PROLOGUEMagical, dark, mysterious and an unforgettable underground adventure.
This best describes the 7,4km run that will welcome you to this year’s Dryland Traverse.
The first part of the prologue route takes place inside the world-famous Cango Caves, where you will be part of the only group of runners allowed to run past the natural splendour of the thousand-year-old formations.
After you exit the cave you will head back to base camp at De Hoek via one of the oldest trails in the area. Part of the old Swartberg Hiking Trail, the next few undulating kilometers with their short steep climbs will warm you up and prepare you for the rest of the weekend.
You will be welcomed back to the race village at De Hoek for the first of many scrumptious and sociable meals. At this point you will know that you are part of something quite special.
STAGE 1: SwartbergA site of great historical significance, the Swartberg Pass is one of South Africa’s favorite tourist attractions. Built by hand many years ago, this passage between the barren and awe-inspiring Great Karoo and the unique and welcoming Klein Karoo boasts a host of breath-taking views. This year will see participants finishing a special Queen Stage by running down this World Heritage Site, giving them time to appreciate these beautiful views before being treated to well-known Klein Karoo hospitality at Kobus se Gat.
Runners will start this stage in the race village at De Hoek and within a few hundred meters start the hearth throbbing, jaw dropping single track ascent all the way up the majestic Swartberg. After the first seven kilometers of hard work you will be rewarded with a fast-flowing downhill single-track section to Bothashoek where the friendly Dryland crew will welcome you to the first water point at 8.4km. The next 13.4km will take you on the most scenic, undulating jeep track hugged by indigenous fynbos including those beautiful proteas the reserve is known for.
Water point two waits at the top of the famous Swartberg Pass and on 21.8km leaves runners with a fun and scenic 11.3km descent all the way to the finish that will afford you the feeling of conquering what will soon be known as the ultimate stage in trail running.
STAGE 2: Raubenheimer DamThe Klein Karoo has many hidden gems, and stage two will take you to two of them. The start will be just a few hundred metres from one of the most beautiful waterfalls in South Africa. From Rust en Vrede you will be exposed to the south-eastern parts of the Swartberg Mountains, and you will enjoy another section compliments of the team at TBi Adventures. After water point one on the wall of the next gem, the Raubenheimer Dam, you will run into the secluded farming community of De Kombuys before reaching water point two at the home of the Cango Caves.
From there the next 7km to the finish will also see a new section of single track last used over ten years ago by locals and tourists.
STAGE 3: De HoekThis farewell stage will see runners complete a fast-flowing and fun stage of old-fashioned cross country running on the trails in and around our home base for the weekend.
This spectator-friendly route is the perfect way to wave you off on your way back home after a truly memorable event.