Update on paddling leg

•29/07/2010 • Leave a Comment

Just a quick update on the paddling legs. I have tested both paddling legs over the last two days…to get an idea of conditions as close to race day as possible.


Section 1: easy, with a need for some quick portages around potential boat-breakers. No spraydecks needed on K2’s. Sit-on-tops fine to use.

Section 2: easy for anyone who has paddled Grade 1 and 2 rivers. There were a few more rapids than I remember from the past… and my novice experience crash-test crew did a fair amount of swimming. That said – water levels are low and the stretch is just paddleable. K2’s would be the choice boat for speed, but if you are a novice crew with no rapid experience and have borrowed a carbon kevlar boat for the event – I’d think twice. Sit-on-top plastic boats are fine to use. Glassfibre surf-ski’s are going to take punishment, unless you are very very skillful.

Sad news: I didn’t see a single croc or hippo – the state of our natural environment is clearly a cause for concern.

Entries are open for the 2010 Swazi Xtreme

•09/06/2010 • Leave a Comment

The time has come to put your best foot forward. Entries are open for the 2010 Swazi Xtreme.

Cut to the chase – download your entry form here.

Or read on to hear what is going on this year in the race build-up.

Swazi Xtreme ends on a high note

•30/04/2009 • Comments Off on Swazi Xtreme ends on a high note

The 9th edition of southern Africa’s longest running adventure race, the Swazi Xtreme, came to a head this week on Monday, April 27th. Twenty five teams of adventure racers took part in the event, and achieved one of the highest finishing rates ever in an AR in Africa.

Once again, this year’s field of Swazi Xtremists got exactly what they bargained for: 60 hours of exhilarating adventure. Dawn on the 24th of April saw an enthusiastic posse of athletes surge from the boma at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, thus signalling the start of Swazi Xtreme 2009. The celebrated multi-sport challenge started off slightly differently this year, with teams running along hippo paths and dirt roads on the first leg, and with no idea of what waited for them beyond the Checkpoint One.

They encountered the first curveball of the event at the Mlilwane gates, where they got their ‘missing’ map and boarded a bus into Mbabane. An urban orienteering segment saw teams scatter throughout the city, but then it was back to basics as the teams trekked into the mountains around the capital. Racing at a blistering pace, the top teams navigated their way via a caving section and onto a pumping rafting leg.

A boat-chomping Grade 4 rapid at the weir caused a fair amount of thrills and spills, and cooled off the competitors before they slogged into a massive mountain trek. The action continued unabated with a lake swim in full kit, plus a furious paddle in search of Optional Points (OPs) along the dam shore. Day One was finished – as were some competitors – on the bikes, with the Pro Teams cycling way into the night before banking a few hours of compulsory sleep in the forests of Mhlambanyatsi.

Although the 250 km route was this year dominated by mountain biking, racers trekked through a combination of luscious middle-veldt, high-lying grassland, savannah woodland and pine forest. A cliff scramble and hikes onto the exposed rock domes overlooking the Usuthu River added to the dramatic race route, while the white-water rafting and caving segments made sure the adrenaline kept pumping for the full 60 hours.

The race format adopted last year saw racers balancing risk and reward as they opted for maximum distance over the race window of 60 hours. This innovative approach shifted the focus from the usual ‘shortest time takes podium’ approach, instead compelling teams to go all out for maximum distance till the clock stops. Route choice, although determined by compulsory Control Points (CPs), were varied by the teams in order to add to their overall distance by gunning for as many optional OPs as possible.

Although it would be no easy task to pick a single highlight from Swazi Xtreme 2009, the finishing stage through the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary must rate high on the emotional radar for the majority of competitors. Breathtaking views from atop towering Nyonyane (or The Rock of Execution); then a gut-thumping downhill onto the grassy plains below and a finally a speedy cruise home amidst zebra, impala and wildebeest – it surely does not get much better than this!

A smaller-than-usual field did not deter from the enthusiasm suffusing this unique event, and it was clear from the word go that the Pro Event would be dominated by a face-off between reigning champs Cyanosis and the McCain Adventure Fanatics. With first-string Adventure Addicts resting for the Bimbache Extreme in Spain, it was up to Bubbles, Cobus, Craig and Donovan to fly the flag, and the certainly did a sterling job.

In the end, however, it was the unerring navigation of Nicholas and the consistency of his team mates, Clint, Ryno and Susan who saw them home with 94 points (out of a possible 95) as the deserved winners. McCain steamed in with 91 points, while Aieesh.com took the Sport Event with 52 points over 2nd-placed Gijima’s 50 points.

Three days and two nights of uninterrupted racing offered an excellent window on the many action options on offer here in ‘The Kingdom’, and this outdoor experience is sure to bring many racers and spectators back for another taste of Swazi. Organiser Darron Raw once again maximised the country’s breathtaking landscape: “We believe strongly in AR being an adventure and not just an endurance slog, and we hope the little twists and turns in this year’s event offered a window on the stunning tourism options the country offers”.

The Swazi Xtreme is organised and underwritten by Swazi Trails, Swaziland’s leading tour operators. The company has been leading the pack locally since 1987, and continues to promote Swaziland’s extraordinary adventure industry to an ever-growing global travel industry. Other sponsors are Airlink Swaziland, http://www.swazi.travel, Times of Swaziland, Swaziland Tourism Authority and http://www.ar.co.za

For info on the Swazi Xtreme and its various sponsors, check out these web sites -:

Event Information – www.swazixtreme.co.sz
Travel Sponsor – www.swazi.travel
Airline sponsor – www.flyswaziland.com
Web sponsor – www.ar.co.za
Media Sponsor – www.times.co.sz

2009 Results

•29/04/2009 • Comments Off on 2009 Results

Greetings from Swaziland (a country back at peace after a weekend of dealing with crazed AR zombies),

The 2009 Swazi Xtreme event has come and gone…and another milestone has passed. Cyanosis kept McCain Adventure Fanatics at bay for the PRO title, whilst Aieesh.com added another win to their record in the SPORT event.

