from the large pan which is almost entirely within the park. The pan covers 23% of the area of the total area of the Etosha National Park. The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros. Late afternoon return to the lodge.

O/N Etosha Safari Village (breakfast and dinner)

Day 5:  28 November 2019: Transfer to Windhoek

Breakfast and check-out. Start the drive back to Windhoek.  The route will take you in a southern direction and will cover a distance of about 420 kms. Arrive late afternoon in Windhoek and check-in at your hotel.

O/N Safari Court Hotel (breakfast and dinner)

Day 6:  29 November 2019: Depart

Breakfast and at leisure until transfer to the airport. Check-in for return flight. End of service.

 

Cost per person sharing

Based on a minimum of 2 people taking up the tour:  R39150.00 per person
Single supplement:  R4410.00

INCLUDED:

  • 2 nights at Mowani Mountain Camp in a standard room on DBB basis
  • 2 nights at Etosha Village in a standard room on DBB basis
  • 1 night at Safari Court Hotel in a standard room on DBB basis
  • Guide for the duration of the tour
  • Guide accommodation and meals
  • Vehicle and fuel
  • Entrance fees:  Twyfelfontein, Organ Pipes and Petrified Forest
  • Conservation fees:  Mowani and Etosha National Park

EXCLUDED:

  • Meals not specified
  • Beverages
  • Extra activities
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance

EXTRA: The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. Cost is based on specific room types and vehicles.  Final cost will be determined by the availability of these rooms and vehicles. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client.The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 

ITINERARY

KIT/EQUIPMENT

SKILL LEVEL

FOOD

ACCOMMODATION

TRANSPORT

FAQ

LOCATION

THE COURSE

THE CHALLENGE

TRAINING PLAN

ENTRY FEE

TESTIMONIALS

VOLUNTEER

RUN FOR CHARITY

BOLT ON OPTIONS

CONTACT US

 


ITINERARY

Sunday 17th November

Arrive Windhoek OR Walvis Way. See the FOOD, ‘ACCOMMODATION and TRANSPORT’ tabs for more info on arrival options. Transfer from airport to our luxury desert camp accommodation.

Monday 18th November

Enjoy the surroundings of your stunning desert camp setting. Today’s schedule will also include briefings, a kit check plus opportunities to be sized for and trial your fat bikes. Another night accommodated in the camp and then it’s off into the desert.

Tuesday 19th November

Race to the Wreck Begins!

MULTISPORT: Cover 90km on fat bikes over gravel roads through the Khomas Hochland region, roughly paralleling the course of the Kuiseb River through rough, mountainous desert country to our overnight tented camp. Enjoy hot showers, braai, beers and vast starry skies. Want to know more about the terrain? See more detailed route info in the COURSE SECTION.

RUN/HIKE: Cover 50km on foot over gravel plains, rusty red dunes and rolling sand until you near the Kuiseb River and our overnight tented camp. Enjoy hot showers, braai, beers and vast starry skies.

Wednesday 20th November

MULTISPORT: Day 2 sees an early start to cover a massive 110km on the fat bikes, now descending into the sandy dry river bed of the Kuiseb itself and its towering gorges and really feeling the rhythm of that fat bike in the sand. Today we will reach the home of the Top’naa people at Homeb. From here you can literally touch the massive dunes of the Namib Naukluft, which tower above your overnight camp in the cool river bed.

RUN/HIKE: As the dunes get bigger you’ll rack up another 50km as you run towards the jawdropping canyon of the Kuiseb River before descending into it via an adrenaline filled dune drop off. Surrounded by towering gorges you’ll work your way to our canyon camp which are shouldered by the massive dunes of the Namib Naukluft which will tower above you.

Thursday 21st November

Day 3 sees the transition to foot for the Multisport participants as we merge onto the same course for a massive 40km day (approx) as you get a taste of the dunes this area is so famous for before reaching our stunning overnight desert camp.

Friday 22nd November

Be ready for Day 4, with over 9000ft of ascent packed into this 43km section it’s an exhilarating and exhaustingly long day on foot over another marathon’s worth of sandy terrain. Taking on over 21 dune formations will test you to the limit but the views are well worth it. The Day 4 camp will sit amongst these sand mountains in a truly spectacular setting.

Saturday 23rd November

The final 20km and the exit from the dune awaits you on Saturday morning, as you hit the coast you will also take in some of the abandoned mining settlements around Conception Bay. By lunch time Rat Racers will reach their incredible destination – the Eduard Bohlen where a celebratory lunch and a cold beer will be waiting in its shadow. Once everyone is in we’ll be extracting you via our brilliant 4×4 excursion down the coast and over the dunes back to the afterparty in Swakopmund.

Sunday 24th November

Transfer for those who want it back to Windhoek or to Walvis Bay Airport. OR hang around and enjoy Swakopmund. Or see some of the rest of Namibia on one of our extension tour itineraries for those who wish, departing from Swakopmond and transferring you seamlessly to the likes of Etosha Game Reserve, back to the dunes for a 4×4 dune driving adventure, a trip to the famous salt pans of Sosussvlei or elsewhere in Namibia. For all extension options, see the ‘TRANSPORT‘ tab. If you wish to delay your departure back to the airport at Walvis bay or Windhoek another day or two and leave on the Saturday or Sunday, that is also fine – a small surcharge will apply. See all transport options in the ‘TRANSPORT‘ tab.

*NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND MAY CHANGE


KIT/EQUIPMENT

Rat Race will provide:

  • 4×4 Vehicle support throughout, including sweeper service, medical support and pit stop food and beverage provision. See Food/ Accommodation/ transport for more details on the pit stops and other trip catering provisions.
  • Satellite tracking and GPS routing device: Rat Race will provide ground-breaking satellite tracking, with units which allow us to see where you are at all times for your safety. It also allows your loved ones and supporters to keep track of your progress, should you wish to share. The device will also be uploaded with a track of the route, for you to follow on the device across certain stages. This ensures that the route is extremely easy to follow and also ensures you and we know where you are at all times.
  • Fat bike hire is included (Multisport only); and covers bike provision and full mechanical service en route (bring your own helmet and clothing – see below)
  • Bag transfer from camp to camp. You take a day pack and we carry the rest
  • Special-edition Race Bib to go over all items of clothing (lightweight fabric)

The participant will provide:

Their own footwear, running gear, daypack, plus a larger hold-all sized bag for overnight gear (strict size and weight limit applies). Cycling clothing , water bottle and helmet are also required.

For camp, you will bring your own sleeping bag and we would advise a headtorch plus overnight essentials like toiletries, some loo roll and books/ entertainment devices. We will provide all other items of camp equipment, including tents and roll-mats. Please note that there will be no charging stations or power provision for devices at the desert camps so bring your electronics fully charged. There will be charging opportunities at the camp on nights 1 and 2 and in the hotel on the final night.
A full kit list will be published soon, with detailed information on kit required, weights, dimensions and recommendations, plus all specialist items required. Most of what is required is ‘standard’ running and cycling gear for hot weather climates, although there are 1 or 2 specialist (inexpensive) items we will recommend for the desert environment.

BE SURE TO READ OUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING ADVICE AND GUIDANCE SHEET HERE, BEFORE THE EVENT

 

Mandatory Equipment

The below has been prepared by the Rat Race Race Director, in conjunction with Darren Grigas, who was a test Pilot in Namibia with us and ran the route in November 2018 and who has also prepared the training plan for the event.

Anything in BOLD is mandatory kit. There are numerous notes and recommendations to assist you with gear selection. Where a product is linked as a recommendation, it is just that: A recommendation and you are free to use the brands and products you see fit. What works for someone on fit, style or size may well not work for someone else, so please do not take our recommendations as a fait accompli. But please do remember, if the item is listed in BOLD, it is mandatory.

Intro from Darren…
So, let’s get this clear, you’re going to be running/marching/crawling across a desert, an actual desert, with sand and everything. You’re crossing a national park around the size of Belgium, with some of the biggest sand dunes in the world. This 55-million-year-old desert is affectionately called The Sea of Sand, and you’re going to damn well believe it too.

You’re sharing these massive plains with all that live on it, including those that hunt on it! You are very likely to see Zebra, Oryx, Ostrich, Springbok and various big birds, you’ll witness big bugs and lizards darting around, the lizards move so fast that your eyes can barely keep up.  Along the route you may find evidence of big cats such as leopards and cheetahs, and even baboon prints as they hang around the riverbed you’ll pass through. You may even get a visit to camp from a local rarely sighted brown hyena, (this is a special honour).  Yours is going to be an incredible adventure you’ll treasure forever, but for it to be most enjoyable, you’ll want all the right kit.

Mandatory kit list

Commentary is included on recommended items and some best practice/ advice where relevant. There is a host of information out there about running in deserts (some of it quite conflicting!) and our list constitutes the gear we know you will need, coupled with selections we can recommend that have worked for us. Do your homework and choose what you’re happiest with at all stages.

The kit list is not onerously long (you’re in a desert, you don’t need many clothes!) but there are some items that you simply can’t do without.

To wear:

  • Cap/hat with neck protection: Protecting your head and neck from the sun is a must. There are several variations but something like either this from My Race Kit or this from Raidlight will do the trick. The removeable neck protection function is useful, although it does not need to be removeable. You’ll want all the shade you can get on this event and this starts with your head.
  • Sunglasses – We advise wrap-around sports sunglasses to give you maximum field of vision and maximum sun protection. These can vary massively in price, but anything with good UV protection will be fine as long as they’re comfortable on your hot sweaty face. Cat 3 protection minimum spec.

Darren: I steer away from spending too much on glasses on these trips as you have a good chance of getting them ruined at some point.

  • Buff – Or neck gaiter, neckerchief or bandana.

