The Trans-Kalahari Adventure Run began back on August 14th, with Jukka Viljanen, Kirsi Montonen, and Greg Maud all hitting the trail to raise funds for Cheetah Conservation Botswana. The plan is to run 1000km (620 miles) across the Kalahari Desert, which they estimated would take about 20 days to complete. Now, two weeks into their adventure, it seems that they are on pace to finish as expected.
In the latest updates to their blog, the team says that they should complete the first two-thirds of their journey today. They also remark that the past few days have been spent in a very sandy section of the route, and with the winds picking up, it has made for a challenging slog. Most of the route has been along dirt jeep roads and a game trails thus far, so these conditions were expected, although that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with.
They’ve also been encountering their fair share of wildlife as well, although thus far no big cats. In today’s update the note that they have been seeing a lot of lion tracks on the route, but they have remained elusive to date. The team holds out hope that they’ll spot a few along the way, but it remains to be seen if that is a good idea or not. If they’re anything like my big house cat, they’ll pounce on just about anything that is moving.
Despite the absence of lions thus far however, they’ve still had to keep their eyes peeled for other nasty critters. A few days back they ran into no less than eight puff adders in a 3km stretch of road, which kept them on their toes to say the least. The venomous snake is one of the most aggressive in Africa and it kills more people there than any other. Being in a remote area of Botswana, and getting bitten, would not be a good thing to say the least.
With their current pace, it appears that the team should be on track to wrap up their run sometime late next week. I would anticipate them finishing on Friday or Saturday, depending on conditions. It appears that they are enjoying their African excursion thus far and the challenge of crossing the Kalahari on foot.
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