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Big Five Marathon & Half 2023 - 8 Day Package - Prices from £2525.00pp

Big Five Marathon & Half 2023 - 8 Day Package

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Book today from only
£757.50
deposit per person
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Based on a total price of £2,525.00 per person
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Your Experience

The Big Five; the Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Rhino and Lion. Not many can say they have run a marathon through the vast untouched surroundings of the African Savannah, and seen these incredible animals in their natural habitat. We are very excited to offer you the chance to take part in this once in a lifetime event, that will not only challenge you, but will reward you in the most spectacular and memorable way.

For international participants, race entry is only possible in conjunction with a multi-day tour package. The packages include all the ingredients for a fantastic getaway: accommodation, social events, sightseeing, and select meals and transportation per the itinerary. Packages also generally include ample amounts of free time, during which you can choose to join organized excursions or explore the region at your own pace. 

Inclusions

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • A choice of lodge, resort, and camp accommodations
  • Full board basis (starting with dinner on day 1 and ending with breakfast on the day of departure)
  • Meet n greet on arrival
  • Group transfers and game drives according to the itinerary

Event Entries

  • Marathon or half-marathon - £260

Race entry includes:

  • English-speaking race officials
  • Medical team
  • Official Race T-shirt, Time taking and medal
  • Supplies on the route

Extensions and Excursions

  • 20-24th June – Big Five Safari & Panorama Route Extension from £1219
  • 20-23rd June – Victoria Falls Extension from £1479
  • 20-24th June – Cape Town Extension from £1305
Your Itinerary

13 June 2023: 8 day package arrival; transfer to Zebra Nature reserve

Those of you on the 8-day package begin your adventure at Johannesburg International Airport where you will pick up your scheduled transfer to Zebra Nature reserve. This afternoon you’ll learn about endemic reptiles as you join a guided nature walk ending at the reptile centre.

14 June 2023: Activities at the Zebra Nature Reserve/Arrival at Entabeni

This morning is free time to enjoy one of the many activities available at the Zebra Nature resort before a scheduled 5km run mid-morning. Lunch will be served afterwards at The Stables Restaurant.  The reserve is 400 hectare fenced area where non predatory animals roam. Here, you are likely to see animals including Zebra, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, and impala. This afternoon enjoy a nature drive with sundowners before a traditional boma dinner.  

15 June 2023: Game Drives/City Tour

Swap the wild for urbanisation today as you head out to visit Soweto and the administrative capital Pretoria with a local guide.

16 June 2023: Transfer to Entabeni; Route Inspection

After breakfast, all participants will be transported to the starting point of the marathon where there will be a short briefing about the route inspection. You will follow the route in a safari convoy, to examine the different running surfaces, note the locations of water stations and assess the overall difficulty of the route. Afterwards, a large buffet lunch will be served, and you will be given a formal introduction to the event. There are no scheduled game drives this day.

You then will check-in to the Legend Safari Resort for the rest of your tour.

17 June 2023: Race Day

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived! Today you will take part in an unforgettable challenge: The Big Five Marathon. In the morning, all participants will be transported to the starting line in time for final preparations. The marathon is scheduled to start at 09:00, but delays are to be expected, as the exact start time will depend on the location of the big five game - if too close to the route, the start will be postponed.

18 June 2023: Celebration Dinner

Today there is time to relax after running through the African savannah. You will have the option to purchase additional game drives and excursions for the morning. In the afternoon, venture out for yet another fantastic game drive followed by our post-marathon party. There will be delightful food, live entertainment, a prize ceremony, a big bonfire, and partying under the starry skies.

19 June 2023: Entabeni Safari Conservancy

On the final day at the Entabeni Safari Conservancy, you will have one last game drive in the morning. Those interested will also get the opportunity to stretch their legs on one final bush walk. In the evening, farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges.

20 June 2023: Farewell South Adrica or Hello Extension

Your stay at the Entabeni Game Reserve has come to an end and it's time to head back to Johannesburg. As upon arrival, all participants will be transferred from Entabeni to Johannesburg International Airport at scheduled departure times.

Need to Know

On Request bookings

Request Bookings will confirm that you have accepted our Booking Conditions.  Your booking is not however, guaranteed until our partner company confirms availability. Please expect confirmation of place within 1-3 days of making your booking. Your card payment details will still be required for the deposit to secure your space, though please be advised this information will be held securely, and the card will only be debited upon confirmation of booking. 

Disclaimer

Albatros Adventure Marathons reserve the right to change the itinerary and/or running course without further notice in the event of extreme weather.

By signing up for this event you agree to the Terms & Conditions.

Visa

Please note that it is each traveler’s responsibility to check visa and passport requirements and ensure that they comply. Obtaining a passport and, if required, a visa, is solely the responsibility of each traveler. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after returning from your destination. 

A visa is required for all travelers entering Jordan. Most nationalities can obtain the visa upon arrival at Amman airport at a cost of JOD 40. Note that cash payment is required. USD is accepted corresponding to the exchange rate at the time of entry. Kindly be advised that certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained PRIOR to travel. Please check with the FCO. 