Darren: A buff keeps the sun off your neck and is especially cooler if under the shade of your hat, and you can wet it at water stops too, which is heavenly when you’re part-baked!

  • Suncream/block

Darren: You’re in a desert and it’s hot. Of course. Plus that sun is out all day from early on and it is fierce on the skin. Another from My Race Kit, specially made to cope with extra sweaty desert runners, Tingerlaat has a good reputation amongst racers Also pack some sun blocking lip cream like this too

  • T-shirt – Generally a loose-fitting lightweight t-shirt (not cotton) is advised. Short or long-sleeved are permitted but our strong advice is long-sleeved and with some element of UV protection built in if you can find it. Raidlight do a good range of such garments.

Darren: Even the right cheap and simple shirt from the local sports store can do the trick, but in contrast to this, during the recce of the Namib, I tried the DNAmic Ultimate Cooling top and bottoms which proved to be fantastic in extreme heat and I can definitely recommend these garments. Anything from Raidlight is usually good, lightweight and well-made and our firm recommendation is to go LONG-SLEEVED. Anything with SPF in the fabric will also stand you in good stead. It’s one less part of the body to worry about sun-damage from if you have garments with SPF built-in.

  • Shorts – Whatever you’re most comfortable in to be honest. You can wear compression shorts/tights underneath for extra support if you choose.
  • Tights – (Not mandatory). You can wear shorts if you prefer; but if you want to keep the sun off your legs and avoid heat rash, cooling tights are well worth packing, plus the compression also helps with recovery.
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket – however unlikely it is that it may rain, a lightweight waterproof is recommended
  • Socks and at least 1 spare set – Your final sock choice is up to you and can be quite personal. Our strong advice would be a double sock system with a toe sock and a good wicking lightweight running sock over the top.

Ininji liner socks are fantastic. Coupled with something lightweight and breathable and ‘friction-free’ such as the Hilly Monoskin anklet or the Rat Race merino sock for outer layer – with excellent moisture wicking properties.

Darren: Toe Socks like Ininji, can prevent blistering between toes. These have been fantastic for me and I wouldn’t go to a desert without them now. If toe socks aren’t your thing, then Hilly are a great brand and will sort you out.

  • Running shoes – In deep dry sand, trail shoes aren’t going to get you much more traction than road shoes. So we are not saying you MUST use trail shoes. Road or trail are OK. The important thing here is to have plenty of support and comfort and to ensure your sizing has enough space for some foot swelling in the heat and to accommodate a double sock system, if that is what you choose.

Darren: Hokas are growing more popular for long distances so would be well worth checking out. The bossman Jim swears by his pair. My desert-pal Allie Bailey had zero problems with her trusty Altras and would strongly recommend these.  Personally I’ve found both Brooks GTS and Saucony Exodus to work great for me over deserts and have been the envy of camp with little to no blistering or rubbing throughout.

Footwear size: Is bigger really better?

You’ll hear advice to go bigger on your shoe size in a desert running environment and some advice tells you to even go as much as two sizes up. We think that is too much. Your feet may well swell, but they won’t swell longer, so perhaps go half a size up, one at most, but the important thing is to choose a shoe with a wide fit and plenty of room in the toe box. Too much space could have adverse effects as your feet rattle and slide around inside and lead to blistering. So, 0.5 – 1 size only on the size increment is our advice. We strongly advise you to attend a physical running shoe shop and try on different brands and models, plus take the advice from guys who know about fit and gait. Do not buy blind from the internet on this one!

  • Sand gaiters – These are a must for the desert to keep the sand from going in your shoes. A good pair that is well attached will spare you the horrors that a tiny amount of sand could do inside your shoes – even a few grains can be enough to ruin your feet before you even finish day one.Darren: The Raidlights have been great for me across two deserts, and whilst others are available, I’ll stick with these, “if it ain’t broke…”. You’ll need to get a local cobbler to stitch/glue velcro around the edges of your shoes for the gaiters to attach to as they use a Velcro attachment system typically. This will pretty much guarantee keeping all the sand outside of your shoes and save your feet from misery.  If you live in the UK and if you choose gaiters from MyRaceKit.com they offer in-house stitching although you might get a better price locally, I paid about £25.

    The absolute go-to guy in the UK, who does this for many desert runners is a chap called Alex who runs Alex Shoe Repairs in Wandworth, London.  It’s not a cheap service, but nearly 8 months after the recce trip, with pretty much weekly use since then and a few Ultras under his belt too, bossman Jim’s Velcro is still fully intact with a completely unbroken ring of Velcro around the shoes, glued firmly on them still. Not very fetching, but you absolutely NEED the Velcro to be bombproof to make this system work.Alex is available on +44 (0) 207 223 4931.Address:103C Lavender Hill
    Clapham
    London
    SW11
    5QL
  • Nightwear – You’ll want to change into some non-running gear at the end of each day, and it cools down a fair bit at night, in Namibia (especially towards the coast when the fog forms at night with the cool sea air hitting the hot desert sand), so pack a few base layers for top and bottom halves, maybe some favourite PJ’s. A lightweight down jacket or or fleece is also recommended for evenings as they do get cool. For your feet, some comfy slippers/sliders or crocs will air your feet and give you something to wear around camp. It is very important to give your feet a break each evening.

Equipment

  • Poles – These are mandatory for this event. It is our strong view that without poles, you will struggle on this event. Even if you don’t use poles normally, you WILL use them on this one.

Darren: When used properly, poles are a huge benefit on sand, and definitely on the dune climbs, oh the climbs! Even if you don’t normally use them for running, I highly recommend them for desert crossings. There will be many sections where you’ll resort to a steady march or a long difficult climb and poles will really help to propel you forwards, you’ll be glad you have them. Go for the larger baskets to reduce how much they sink into the sand.

  • Daypack or Ultra Vest– You only need a handy day pack as the crew will carry your full load of gear from camp to camp.  15 – 20l is recommended. Although it is up to you – you will need to fit the mandatory kit inside, plus 2l of water, food (min 400 kcal) and spare clothing. It’s entirely up to you.
  • Waterproof liner or drybag for daybag – This may sound strange in a place which has pretty much zero rainfall. The simple answer is that, if it’s waterproof, it’s sandproof. A waterproof liner or drybag will prevent sand getting all over your items inside your bag, which it will. It gets everywhere.

Darren: Credit where due, Rat Race have developed a really good running vest here which competes well with the top brands. Personally, I’ve been really pleased with the Salomon 12 set (I also have the 5L) both of which have been amazing for several years.

These are the top end of the price range and cheaper packs are available, however, you usually get what you pay for when it comes to cheaper day packs, and I’m more than happy I got my money’s worth with these. So be smart about where and when to save money. There’s space for a bladder in the back as well as two 500ml soft bottles at the front on both the Salomon and the Rat Race one, plus so many pockets for all the things you never realised you’d need or want.

  • Water carrying system – We will ask that you have a MINIMUM carrying capacity of 2 litres on you at any one time. You may carry bladders, plastic ‘hard’ bottles or flex bottles. Soft flex bottles or something like this raidlight (with a straw for easy access and continual sipping) work well. A combo of both systems (flex flasks and bottles) will also work. Bladders are also fine. Anything combination is fine. Provided you can carry 2 litres.

Darren: I’d recommend going with the soft flexi-bottles that come with the Salomon set (or similar, such as the Rat Race ScRUNch), it’s great that they squish away as they empty, instead of large empty rigid bottles with the last of the liquid swishing around.

Some guidance on water issues in the desert to aid your thinking on water carrying selections:

The current scientific thinking is to DRINK TO THIRST.  We’ll have no shortage of water although there will be a personal allowance. You should therefore not concern yourself with running out. Mores-o think about how and when you are going to drink. Regularity is key here – set up a regime and sip to it.  whether it’s three minutes, five or ten it doesn’t matter as long as it’s regular and you sip to thirst.  This regularity will prevent slipping into heat injury and just as important it’ll avoid hyponatremia   (see attached).  This is such a simple thing to get right but regularly claims victims in all desert events.  So keep it simple, drink to thirst within a regime and focus on the run without worrying about hydration.

  •  Head torch – waterproof to IPX7 standard, minimum 150 lumens + spare batteries or second headtorch

Daren: You need to find your way around camp at night, and just in case you get caught out on the trail after sunset, you’ll want to find your way to back. The Black Diamond 325 is neat and effective, offering red and green light too, which saves blinding your campmates when chatting at night. Don’t forget spare batteries! 

  • Portable charger – for that phone for selfies! But also for the charging of your GPS device – see below.

Darren: I’ve been using the Anker Powercore 20100 for a few years and it’s been flawless, offering almost 7 full phone charges for an iPhone and five for my Galaxy S8, and two USB ports so you can help out a mate at the same time!

  • GPS device – We require that you have a GPS device that is capable if having a GPX file downloaded to it. This can be a watch (See below) or a handheld device. This is an important piece of equipment that will assist you with following the GPS-generated route line on the ground. If you are not familiar with such devices don’t worry – they are easy to use and just like a satnav for people (vs cars). You should practise with your device prior to arrival at the event but we will also assist you on arrival with these GPX files and ensure you know to download them to your device. The key is that is MUST have enough battery life to last a full 15 hr day and you must have the ability to re-charge it (portable charger, see above).
  • GPS watch(Not mandatory). Your GPS device CAN be a watch or it CAN be a handheld. So a watch per-se is not mandatory.

Darren: Imagine sharing 130 desert miles to Strava when you get home! For multi-stage ultras with some days up to 15 hours long, there are only a few real contenders to keep recording and to also join up the days.  The Garmin Fenix 5 is unquestionably one of the best on the market, the price tag is pretty beefy though, so you could look for an older 2nd hand model if you wanted to save a few bucks. I’ve been more than happy with my older Fenix 3HR since about 2014 and it’s not a great deal different to the latest model.

