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Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon

18-Oct-2018 Augrabies Falls National Park, Northern Cape Province, South Africa


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Desert Race Race Terrain
250KM / 155Miles
7 Days - 100 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Advanced  

Entry From £1600 GBP

Known as the 'Big Daddy' in the South African running circles, this prestigious event organised by Extreme Marathons, now has it's place on the International Calendar of similar trail events. Now is your opportunity to run in the footsteps of the ancient Bushmen, through the fertile vineyards of the Orange River Valley, across rocky outcrops and into the desolate Great Kalahari Desert.

The Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon is a self-sufficient run over 7 days, covering an approximate distance of 250 kilometres. The event takes place in the Kalahari Desert in the proximity of the Augrabies Falls on the Orange River. The route traverses the Augrabies Falls National Park, Dabaras and many private farmlands. This contrasting environment with average day temperatures reaching in excess of 40C and dropping to below 5C at night presents a daunting challenge to the extreme athlete and determined adventurer alike.

The organisers supply the participants with overnight camps, water, professional medical backup, sports physios, check points at every 8 - 10kms, and an experienced crew who look after the participants needs. Each participant must carry:

Compulsory Items
Backpack (30 litre is suggested)        * Sun block lotion
Sleeping bag                                       * Whistle
Overnight clothing                              * Mirror
Torch and spare batteries                  * Knife
Eye Protection / Sunglasses              * 2 x 750ml water containers
Head cover (Cap)                               * Antiseptic cream
Insect net to cover face or a Buff       * Strapping/anti-chafing
Blister treatment kit                             * Space Blanket
Toilet paper or tissues                        * Safety pins – minimum 10

Although the event is advertised as 250km, race director Estienne Arndt changes the route every year, and the distance depends on the terrain. The route is only disclosed to the participants at registration, the day before the start of the event.

For more information, history, articles and photographs of this event, go to the website on www.kaem.co.za

Read Marina Ranger's account of the 2014 edition HERE.



Event Organiser
Nadia Arndt



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon

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12:35 07-04-16

This race stole my heart. I first ran it in 2007 and came back in 2008 to see if it was as good as I remembered it. It was. I then became the UK agent and have been back every year since. It is hard to describe why it is so good; it is a mixture of fantastic scenery, the harsh conditions, the difficult terrain, the wonderful checkpoint crew, the special bond between everyone involved that creates the KAEM family. When you have completed the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, you are a changed person, you are a better person. I have run other multi-stage races, and will hopefully run many more, but the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon will always have a special place in my heart.

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06:26 29-01-15

There is something truly unique about this 250km self sufficient race through the desert over 6 stages/7 days that brings you back time and time again. The Kalahari didn’t fail to deliver another exceptional week of stunning beauty, stiff racing competition and fabulous camaraderie.
After running this race in 2013 I was drawn back by the amazing family I have discovered whilst out there. There is such a brilliant atmosphere, and with a small race (in numbers of runners) like this with 60-75 runners each year, you get the opportunity to really get to know each other over the week.
The race is organised exceptionally well by Nadia and Estienne from every detail from the pre arrival to the post race party and awards ceremony where every single runner gets their accolade and time on the stage as a 'winner'.
I had to come back for a 2nd time in 2014 as all the runners in 2013 except for me saw giraffes! I saw them this year!
Will I be back? I have no doubt that I will be back again, and again! For a detailed race report please see my blog https://runningdutchie.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/it-never-rains-in-the-kalahari/

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03:44 06-01-15

Simply the best race I have every taken part in, so much so I had to come back a second time in 2014...and I don't usually like doing things more than once!
So, what made me go a second time? A long list of things: the beautiful desert; the wildlife, scenery and unpredictable weather, the feeling of satisfaction at the end, the wonderful race organisers Nadia and Estienne, the fantastic crew who support you at every checkpoint and at camp, the chance to meet new runners and see ones I already knew and then the chance to improve since last time, so that although I was doing the same race, I had set myself new objectives and was therefore still ticking boxes!

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