In August of this year, a trio of friends, two from Finland and one from South Africa, will be setting out on an amazing adventure through the Kalahari Desert that will see them covering more than 1000 km (620 miles) on foot through some of Botswana’s most remote and rugged wilderness.
Dubbed the Trans-Kalahari Adventure Run, the plan is for Jukka Viljanen, Kirsi Montonen, and Greg Maud to make the journey in approximately 20 days, averaging 50km (31 miles) per day. The equivalent of running a marathon+, through African backcountry, every day for nearly three weeks.
The route will be mostly be run on little known remote trails or gravel roads, with long sections on loose sand, through regions that are the home to a large number of animals, including big cats and other predators, as well as poisonous snakes.
The Trans-Kalahari Team is of course looking forward to their adventure, but they are also hoping to raise funds and awareness for Cheetah Conservation Botswana. The organization hopes to protect the country’s cheetah population while educating its citizens on how to live harmoniously with the big cats.
The cheetah conservation group seems like a fitting charity to partner with, considering the creatures are the fastest runners on the planet, and Jukka, Kirsi, and Greg will be running through their territory.
The Kalahari Desert is a rugged region, approximately 350,000 square miles in size, that falls in southern Africa, extending through Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. While it is dry, and arid, it does receive enough annual rainfall to support quite a bit of life, and the Okavango River empties out onto its delta in the region, creating marshlands that support large herds of animals and their predators.
Amongst the common wildlife in the Kalahari are meerkats, giraffes, hyenas, lions, a number of species of antelopes, and much more. The desert is also home to the famous Kalahari Bushmen, an indigenous tribe that has lived there for more than 20,000 years.
I can’t wait to follow along with this adventure. It combines a number of elements that I really enjoy, including a physical challenge, and a visit to a remote place in Africa. It doesn’t hurt that Botswana is VERY high on my list of places to visit next either.