  • Compass – Ideally you won’t need this or you might have a compass built into your watch, but an old-skool physical compass a must have ‘just in case’ your GPS device fails and you need to take a bearing. One like this will do the trick
  • Mirror – Not for checking your make-up, but for reflecting the sun to flash for attention/help if you get into trouble. You can get these within expedition first aid kits or buy here
  • Whistle – As long as it makes a loud toot, then you can pick one up very cheap. Some backpacks have them built in. That is fine. So it’s an integrated backpack whistle; or a stand-alone one.
  • Pen knife or multitool – any type of leatherman is great. Or a swiss army knife.
  • Gaffer tape or electrical tape for unexpected kit repairs.

Top Tip: to prevent you having to carry a full roll of duct tape, use a hotel key card or credit card-sized item and wrap the tape around it.

 Food

We will provide you with Pit Stop support along the route. We ask that you maintain some emergency rations on you at all times. As a minimum, 400kcal. This equates to 4 gels or similar energy bars products.

You may also want to take your own foodstuffs and/ or sports nutrition as you know what works best for you and you may have a system you are comfortable with, or simply want some of your own preferred scooby snacks. Given we are transporting an overnight bag for you, there is the facility for this to be carried for you camp-to-camp and you top up with what you need prior to each stage.

Darren:

  • You’ll need to keep your energy up for hours on end so whatever works best for you, snack bars with oats and seeds provide good carb energy, I can honestly say the Rat Race Pit Stop Bars are great, and pack a lot of energy into a few easy bites.
  • Include electrolytes in the mix as you’ll lose a lot of salts through sweating, I personally like to add powders to one of my water bottles so I get a constant top-up to prevent hitting a wall, SIS powders are always very good.
  • Stash your favourite salty/savoury items, peanuts, gels and some sweets for a nice sugary hit when you need it. 
  • Salt tablets or Sticks – To be clear, these are mandatory kit.

Darren: We lose a lot of essential salts through sweat and sweating is something we do a lot in the desert. As well as the powders, gels and snacks, it’s handy to have an extra dose of salts to avoid burning out and dehydrating. These salt capsules are a sure way to keep topped up and moving forwards.

  • Blister care – We have not laid out a mandatory ‘kit’ other than to say, you need a mandatory blister and foot care kit. Decisions such as whether you want to tape toes and ‘hot spots’ to prevent blisters in advance; or whether you treat blisters if/when they occur is personal and entirely up to you. Each school of thought has its merit. We have laid out some guidance and advice below, which we hope you find useful. Again, this is all from personal experience of this particular environment.

General footcare advice – taping

Food taping. For those wanting to do this, it’s worth knowing how to tape up well; and to have the right kit for it. Our recommendation is Rory Coleman’s method here. For this, you will need:

  • Hapla Band
  • Pen knife with scissors
  • Benzoin Tincture – this hardens the skin so helps prevent and dry out blisters
  • Plus, some iodine wipes and sterile blades/needles if you want to lance your blisters. (You might get these in your first aid kit, although you can also use the tiny scissors on a swiss army knife after a quick wipe with some alcohol.)

Darren: If you have known problem areas, I’d strongly recommend preventative measures and covering them before you start. Compeed blister plasters are brilliant, and whilst you can find similar from other brands like Scholl and Boots own, I find that these lead the way in my experience. 

General footcare advice – other products

  • Silicon lube – For the ultimate anti-blister regimen, some people lubricate feet with this in the morning prior to putting on their socks. This product is silicon based so won’t wear off.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Take this to dry feet and blisters out at the end of the day. It is better than popping the blisters, which can lead to infection. There is no better way to dry feet that using rubbing alcohol.
  • Another tape recommendation, to tape problem toes and to tape over blisters to keep them sterile and prevent infection. Top tip: Put a plaster on underneath.

The ‘foot bag’
Prepare yourself a ‘foot bag’ with everything you need in it and keep it separate to other items and to your general med kit. Items to consider including, include…

  • Compeeds or other blister plaster pads
  • General plasters – various sizes
  • KT (Kinesiology) Tape – for taping feet and for taping other joints
  • Hypafix tape – ideal for covering blisters. Hypoallergenic and wheras KT tape won’t hold feet when wet, hypafix tape will
  • Rubbing alcohol (70% alcohol)
  • Sterile needle or scalpel blade
  • Iodine

 

Medical

You will require a medical kit. We will make some mandatory stipulations a little closer to the time, but here are some items to consider:

  • Sudocrem – to prevent or treat chaffing in the most inconvenient areas and promote healing of cuts and scrapes
  • Blister pack as detailed above – SEPARATE from med kit
  • Personal First Aid kit to include adhesive dressing, steristrips and triangular bandage as a minimum. Find a decent small personal med kit and squeeze in some of the other things on this list to keep it all together in one bag
  • Hand sanitiser – you won’t find many washrooms on the dunes and personal hygience is of paramount importance when you’ve gone remote. A simple bug can bring everyone down, do keep the handy, handy!
  • Alcohol rub for your feet from a bottle or as wipes, this can be a life saver and really sort your feet out at the end of each day. As mentioned in blister care, above
  • Insect repellents for skin and spray for clothing is worth having too. The rumours are true about Avon Skin So Soft, proving to be a great repellent too, and it leaves your skin silky smooth as a bonus!
  • Personal medication as required – make sure you have it all on you. You will be asked to disclose medical history to our medics nearer the time so they understand any requirements you have in its respect

 

Seeping gear

  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner

 

Other mandatory kit

  • Toothpaste & brush – all those gels and sugary snacks will leave your teeth feeling grim
  • Personal toiletries
  • Holdall or duffel for us to transport your gear between camps
  • Casual clothing for transit and overnights
  • Towel – travel micro towel or full-size
  • Spork or other eating utensil
  • Small drybag/s – for electronics. Sand WILL get everywhere and can compromise the effectiveness of your equipment and/ or scratch and damage items easily

 

Other recommended kit

  • Phone/CameraWho wouldn’t want a selfie or two at the top of some of the biggest sand dunes in the world?!  You’ll be repeatedly amazed by the views and wildlife, so it’s likely your phone won’t stay in your pocket for long
  • General trekking or travel trousers
  • Robust outdoor footwear are recommended just given the type of destination (your running footwear are fine if you do not wish to bring another pair of shoes)
  • Reading material
  • International plug adaptor

 

Bike Only Kit list – for those doing bike/ run ONLY

  • Your bike will be provided unless you wish to use your own
  • Helmet – you may provide your own or rent one from us for $10 US
  • Bikes will be supplied with flat pedals. Cleated pedals (SPD) may be attached if you wish to bring your own cleats. If doing so, please also bring a pedal spanner
  • Please bring a basic tool kit to include puncture repair patch, bike multitool and tyre levers
  • Please bring a small portable pump (PRESTA valve) to carry with you ojn the bike. Track pumps will be available in camps

 

Cycling clothing

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Cycling jersey – lightweight
  • Cycling gloves
  • Socks for cycling
  • Footwear appropriate for flat pedals (running trainers are fine) or SPD footwear if using cleats
  • Chamois cream

 

 


SKILL LEVEL

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 6/10 and Endurance rating 8/10.

What does this mean?

Technical rating 6/10

This is a committing proposition with a very good support system around you. It does not require super-human skills to access, however. The cycling and the running/ trekking stages are both open and accessible to anyone who has a decent level of fitness and who is up for a challenge.

Fat biking
Whilst you may not have experienced a fat bike previously, it is ‘just like riding a bike!’ The terrain is certainly rugged in places and there are a variety of terrains here, including good hard-packed gravel roads and soft sandy river bed.

Running/ trekking
You can walk or run the foot stages. They are long and arduous but are not massively technical, with the majority of the travel on sand dunes (which, admittedly, is unusual!) and on coastal hard-packed sand. Owing to the way they form, the dunes can be soft in places and these will be leg-sappers; but the dunes are never more than 35 degrees at the top of the ‘slip faces’ which means, whilst steep in places, these are brief interludes between longer and flatter sections in between the ‘dune streets.’ For more on the dunes and the desert environment, see the ‘LOCATION tab.

Endurance rating 8/10

Participants should expect a long outing here over 4.5 long days. This is a mighty Challenge. As with all Rat Race events however, the concept is designed to be tough, but achievable. This is not a ‘sufferfest.’ More-so it is a stunning journey through a sensational and surreal landscape. The undertaking should not be under-estimated of course, particularly the foot sections. A good dose of general fitness is required and will stand you in very good stead for completion of the job-in-hand.

Enjoy the journey and feel the burn in the legs after a job well done!

 

 


FOOD

Provided within the trip costs are:

Meals at overnight accommodation and meals in camp

  • Including hot and cold options for breakfast, hot dinner and pit stop provision when out on the course. Soft drinks, squash and water are provided with all meals (or similar). Hot drinks are provided at breakfast also. Meat will feature heavily but a vegetarian option will always be provided.
  • Where we spend the night at a hotel, lodge or desert camp, the food is all included. That is 3 squares/ day. We also include a buffet dinner on the last night, when you have completed the journey.
  • Catering begins with dinner on Sunday 17/11/19 and ends with celebration buffet dinner at Swakopmund on Saturday 24/11/19

There are no participant cooking facilities provided at the camps so if you do wish to cook your own food, you may do so with a small private stove, which we will transport for you with the rest of your gear.

See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Pit Stops

  • We will offer savoury and sweet snacks, sports drink (carb-based powder for you to add to your water at your own discretion) and water are provided at the designated pit stops.
  • Please note that the provision whilst on the route does not consist of ‘full meals’ and will be more snack-based grab n’ go options, to reflect the journey being undertaken. You are welcome to bring your own foodstuffs and we will transport it with us on the route. We would also advise that if you have sports nutrition products that you know work for you, please bring them with you.
  • See below for information on gluten-free and vegan provision.

