The Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM) is a multi-stage extreme marathon held annually in October in the Kalahari desert in South Africa.
KAEM was founded by Estienne Arndt, Nadia Arndt and Simon Kelly in the year 2000, and the event is organised and managed by Augrabies Extreme Marathons cc.
The Multi-stage Marathon
- KAEM is a self-sufficient multi-stage extreme foot race covering a distance of approximately 250km, held in 6 stages over 7 days.
- Each participant must carry all his/her supplies for the duration of the race. Supplies can be checked by a race official at any stage during the race.
- The route is clearly marked with highly visible markings, marking tape and boards for direction on-route. Each participant is given a handbook with maps. Participants must navigate their way by using the handbook and maps and following the markers. The markers are positioned at approximately 300 to 400 meters apart. If a kilometer is run without the sight of a marker, the participant should turn back as he/she is off the course.
- The route of KAEM is mainly on jeep tracks and dust roads. The overall distance is measured on these tracks which often wind their way between the hills. It is NOT PERMITTED to leave the track and deliberately take a short cut across open ground to reduce the distance and gain advantage. Any participant seen deliberately taking a short cut off the tracks to shorten the distance of the marked route will be considered a NON FINISHER of the event. It is permitted to run parallel to the track where the ground may be harder.
- Except for first day there are staggered starts every day. These start times are based directly on the overall times of each participant. These start times are posted each evening after the last participant has finished, and CANNOT be altered. If participants miss allocated starting times, participants’ overall time WILL be calculated based on their allocated starting time.
- There are checkpoints at approximately every 8 to 10 km intervals.
- It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that the check point time keeper has listed him/her as having passed through the check point.
- One day/night stage is included. This stage is approximately 75 to 80 km and participants are required to run with headlamps. On this day the slower participants leave at 06:00, the starts are staggered throughout the morning with the fastest participants leaving at 13:00.
- Once darkness has set on the night stage it is essential to keep your headlamps ON at all times as the route markers are reflective.
- Cover for overnight stops are provided at the finish camps. Gazebos are numbered and 4 participants are allocated a gazebo and a gazebo number. Participants must only sleep in their allocated Gazebo.
- The organisers reserves the right to modify any part of the race as a result of circumstances beyond its control.
- Except for the long day participants must reach the finish before sunset at 19:00 as the route is not set for the dark; this does not apply for the night stage.
- Participants can be withdrawn from the race if instructed by the Race Director, or on advice of the medical team if it is obvious that they are not coping with the extreme conditions that this event demands.
- NO SMOKING IS ALLOWED DURING THE EVENT
- For safety to both the participant and other participants, earphones will not be allowed whilst on the route. They are permitted at the overnight camps only. (The reason for this rule is that participants wearing earphones will not be able to hear someone calling for assistance, shouting a warning or being aware of surroundings.)
For more information, please read carefully through the Rules and Regulations.
- KAEM is open to persons 21 years and older.
- Juniors 18 to 21 years must have written permission from a parent or guardian.
- Participants’ have to get a medical examination done after the 1st of August and must be emailed to the organisers by the 15th of September.
Prizes and Trophies
- Each finisher receives a trophy which is a unique hand-blown glass leopard made by Ngwenya Glass.
- Special winners trophies are awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd man and lady finishers.
Ecologically Sensitive Location
- The Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon will be run over an ecologically sensitive area.
- Anyone littering or deliberately damaging any flora or fauna will be disqualified.
- Please familiarise yourself with the Rules and Regulations in this regard.
- Registration will take place at 10:30 on the Friday before the start of the first stage on Saturday.
- Anyone not present for registration will be regarded as a non-starter.
- Participants will be required to produce their relevant medical certification, compulsory equipment, and self-sufficient provisions for the duration of the race.
- Anyone without the relevant documentation and compulsory items will be regarded as a non-starter.
- ALL medication is to be shown and declared to the medical doctor.
- Participants must carry enough food to sustain themselves during the event.
- A minimum of 2000 calories per day is recommended.