Room options

If you are a solo traveller and choose a shared double room when booking, we will pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If you prefer to have your own room, choose single room. A single supplement will apply.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is an essential part of any holiday you take, and we highly recommend that you purchase suitable insurance for your trip.

The roads are not closed for traffic. Although traffic is not heavy in the area, please be aware whenever running on asphalt roads. We advise you to run on the left side of the road, so you can see any vehicles coming towards you.

Age limits

Entabeni Safari Conservancy imposes an age restriction on children who may participate in game drives and bush walks. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted on game drives. To participate in bush walks, children must be 12 years of age or older.

To participate in the marathon or half marathon all runners must be at least 18 years old on race day. 

Adults Traveling with Minors

The South African Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced new regulations under the Immigration Act whereby from 1 October 2014 passengers travelling with children under the age of 18 years - arriving, transiting and /or departing from South Africa, will be required to produce an unabridged birth certificate indicating the biological parents of the minor. The certificate must be in English and have an Apostille authentication. Please note that it can take several weeks to process this certificate.

Additional documentation is required for children travelling with only one parent, or adults who are not the biological parents. Full requirements are available from the South African High Commission/Embassy in your area.

Airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families not in possession of these documents. These new regulations have been implemented to combat child trafficking.

Surface

The surface varies from deep sand, dirt tracks and trails to paved roads and pebbly surfaces with holes. Take care when running along surfaces with loose stones and holes. The steep ascent and descent is run on a paved surface. For more information, see the elevation map.

Cut-off times

To ensure runners’ safety, three cut-off points have been established on the route:

Marathon:

Cut-off 1 - 26.5km - 4 hours and 15 minutes after the start

Cut-off 2 - 32.5km - 5 hours and 30 minutes after the start

Cut-off 3 - finish line - 7 hours after the start

Half Marathon:

Cut-off 1 - 10.5km – 4 hours after the start

Cut-off 2 - 16.5 km – 5 hours and 15 minutes after the start

Cut-off 3 – finish line – 6 hours and 45 minutes after the start 

Runners who haven’t reached the cut-off points in time will not be allowed to continue and will be picked up by a ranger vehicle and taken back to the finish line. The cut-off times are strictly enforced to keep everybody safe!

Location

Start / Finish

The Big Five Marathon starts and finishes at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. Runners staying at the other lodges will be transferred to Lakeside in jeeps. An early breakfast will be served at each lodge before departure. 

The marathon and half marathon have separate start times. The marathon is scheduled for 9am. The half marathon will start at 9:15am. Please note that the presence of wildlife near the route may cause delays.

All finishers will receive a medal at the finish line. After the race, a buffet lunch will be served at Lakeside Lodge. Jeeps going back to your own lodge will depart when full (10 passengers). It is possible to use a shower next to the medical facility at Lakeside. Please bring a towel along if you wish to shower before heading back from the finish area.

Surface

The surface varies from deep sand, dirt tracks and trails to paved roads and pebbly surfaces with holes. Take care when running along surfaces with loose stones and holes. The steep ascent and descent is run on a paved surface. For more information, see the elevation map.

Route Description

The Big Five Marathon is known for its challenging course, which takes runners through incredible scenery and showcases the natural beauty and wildlife of South Africa.

The start and finish line are situated at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. After the start, the marathon and half marathon routes take the runners past Ravineside Lodge, the Entabeni Monolith and further on to the lower plateau. This first section is run on dirt roads made up of red sand. Runners will pass a few hills (nothing too bad…the most challenging is yet to come!). And when you reach Hanglip View Point, you backtrack and run back before you reach Yellow Wood Valley. Pay attention to this section as the surface is very uneven with loose rocks, pebbles and holes.

The Yellow Wood Valley is the most dreaded part of the course. You are about to run down the steepest slope of your life! This sharp descent is on a paved surface. The next three kilometres or so will be excruciatingly hard on your quads as you negotiate the steep slope. You reach lion country after the descent. And, although the next nine kilometres are flat, you’re running through deep sand. Full marathoners do a 9km loop, whereas half marathon runners run a 2km loop.

This brings us back to Yellow Wood. And yes, you guessed correctly - we’re going up the dreaded hill this time! Be prepared to take things slowly as it’s virtually impossible to run up this hill.

The route carries on to Long Drive, a narrow valley, where marathon runners do a 6km loop. Half marathoners run across the valley and reach the final section of the route. This section is run on dirt trails, a welcome respite from the deep sand and loose stone terrain earlier on.

The end of the run is fairly hard (final four kilometres). We run halfway down the ridge, which provides us with a wonderful view out over the plateau's lake. The surface is fairly bad, consisting of hard uneven stony ground with plenty of large rocks and stones of all sizes. This final part has quite a few hills and as the surface is loose, it pays to keep a careful watch on the ground as we run towards the finish. With the finish line in sight you can now take it nice and easy.

There will be no race pacers at this event.

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Prices from £2,525.00pp

Event 1

Big Five Marathon & Half 2023 - 8 Day Package

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