Alcohol (!)

  • Complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink offered with our compliments at the finish line; available for all participants upon arrival at the Eduard Bohlen to celebrate a job well done!
  • 2 Party drinks per person to get you into the swing at the party on Saturday night back in Swakopmund

Participants will cover costs for:

  • All meals pre and post Challenge (outwith the times and sates stated above)
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the hotel and lodge bars and any items charged to your rooms all participants to settle own room extras bills
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the post-Challenge buffet (except 2 complimentary drink from ourselves)

What will I be eating?

Example meal menus for camps and hotels will be made available in advance, as well as information on camp meal menus (although some choices may not be available and menus are subject to change). Namibia is well known for its delicious meat and its braai (barbecue grilling) culture. It is less well known for its vegetarian options. We will always endeavour to ensure there are some hearty veggie options however.

Gluten-free, Vegan or other dietary requirements

Some Gluten-free and Vegan provision will be made at the pit stops and desert camps; although if you have food intolerances please do ensure you check with us on our provision as you may need to augment with your own supplies in the desert camps. Please contact us in advance with any specific dietary requirement questions well in advance – on booking you will be asked to list dietary requirements.

 


ACCOMMODATION

Arrival

Upon arrival and transfer from the airport at Windhoek or Walvis Bay, you will spend your first 2 nights at a luxury desert camp. Accommodation will be based on 2 sharing (doubles and twins available). Limited singles (with supplement fee) are available on request.

Desert Camps

This is the essence of the Namib experience and we will pride ourselves on the quality and ambience of these campsites. Ride or run into camp and enjoy a night under a desert sky filled with stars, a good hot plate of food, a roaring fire and (at some, a hot shower too). The latter certainly is a real luxury that no other outfitter of such events provides. We will provide tents, roll mats, toilets, showers (at 2 of the 4 camps) full catering service. There will also be the “Wrecked” on-site bar, limited WiFi facility and satcomms for those who wish to call home. Medical facilities, bike mechanics, massage and other event services will also feature.

Hotel

On the final night of your adventure, we will be laying on 4-star hotel accommodation in Swakopmund, full slap-up buffet, drinks and presentation of medals, mementos and awards. Plus a screening of footage from the event. Save some energy for the dance floor!

Camplife

What can I expect?

Quite simply, you can expect a campsite experience that will blow your mind. All of these sites are in stunning desert locations. The locations are remote but the level of facility is high

Calling these campsite moments life-affirming or life-changing experiences, alongside the clear epic nature of the challenge itself, is no cliché.

The camps are extremely well appointed, but are of course still camp sites. You will supply your own sleeping bags and we supply the rest – tents, toilets, showers (not all sites) and food and drinks. It is all laid on. We even have a bar, WiFi and satellite phone services for those who want to check in with ‘back yonder.’

Campsite layout and facilities

The camps will be laid out with your pre-pitched tents, with your overnight bags in your designated tent. You will sleep 2 per tent. There will be a central cooking point and food will be served in the evening and the morning from here, together with hot and cold drinks. Our bar will be open for the purchase of alcoholic drinks each night also, for a few sun-downers in the desert. You’ll find medical services, admin services, toilets cubicles and tents (long-drops or thunder boxes) and showers at some of the locations.

The WiFi and satellite communication services will be charged at extra rates.

Personal Hygiene

This one’s important. Which is why we insist on mandatory anti-bac wipes and anti-bac handwash. Bugs spread around people living in close quarters fast; going to the loo and not washing hands and handling food with dirty hands are the dangers. Keep washing those hands and you’ll not go far wrong. Any cuts and scratches should be attended to with antiseptic early too, to prevent infection taking hold in this remote environment.

 


TRANSPORT

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transfer from Windhoek Airport to the start area and accommodation at Namibgrens Farm. Transfer from Walvis Bay Airport to Namibgrens Farm is also offered for a surcharge
  • Transfer post-event from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay Airport (Delayed transfers are available for those who wish to enjoy Swakopmund for a while: Surcharge applies. Transfer back to Windhoek is also available: Surcharge applies)
  • During the event all of your overnight belongings will be transported and sweeper vehicles will transport YOU to the next camp if you require withdrawal from the event

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to and from Namibia
  • Airport transfers from our start and finish areas if outwith our stated transfer days (and any surcharges for ‘special’ transfers – see below)

Getting to Namibia

The nearest airport to the START of the event is Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, which has international flights from Europe (KLM and Lufthansa) and from all over Africa. The other option is to fly into Walvis Bay, served domestically from Windhoek and from South African airports like Cape Town and Johannesburg, which is nearer to the finish and then be transferred from there to the start. See below for more on these options. Inclusive in the price of the event, we offer transfer to the event accommodation from Windhoek airport on Sunday 17/11/19 and then from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay airport on 24/11/19.

Both Walvis Bay and Windhoek have multiple connections from South African airports each day, making international connections on South African, British Airways and other international carriers very straightforward.

  • Journey time to Cape Town or Windhoek direct from Europe: 10 hours
  • Journey time on connections between Cape Town or Jo’ Burg and Walvis Bay or Windhoek: 2 hours

Which airport do I fly into and transfer options to/ from the Start/ Finish

Owing to the on-way nature of this journey over a 300km route, you will be finishing far away from where you started. The nearest airport to the START is Windhoek, which has international flights from Europe and from all over Africa. The other option is to fly into Walvis Bay, served domestically from Windhoek and from South African airports like Cape Town and Johannesburg, which is nearer to the finish and be transferred to the start. See the ‘TRANSPORT tab for more info on ‘Getting to Namibia.’ Inclusive in the price of the event, we offer transfer to the event accommodation from Windhoek airport on Sunday 17/11/19 and then from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay airport on 24/11/19.

If you wish to transfer BACK to Windhoek after the event, (having used our inclusive transfer from Windhoek to the Start area) that is fine and we can arrange that for a surcharge.

If you wish to transfer to the START from Walvis Bay airport on 17/11/19 (and then return to Walvis Bay airport after the event on our inclusive transfer) we can also offer that service, for a surcharge.

If you wish to stay around in Swakopmund after the event and transfer later on to Walvis Bay airport, we can arrange that, together with extra nights at the hotel.

 


FAQ

What is the format of the event?

Race to the Wreck is a fully-supported 7 day adventure event. 4.5 days are spent on the adventure itself, with 1 prep day and 2 logistics days (owing to the remote nature – getting to and from the start/ finish). Fully supported means we provide the lot – all meals, accommodation, event support functions whilst you are on the route, bike hire for the fat bikes you will use, transfers to and from the airport, the lot. For more on what is included, see the ‘Inclusions’ section above.

What’s so special about it?

Quite a bit! The permissions in place for this event are one-of-a-kind. Access to the Namib Naukluft, which is the jewel in the crown of the Namib desert, is restricted, so simply going in there amongst those enormous dunes is special. Then there’s the route – 4.5 days with 4 different terrains and 4 very different characters, all connected with stunning desert camps and first-class event support. The multi-sport nature of the challenge: No-one has attempted such a crossing of the Namib and certainly not on this audacious scale. The objective – the ‘Wreck’ – is the Eduard Bohlen – the most famous shipwreck on Earth. When you get there, after this journey, you’ll know what it’s all about…and of course then you need to get back to civilisation as you are miles from anywhere, literally. So the special sauce is the final instalment of adventure –a giant 4×4 convoy across the sands to get you back to civilisation. So you say, It’s so special that even the post-event ‘bus ride’ is special!

How far is the route

The Multisport route is 303km – 200km on fat-bikes and 100km on foot and the Run/Hike route is 203km. The exact final route distance is subject to change and might be a little above or below these figures. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing. For an overview map of the route with stages, the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

Is this a multi-day event?

Yes. 4.5 days. 1 stage per day.

How far is each stage and in which order do I bike and run?

MULTISPORT: You will bike for the first 2 days and then run or trek for the final 2 days, in that order. Each stage distance is subject to change but in round numbers, the bike legs are 90km on day 1 and 110km on day 2; the run/ trek is 40km on day 1 and 43km on day 2 and 20km on final morning. A route map can be viewed in the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

RUN/HIKE: Day 1 is approx. 50km, day 2 is another 50km, day 3 is 40km, day 4 is 43km followed by a final 20km on the final morning.

Are there cut-offs? How long do I have to complete each stage?

There are cut-offs, although they are very generous and are not there to make you fail. We want everyone to finish and the cut-offs are generous. If you do end up lagging behind and you really cannot make it in time, we will pick you up in an event 4×4 sweeper vehicle and transport you to the overnight camp. You can re-start the next day if you wish. There is none of this ‘if you miss a cut-off you’re out’ stuff on this event. Each stage will have a published time limit and a designated starting window in the morning, so if you want to use every available hour on the course, just start as early as you can! Our limiting factor is daylight as we cannot drive our sweeper vehicles in the dunes once nightfalls, the cutoffs on each day will allow you to finish in daylight – expect some early starts to maximise this time!

Do I need to run on the foot stages?

No. There’s enough time available to walk it all, although you will need to sustain a decent average pace of 4kmph in order to get the job done.

How hard is it and how much training should I do?

It’s certainly a big outing. But it’s been designed for anyone – not just seasoned adventure athletes. That is the Rat Race way. We have provided some commentary on the nature of the challenge and the ‘ratings’ we apply to it (Skill rating and Endurance rating) which can be viewed in the ‘SKILL‘ tab. In terms of training, this is a personal thing, but a general training plan will be released shortly, which should act as an overall guide to help you prepare and get the most out of this epic adventure.

What type of terrain is it?

The bike is gravel roads and sandy river bed, plus some rocky sections. The run is a mix of sand dunes and hard-packed coastal sand. For a description of the route and a general overview of the map, see the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

Do I need to navigate my way along the route?

