Magical, dark, mysterious and an unforgettable underground adventure.
This best describes the 9, 5km run that will welcome you to this year’s Dryland Traverse.
The first part of the prologue route sees a change for the first time since its inception, the new start makes for an interesting knee-jerking climb and then onto 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: Swartberg
This year’s Queens stage will once again include the mighty Swartberg Mountain with a twist which promises to challenge one and all. The new start location at the Ou Tol, just North of the Swartberg pass summit, which doubles as water point 1, promises to live up to all expectations.
Runners start of by descending the mountain towards the North, around halfway down a sharp left turn takes you onto a single-track heading back South towards the start, after the water-point runners start negotiating the undulating jeep-track towards Bothashoek, providing the most breathtaking views of both the Great-and Klein Karoo.
Waterpoint 2 comes as a blessing as the climbs become steeper, slowly traversing towards the highlight of the day, the Alpine-like descend just past water point 3 at Bothashoek – the technical downhill is truly spectacular as De Hoek resort looms large the closer you get to that well deserved finish. Well done on an epic stage, one of the longest in Traverse’s history.
STAGE 2: Raubenheimer Dam
The best way to describe this day is a complete makeover. A new start location which promises some of the best and never-before run sections in the Klein Karoo – purpose built trails hugging the Grobbelaars river heading South-East towards De Rust and onto the Raubenheimer dam. Don’t be mistaken, very little remains the same and the section off the dam promises to be loads of fun.
The route takes us towards the Cango Caves, through Oudtshoorn’s most fertile agricultural land, the Kombuys with its rich historical heritage and Cape Dutch architectural homesteads .The new approach towards water point 2 provides a twist as winding jeep and single-track directs runners towards De Hoek.
The final 5 kilometres boasts a refreshing change as runners approach the well-deserved stage finish from the North-East. Another day in the bag.
STAGE 3: De Hoek
This 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.