babanango

date

29 May 2021

venue

Babanango Game Reserve, Matatane Camp

distances

5km, 10k, 21km Mountain Challenge & 42km Mountain Marathon

the story

It’s common for all of us to wonder how things would be if Covid had never been. Lots of things would be very different. Many have lost things, but many have gained things to. One thing that the Mountain Marathon Series gained was stunning Bushveld course in the form of the newly established Babanango Game Reserve. I hear you say “Bushveld and Mountains?” – YES, all rolled into one including White Umfolozi River frontage.

Andrew McGill, one of the project managers at the Babanango Game Reserve had been on KZNTR’s case about getting out to the reserve. On a number of occasions in 2018 and 2019 we tried to pin down a date, but busy schedules snuffed out each opportunity. Then is June when KZNTR was facilitating trails out of The Barn Owl coffee shop along came Andrew McGill for a mornings running in the midlands. After his run we got chatting and he extended the offer to visit the Babanango Game Reserve once again. This time we did not need a second offer and we ventured out of the house on our first trip in months to the stunning Valley Lodge.

It was obvious why Andrew had been on us about getting out there to prospect it for an event. With 22 000ha, 20km of iMfolozi River frontage, Granite koppies dotted everywhere and some real elevation between this high and low points, if offered everything we needed. Then we saw the new family orientated Matatane Camp with views over the White Umfolozi River, and the vision for bringing the Mountain Marathon Series to northern KZN in a somewhat unexpected mountain space was born!

the venue

Babanango Game Reserve is a malaria-free game reserve which will soon be home to the Big 5. The Reserve – which is in the process of statutory declaration – is one of KwaZulu-Natal’s newest reserves, set on the White Umfolozi River and encompassing the beautiful Babanango Valley in Zululand. It’s a gorgeous region with a pristine coastline, rolling hills, waving grasslands, forests, rivers, mangrove swamps and cattle ranches.

race info

A stunning Bushveld course in the form of the newly established Babanango Game Reserve. I hear you say “Bushveld and Mountains?” – YES, all rolled into one including White Umfolozi River frontage.