For the bike, not at all. The trail will be obvious and there will be some way-markers out if there is any danger of taking a wrong turn.

For the foot sections, not really, but sort of, but don’t worry about it. We will provide a ‘track’ for you to follow which is uploaded onto a satellite navigation aid – it is basically a GPS for people instead of cars. And it’s a unique system. You can also download the track onto your own smart phone so that you will be able to follow it on your own device if you wish, too. The route will not be hard to follow at all. If you can follow a standard satnav route, you’ll be fine!

What if I get lost?

Unlikely. But if you do get lost we have a suite of options in place to get you back on track. You will all have a satellite tracking device that is also capable of texting us and us texting you. So we can text you if we see you going off course. Or you can text our crew and they will put you back on track, either by giving you text instructions or by physically coming and getting you in the vehicle and plonking you back on route if it comes to that. But it won’t. You should not worry about getting lost. At all times our support team 4×4 vehicles will not be far away.

What if I get hurt?

As above. You’ll be in satellite text reception for all of the trip so help will not be far away. In a true Emergency your device also has an SOS button. We can always see your position, so we can always come straight to you. We have highly trained expedition paramedics on the event. So if you need assistance we will be there; similarly if you need or wish to withdraw from the route, we will come and get you. You can either withdraw at a pit stop or you can text us on the satellite device and we can come and get you.

Where will we stay?

Quite simply, some outstanding places. See the ACCOMMODATION tab to learn more about the accommodation we will offer.

What is included?

Check out the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT‘ tab to see what we provide on kit/equipment. What is included as far as food/accommodation/transport is concerned in the adjacent tabs.

What happens when we get to the Wreck? Isn’t it in the middle of the desert?

Yes. But that’s kind of the point. It’s 200km from the nearest human beings. We will finish at the Wreck before making a spectacular 4×4 convoy return north to Swakopmund up the Skeleton Coast and across the dunes. On the way back we will pass landmarks such as the wreck of the Shawnee and Sandwich Harbour, with its enormous dunes and its flocks of pink Flamingos.

Is there any hazard from the wildlife on the route?

There are snakes and scorpions in the sand that can deliver a nasty bite or sting; but nothing fatal. It is unlikely you will see these and with general precautions such as checking your shoes in the mornings, your trip should be hassle-free. We will have medics trained in the treatment of such injuries. Along the coast and inland you will see Oryx and towards the coast you will see jackals and seals. These don’t pose a threat to you.

How safe is the area and the country in general?

They call Namibia ‘Africa for beginners.’ It is a safe country with good tourism infrastructure, welcoming people and stunning natural wonders. Of course, it is not crime-free and general awareness and commons sense in the towns and cities are vital, as in any travel to unfamiliar lands. In the desert, there is no-one there to cause you any issue. Literally no-one.

What’s the weather like? It is really hot?

It can be very hot during the say and actually quite cold at night. The desert is a land of extremes of all descriptions, weather included. It is not overbearingly hot however and the heat is very dry, making it far more manageable than humid climates with lower temperatures. One phenomenon which is unique to the coastal Namib is the fog that rolls in off the sea every morning. Aside from supporting all life-forms in this desert area, it has a cooling effect. One thing the weather is here is predictable: The fog burns off every day by mid-morning and the day heats up, before cooling down after dark.

What equipment do I need?

There is a list in the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT‘ tab of what is provided for you by the event and what we require you to provide. A full kit list will be provided in due course.

How much special gear do I need to buy for this event?

Not much. The fatbike is provided by us. There are 1 or 2 desert recommendations we will make for inexpensive items that may make your life a little more comfortable in these conditions, such as sand gaiters. But in general, you need running/ trekking gear and cycling clothing (plus helmet) for a hot climate. Check out more on kit and equipment in the ‘KIT/EQUIPMENT‘ tab.

Do I need my own bike?

You can use it if you wish but no, you do not need one. We will provide fat bikes for participants. If you do decide you use your own, it is important to note that Day 1 does not require a fatbike (can be done on a regular mountain bike) but Day 2 definitely DOES need a fatbike. So unless you intend on using 2 different bikes (we cannot transport these, so it is not practicable) then a fatbike is the weapon of choice here.

Why fatbikes and not normal mountain bikes?

The 2 days of biking in this format both have different characters. Day 1 is on gravel trails and roads. A mountain bike would cover this ground fine. BUT on Day 2, we are into the soft sand of the Kuiseb Riverbed system and here, a fatbike is 100% required, owing to that soft sandy terrain. A normal mountain bike would just sink into the sand and be difficult to ride. A fat bike floats over it. It’s a fantastic ride. You’ll love it.

Is riding a fat bike hard? Or different to a ‘normal’ bike?

It is exactly the same as riding any other bike. You peddle and it goes. It has gears and it has brakes. It looks just like a normal mountain bike except the tyres are, well, fatter. Absolutely nothing to fear.

Do I have to carry all of my kit with me?

No. This is a supported format, which means that we transport gear for you. You will need to carry a daypack, which will have food, water, emergency gear and spare clothing in it, so you will have to carry something. But not all of your kit. We will do the hard yards on your overnight supplies by carrying a bag for you from camp to camp, plus all of the camping gear. This is a large logistical operation and is part of the value offered in this very special trip.

What food will be available? Do I have to pay for food or is it included?

This is a fully supported, fully catered format. Once you are with us on the trip, you don’t pay for your food (unless you want to bring your own, which is also fine). There is lots of information on the food and beverage provision in the ‘FOOD‘ tab.

Can I bring supporters?

On the course itself, no. We have a convoy of 4x4s supporting this trip and there is no space to take passengers. We can however provide extra beds at supporter rates in the camp at the start and the hotel at the finish, together with catering so you can eat and stay together pre and post-trip.

Can my supporters follow the action at home?

Absolutely. Our bespoke and unique satellite tracking system is on-part safety system and on-part giant online-viewing gallery. Your supporters can see you on the map at all times and follow your progress.

What medical support is provided?

The best. Rat Race are renowned for their commitment to the very highest standards of safety management and medical cover. We will have an Event Doctor on the trip, plus paramedics and all of the gear and drugs required for such an undertaking in this environment.

How do I get to the start and away from the finish?

We offer airport transfers at either end. For the full low-down on this, together with a description of all of the options, see the ‘TRANSPORT‘ tab.

What inoculations do I need?

Nothing fancy. The usual suite of ‘general’ injections is usual, such as typhus, tetanus, Hep-A and Hep-B. But nothing unusual.

Can I run for a charity?

Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer and raise £5000 we will refund you your entry fee and throw in a free Rat Race backpack. How’s that for a deal! You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart, however.

Can I volunteer?

Yes you can. We welcome support from across the Globe and if you do decide you want to come and work with us on this very special event, we will make sure we look after you. Plus you will be rewarded with an unbelievable experience in a phenomenal part of the World, of course.  Check out the ‘VOLUNTEER‘ tab to see the lowdown volunteering on Rat Race Bucket List events across the World.

 


LOCATION

About the area

The Namib desert stretches for hundreds of miles along the coast of Namibia, reaching the swirling South Atlantic abruptly at the forbiddingly-named Skeleton Coast. We will be following the ancient Kuiseb River (which only flows about once every 5 years due to the lack of water in these parts) from its source near the Namibian capital Windhoek, to the edge of the famous Sand Dune Sea of the Namib Naukluft National Park, containing the highest sand dunes on Earth. The Naukluft is the jewel of the Namib Desert and special permission must be obtained to access it, which is only possible with rugged 4×4 vehicles. The highest sand dunes on Earth can be found here and we will be going over those dunes to reach our objective at the coast, the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen. This multi-sport crossing is a true World-first in many respects and the permissions granted for this event are truly unique. All up, a very special journey awaits into the heart of a very special piece of Africa. 

What can I expect?

Desert mountains, dry riverbeds, the highest sand dunes on Earth and the ethereal thunder of waves along the Skeleton Coast. The Namib Naukluft National Park is special in many ways and we have unique access for this event to the very heart of this incredible landscape. Couple with that the Kuiseb River, the Top’Naa community of Homeb and the Wreck of the Eduard Bohlen itself and you have a very special journey indeed. Your journey wil involve both biking and running and your overnight locations will be fully-serviced campsites under the stars, lodges and one hotel stay. You can expect first-class safety, service and organisation. And as far as Namibia as a whole is concerned, you can expect to want to come back.

Weather

It can be very hot during the say and actually quite cold at night. The desert is a land of extremes of all descriptions, weather included. It is not overbearingly hot however and the heat is very dry, making it far more manageable than humid climates with lower temperatures. One phenomenon which is unique to the coastal Namib is the fog that rolls in off the sea every morning. Aside from supporting all life-forms in this desert area, it has a cooling effect. One thing the weather is here is predictable: The fog burns off every day by mid-morning and the day heats up, before cooling down after dark.

Wildlife

The cold Benguela current brings a fog that shrouds the dunes of the Namib, supporting a surprising array of lifeforms. You will come across Welwitschia plants, nourished by the fog to live for over 2000 years; These truly are some of the oldest living things on Earth. Then there are the animals – oryx, jackal, seal, springbok have all adapted to this environment and especially at the coast, there is an abundance of these critters.

Post-event, the opportunity to fish at Meob, near to where we will finish the event, provides some of the finest beach-casting in the World. Catch it, cook it. Further north, the great Game Parks of Erindi and Damaraland provide opportunities post-race to spot the ‘Big 5.’