This year we achieved something that is unique in the 9 year history of the event. That was effectively a 100% finishing rate for competitors. Although, two teams were unofficial finishers due to missed Control Points, the only person who was unable physically to complete the event was inflicted by an eye infection, which was caught prior to the event.

So for those past competitors, who know the tough reputation of this event, the question is probably: has the Swazi Xtreme gone soft?

We’ll leave that to the individual Race Reports to comment on, but somehow we doubt that that is the case. There were plenty of post-event comments that the SX still makes other endurance events (Comrades, Ironman et al) pale in comparison and that finishing a Swazi Xtreme remains a highlight on any athlete’s racing CV. What we think helped this year was the balance between Compulsory and Optional Points and the fact that teams understood the need to focus on finishing firstly, and collecting Optional Points (OP’s) only if certain that time was in hand. We also endeavoured to ensure that there was plenty of fun and variety and made a point of ensuring easy transitions for seconds. We believe strongly in AR being an adventure and not just an endurance slog, so we hope that the little twists and turns in this year’s event achieved that. More about that in our full Race Report.

A big thanks for all the assistance and support we got from various quarters:

Swazi Trails
Swaziland Tourism Authority
Airlink Swaziland
Big Game Parks of Swaziland
Roc ‘n Rope Adventures
Induna Adventures

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mbabane Municipal Council
Sappi Forest Management
Meikles Mount
Crystal Springs
Zwane Chiefancy

Barry & Brad Neal
Mark Goulding
Loki Magerman
Andrew Begg
Francois and Lize Steyl
Tao Fineberg
Stuart Donaldson
Isabel van Hoegarten

www.ar.co.za – website and blog
Jacques Marais Media
D4 Productions – Andrew King

Congratulations to our competitors and category winners:

* Note: points listed here may vary to those announced at prize-giving as some duplication has been removed.

PRO EVENT – Total possible points 95

  1. Cyanosis (Nicholas Mulder, Clinton Mackintosh, Ryno Griesel, Susan Sloan) – 94 points – 1st PRO team
  2. McCain Adventure Fanatics (Jeannette Walder, Cobus van Zyl, Donovan Simms, Craig Carter Brown) – 91 points – 2nd PRO team
  3. Numa Optics (Jeremy Green, Philip Van der Leeuw) – 82 points – 1st PRO pair
  4. Olympus (Alex Wagner, Tim Deane) – 81 points – 2nd PRO pair
  5. WPASS Goldfish (Steven Burnett, Peter Anderson) – 70 points – 3rd PRO pair
  6. Mercedes Alligators (PJ Doyer, John Le Roux) – 59 points
  7. Kinetic USN (Heidi Muller, Stephan Muller ) – 53 points
  8. Mud n Gage (Sakkie van Wyk, Benjamin van Wyk) – 47 points
  9. Cipralex (Tania De Muelenaere, Ingo De Muelenaere, Gary Wise, Paul Bothma) – 38 points – 3rd PRO team
  10. B.A.M.F (Carel van Heerden, Paul Burger) – 32 points
  11. Bad Medicine (Mark Human, Richard Feher, Sean Dahlmann, Glen Eve ) – 25 points
  12. Bloed en OMO – VO (Abel van der Merwe, Jan Bezuidenhout) – 24 points
  13. Dew Point (Lauren Greef, Kelly Botha) – 31 points (UNOFFICIAL FINISH – MISSED CP’s)

SPORT EVENT – total possible points 67

  1. Aieesh.com (Shane Raw, Hilary Pitchford, Clive Curtis, James Stuart) – 52 points – 1st SPORT team
  2. Gijima (Christiaan Greyling, Landie Visser) – 50 points – 1st SPORT pair and 1st SPORT Mixed Pair
  3. Isivungvung (Matthew Hemming, Stephen Hughes) – 46 points – 2nd SPORT pair
  4. Swazi Sweaty Pies (Paul Loffler, Linda Loffler, Mike Ogg, Lucinda Bride) – 42 points – 2nd SPORT team
  5. Superchick & Sidekick (Steve McIntyre, Denise McIntyre) – 34 points – 3rd SPORT Pair
  6. Ngwenya Glass (Hugh Glyn-Jones, Richard Shannon, Lean Drinkwater, Cathy Cunningham) – 28 points – 3rd SPORT team
  7. Team Zoeloeland (Burt vd Westhuizen, Christel van Blerk) – 26 points
  8. Lick Me (Jason Mantell, Colin De Bruyn) – 25 points
  9. Bloed en OMO – LITE (Christine van der Merwe, Connie van der Merwe) – 19 points – ladies pair
  10. Numa Optics (Sam Bladergroen, Christian Kaiser) – 18 points
  11. Pieds Noir (Maryke Bezuidenhout, Jean Francois Aguilera) – 29 points (UNOFFICIAL FINISH – ONE MEMBER WITHDREW) – Maryke completed event with Ngwenya Glass.
  12. T2K (Tom Bruce, Kerry Bruce, Kevin Murphy) – 17 points (UNOFFICIAL FINISH – MISSED CP’s)

Darron and Anita Raw
Swazi Xtreme