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 300km on fat-bikes and foot to reach the Bohlen, 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.

DAYS: 7

(2 logistics days, 1 briefing/ admin/ kit check day, 4 days on the route)

DISTANCE: 300km

(200km on fat bikes over 2 days and 100km on foot over 2 days)

DATES: 18th – 24th November 2019



TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • 300km one-way journey across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast
  • 200km on fat-bikes followed by 100km on foot over 4 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: Game lodge (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 (x 2!)

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 comfortable lodge accommodation.

Monday 18th November

Enjoy the surroundings of your stunning Lodge Bushveld 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 lodge and then it’s off into the desert.

Tuesday 19th November

Race to the Wreck Begins! Cover 100km 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.

Wednesday 20th November

Day 2 sees another 100km 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.

Thursday 21st November

Day 3 sees the transition to foot, for a massive 60km day (approx) on foot across the World’s highest sand dunes of the famous ‘Sand Dune Sea’ in the Namib Naukluft, before reaching our stunning overnight desert camp.

Friday 22nd November

Another long day on foot over another marathon’s worth of sandy terrain – covering approximately another 20km of dunes and then 20km of running on compacted flat sand down the Skeleton Coast, metres from the breakers of the Atlantic Ocean. You will also take in some of the abandoned mining settlements around Conception Bay. In the late afternoon and early evening, Rat Racers will reach their incredible destination – the Eduard Bohlen. We will again camp in the desert, enjoy some beers, music and party at our ‘dance in the desert.’

Saturday 23rd November

The adventure is not over yet. You are still 200km from the nearest humans. The only way out of this remote location is by 4×4 back across the dunes, or by bushplane. You will break camp and depart via our huge 4×4 desert convoy; or for those who want to check-out in style, you can take a light aircraft transfer from the nearby bush airstrip.

Tonight is all about the party. Those who know Rat Race will know this is as much a part of the event as the event itself. The destination is Swakopmund – Namibia’s tourism hub and a hotspot for bars, great hotels and adrenalin activities.  Enjoy a slap-up meal, event video highlights on the big screen, presentation of your finisher’s medals, special edition finisher’s T-shirts and other very secret and special mementos before partying the night away.

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; 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 Lodge 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.

Mandatory Equipment

A mandatory kit list will be published here very shortly.

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 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 packed lunches 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 Friday 23/11/19

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 Friday 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 9all participants to settle own room extras bills
  • Alcoholic drinks on sale at the desert camps from the “Wrecked” camp bar
  • 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 lodges 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 Dann Viljoen Game Park. Transfer from Walvis Bay Airport to Dann Viljoen 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

Following arrival at the Eduard Bohlen at the end of the Day 4 we will overnight at our final desert camp and then the following morning an exciting 4×4 transfer is included to bring you back to civilisation in Swakopmund. An alternate light aircraft transfer is available: Surcharge applies

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 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 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 route is 300km – 200km on fat-bikes and 100km on foot. 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 days. 1 stage per day.

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

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 at 100km per day; the run/ trek is 60km on day 1 and 40km on day 2. A route map can be viewed in the ‘COURSE’ tab.

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 ay 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!

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 overnight near 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 preacautions 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 fanfastic 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 lodge 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 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 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 days, covering highland ‘bushveld,’ (bike) dry river bed, (bike) massive sand dunes (foot), then sand dunes and coastal hard-packed beach (foot). It is 300km in length, with 200km completed on the bikes (approx. 100km per day) and 100km on foot, split between 60km and 40km respectively.

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, 300km over 4 days 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). The foot days will take you a while and you may well finish day 3 in the dark, but hey, it’s a challenge, right?

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 am Emergency, when we will evacuate you by helicopter or 4×4 depending on the nature of the situation.

Pit Stops

These will be situated regulalry 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.

EARLY BIRD OFFER: SAVE $200 WHEN YOU REGISTER BEFORE 30TH NOVEMBER

 

  • Prices are per person

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    Register before 30th Nov 2018

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

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  • Register after 1st May 2019

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  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register before 30th Nov 2018

    $500

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    $500

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $2000

  • DEPOSIT

    Due within 60 days

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    $1500

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    $1500

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    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    Due by 1st July 2019

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    $1750

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  • TOTAL

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    $3750

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    $3950

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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. If you register after the 1st May 2019 your Registration Fee and Deposit is due in one payment.