Other highlights en route

The Bohlen itself is the real star of the show, providing a worthy objective after 4 days of heavy-duty dune-bashing, bush and sand riding. But en route to the Bohlen, this fascinating area throws up more surprises. 100 years ago this was diamond mining country and the first diamond mines sprang up in this harsh area. Water was found and small mining settlements were established for hardy prospectors to make their fortune. The diamonds came and went but the remains of those settlements are still there, rusting in the desert and standing testament to nature vs Man. The sand and the sea air has claimed much, but as you journey south along the coast to the Bohlen in the final 20km, you will pass the old harbour at Conception Bay where the boats would deposit miners and pick up diamonds. A few ruined buildings remain, together with wreckage of mining  equipment. Another surreal turn along this eerie coastline.

Key Facts

Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetahs.

The Welwitschia Mirabilis is a plant which is endemic to the Namib desert. Named after Friedrich Welwitsch who “discovered” the plant in 1859, some of the specimens are estimated to be between 1000 and 1500 years old.

Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world.  It has a population of around 2 million and is twice the size of California.  Only Mongolia is less populous.

Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution

Namibia is named after the Namib Desert, which, at 80 million years old, is the most ancient desert on the planet.

In Namibia, pedestrians can be breathalysed if involved in a collision with a vehicle.  

 


THE MULTISPORT COURSE

 

 

RUN / TREK COURSE

 


THE CHALLENGE

What is the route?

It is a one-way solo crossing of the Namib Desert, from (approximately) the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, to the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen at the coast. The route covers 4 distinct stages over 4.5 days, covering highland ‘bushveld, dry river bed, massive sand dunes, then sand dunes and coastal hard-packed beach. The Multisport route is 303km in length, with 200km completed on the bikes and 103km on foot, split between 40km, 43km and 20km respectively. The Run/Hike route is 203km in total.

Is it safe?

Yes. It is remote, it will be hot in the day and (relatively) cold at night. There are some nasties in the desert, such as scorpions and some snakes, but not very many. This is all true. But this event is well considered. We are not in the business of taking blind risks for our customers or our crew. We have recce’ed it and we have excellent local facilitators and guides. There are risks, inherent by the remote nature of such a challenge, but these risks are managed via the design of this event and via the systems we have put in place to operate it.

How hard is it?

Well this distance will never be a walk in the park, but add to that some pretty fierce daytime temperatures and a generally pretty hostile environment, (plus a bit of sand in your shoes) and this is a biggie. But we have designed it to be achievable. We don’t want you to fail. You need the right mind-set. It is worth a shot; it has to be. When else do you get an opportunity like this…?

Can I walk the foot sections?

Yes. In fact, even if you are a seasoned Ultra runner, you may be hard-pushed to run the whole thing due to the energy-sapping nature of the sand dunes. But we have designed it to be completed by a normal walker achieving an average pace of 4kmh (including pit-stops).

Biking 
How many times do you get to ride a fatbike across the desert? You may be wondering about this fatbike and what it is/ how it differs from a ‘regular’ bike. Well, it’s basically a mountain bike with fat tyres. They are a lot of fun and very similar to riding a mountain bike. The tyres are ‘fat’ to give you maximum traction on soft surfaces, like sand! Of course, that extra traction does mean ou need to push a bit harder on certain surfaces and you certainly won’t be setting any land speed records on these. But they are great bikes and absolutely 100% the tool for the job in these parts. Embrace the fatbike!

Can I use my own bike?

If you can get your own fatbike to Namibia, then sure, that is no problem. We do not offer any discount for this, but it is fine to do so. You must bring it in a bike box and we reserve the right to transport it in or out of the box. But if you are happier on your own steed, bring it along.

We will also ask you to wear a helmet, which is part of the mandatory kit list.

How long have I got each day?

We will have cut-offs but these will be extremely generous. If you can average a 10kmh pace on the bike and a 4kmh pace n foot, you will be OK. It will take you a long time, but you will make it. If you do find yourself at the back and off the pace, we will scoop you up and shuttle you further up the field, although we will aim for this to be a last resort so you have your best shot at doing the whole thing by your own means of travel.

What if I get injured, or need to withdraw from a stage or from the whole thing?

Our medical team will be on hand to assist with injury and depending on the type and nature of the injury can treat or transfer you accordingly. If we need to get to you to urgent medical attention in a hospital, there is a hospital at Walvis Bay, which we can access by helicopter or by a long drive out in a 4×4. We will be insisting that everyone has global evacuation insurance in place, in case we need to request a helicopter evacuation. See here for what this is and what it covers.

If you need to withdraw from a stage, our vehicles will move you onwards to the camp for that night. if you wish and if you are up to it, you may re-start the following stage the next day.

If you need to withdraw from the event as a whole, you will need to remain with the event convoy for the duration of the event, unless it is an Emergency, when we will evacuate you by helicopter or 4×4 depending on the nature of the situation.

Pit Stops

These will be situated regularly along the route and will be operated out of mobile vehicles, with hot and cold drink provision, plus some energy foods. We will have medical staff on hand immediately beyond the pit stops also.

Will I get too hot whilst on the course?

It’s possible but only if you don’t follow the guidance on clothing and water intake; and if you are slow in taking action to resolve if you do end up getting too hot. The absolute key is to ensure you ‘keep on top of it’ and to take on water, electrolytes and salts. We will have ll of these things at the pit stops, but you will also be required to carry a minimum quantity of water and minimum quantities of food, to ensure you are always self-sufficient until the next aid station. The absolute key is good hydration and good shade (cover) for your head. See the mandatory kit list for more information on kit and hydration.

 


TRAINING PLAN

Darren Grigas is our ‘go-to’ lead runner on our bucket-list series recces, and for good reason. He’s an extremely well-versed ultra-runner, having run races up to 250 miles long, over mountains, deserts, jungles and arctic conditions around the world.  He has featured in and on the cover of national running magazines, giving training and kit advice and has twice been invited to share his experiences at Buckingham and St James’ Palace as well giving talks at many other events across the country.

Darren is a Rat Race veteran and has raced most of our events across the UK, regularly being among the top finishers just missing the win down to 2nd place in our Dirty Double of 40 miles and 400 obstacles.  So, he was a perfect choice when we needed a lead runner for our Bucket List recces, all of which he’s completed with a smile and an understanding of the Rat Race ethos and what our adventures are all about.

Darren has created a six-month training guide to help prepare our entrants for this challenge. Having experienced it first-hand, there are few people better placed to prepare you for what lies ahead. Contact Darren for a free consultation to create your bespoke training plan and discuss his coaching packages tailored around your lifestyle and abilities:

darrengrigas@hotmail.com   
https://www.instagram.com/darrengrigas   
https://darrengrigas.com/videos

 

Hills Run up as fast as you can, recover on your way down. Repeat several times
Dunes, lots of dunes! If you live among hills, then do most of your miles over these hillls to get the most from your training.
If you don’t have hills around then here are some alternative solutions:
Become best friends with a Stairmaster, climb those stairs!
Increase the incline on a treadmill, run/march
Cross-trainer – great for getting used to using poles (highly recommended) and a full body workout
Load-bearing Core strength & stability – ie planks, Russian twists, kettlebell swings, lunges
And of course, miles, lots and lots of miles… In the dunes, you move much slower than you’d expect, but embrace it, you’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy. Mix your miles between shorter faster runs and long slow runs/walks/hikes
Poles Walking poles are strongly recommended, with wide baskets to reduce sinking into the sand.
Get desert tough Building balanced overall body strength will help avoid injury

 

B2B Back to back days
LSR Long slow run (easy-steady)
EASY Conversational pace without losing breath (all-day-long pace)
STEADY Comfortable manageable pace 60-70%MHR
HARD Race pace 70-80% MHR
VERY HARD Interval/Tempo fast sections 80-90% MHR
MHR Max heart rate

 

[HOLD DEVICE LANDSCAPE TO VIEW FULL PLAN]

Six Month Training Plan: Run/Hike

Weeks

Total miles

No. runs/hikes

Primary focus

Supplementary training

Cycling add-on for multi-sport crossing

1-2 10-15 3 3x Easy (comfortable enough to hold a conversation) 1-2x core & cross-training 1x 10 miles
3-4 10-15 3 2x steady, 1x hills 1-2x core & cross-training 2x 10-15 mile rides
5-6 15-20 4 2x steady, 1x hills, 1x tempos 1-2x core & cross-training 1x 15 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
7 20-25 4 2x steady, 1x hills, 1x tempos 2x core & cross-training 1x 20 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
8 15-20 4 Recovery week – reduce miles, slow down 1x core & cross-training 1×20 miles easy
9-10 20-25 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 2x core & cross-training 1x 10 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
11-12 25-35 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 2x core & cross-training 2x 20 miles B2B, 2x intervals/spin (1hr)
13-14 30-40 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training 1x 50 miles, 2x intervals/spin (1hr)
15 20-30 4 Recovery week – reduce miles, slow down 2x core & cross-training 1×20 miles easy
16-17 40-50 4 1x steady, 1x hills, 2x B2B LSR 2x core & cross-training 2x 20 miles B2B
18-19 60-70 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training B2B 40-50 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
20 70-80 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training 1x 30 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
21-23 30-40 5 1x steady, 1x hills, 1x intervals, 2x B2B LSR 3x core & cross-training 2x 20 miles, 1x intervals/spin (1hr)
24 30-40 4 Taper week – reduce miles and pace, pack, re-pack, pack again. 2x core & cross-training 1×20 miles easy
25 127!! 4.5 Sand dunes, river beds, amazing views, zebra crossing, snake racing

 

Six Month Training Plan: Run/Hike/Bike (add-on training)

As above, plus Cycling additions Reduce run/hike miles by 25%, replace intervals with cycling
Hills Get used to riding in rough terrain, uphill, in very low gears to keep momentum, there will be a lot of this.
Sand in the desert? If you have a beach nearby, take a bike and try it out, road bikes are not going to do well here.
Borrow a Fat-wheeler and try the beach so you’re mentally prepared. It’s no easy ride in the park.
Wattbikes are great to increase riding strength, that or any machine you can increase the resistance.
Spin classes: feel the burn and get comfortable with it

 


17th – 24th November 2019

  • Prices are per person

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    Register after 1st May 2019

  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $2200

  • RESERVATION FEE

    Due within 60 days

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR MULTISPORT*

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $1750

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR RUN / TREK*

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $1450

  • TOTAL

    To be paid

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $3650

15th – 22nd November 2020

  • Prices are per person

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    Register before 31st December 2019

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    Register after 1st January 2020

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    Register after 1st August 2020

  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $500

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $750

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $2250

  • RESERVATION FEE

    Due within 60 days

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $1500

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $1500

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR MULTISPORT*

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $1750

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $1750

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $1750

  • FINAL BALANCE

    FOR RUN / TREK*

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $1450

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $1450

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $1450

  • TOTAL

    To be paid

  • Register before 31st December 2019

    $3750 / $3450

  • Register after 1st January 2020

    $4000 / $3700

  • Register after 1st August 2020

    $4000 / $3700

 

All prices are in US Dollars. An admin fee of 1.99% will be added to all payments. Your deposit is due 60 days after you pay your Registration Fee.

