New Klipspringer 2018 2-day stage format: more info coming soon!
Please not that this information refers to the 2017 race format!
Starting before sunrise in front of the rest camp next to the Falls, runners will clearly be able to hear the roar that gives the Place of Great Noise its name.
The first section of the Augrabies Falls Klipspringer Challenge will take runners through the desert along the top of the canyon. While fairly flat overall, the terrain is technical, rocky and demanding. Good concentration skills and tough ankles will be a big advantage. A number of dry river beds and gullies add to the interest and provide a good opportunity to get those climbing muscles working properly.
As the trail approaches the Visarend overnight hut and first waterpoint, it takes runners to the edge of the canyon and some of the most spectacular vistas on the planet. Those who have been surprised by the tough start cannot help but have their spirits lifted by the magnificent view of the mighty Orange River snaking its way towards the sea, 800ft below the sheer golden granite cliffs.
At this point Lite runners turn away from the main trail and the canyon, while Challenge runners can look forward to a steep, boulder-hopping climb down to the river gets the next section under way, certain to be grateful for the sound and then the sight of the water. The Challenge trail then runs along the river with runners able to choose their own line through the canyon. Depending on the level of the water, runners can expect lots of world-class boulder hopping, muscle-sapping sandy sections, and some rewarding or heartbreaking path selections. For those not racing for a position or a time, this section offers lots of opportunity for an invigorating swim in the fresh cold waters of South Africa’s greatest river as it cuts through the desert.
The next section of the trail takes runners away from the river and up a dry and sandy river bed for a good few km towards the Berghut and second waterpoint. A lot of the trail here is on soft sand and is a gradual uphill climb away from the river. Heat is always a factor here and those who took the time to swim will be remembering the cold water longingly. The sight of the hut and the waterpoint flags will be most welcome.
After the Berghut the trail flattens out and heads back into the desert proper, with some solid footing and a smattering of jeep track allowing runners a chance to open up, stretch the leg muscles and make up some good time. The route then takes runners up and over the exquisite and aptly named Swart Rante, where the highest point on the trail provides some fantastic photo ops for the scenery and selfie junkies. After this chance for a well-deserved pause, the main Challenge route is rejoined by the Lite trail for the exhilarating and scenic home stretch. Notwithstanding the odd surprise of climbing into and out of a few rocky gullies and being slowed down by some more soft desert sand, this section provides for some fast running and another chance to enjoy great views and take in the spectacular environment as the trail takes runners up and over the very aptly named Moon Rock. However hard you’ve worked to here, this strange other-worldly rock formation is such fun to run up and over that it will be impossible not to love it. Coupled with the fact that from the top of Moon Rock you will be able to get a real sense of Home, it is figuratively (if not exactly literally) downhill from here, through the mercifully shady and cooler but notoriously thorny and technical riverine vegetation of the Ebony Forest to the Finish.