South Africa’s iconic five day Whale Trail hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km and 1900m elevation of spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind blowing, beautiful vistas in one day.
The Merrell Whale of Trail event is the only opportunity each year for a maximum of 140 nature loving athletes to run hard on this trail while treading lightly on the earth.
For some, this is too taxing, too technical and too sublimely beautiful to blindly race at full speed. Both the trail and the environment demand one’s full presence and respect. And we at Mountain Runner Events enjoy hosting anyone who can appreciate that as much as we do. So, we are happy to now be able to offer the Merrell Whale Journey to tie in with the race event.
All-inclusive exclusivity! A unique opportunity for just 12 outdoor lovers to gallivant about the trail for two days; running, exploring and just being. Combined with decadent eating and drinking and starlit immersive experience at the delightful Noetsie Hut with indulgent evenings before and afterwards at the magnificent De Hoop Collection. The Journey starts the day before the main race covering 28km and finishes the 25km next day to the same warm welcome and sense of accomplishment.
Just a 3 hour drive from Cape Town along the Southern Cape coast, close to Cape Agulhas, the route takes runners on a journey from the Potberg nature reserve to Koppie Alleen in CapeNature’s flagship De Hoop Nature Reserve. The first 26km winds through fynbos covered mountains with spectacular views of the Breede River Valley and then descends to the enchanting Noetsie Bay, turning west and winding along the rocky shores of the Indian Ocean, with a mix of sandy beach and coasteering trails.
Chaperoned by Whales
Bang on the peak of whale season, runners are left wondering who is watching who as scores of the annual migratory Southern Right Whales continually breach out the water, spy hopping and waving their fins at the passers-by, making the best and most enthusiastic cheerleaders.
It has become a must-do for those who have already tackled the more conventional runs out there. Bragging rights on this one are substantial!
The finish area at Koppie Alleen is a festive affair. Situated right above the beach, spectators may forget to look for their runners while mesmerised by the whales, exploring the dunes and many rock pools packed with prolific life – thanks to the long standing protection offered by the marine reserve – or enjoying the food freshly prepared by the caterers.
The historic and picturesque De Hoop Collection, situated alongside the Ramsar wetland vlei offers not only sublime accommodation but also excellent guided birding excursions, nature walks and boat trips, mountain biking trails and a spa for the ultimate indulgence. Traffic in your way on the walk to dinner comes in the form of herds of eland, bontebok and the rare mountain zebra.
Keeping it personal and keeping it pristine. Just 140 runners will get the chance to run this route in 2018.
See all the Race Info