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CHOOSE TO FUNDRAISE FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND EARN UP TO A £5000 REFUND ON YOUR ENTRY FEE. FIND OUT MORE.

TRAVEL COAST TO COAST ACROSS AFRICA ON AN UTTERLY BREATH-TAKING ROUTE THAT ENCOMPASSES 4 COUNTRIES, GRAVEL, ROAD, MOUNTAINS, DESERT, SAVANNAH, GAME PARKS. PEPPERED WITH A WONDERFULLY WARM AFRICAN WELCOME.

EVENT DATES:

1 - 26 JUNE / 2026

Enter Now
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DISTANCE: 

3000 KM ON BIKE
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SLEEP STYLE: 

HOTEL, LODGE CAMPING AND B&B
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LOCATION: 

NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA, SOUTH AFRICA, ESWATINI
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DURATION: 

26 DAYS /
25 NIGHTS
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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

COMMENCE OUR JOURNEY AT NAMIBIA’S WORLD-FAMOUS SKELETON COAST AND TRAVERSE THE NAMIB DESERT – AS A WARM-UP

SPOT THE ‘BIG 5’ AS YOU TRAVERSE SEVERAL GAME PARKS ACROSS BOTSWANA AND SOUTH AFRICA, INCLUDING IN THE WORLD-FAMOUS OKAVANGO DELTA AND THE KHARMA RHINO SANCTUARY

DIP YOUR WHEELS IN BOTH THE SOUTH ATLANTIC AND THE INDIAN OCEAN ON THIS TRULY MAGICAL COAST-TO-COAST JOURNEY

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

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ACCOMMODATION

25 nights accommodation 

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GUIDES AND SUPPORT

Professional road support vehicles, safety staff, medical, mechanical and welfare

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ALL MEALS

All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew

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TRANSFER POLICY

Flexible transfer policy up to 12 weeks before your departure date.

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TRANSFERS

Airport transfers, including bike transfers.

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EXTRAS

High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.

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SAFETY

Professional local and UK safety  staff,  medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.

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YOUR TRIP LEADER:
Abbi

Your leader for this trip is Abbi
 she's our highly experienced Expeditions Manager with more than 10 years of exploring under her belt. Click below to find out more...

RAISE £10,000 AND GET UP TO £5000 REFUNDED

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MORE INFORMATION:

Trans Africa: The very name of this event conjures the thoughts of a life-defining journey. Rat Race is well known for its audacious and innovative concepts and this time we have gone big…very, very big. Travel with us into the beating heart of Africa as we take you from the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, across Botswana’s Okavango Delta and into the vast interior of South Africa with its colourful cultures and awe-inspiring game parks, plus the mystical and exotic kingdom of tiny Eswatini. This is a trip that will perhaps define all other adventures you have ever taken on your bike: 21 days in the saddle across 3000km of the finest terrain we can muster in sub-Saharan Africa; all wrapped up into a classically well-supported, all-inclusive Rat Race Bucket List event for the ages.

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL


Our adventure kicks off in the stunning Namibian town of Walvis Bay which sits on the fringes of the Namib Desert. We'll pick you up from the airport if you've flown in today and take you to our local hotel to get you settled ahead of Registration tomorrow. If you want to explore this beautiful port town we recommend flying in a day early.

DAY TWO: REGISTRATION, BRIEFINGS AND DOWNTIME


After breakfast we will transport you to Henies Bay where this epic adventure begins. After the admin of registration, kit checks and bike checks plus a few briefings, we’ll have an evening meal together before an early night ready to kick off this once in a lifetime journey bright and early.
 

STAGE 1 NAMBIA TO BOTSWANA 

Start Point: Henies Bay

End Point: Builepos (border)

Distance: 770km
Ascent: 4072m

Descent: 2858m 

Gravel/Tarmac %: 80/20

In this stage we get a full serving of brilliant gravel riding through classic bush terrain as we make our way across out first country over 6 days of cycling.

All GPX routes are preliminary at this stage and may be subject to small changes after the Test Pilot in June 2024. Final GPX routes will be sent to participants ahead of the event start date. The links are designed to give you an indication of terrain and elevation and also allow you to see the scope of this enormous journey.

Day 1 GPX

Day 2 GPX

Day 3 GPX

Day 4 GPX

Day 5 GPX

Day 6 GPX

STAGE 2 BOTSWANA TO SOUTH AFRICA

Start Point: Builepos (border)

End Point: South Africa (border)

Distance: 1200km
Ascent: 2116m

Descent: 2570m 

Gravel/Tarmac %: 10/90

Some smooth riding awaits us in this stage as we hoover up the distance on tarmac interspersed with some stunning accommodation, from authentic lodges to truly special camping experiences including one night at a rhino sanctuary.