*Final balance is due by 1st July 2019 for 2019 event and 1st October 2020 for 2020 event.

All payments are non-refundable. If you wish to withdraw and lodge your request within 60 days of paying your Registration fee you may transfer this fee to another Rat Race Bucket List event or exchange it in totality for entry into a UK Rat Race event of your choosing.

Entries are non transferable to another person.

Please see here for full terms and conditions and our cancellation policy.

What’s Included

  • Fully supported including 4x4s, sweeper crews, professional medics
  • Fully catered including all meals, pit stops plus hot and cold beverage provision en route
  • 7 nights accommodation: Luxury desert camp (2 nights), desert camp (4 nights), 4 star hotel (1 night)
  • Hot showers most nights, including under the stars in the desert
  • All in-country transfers from airport back to airport
  • High value finisher’s mementos including T-shirt, medal and other secret items
  • ground-breaking satellite tracked for safety and supporter interaction
  • Fat bike hire included plus mechanical assistance en route (Multisport only)
  • Overnight bag transfers from camp to camp
  • Desert camps tooled up with satcomms and WiFi (extra charges apply)
  • After event party

 


Ever fancied working on an event at the Ends of the Earth? We have limited spaces for Volunteers to come and experience these sensational Bucket List events from the coalface with our volunteer programme.

We have spaces for volunteering within our event team at these events. Tasks include assistance at our overnight camps, inside the race team and behind the scenes on logistics and customer services in-country at the events. For those intrepid enough to take up the challenge you will be rewarded with the same mementos as the participants, plus accommodation and food whilst on the trip. Just get yourself to and back from the specified international airport in the host country and we will look after you during the trip.

Please note: we have had a lot of interest for our Bucket List Series so are no longer taking applications for volunteers.

Let us know which of our Bucket List events you’re interested in.

 


 

Fancy helping us create the next generation of Bucket List challenges and go where no-one has gone before? We’ve been busy combing the planet for the next wave of seriously out-there Adventures and now we’re looking for a few hardy souls to come with us and be “test-pilots” on these amazing new trips.

You’ll need a sense of adventure (and a sense of humour!) and of course you’ll understand that these trips aren’t the “finished article” yet, so an open-minded trailblazing spirit will help too! We’ll publish a kit list and there will be a financial contribution; plus you’ll need the time off, of course. These trips will take between 7-14 days depending on where in the World we are headed. The outcome? Authentic World-first Adventures. With you as part of the crew.

Join us as test pilot and see “the other side…”

For a list of destinations and approximate dates please email events@ratrace.com for more details.

 


RAISE AT LEAST £5000 FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND GET YOUR ENTRY FREE REFUNDED!

SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK: JOIN THE CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK TEAM AND HELP SAVE MORE YOUNG LIVES

By joining the 2019 Children with Cancer UK Race to the Wreck Team you will help the charity raise funds which will be invested into vital specialist research to improve survival rates in children and young people to create a world where no child dies of cancer.

Raise at least GBP£5,000 (excluding gift aid) for Children with Cancer UK by 17th November 2019 and Rat Race will refund your total entry fee up to the value of GBP £2,500.

Please note; USD$500 of your Registration Fee paid to Rat Race is non-refundable. Your refund will be made in USD$, with the exchange rates dependent on the time of processing. Refunds will be made between 2 and 3 months after the event is completed.

Refunds are not mandatory; participants are welcome to opt-out of receiving their refund. Should participants opt-out, their refund will instead be used by Children with Cancer UK to help fund vital specialist research into childhood cancer.

TO CREATE YOUR VIRGIN MONEY GIVING PAGE AND START FUNDRAISING SIMPLY CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE.

If you choose to support Children with Cancer UK and raise £5000, you will also receive;

  • A Children with Cancer UK fundraising and training pack
  • Regular Children with Cancer UK updates
  • A dedicated point of contact at the charity
  • A technical Children with Cancer UK t-shirt to wear with pride
  • Free Rat Race back pack (ideal for use on Bucket List events!)

If you go the extra-mile with your fundraising and help save the lives of every child with cancer you can be eligible for our fundraising incentive set out below.

Rat Race events are perfect platforms for fundraising. A solid and tangible physical and mental objective for you, the participant. Plus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the route; and perhaps raise some cash for a cause close to your heart.

There is no obligation to fund raise of course and people come from all walks of life and all over the World to take what they wish from these amazing experiences. If you do decide to raise cash, we welcome fundraising for any charity or non-profit.

If you are a UK resident, please read below for an exciting opportunity to raise money AND get your entry fee back, when you raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.

For more information on Children with Cancer UK please visit www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk. Alternatively please contact the Sports Team on 020 7404 0808 or email sports@childrenwithcancer.org.uk to find out more about this route to taking part in a Rat Race Bucket List event. Children with Cancer UK is a registered national charity (no. 298405)

READ ABOUT OUR £1MILLION CHARITY GOAL HERE

Onward tour options after the finish of the Event

Please get in touch via the ‘Contact us‘ link below if you’re interested in any of our Bolt On Options.

Option A:  Meob Fishing

The Namib Desert holds a sense of mystique and fascination for travellers and fisherman alike.  It is perceived as the last out post that must still be conquered … a destination to be ticked off on the bucket list. The fascination with the desert dates back to early days when diamond prospectors entered this vast sea of sand and many myths and fables originated as well as the stories of many a ship that became a victim of the Namib.  This sensitive desert forms the fundamental portion of the Naukluft Park and for that reason operations and movement are restricted. Concession holders are permitted to take groups of people through the desert and now we have also obtained permission to take groups on fishing trips to Meob Bay.  The waters around Meob is untouched … the ultimate experience for any fisherman.  Fishing is allowed on a catch and release basis.  Pack your gear, get your fishing buddies and come to Meob Bay for a fishing trip in the world’s oldest desert.

ITINERARY:

Day 1: 24 November 2019: Depart for Meob

Meet your guide early morning in Swakopmund. Ensure that you have enough drinking water, snacks, drinks and bait.  You don’t want to worry about this when your focus should be on fishing. You will receive a short briefing before departing towards Sandvis.  Depending on the tide you will either negotiate the Langewand or move inland to cross the dunes. Some of the landmarks to be on the look-out for is the wrecks of the Shawnee and Eduard Bohlen. The Eduard Bohlen was stranded near Conception Bay in 1909. This rusty wraith is something exceptional to behold and the icon of the Namib. You will reach Meob Bay late afternoon.

O/N Share tented accommodation (lunch and dinner)

Day 2: 25 November 2019: Fishing at Meob

Full day for fishing. Fishing at Meob is on a catch and release basis. The climate is cool.  This is due to the cold Benguela current that flows out of the Arctic and this presents the ideal conditions for excellent fishing.  Shoals of fish are waiting to be caught.

O/N Share tented accommodation (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 3: 26 November 2019: Fishing at Meob

Full day for fishing at Meob Bay area. Gather around the campfire tonight and listen to the stories of the big one that got away today.

O/N Share tented accommodation (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

 Day 4: 27 November 2019: Return to Walvis Bay

After breakfast we will be entering the dunes for the drive back to Walvis Bay.  The tide will once again determine if the route will be via the dunes or the Langewand. Arrive late afternoon in Swakopmund.

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast, lunch)

Day 5: 28 November 2019 Depart

Breakfast and check-out. Group transfer to Walvis Bay airport to check-in for return flight. (breakfast) End of service

 

TOUR COST per person sharing:

Based on a minimum of 4 people taking up the tour:  R36510.00 per person
Single supplement:  R1250.00

(Please send copy of passport for fishing permits to be arranged)

INCLUDED

  • Transport in stretch 4 x 4 vehicle
  • Guide in own vehicle to accompany group
  • Communication radio’s for vehicles
  • Meals as specified
  • Hiring of fishing gear
  • Tented accommodation
  • Fishing permits for adults
  • Concession and park fees
  • Rental of camping chair, sleeping bag, pillow and towel, cutlery
  • The camp has hot showers, flush toilets and equipped kitchen
  • 1 x night at Strand Hotel on BB basis in a standaard room
  • Group airport transfer

EXCLUDED

  • Meals not specified
  • Fishing bait
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING

  • Torch & batteries
  • Camera (extra films & battery)
  • Sunglasses & sun tan lotion
  • Clothing – it will be more cold than hot in the desert.  Please take enough warm clothing.
  • Toiletries
  • Prescribed medicine

 

EXTRA: The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. The tour cost is based on a specific room type and vehicle.  Final cost will be determined by available room type and vehicle. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client. The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 

 


Option B:  Swakopmund Adventure

Swakopmund is Namibia’s playground, a holiday destination for tourists and locals alike. The city itself resembles a small German town and manages to create a feeling of timelessness with its palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and museums. And while there’s plenty to do within city limits, the real action happens in the desert surrounding Swakopmund. Visit the welwitschia fields, the Moon Landscape, do some sand-boarding or take a cruise of the lagoon an harbour in Walvis Bay. Swakopmund serves as a good break during a busy vacation. Relax and have fun in a place well suited for both.