- It is at the discretion of the event doctor at inspection to ascertain if sufficient food is carried.
- During the event, should a participant dehydrate or if the medical team feels that the participant is undernourished and is endangering himself/herself, the participant will be re-hydrated orally or intravenously. Should such a participant require two (2) intravenous drips or regular oral re-hydration, he/she will be withdrawn from the race.
- Sports Massage Therapists will be available at the overnight camps, each day of the race.
- Massages (30 minute slots) need to be booked at R250.00 per massage.
- Bookings can be made at the event.
- Check points during the event are approximately 8 to 10 km apart. Each participant receives 1.5 litres of water at each check point.
- Each participant receives 5 litres at the finish camp each day. This 5 litres is also for filling water bottles the next morning from the start to Check Point 1.
- Up to 1 litre of hot, boiled water for cooking is allocated per participant at the daily overnight camp.
- An additional 5 litres is supplied for the rest day.
- This is the only water that will be supplied to participants.
- Additional water supplies may be issued if conditions demand it. This water will be distributed from drums.
Geographical Conditions and Temperatures
- The terrain varies from flat grassy plains, fertile valleys, rocky mountainous outcrops and sandy riverbeds and desert.
- Areas covered include a wildlife sanctuary, private farmlands and cultivated vineyards.
- Daily temperatures in the area during October average between 33 to 45 degrees Celsius (in the shade) however it can surpass the 45 degree Celsius mark. At night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius.
Assistance during the race
- No assistance may be accepted from any person or facility not connected to the event or crew.
- No participant may carry equipment or supplies for another participant.
- Only water and medical assistance may be accepted from crew at check points and the finish.
- The organisers reserve the right to make allowances for any participants with a disability.
- A full medical team will be in attendance throughout the duration of the event.
- Any self-medication taken during the event MUST be declared and approved by the race doctor at registration.
- Any medication taken during the event that has not been approved by the doctor will result in disqualification.
- The medical team is there for the participants’ well-being and safety. Blisters as a result of normal wear and tear must be dressed and treated by participants themselves.
- Participants must provide for and carry their own blister treatment kit (see notes on foot care.)
- The medical team will attend to feet at their discretion, especially in severe cases and should an infection set in.
- Strapping to prevent chafing must be carried and done by participants themselves.
- If the medical team is required to assist with strapping as a result of infection or raw skin, this strapping will be charged for. This does not include strapping for injuries such as sprains, pulled muscles, etc.
If the race doctor feels medical assistance is being used to give the participant an advantage, the organisers can decide on whether to withdraw the participant or deny them a podium finish.
Event Abandonment and Retirement
- Should a participant retire or be withdrawn from the event, accommodation will be reserved on his/her behalf and all costs incurred (i.e. accommodation, meals, etc.) must be paid directly to the provider by the participant.
- It is essential that if any participant retires from the race, that he/she notifies an official.
- Should a participant be withdrawn from the race and decide to stay at Augrabies for the remainder of the event, the participant WILL NOT automatically be included in the crew team and will most likely not be able to join crew members at check points in the field. This will only be allowed by the Race Director if circumstances allow.
Compulsory Equipment - survival gear to be supplied by participant and carried at all times
- Backpack (30 litre is suggested)
- Sleeping bag
- Overnight & warm clothing
- Head cover (Cap)
- Insect net to cover face or a Buff
- Eye Protection / Sunglasses
- Torch and spare batteries
- Water containers or bladder to carry minimum total quantity of 1.5 litres
- Antiseptic cream
- Blister treatment kit
- Strapping or anti-chafe cream for chafing
- Sun block lotion
- Toilet paper or tissues
- Cooking / eating container and spoon
- Space blanket
- 10 x Safety pins
Suggested Equipment (not compulsory) – to be supplied by participant if desired
- Sleeping mat
- Additional 300ml Water bottle
- Spare cotton shorts and t-shirt
- Socks – 7 pairs
- Small Towel
- Face cloth
- Big Plastic Bag (in case of rain)
- Foot plasters
- Head ache tablets
- Insect Repellent
- Various container bags – e.g. ziplock bags
- Wind Breaker
- Sewing kit
KAEM Road Book
- The road book includes complete event details, with stage distances and route maps.