Day 7 GPX

Day 8 GPX

Day 9 GPX

Day 10 REST DAY

Day 11 GPX

Day 12 GPX

Day 13 GPX

Day 14 GPX

STAGE 3 SOUTH AFRICA TO ESWATINI

Start Point: South Africa (border)

End Point: Chrissiemeer

Distance: 640km
Ascent: 5919m

Descent: 5021m 

Gravel/Tarmac %: 60/40

Get those bucket lists at the ready. In this stage we cycle through game reserves and our safari on wheels kicks into gear. We also have an incredible rest day lined up featuring some hot springs for those aching legs.

Day 15 GPX

Day 16 GPX

Day 17 REST DAY 

Day 18 GPX

Day 19 GPX

Day 20 GPX

STAGE 4 ESWATINI TO SOUTH AFRICA

Start Point: Chrissiemeer

End Point: Sodwana Bay

Distance: 420km
Ascent: 5031m

Descent: 6719m 

Gravel/Tarmac %: 45/55

The final push! After dipping our wheels into Eswatini we're back in South Africa with the Indian Ocean in our sights and our stunning beach lodges are waiting for us to celebrate in style.

 

Day 21 GPX

Day 22 GPX

Day 23 GPX

DEPARTURE

After a brilliant night of well earned celebrations on the beach we will transfer you to Durban from Sodwana Bay. With a group airport transfer to King Shaka International Airport available for those travelling home from here. 

ACCOMMODATION

 

Our accommodation is split between a selection of  HOTELS, savannah LODGES, stunning CAMPSITES and some simple B&B style places in regional towns and villages as we make our way coast to coast.

All accommodation is always offered on a  twin room basis; or sometimes up to 4 people sharing a small dorm-style room. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participant/s of the same sex. If you have preferences for who you share with, you are able to specify that prior to departure with the team.

All of our accommodation is of a good standard – sometimes well-appointed  hotels and sometimes of a more basic specification – depending on where we are along the route and reflecting the rustic nature of some of the stages. It will always be practical for the journey-at-hand and will provide a really good place to rest-up at day’s end. The accommodation has all been tried and tested by us on our recce trips.

MEALS

BREAKFAST

We have a travelling catering crew with us on this adventure who will serve up a great breakfast each morning, catering for all dietary requirements. Sometimes there will be cooked breakfast options and there will never be a shortage of good, hot coffee!

DINNER

Our catering crew will serve up a freshly cooked, authentic meal each evening ready to fuel you for the next day. We may intersperse this with local restaurants where available.

PIT STOPS

During the challenge you will have access to our Pit Stops multiple times throughout the journey: A minimum of 3 times per day when you are on the route. On all stages, these will typically be set-up from our mobile support team at set spots on the route.

Pit stops will typically have a minimum of the following available:

Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Salty snacks – such as chips and peanuts.
Savoury treats – We will feature some fresh local foods and other goodies at selected pit stops, around lunchtime.
A fruit option – such as oranges, bananas, melon and watermelon.
Sweets – including local speciality sweet treats.

Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have – if you use gels and other such products – you should plan to bring these with you. If you have any special dietary requirements, then please also plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional, catering to as broad a mix of needs and diets as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.

Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire. 

The nature of an adventure is that sometimes, the uncertain becomes certain! That is all part of the adventure. Whilst we will always strive to pull off ‘Plan A,’ it may well be that for any one of a number of reasons, we cannot do so and we ned to wheel put Plan B, C or D. We do line up contingencies for many eventualities of course. But it is worth knowing that the course may change if we deem it prudent for your safety or for other operational or weather-based reasons and we must always reserve the right to do so. Ultimately our skill and judgement in organising such events is part of why you are entering, so we must be able to exercise this on your behalf where we deem it necessary. If we do have to make a route change, we will strive to inform you in good time (if that is possible). Usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end!

We are mindful that people will inevitably have varying distances to travel to get to Namibia. Our plan is to meet at Walvis Bay in the afternoon. This will allow folk time to fly in earlier that day, or you may choose to arrive the day before and stay locally, allowing you plenty of time in the morning to make the RV later on that day back at the airport.

