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Route - Richtersveld

DAY 1: SENDELINGSDRIF to 'DE KOEI'
Distance: 43km 
Vertical gain: 1180m
Aid station: 23km 
From Sendelingsdrif (meaning 'Missionary's crossing') the route heads out in a westerly direction behind Meulberg before turning South accross the crystal fields.  After a network of canyons we reach a very distinct series of five mountains called the 'Vyf Susters' (Five Sisters). The trail is fast in this section and pretty soon you will be clicking through the kms.  Ducking in behind the Vyf Susters, the route follows a series of valleys behind the almost identical series of mountains, before the scene opens up onto the 'Grasvlakte'.  At 23km you will reach your first aid-station of the event, and a welcome refill.  From here, you will start the wind up to the top of 'Helskloof Pass' (Hell's Valley Pass) on 4x4 track. In summer, this place is devastatingly hot (50ºC+), so be thankful for the cool of winter! Taking a sharp left on the pass we tackle a steep 'shortcut' to the top of the Numeesberge, before threading our way down a series of game trails the river bed below.  An easy run with a few undulations brings you to a short ascent up a dry river wash to the camp site.  Overall, the terrain is mostly fast and non-technical, but interspersed with technical sections. From the Numeesberg summit, the hard work is over and you can enjoy the magical views into the heartland of the Richtersveld. Now that you have broken over the Numeesberge, you have earned the right to cruise the inner sanctum! 
 
DAY 2: 'DE KOEI' to HAKKIESDORING
Distance: 33km 
Vertical gain: 630m
Aid station: 19.5km 
Out of 'De Koei', the route slots into the upper reaches of the 'Abiekwarivier', before ducking-off to climb up and over a ridgeline that runs off the 'Paradysberg' and then drops into 'Rosyntjiewater' (Raisin Water). From here, the valley opens up as we run between the magnificent 'Vandersterrberge' to the south and the 'Tswayisberge' to the north and into 'Armmanshoek' (Poor man's corner) aid-station. From Armmanshoek, the route climbs to the 'Tswayisberge' saddle before the long descent into the 'Ganukouriep' river valley and down to the finish of day two at 'Hakkiesdoring' (hook thorn).
This day, you will touch onto the slopes of the big mountains of the Vandersterrberge and get a real feeling for this remote and truly wild area of the Richtersveld. At the junction of the ‘Ganukouriep’ river valley there is an option of an extra dead-leg return to the most magnificent amphitheatre - a fortress of rock towering 150-200m straight up with a flat and sandy bottom. However, this is a tough return leg and only for those strong of legs!
 
 
DAY 3: HAKKIESDORING to DE HOOP
Distance: 40km
Vertical gain: 742m
Aid station: 18km 
To start off, you will belt down into the Ganukouriep river bed, before turning up eastwards towards the central plateau. After exploring some pretty neat little granite gullies (a sign of things to come later in the day) the route tops out on the edge of the open expanse that is the 'Springbokvlakte' (Springbok flats). This magnificent plateau, sitting at an average of 600m above sea level, used to teem with millions of springbok that migrated here for the sweet grasses after good rains (relatively speaking!). Running these plains is an experience in itself, the enormity of space all-encompassing. In front of you, the granite boulder towers of the fractured Tatasberg range mark the end of the plains and the opening of a very different chapter. You now enter onto the giant granite sheets and clamber up through giant boulders to one of the smaller of the Tatasberg summits. From the top, you'll make your way through this veritable boulder graveyard, to the floor of 'Pypkloof' (Pipe Valley) and your aid station at 18km. You are now on the run down to the Orange River, the steep valley floor gradient making you feel like a rocket ship! From the top of the Tatasberg to the Orange River is almost 1000m of descent over less than 10km! What lies on either side of you belies belief - we say no more!  Once you hit the mighty Orange River and the lush vegetation that comes with it, the route turns westwards and runs the outside bend of the river to the magnificent riverside camp of De Hoop.
There is one adventurous 'sneak' for the brave that cuts 2km off the day’s total - more about that at briefing. This day will no doubt scramble the mind with the sheer diversity of experiences: from the wide open plains of the Springbokvlakte to the granite sheets and tricky boulders of Tatasberg and the sheer magnificence of the Orange River valley - with nothing around but wilderness. Look out for Fish Eagles as you hit the river!
 
 
DAY 4: DE HOOP to WILDERNESS HOT SPRINGS
Distance: 49km
Vertical gain: 1105m
Aid station: 15km 
We leave the magnificent De Hoop Camp and almost immediately cross the mighty Orange River to the Namibian side by boat and canoe. From here we run down stream for a few kilometres before reaching a small section of ‘main’ jeep track that runs past Oom Kobus Jansen's old farm. Shortly thereafter we start a steady runnable climb up Jansen’s Kloof to the base of Zebra pass, so named for the clear trail created by the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra – a species of zebra especially adapted to arid and desert environments. What follows will be one of the most memorable sections of the day, as we follow a wild game trail rollercoaster down Zebra Kloof to meet with the enormous Fish River Canyon. From here it’s a steady and hard fought battle up the Fish River Canyon to the Wilderness Hot Springs Camp to enjoy a welcome rest in natural hot springs.
 
DAY 5: WILDERNESS HOT SPRINGS to AI-AIS HOT SPRINGS RESORT
Distance: 26km
Vertical gain: 840m
Aid station: 14km 
This is a relaxed day with a late start, making sure we maximise the amazing natural hot springs before the final chip to the /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Resort. Around the first bend we find ourselves climbing up a short cut, before turning the corner on a long stretch of Fish River Canyon. An unsuspecting slot ravine swallows us up from the river right, taking us on an exploration to the east of the Fish River Canyon on well-worn game trails.  We climb to a high point before winding our way back to cross the Fish River Canyon. We turn up another dry wash following Zebra trails to below a climb to the peak above the /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Resort and a magnificent view over the mountain wilderness surrounds. A technical descent brings you back to the Fish River and soon cheers bring you in to the finish of the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun®.
 

 

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