- This will only be provided to participants on the Friday at registration.
- The road book must be kept on the participant’s person at all times during the race stage of the event.
The daily distances will be communicated to participants prior to the event, about a month before the time to allow for planning purposes.
Included in the Entry Fee
The KAEM Entry Fee, includes the following:
- SANParks entry
- SANParks permissions
- Goodie bag with various sponsored items, including KAEM Buff and 1.5 litre water for first leg of the first event day
- 7 Days of competing on foot through pristine nature
- Marked route
- Camp set up each night
- Water about every 10 km at checkpoints
- Water at the camps each night
- Professional photographer
- Professional videographer
- Daily social media updates with photos and videos
- Permission of private farm owners
- 2 nights sharing accommodation before the event and 2 nights after the event at Augrabies Falls National Park
- Meals before and after the event
- Prize giving function with wine
The KAEM Entry Fee excludes the following:
- International return flights to Johannesburg or Cape Town.
- Return Transfer from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Augrabies. Package 2 in the Pricing Options includes Return Transfer. Please see Pricing Options.
- Additional clothing ordered.
- Personal items, refreshments and alcoholic drinks that can be purchased from the Augrabies Falls National Park shop and/or Augrabies Falls Lodge Bar and Restaurant.
- All food and supplements required during the race.
The Itinerary depends on which Package is booked.
WEDNESDAY, 25 October 2017 (Package 2)
• Accommodation reserved at the Peermont Metcourt Hotel, Johannesburg on a twin-share basis including breakfast.
• Any extras (meals, drinks, telephone calls, etc.) are for your account and to be settled at the hotel before checking out.
• Physical Address: 64 Jones Road, Kempton Park
• Telephone: +27 11 928 1000, Fax: +27 11 928 1001
• There is a complementary shuttle from O.R. Tambo, Johannesburg International Airport to the Peermont Metcourt. The Hotel Shuttle can be found outside terminal 2A, International Arrivals at the designated Hotel “pick up” and “drop off” point situated opposite the Airport Inter-Continental Hotel outside the terminal buildings.
• Directions from International Arrival Terminal to Shuttle pick up – Turn left as you exit the Terminal. Walk along the driveway until the pedestrian crossing, then turn right across the driveway into the opposite building (with covered parking above). Do not take the escalators, but walk past them until you come to the Luxliner Bus bookings cubicle. Turn right here and exit the building into the passageway next to the Intercontinental Hotel. Turn right again, and follow the passageway to the shuttle terminus behind the Intercontinental Hotel. Wait for the Emperors Palace bus at the terminus. Please note that the Courtesy Shuttle runs between the hours of 06h00 and 00h00 daily. For any transport requirements after 00h00, kindly contact their Transport Desk on +27 11 928 1762
• See the Peermont Metcourt’s website on www.emperorspalace.co.za and then click on “Hotels” for facilities.
THURSDAY, 26 October 2017
After breakfast, check out of your hotel room. The accommodation and breakfast have been prepaid but any extras must be paid directly to the hotel on check out.
08:30 Transfer by shuttle to OR Tambo Airport for your flight to Upington.
09:00 Check in at OR Tambo Airport, Terminal B, Airlink Counter, for your flight SA8767 to Upington.
11:00 Depart: Johannesburg
12:30 Arrive: Upington
On arrival in Upington, board the Coach for your 120km transfer to the Augrabies Falls National Park. Nadia will be waiting for you at the Conference Centre where you will collect your chalets keys and ‘goodies bag’ which will include your KAEM documentation, route/map booklet.
Balance of afternoon at leisure.
The accommodation is booked on a sharing basis in the chalets at the Augrabies Falls National Park.