We have designed this challenge so that you may travel at your own pace. See below for our notes on route-finding and guidance. There will also be some cut-offs, but in the true Rat Race tradition these will be generous and we will always look to help you to achieve your goals in finishing this challenge, vs having to pull out. Of course, we will give you some early starts to allow the very best possible window for route completion, particularly on the longer days (and the hily ones!). But, if you need us and if you need to abandon the route for whatever reason, we are there for you and can pick you up with our support vehicles. The absolute key is that you enjoy this amazing journey across Africa; at your own pace and within your own limits.

We want you to concentrate on the views and the hard work of putting one wheel in front of the other. So we don’t want you to be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to. There is no formal waymarking (i.e. signs) used on this event but there are not really many junctions either! Instead of waymarking, we will be providing and then be asking you to download a route file that you will be able to download onto your smartphone or GPS device. You will follow this ‘line’ when on the bikes and can use this as a back-up at all times. You may use your own device or rent one from us. 

We will then augment this with some marshalled junctions or key turning points on some of the stages, to ensure there is no doubt on route choice in any locations that we think it could be tricky.

At all times, the GPS device can be used to back yourself up on route-finding as and where required, as it will have the full route loaded onto it. If you choose to rent a GPS device from us, we will provide high-tech Garmin Edge navaids, designed specifically for cycling and mounted to the handlebars with a special cradle, for optimum visibility when you are on the move.

 

Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – support is never far away.

We will use a mixture of safety staff in vehicles and we will also concentrate support services at our pit stops. If it does get too much, if you get injured, get too cold, need sustenance, motivational support or otherwise, we will be able to assist and out team will never be far away out on the route. You are in good hands.

It is always good practice to be self-contained when out on long rides, so when you leave pit stops, we will expect you to leave with some snacks on board, a full water bottle and tools and spares on board just in case….just like any other regular ride.

You will be transferred from Walvis Bay airport to our accommodation, which is a stunning seaside town with bags of cultural heritage. All transfers throughout the challenge are fully inclusive within the format and we will transport you, your gear and your bike. At the end of the challenge, we will return you and your gear + bike to Durban and you should plan your onward journey from King Shaka International Airport.

Click ‘Enter Now’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.

The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is impossible for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis plus in many locations it is the only option or we have obtained special permission to camp in some incredible locations (tents provided). All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! 

June is a great time to visit this part of Africa, temperatures will vary along the route averaging around 22°C - 30°C. At night however this can drop quite dramatically in desert areas to around 10°C.

Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case. 

Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel to Africa and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.

Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent.

This is of course a big challenge set over multiple big days in the saddle. BUT the Rat Race ethos is to set extraordinary challenges for ordinary people. You do not need super-technical riding skills or to be a seasoned Tour de France rider. You do need a good base fitness and you should be prepared for a series of long back-to-back days on the road. But this route is definitely designed to be ‘doable;’ and in no way would this be what we would call a ‘sufferfest.’ You absolutely have it in you. We will ensure we support you the very best way we possibly can. This one is all tortoise and no hare. Unless you really are off the pace, we will not cut you off. Even if you are off pace and you feel you need a bit of a shunt along the route on some of the days, we can pick you up in a vehicle, ‘boost’ you further up the course a bit and you can re-join the trip further up the gang. It’s up to you how you tackle it and we want you to feel relaxed and comfortable, versus under major pressure just to ‘get the job done.’

This adventure has got it all, from the desert to the mountains, savannah, game parks, gravel and road. The terrain is a mix of gravel and road, we have laid out the split in each stage. Overall it is approximately 57% road and 43% gravel.

Yes. This is a fully inclusive itinerary from start to finish, with all accommodation and all meals.

No problem. Where we use hotels, rooms are offered on a twin / shared basis. If you wish to share with a fellow participant, you will be asked to add this information to your event participation form which we will issue you with approximately 3 months ahead of the event.

Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.

Race entry includes a brilliant finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tech tee. We will request your t-shirt size in  the event details form 3 months ahead of the event and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.

See the 'Kit List' section for full details.

If you need to bail while on the bikes, we will collect you via the Sweeper vehicles and move you forwards on the course (subject to medical advice if it is a medical issue that has forced you to pull out). We are unable to transport you backwards (i.e. we cannot take you back to the start of that stage). You can choose to re-start further up the course if you still want to do some riding that day, or we can take you to the end of the stage.

Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately three months ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.

If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed. You can always get in touch with us though and we're happy to chat! Events@ratrace.com for any general enquiries or  for more kit/gear specific questions.

We would recommend a gravel bike for this adventure. We're happy to chat about all things bikes if you have any technical questions please email the team on events@ratrace.com who will be happy to advise.