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Last modified: 18 May 2017
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World's eyes on Kouga for adventure race

17 May 2017
Mayor Elza van Lingen (second right), with race organisers Heidi (left) and Stephan Muller (right), and Fasie Malherbe of the host venue and local sponsor Cape St Francis Resort.

Mayor Elza van Lingen (second right), with race organisers Heidi (left) and Stephan Muller (right), and Fasie Malherbe of the host venue and local sponsor Cape St Francis Resort.

Mayor Elza van Lingen watches as teams lay stones to form the Expedition Africa landmark.

Mayor Elza van Lingen watches as teams lay stones to form the Expedition Africa landmark.

Kouga LED, Tourism and Creative Industries Director Carleen Arends and Tourism Officer Khalipa Nelani at the lighthouse ceremony on Saturday.

Kouga LED, Tourism and Creative Industries Director Carleen Arends and Tourism Officer Khalipa Nelani at the lighthouse ceremony on Saturday.

Mayor Elza van Lingen and Fasie Malherbe prepare to signal the start of the race on Sunday.

Mayor Elza van Lingen and Fasie Malherbe prepare to signal the start of the race on Sunday.

Teams set off on their adventure from the beach at Cape St Francis early on Sunday morning.

Teams set off on their adventure from the beach at Cape St Francis early on Sunday morning.

More than 150 adventure racers from around the globe are putting their endurance to the test in some of the remotest parts of Kouga and the Baviaans this week.

The 7th edition of Expedition Africa got underway at Cape St Francis on Sunday when Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen and Fasie Malherbe of the host venue, Cape St Francis Resort, lowered the flag to signal the start of the race.

Thirty-nine teams from 13 countries, including, Ireland, Japan, Brazil and Australia, are taking part. They have been navigating, trekking, kayaking and cycling across more than 500km of rugged and treacherous terrain.

Race organisers, Heidi and Stephan Muller, said the top teams were expected to finish the race within three days, but teams have up to six days to complete the route and challenges. The awards ceremony will take place on Saturday.

The action can be tracked live at www.expafrica.live. Local supporters can also meet the teams at designated transition areas, visible on the live tracking page.

Kouga Tourism and Creative Industries Portfolio Councillor, Frances Baxter, said the event had a large international online following.

"It's been a wonderful marketing platform for the region and we are excited about the potential tourism spin-offs," she said. "Kouga has many natural wonders and this beauty is being showcased to the world."

The race was preceded by a special ceremony at the Seal Point Lighthouse on Saturday.

Brandishing their countries' flags, teams paraded across the beach from the resort to the lighthouse.

At the lighthouse the Mayor was invited to unveil a plaque naming Seal Point the most south-eastern point of Africa. Teams then lay stones in the shape of the African continent to form the "Expedition Africa 2017 landmark".

Participants were also introduced to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation and Coastal Birds (Sanccob), located at Cape St Francis, and encouraged to adopt a penguin.

Baxter said the Council wished to thank the Kouga Local Tourism Organisation, the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Cape St Francis Resort and other local sponsors for helping to secure the event for Kouga.

"It is through partnerships such as this that we will be able to grow tourism and create opportunities for local entrepreneurs and business," she said.