All payments are non-refundable, if you wish to withdraw and lodge your request prior to 1st Nov you may transfer your registration fee to another Rat Race Bucket List event or exchange it for entry into a UK Rat Race Event of your choosing.

Entries are non transferable to another person. Once the 100 spaces are full we will operate a waiting list and we will work through it chronologically to offer any places that become available.

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: Game lodge (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 (x 2!)

 

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.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US AND FIND OUT MORE

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 £5000 FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK 

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.

If you choose to support Children with Cancer UK, you will 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…

ENTRY FEE REFUND

Raise at least GBP£5,000 (excluding gift aid) for Children with Cancer UK by 18th 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.

 

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

Option A:  Meob Fishing

Sunday: Transfer from Desert Camp At the Eduard Bohlen to Meob Bay.  O/N Meob Tented Camp (lunch, dinner included)
Monday: Full day for fishing O/N Meob Tented Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Tuesday: Full day for fishing O/N Meob Tented Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Wednesday: Transfer to Swakopmund by 4×4 O/N Hotel in Swakopmund (breakfast, lunch)
Thursday: Transfer to Walvis Bay Airport for departing flight (breakfast)

Included:

  • Transport in 2 x stretch cruisers
  • Guide vehicle bringing supplies from Walvis Bay
  • Bedding, cutlery, chair
  • 3 meals daily
  • fire wood
  • fishing permits
  • fishing gear
  • Namib concession fee
  • tented camp overnight fees
  • park fees
  • vehicle fees
  • VAT

Not included: Drinks and snacks

Price: POA

Option B:  Swakopmund Adventure

Continue your stay in Swakopmund following the Race to the Wreck wrap party

Included:

  • 3 nights’ accommodation in Swakopmund
  • Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour Tour Combo
  • Moon Landscape Tour
  • Scenic flight
  • Guide and vehicle for each day 

Price: POA

Option C:  Erindi (Safari)

Departs from Swakopmund morning after Race to the Wreck Wrap party

Included:

  • 2 nights at Erindi full board and game drives
  • 1 x night in Windhoek DBB
  • Accommodation and meals for guide
  • Transport (which includes an empty leg back to Swakop from Windhoek)

Price: POA

Option D:  Damaraland (Safari)

Departs from Swakopmund morning after Race to the Wreck Wrap party

Included:

  • 2 nights at lodge in Damarland  DBB
  • 2 nights in Etosha  DBB
  • 1 night in Windhoek DBB
  • Accommodation and meals for guide
  • Transport
  • Conservation fees for Etosha
  • Vehicle fees for Etosha
  • Entrance fees for petrified forest, organ pipes, rock engravings

Price: POA

ITINERARY

KIT/EQUIPMENT

SKILL LEVEL

FOOD

ACCOMMODATION

TRANSPORT

FAQ

LOCATION

THE COURSE

THE CHALLENGE

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 comfortable lodge accommodation.

Monday 18th November

Enjoy the surroundings of your stunning Lodge Bushveld 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 lodge and then it’s off into the desert.

Tuesday 19th November

Race to the Wreck Begins! Cover 100km 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.

Wednesday 20th November

Day 2 sees another 100km 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.

Thursday 21st November

Day 3 sees the transition to foot, for a massive 60km day (approx) on foot across the World’s highest sand dunes of the famous ‘Sand Dune Sea’ in the Namib Naukluft, before reaching our stunning overnight desert camp.

Friday 22nd November

Another long day on foot over another marathon’s worth of sandy terrain – covering approximately another 20km of dunes and then 20km of running on compacted flat sand down the Skeleton Coast, metres from the breakers of the Atlantic Ocean. You will also take in some of the abandoned mining settlements around Conception Bay. In the late afternoon and early evening, Rat Racers will reach their incredible destination – the Eduard Bohlen. We will again camp in the desert, enjoy some beers, music and party at our ‘dance in the desert.’