NB: If you have arranged to meet the KAEM group at Upington Airport and travel together by Coach to Augrabies Falls National Park, you have to be at the Airport by 12:50 to load your luggage. The Coach will leave Upington Airport at 13:00.
(Package 1 & Package 2)
IMPORTANT!! IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING WITH YOUR OWN TRANSPORT, GO TO THE AUGRABIES FALLS LODGE FIRST TO COLLECT YOUR CAR STICKER TO ALLOW YOU ENTRANCE INTO THE PARK. THE ROOMS WILL BE AVAILABLE FROM 15:00. (THE LODGE IS ONLY 4KM FROM THE PARK.)
19:00 Meet at the Parking Area, Augrabies Falls National Park, for transfer to the Augrabies Falls Lodge for dinner.
19:30 Typical South African ‘potjie’ dinner at the Augrabies Falls Lodge.
21:30 Transfer back to the Augrabies Falls National Park to your accommodation.
FRIDAY, 27 October 2017
Use your breakfast voucher at the Quiver Tree Restaurant at the Augrabies Falls National Park
At leisure until 10:30.
10:30 Runners’ briefing. All runners must attend with their full packs and equipment.
Once the briefing is finished, start the compulsory equipment and medical checks.
Once the compulsory equipment is checked, your list will be signed. Take this list for your medical checks and have it signed off here too.
Hand in your signed list to the last table and you will be given your running bib and a bottle of water which must be used to fill your running bottles for Day 1, Start to CP 1.
12:30 Burger lunch.
18:00 Meet at the Parking Area, Augrabies Falls National Park, for transfer to the Augrabies Falls Lodge for dinner.
18:30 Early schnitzel dinner at the lodge.
Transfer back to the Park.
Accommodation booked on a sharing basis at the Augrabies Falls National Park.
SATURDAY, 28 October 2017
Ensure that your running bottles are filled.
07:30 Take your luggage (which will be locked away for the duration of the event) to the Conference Center. Make sure that each item is clearly labeled with your name and bib number. Do not hand in any loose items. Two baggage labels are included in your information wallet. Please ensure that you sign for your luggage.
Make your way to the start.
08:00 Start of the 18th Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon.
SATURDAY, 28 October 2017 to FRIDAY, 03 November 2017
Each day is detailed on the KAEM Roadbook.
FRIDAY, 03 November 2017
Staggered start for the last leg.
10:00 Participants finish the race. Platter ‘finger foods’ and refreshments will be available as you finish. Refreshments can be signed for and paid for that evening.
14:00 Once everyone has finished the race, sign for and collect your luggage and your chalet keys. The chalets WILL NOT be available before 14:30.
Rest of day at leisure.
17:00 Meet at the Parking Area, Augrabies Falls National Park, for transfer to the Augrabies Falls Lodge for a traditional South African braai.
17:30 Traditional South African braai at the Augrabies Falls Lodge.
Transfer back to the Augrabies Falls National Park.
Accommodation Augrabies Falls National Park.
SATURDAY, 04 November 2017
Use your breakfast and lunch vouchers at the Quiver Tree Restaurant at the Augrabies Falls National Park
Rest of the day at leisure.
16:30 Meet at the Parking Area, Augrabies Falls National Park, for transfer to the Augrabies Falls Lodge for the Prize Giving function and dinner. After dinner, Simon and Gunther will entertain you. Do you know the words yet of “Sunset, Rivers, Rocks and Sand and Space…..”
21:30 Transfer back to the Augrabies Falls National Park. You can stay later, but please make ensure you have made arrangements for transport back to the Augrabies Falls National Park.
Accommodation Augrabies Falls National Park.
SUNDAY, 05 November 2017
07:00 Use your breakfast voucher at the Quiver Tree Restaurant at the Augrabies Falls National Park
09:30 Meet at the Car Park and board the Coach for your transfer to Upington Airport.
10:00 Depart Augrabies Falls National Park.
11:30 Check in at Upington Airport for your flight SA 8768 to Johannesburg on Airlink.
12:50 Depart: Upington
14:25 Arrive: Johannesburg, Terminal B.