 

ITINERARY:

Day 1:  24 November 2019: Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour

You will be met at the hotel for transfer to Walvis Bay. Spend the morning on the water sipping champagne, eating oysters and other delicious treats while keeping a look out for bottle nose dolphins! See Pelican Point, bird island, seal colonies, bird’s nests, and so much more! We start the afternoon half of our adventure by introducing you to our beautiful lagoon and salt pans filled with pink flamingos, before starting the amazing trip to Sandwich Harbour, through the dry Kuiseb Delta. Experience the crashing waves of the sea on one side, and the soaring heights of the sand dunes on the other. Should the tides be against us and the seas cut us off from the lagoon, we will climb the mighty dunes and take you to a view top instead. Included in this tour are some delicious platters, soft drinks, Namibian beer and juice. It’s a day to remember!

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast)

Day 2:  25 November 2019: Welwitschia Moon Landscape Tour

This tour departs from Swakopmund and lasts approximately 5 hours. Explore the welwitschia and moon landscape about 30 kms east of Swakopmund.  Frequent stops are made to point out all features of interest including the desert adapted plants and any small creatures to be found.  Larger mammals such as springbok, klipspringer, baboons, jackals and ostrich can also be encountered. Return to the hotel and rest of the day at leisure.

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast)

 Day 3:  26 November 2019: Scenic Flight           

Enjoy a 1 hour 36 minutes scenic flight over the Namib. Fly with the seagulls and flamingos. Savour the contrasting Namib Desert and the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean dotted with shipwrecks. Get a bird’s eye view of the Walvis Bay lagoon, the saltpans and Sandwich Harbour, famous for its countless numbers of birds. 2 – 5 Passengers will be accommodated in a Cessna 210 and from 6 passengers onwards in a Quest Kodiak. Rest of the day at leisure

O/N Strand Hotel (breakfast)

Day 4:  27 November 2019

Breakfast, check-out and transfer to Walvis Bay Airport. End of services.

 

Cost per person sharing:

Based on a minimum of 2 people taking up the tour:  R22290.00 per person
Single supplement:  R1380.00

INCLUDED

  • 3 x nights at the Strand Hotel in a standard room BB
  • Full day Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour tour
  • Half day Welwitschia and Moon Landscape Tour
  • One hour and 36-minute Diamond Coast scenic flight
  • Group transfer from hotel to Walvis Bay Airport on 27 November 2019

 

EXCLUDED

  • Meals not specified
  • Drinks
  • Optional activities
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance

 

Extra: The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. Accommodation is quoted on a specific room type.  Final cost will be determined by the room type available. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client. The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 

 


Option C:  Erindi (Safari)

Our quote and programme are based on Erindi Game Reserve, but the final cost and programme will depend on availability.

Erindi Private Game Reserve is a protected reserve in central Namibia. Erindi, meaning “place of water”, is a sustainable natural wonderland. The reserve is a custodian to the most prolific amount of endemic species and multiple conservation projects. With 70,719 hectares of pristine wilderness the management have undertaken an immense task to pursue conservation initiatives in the name of eco-friendly tourism, whilst empowering local communities. Today, Erindi is an idyllic retreat boasting two camps, a rich cultural heritage, knowledgeable guides and unmatched hospitality – ensuring visitors have the kind of safari that lives in memory for a lifetime.

 

ITINERARY:

Day 1:  24 November 2019: Depart for Erindi

Check-out and met by your driver guide. Depart and drive through Damaraland to Erindi Private Reserve.  The reserve is about 300 kms from Swakopmund. Erindi is a stunning 71 000 ha wildlife wilderness.  It is home to many endangered species as well as lion and leopard, black rhino and the rare African Wild Dog. Arrive in time to join an afternoon game drive.

O/N Old Traders Lodge (breakfast, dinner)

Day 2:  25 November 2019: Erindi

Full day at Erindi to enjoy the game drives in the morning and afternoon. While spotting game you will be driving through beautiful landscapes. It varies from savannah to mountains with beautiful sunsets and sunrises.  Erindi is a Herero word meaning “The Place of Water”. You can also relax at the viewing deck at the lodge over looking a waterhole.  Game passes through there during the day and at night game drink and graze at the floodlit waterhole.

O/N Old Traders Lodge (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 3:  26 November 2019: Depart for Windhoek

Breakfast and depart for Windhoek. The drive to Windhoek will take about 2 and a half hours. Upon arrival you will check-in at your accommodation.  The rest of the afternoon at leisure.

O/N  Safari Court Hotel (breakfast, dinner)

Day 4:  27 November 2019: Depart

Breakfast and at leisure until transfer to the airport. Check-in for your flight. (breakfast) End of service.

 

Cost per person sharing

Per adult based on a group of 2 people travelling together:  R23950.00
Single supplement:  R1195.00

INCLUDED

  • Guide, vehicle and fuel.
  • Guide accommodation and meals
  • 2 x nights at Erindi Game Reserve in a luxury suite
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Erindi
  • Afternoon tea / coffee at Erindi
  • PM and AM game drives at Erindi
  • 1 x night at Safari Court Hotel on DBB basis
  • Group transfer from hotel to Hosea Kutako Airport.

EXCLUDED

  • Meals not specified
  • Beverages
  • Extra activities
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance

EXTRA

The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. The cost is based on specific room types and vehicles.  Final cost will be determined by the availability of room types and vehicles. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client. The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 


Option D:  Damaraland (Safari)

Damaraland is a scenic part of Namibia located in the central part of the country.  It is rugged and beautiful with postcard views of grasslands, dry river beds and granite koppies.  The Brandberg, the highest peak in Namibia is found here, the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein and the petrified forest are some of the sights not to be missed when visiting Damaraland.

 

ITINERARY: 

Day 1:  24 November 2019: Damaraland

Breakfast and meet your driver guide. Depart Swakopmund and drive in a northern direction to Damaraland. The lodge is about 5 hours drive from Swakopmund.  You will however stop en route to visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings. Twyfelfontein is famous for its San rock paintings and rock engravings … 2 500 were counted.  The age of the engravings fluctuates and a period of 1 000 – 10 000 years is stated.  The motives of the paintings depict hunting scenes and animal engravings. The engraving of a seal is remarkable as the ocean is 100 kms away.  UNESCO declared Twyfelfontein a World Heritage Site in 2007. Proceed to the lodge and check-in.

O/N Mowani Mountain lodge (breakfast, dinner)

Day 2:  25 November 2019: Mowani Mountain lodge

Full day at leisure at the lodge or enjoy some of the optional activities. Optional:  Elephant / Nature Drive 4 – 6 hours @ N$ 850.00

O/N Mowani Mountain Lodge (breakfast, dinner)

Day 3:  26 November 2019: Drive towards Etosha

Breakfast and check-out. Drive towards Etosha.  En route you will also visit two other icons of the area.

The Petrified Forest … not really a forest. It is actually fossilized tree trunks which are about 280 million years old.  The trunks were washed down to this area during a flood.  It was covered in sand and mud with no decay and the organic material of the trunks conserved in this way.  While in this area you will also see beautiful examples of the Welwitschia Mirabilis plant, an astonishing and unique plant.

The Organ Pipes is a rock formation consisting of columnar basalt, which looks like organ pipes.  They were formed 150 million year ago due to the intrusion of liquid lava into a slate rock formation.  Over some time, it was exposed to erosion.

Arrive at your lodge near the gate of the Etosha National Park.

O/N Etosha Safari Village (breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner)

Day 4:  27 November 2019: Game drive in Etosha

Breakfast and them depart on a full day game drive in Etosha. Etosha National Park spans an area of 22,270 square kilometers and gets its name from the large pan which is almost entirely within the park. The pan covers 23% of the area of the total area of the Etosha National Park. The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros. Late afternoon return to the lodge.

O/N Etosha Safari Village (breakfast and dinner)

Day 5:  28 November 2019: Transfer to Windhoek

Breakfast and check-out. Start the drive back to Windhoek.  The route will take you in a southern direction and will cover a distance of about 420 kms. Arrive late afternoon in Windhoek and check-in at your hotel.

O/N Safari Court Hotel (breakfast and dinner)

Day 6:  29 November 2019: Depart

Breakfast and at leisure until transfer to the airport. Check-in for return flight. End of service.

 

Cost per person sharing

Based on a minimum of 2 people taking up the tour:  R39150.00 per person
Single supplement:  R4410.00

INCLUDED

  • 2 nights at Mowani Mountain Camp in a standard room on DBB basis
  • 2 nights at Etosha Village in a standard room on DBB basis
  • 1 night at Safari Court Hotel in a standard room on DBB basis
  • Guide for the duration of the tour
  • Guide accommodation and meals
  • Vehicle and fuel
  • Entrance fees:  Twyfelfontein, Organ Pipes and Petrified Forest
  • Conservation fees:  Mowani and Etosha National Park

EXCLUDED

  • Meals not specified
  • Beverages
  • Extra activities
  • Things of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance

EXTRA

The cost is based on a group of 2, 4 or 6 pax travelling together.  If airport transfers are not with the group the service will be accommodated at an additional charge. Cost is based on specific room types and vehicles.  Final cost will be determined by the availability of these rooms and vehicles. Any increase in fuel, concession fees, fishing permits, park fees, etc is beyond our control.  Increases will be passed on to the client.The itinerary may be re-routed in the event of non-availability.

 


Still got questions?

Feel free to get in touch and we will get back to you as soon as possible.