Saturday 23rd November

The adventure is not over yet. You are still 200km from the nearest humans. The only way out of this remote location is by 4×4 back across the dunes, or by bushplane. You will break camp and depart via our huge 4×4 desert convoy; or for those who want to check-out in style, you can take a light aircraft transfer from the nearby bush airstrip.

Tonight is all about the party. Those who know Rat Race will know this is as much a part of the event as the event itself. The destination is Swakopmund – Namibia’s tourism hub and a hotspot for bars, great hotels and adrenalin activities.  Enjoy a slap-up meal, event video highlights on the big screen, presentation of your finisher’s medals, special edition finisher’s T-shirts and other very secret and special mementos before partying the night away.

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; 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 Lodge 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.

Mandatory Equipment

A mandatory kit list will be published here very shortly.

 


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 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 packed lunches 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 23/11/19

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 Friday 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 9all participants to settle own room extras bills
  • Alcoholic drinks on sale at the desert camps from the “Wrecked” camp bar
  • 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 lodges 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

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.

 


TRANSPORT

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transfer from Windhoek Airport to the start area and accommodation at Dann Viljoen Game Park. Transfer from Walvis Bay Airport to Dann Viljoen 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

Following arrival at the Eduard Bohlen at the end of the Day 4 we will overnight at our final desert camp and then the following morning an exciting 4×4 transfer is included to bring you back to civilisation in Swakopmund. An alternate light aircraft transfer is available: Surcharge applies

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.

Onward tour options after the finish of the Event

Option A:  Meob Fishing 

Sunday:  Transfer from Desert Camp At the Eduard Bohlen to Meob Bay.  O/N Meob Tented Camp (lunch, dinner included)
Monday:  Full day for fishing O/N Meob Tented Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Tuesday:  Full day for fishing O/N Meob Tented Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Wednesday: Transfer to Swakopmund by 4×4 O/N Hotel in Swakopmund (breakfast, lunch)
Thursday:  Transfer to Walvis Bay Airport for departing flight (breakfast)

Included:

  • Transport in 2 x stretch cruisers
  • Guide vehicle bringing supplies from Walvis Bay
  • Bedding, cutlery, chair
  • 3 meals daily
  • fire wood
  • fishing permits
  • fishing gear
  • Namib concession fee
  • tented camp overnight fees
  • park fees
  • vehicle fees
  • VAT

Not included: Drinks and snacks

Price: POA


Option B:  Swakopmund Adventure
Continue your stay in Swakopmund following the Race to the Wreck wrap party

Included:

  • 3 nights’ accommodation in Swakopmund
  • Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour Tour Combo
  • Moon Landscape Tour
  • Scenic flight
  • Guide and vehicle for each day 

Price: POA

 

Option C:  Erindi (Safari)
Departs from Swakopmund morning after Race to the Wreck Wrap party

Included:

  • 2 nights at Erindi full board and game drives
  • 1 x night in Windhoek DBB
  • Accommodation and meals for guide
  • Transport (which includes an empty leg back to Swakop from Windhoek)

Price: POA

 

Option D:  Damaraland (Safari)
Departs from Swakopmund morning after Race to the Wreck Wrap party

Included:

  • 2 nights at lodge in Damarland  DBB
  • 2 nights in Etosha  DBB
  • 1 night in Windhoek DBB
  • Accommodation and meals for guide
  • Transport
  • Conservation fees for Etosha
  • Vehicle fees for Etosha
  • Entrance fees for petrified forest, organ pipes, rock engravings

Price: POA

 


FAQ

What is the format of the event?

Race to the Wreck is a fully-supported 7 day adventure event. 4 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 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 route is 300km – 200km on fat-bikes and 100km on foot. 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 days. 1 stage per day.

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

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 at 100km per day; the run/ trek is 60km on day 1 and 40km on day 2. A route map can be viewed in the ‘COURSE‘ tab.

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 ay 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!

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 overnight near 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 preacautions 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 fanfastic 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 lodge 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 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 days, covering highland ‘bushveld,’ (bike) dry river bed, (bike) massive sand dunes (foot), then sand dunes and coastal hard-packed beach (foot). It is 300km in length, with 200km completed on the bikes (approx. 100km per day) and 100km on foot, split between 60km and 40km respectively.

