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Expedition Africa - Blog

Expedition Africa - Blog


For the Love and development of Adventure Racing. Expedition Africa established in 2006 and has organised over 150 adventure races in Africa and Internationally. This blog is about our story over the years and our personal views.


Race directors and married couple, Joléne & Thinus Matthysen from Expedition Africa, are super excited to host the Expedition Africa 60km & 120km Wakkerstroom Adventure Races ( this upcoming weekend from 13 - 15 May 2022. The 120km race, #2 of 5 in 2022, is part of the prestigious 2022 Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) – AFRICA Series ( The winning team of this series will WIN a FREE entry into the Adventure Racing World Championships in 2023.

Team Merrell Songlines (currently lying 1st on the ARWS AFRICA log ( and the 2021 ARWS AFRICA Champs), will be on the starting line for the 120km distance with Team (currently lying 7th on the ARWS AFRICA Log) right next to them. Other teams to look out for will be Team Slowvelders, Team Oosrand Skollies and Team The Challenged. It’s always inspiring to see schools entering - keep your eyes on Stanford Lake College who entered a team into the 120km distance as an all male team. There will be a total of 40 teams at this prestigious adventure race.

Joléne says: “As we are adventure racers ourselves we really understand that adventure racers like to explore Mother Nature by going to places where others haven’t been before, to feel tough by taking on endurance distances by MTB, on foot and on a kayak … and to take on the world by facing the hard and sometimes unforgiving elements of the weather, whether it’s a scorching hot day, rain coming down hard or a gusty wind testing an adventure racer’s guts and spirit for this sport we all love so much. And to top it all off, the navigation part of it just put adventure racers in another league.” 

“We scouted the Wakkerstroom (directly translated: Awake Stream) area extensively, which is the second oldest town in the Mpumalanga province, South Africa”, says Thinus who also scouted and planned the route. “The town is on the KwaZulu-Natal province border, 27km east of Volksrust town and 56km south-east of Amersfoort town. With the Balele Mountains to the south, the area surrounding the town is mountainous with kloofs, mountain springs, vlei areas, dams, conservation and heritage sites. It is internationally renowned as a “birders paradise”. Due to the high occurrence of high priority wetlands and the proximity to the sources of three rivers, the Vaal, Tugela (via Buffalo tributary) and Pongola. We looked for a terrain which will be enjoyable to look at, test all athletes’ fitness and off course add some adventure.” he added. He also mentioned: “The race start will be epic as the adventure racers will be trekking up a historical site, but we’ll leave this as a surprise for map hand out day.”

The race distances will be as follow, all split into a variety of legs: > 60km Adventure Race: Trekking 18.5km, Cycling 40km and Kayaking 7km > 120km Adventure Race: Trekking 25.5km, Cycling 87km and Kayaking 16km

The weatherman’s predictions for Saturday, 14 May 2022 (race starts at 09:00) is a minimum of 8 degrees celsius and a pleasant afternoon with clouds and sun of 23 degrees celsius. Those who will race into Sunday, 15 May 2022, will experience some colder weather with a minimum of 5 degrees celsius going up to 17 degrees celsius. Mandatory equipment and gear includes a bivvy or sleeping bag, long sleeve fleece top and long pants. Joléne’s advice in the pre-race e-mail to the adventure racers “Please don’t take the compulsory list lightly, the weather can change in minutes which will result in you needing some items unexpectedly. Equipment rules are not enforced to inconvenience competitors but to prevent any bad situations.” Full Moon is on Monday, 16 May 2022 which means that adventure racers will enjoy very good light at night.

The organsing couple hope that everyone will fall in love with this 'plattelandse dorpie' (countryside town), Wakkerstroom (, as they did. Therefore there is also a charity drive where they have requested adventure racers to bring any blankets, warm clothes or tinned food to the race which will be handed out at Wakkerstroom for the ones in need.

Adventure Racers and their friends and families will be accommodated at the beautiful Wetlands Game Lodge (, which will also be used as the race venue, only 6.5km’s outside of Wakkerstroom or at any of the B&B’s in town. Expedition Africa has negotiated a group discount on all the adventure racer’s behalf at Wetlands Game Lodge.What a privilege to be able to race in Africa! Wetlands Game Lodge is the home of a variety of game, bird and plant life that can be seen on the diverse landscapes of grasslands and wetlands only they can offer. They have a variety of species ranging from the Cape Buffalo, Fallow Deer, Eland and many more. Catch and release of their trout is also a big attraction.

Supporters can take on their own adventure by exploring Wakkerstroom’s glass art studio, coffee shops, village bakery, book shops and many other interesting shops on foot in town. The town has been awarded the 2010 & 2018 Town of the year in Mpumalanga. All adventure racers will find a user-friendly Wakkerstroom Map and brochure in their goodie bag at registration which they can use to guide them around town after the race.

The ARWS Africa Series is very proud to be associated with Merrell (, the premier outdoor apparel and shoe choice of adventure racers. Wakkerstroom Tourism Association ( and the friendly local people from Wakkerstroom (photographers and volunteers) have also offered their assistance with the race and the organisers are very thankful for that.

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