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Conquering the Beauty and the Beast of the Klein Karoo

The beautiful and breathtaking prologue through the Cango Caves, the rocky trails of the Swartberg mountain range and numerous water crossings after an abundant rain season, summarizes the 2023 Dryland Traverse, hosted by Dryland Event Management at De Hoek Mountain Resort outside Oudtshoorn. Some suffered it, some loved it. They all survived it!

The 2023 Dryland Traverse was a testament to the indomitable spirit of adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. With a perfect blend of awe-inspiring beauty and relentless challenges, the event drew the largest field of participants to date, hailing from all corners of South Africa and even as far as Namibia. The 12th edition solidified its reputation as a must-do event for every bucket list.

The event kicked off with a breath-taking prologue through the magical Cango Caves, offering an exclusive and enchanting experience found only at the Dryland Traverse in South Africa. The following day brought sweltering conditions, with temperatures soaring to a high of 35 degrees Celsius, challenging participants to their limits. The stage traversed the rugged Swartberg mountain range, characterized by treacherous rocky single tracks and steep descents, leaving many participants with battle scars and blisters.

Stage 2 and the third day provided runners with a visual feast as they ran past the brimming Raubenheimer Dam, immersing themselves in the stunning scenery of the region. The day culminated in an unforgettable deep-sea jamboree-themed party, with the renowned DJ Brooks transforming the Klein Karoo into the most vibrant nightclub in the world, creating a jubilant atmosphere to celebrate their accomplishments.

Following the night of festivities, Stage 3 presented a short yet challenging 10km shakeout run, featuring numerous water crossings, an obstacle course, and a backdrop of ancient cliffs adorned with bushman drawings, adding a historical and cultural dimension to the adventure.

Underson Ncube, a local hero from Oudtshoorn, emerged as the fastest participant, conquering the grueling 65km course over four days with a remarkable total time of 5 hours and 16 minutes. Jaco Hanekom from Namibia claimed the second position after a valiant effort of 5 hours and 45 minutes, with Jarlow Mongo from the Langkloof area closely following, finishing third in 5 hours and 47 minutes.

In the mixed team category, also mountain biking enthusiasts, Robert Williamson and Catherine Williamson running as Team Yorkshire Grit took the win in overall fourth position in a time of 5 hours 57 minutes.

The event saw the swiftest women in the team’s category conquering the course with exceptional determination as they’ve beaten the first men’s team by 45 minutes over the finish line. Sume van Heerden and Lijan Burger from Team The North Face and Salomon finished in a total time of 6 hours 4 minutes.

In the solo women’s category Helen Bosman led the charge, clocking in at a remarkable time of 6 hours and 36 minutes. Louise Dippenaar followed closely with a time of 6 hours and 39 minutes, while Bianca van der Westhuizen displayed incredible tenacity to finish in 7 hours and 6 minutes.

The Dryland Traverse Adventure Trail Run provided not only individual glory but also opportunities for teams to shine. Categories included Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed Team divisions, each fiercely competitive and adding an extra layer of excitement to the event. Fun categories based on weight and age were also on the cards, adding a touch of light-hearted competition that was embraced by many participants.

However, beyond the competitive spirit, the essence of the event was about creating indelible memories, fostering camaraderie, setting and achieving personal goals, and renewing friendships.

“The Dryland Traverse is not just a race; it’s a journey of self-discovery, camaraderie, and personal triumph, for us at Dryland, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the end of another successful year,” remarked Bernard le Roux from Dryland Event Management, emphasizing the community and personal growth aspects of the event.

The 2023 Dryland Traverse Adventure Trail Run encapsulated the true spirit of adventure and the desire to push one’s limits while forging bonds with fellow adventurers.

For more information about the Dryland Traverse Adventure Trail Run and to discover how you can be part of this incredible experience, please visit www.drylandtraverse.co.za or contact sune@dryland.co.za.

Stay tuned for updates on the 2024 race date and when entries will open on Dryland Traverse’s social media channels.

Please follow the link to view the full list of results.

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