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, 300km over 4 days 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). The foot days will take you a while and you may well finish day 3 in the dark, but hey, it’s a challenge, right?

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 am Emergency, when we will evacuate you by helicopter or 4×4 depending on the nature of the situation.

Pit Stops

These will be situated regulalry 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.

 


EARLY BIRD OFFER: SAVE $200 WHEN YOU REGISTER BEFORE 30TH NOVEMBER

 

  • Prices are per person

  • Register before 30th Nov 2018

    Register before 30th Nov 2018

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    Register after 1st Dec 2018

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    Register after 1st May 2019

  • REGISTRATION FEE

    Initial payment

  • Register before 30th Nov 2018

    $500

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    $500

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $2000

  • DEPOSIT

    Due within 60 days

  • Register before 30th Nov 2018

    $1500

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    $1500

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    N/A

  • FINAL BALANCE

    Due by 1st July 2019

  • Register before 30th Nov 2018

    $1750

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    $1950

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $1950

  • TOTAL

    To be paid

  • Register before 30th Nov 2018

    $3750

  • Register after 1st Dec 2018

    $3950

  • Register after 1st May 2019

    $3950

 

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. If you register after the 1st May 2019 your Registration Fee and Deposit is due in one payment.

All payments are non refundable, if you wish to withdraw and lodge your request prior to 1st Nov you may transfer your registration fee to another Rat Race Bucket List event or exchange it for entry into a UK Rat Race Event of your choosing.

Entries are non transferable to another person. Once the 100 spaces are full we will operate a waiting list and we will work through it chronologically to offer any places that become available.

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: Game lodge (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 (x 2!)

 


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.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US AND FIND OUT MORE

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 £5000 FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK

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.

If you choose to support Children with Cancer UK, you will 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…

ENTRY FEE REFUND

Raise at least GBP£5,000 (excluding gift aid) for Children with Cancer UK by 18th 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.

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)

Onward tour options after the finish of the Event

Option A:  Meob Fishing

Sunday: Transfer from Desert Camp At the Eduard Bohlen to Meob Bay.  O/N Meob Tented Camp (lunch, dinner included)
Monday: Full day for fishing O/N Meob Tented Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Tuesday: Full day for fishing O/N Meob Tented Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Wednesday: Transfer to Swakopmund by 4×4 O/N Hotel in Swakopmund (breakfast, lunch)
Thursday: Transfer to Walvis Bay Airport for departing flight (breakfast)

Included:

  • Transport in 2 x stretch cruisers
  • Guide vehicle bringing supplies from Walvis Bay
  • Bedding, cutlery, chair
  • 3 meals daily
  • fire wood
  • fishing permits
  • fishing gear
  • Namib concession fee
  • tented camp overnight fees
  • park fees
  • vehicle fees
  • VAT

Not included: Drinks and snacks

Price: POA

Option B:  Swakopmund Adventure

Continue your stay in Swakopmund following the Race to the Wreck wrap party

Included:

  • 3 nights’ accommodation in Swakopmund
  • Dolphin Cruise and Sandwich Harbour Tour Combo
  • Moon Landscape Tour
  • Scenic flight
  • Guide and vehicle for each day 

Price: POA

Option C:  Erindi (Safari)

Departs from Swakopmund morning after Race to the Wreck Wrap party

Included:

  • 2 nights at Erindi full board and game drives
  • 1 x night in Windhoek DBB
  • Accommodation and meals for guide
  • Transport (which includes an empty leg back to Swakop from Windhoek)

Price: POA

Option D:  Damaraland (Safari)

Departs from Swakopmund morning after Race to the Wreck Wrap party

Included:

  • 2 nights at lodge in Damarland  DBB
  • 2 nights in Etosha  DBB
  • 1 night in Windhoek DBB
  • Accommodation and meals for guide
  • Transport
  • Conservation fees for Etosha
  • Vehicle fees for Etosha
  • Entrance fees for petrified forest, organ pipes, rock engravings

Price: POA


Still got questions?

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