Big Five Marathon Big Five Marathon
21 June 2014, South Africa – The wildest of them all!

International Tour Packages

The Big Five Marathon 2014

The Big Five Marathon is an exclusive event that combines a challenging marathon experience with a classic African safari vacation. Situated in the Limpopo province, the Entabeni Safari Conservancy provides the perfect setting for the event. Within this 22,000 ha, malaria-free, private game reserve, several accommodation facilities are provided, varying from tented camps to luxurious lodges. (Read more about the accommodation under Accommodation and Rates page.

Choose between a 5 and a 7 night tour package for the event.

The itinerary of the tour packages described below is for all participants regardless of the chosen accommodation.

7-night package

17 June 2014: Arrival at Entabeni
The tour starts and ends in Johannesburg International Airport (also known as OR Tambo). All participants are transferred at set transfer times from the airport to Entabeni Safari Conservancy.

Transfer DEPARTURE times from the airport are: 08:30, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. If any of the above transfers don't fit in your travel plans it is possible to book an individual transfer at an extra charge.

Upon arrival to Entabeni you will meet you tour leader and be checked in at your respective lodge/camp. Participants arriving on one of the first three transfers (departure from Johannesburg International Airport at 08:30, 10:00 & 12:00) will have the possibility to go on the first of several exciting game drives. The game drives will provide the opportunity to experience an authentic African safari in serene surroundings. The Entabeni Safari Conservancy offers diverse wildlife, open safari vehicles and relatively few tourists, creating an ideal wilderness atmosphere.

18 and 19 June 2014: Entabeni Game Drives
Day two and three of your stay in Entabeni are dedicated to exploring the game reserve through a daily game drive. We will get accustomed to the park’s geography, and climate, and we can slowly start preparing ourselves for Saturday's exciting event: The Big Five Marathon®. The daily game drive is included in the itinerary and will take place either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. A bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included on the third day, giving us a chance to get really close to the nature and wildlife. Additional game drives and bush walks can be purchased on spot. Alternatively some of your free time can also be used for shorter runs outside the Safari Conservancy – the tour leader will help organise the runs.

Early morning game drives typically takes place between 06:00 and 09:30. During these early hours we will experience the cool morning, spot spectacular wildlife, and most probably work up an appetite. Once back from the morning safari we will be richly satisfied by the overwhelming breakfast buffet that awaits us at our lodge/camp.

The afternoon game drive begins around 16:00 arriving back at the lodge in time for dinner around 19:30. Similar to the morning game drive, the afternoon drive provides great wildlife experiences. Moreover the afternoon drive offers the opportunity to experience a beautiful sunset in ideal settings: enjoying a cold drink on the savannah, while admiring the changing colours of the darkening evening sky. The afternoon drive then turns into a night safari, where we will get the chance to spot the fascinating nocturnal wildlife with a spot light.

PLEASE NOTE: June is winter time in South Africa and while the temperature often rises to 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day, temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius at night time is not unusual! Especially the large drop from day to night time temperatures makes the evenings and mornings feel extremely cold. It is therefore essential to bring a winter jacket, warm hat and gloves when going on game drives!

Over the last few years the reserve's wildlife has become increasingly accustomed to tourists. It is therefore not uncommon to see elephants, giraffes and different species of antelopes grazing in close proximity to the safari vehicles. A pride of lions even occasionally holds up traffic, lying lazily across the track. We use open 4x4 safari vehicles, which provide us with an excellent opportunity for viewing the wildlife in safety.

During our stay we will have a number of park rangers allocated: one for approximately every ten participants. The rangers ensure our safety, drive the safari vehicles, provide competent guiding, coordinate the events with the race management, and are at our disposal around the clock. Furthermore a Tour Leader will be with the group from beginning to end assisting with every need of the participants.

20 June 2014: Route Inspection
After breakfast all the participants are transported from their respective lodges/camp to the starting point of the marathon. It is now time for the route inspection: all safari vehicles follow the route in a convoy, allowing the participants to examine the different running surfaces, note the locations of water posts, and assess the overall difficulty of the route.

After the route inspection a large buffet lunch will be served for all the participants. This is the time where everyone is gathered - the participants, race officials, medical staff and rangers - for a formal introduction to the event, and a presentation of the practical issues surrounding the marathon. There are no scheduled game drives this day.

21 June 2014: The Big Five Marathon®
The big day has come. Today you will be met by a challenge that will be worth remembering: The Big Five Marathon®. In the morning all participants will be transported from the various lodges and camps to the starting line in time for final preparations. The marathon is planned to start at 09:00, but delays must be expected, as the exact start time will be dependent on the location of the big five game - if too close to the route, the start will be postponed. There are no scheduled game drives this day.
There are no scheduled game drives this day.

22 June 2014: After Marathon party
Today you will experience yet another fantastic game drive followed by our After Marathon Party. There will be great food, live entertainment, prize ceremony, and partying under the starry sky.

23 June 2014: Entabeni
On the final day at the Entabeni Private Game Reserve you will have one last game drive either in the morning or in the afternoon. Those interested will also get the opportunity to stretch their legs on one final bush walk. In the evening farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges.

24 June 2014: Depart for Johannesburg
Our week at Entabeni Safari Conservancy has come to an end and it's time to head back to Johannesburg. All participants are transferred from Entabeni to Johannesburg International Airport.

Transfer ARRIVAL times at the airport are 08:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00. As on arrival it is possible, for an extra charge, to book an individual transfer to Johannesburg if the group transfers don't fit your onward journey.
5-night package

19 June 2014: Arrival at Entabeni
The tour starts and ends in Johannesburg International Airport (also known as OR Tambo). All participants are transferred at set transfer times from the airport to Entabeni Safari Conservancy.

Transfer DEPARTURE times from the airport are: 08:30, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. If any of the above transfers don't fit in your travel plans it is possible to book an individual transfer at an extra surcharge.

Upon arrival to Entabeni you will meet you tour leader and be checked in at your respective lodge/camp. Participants arriving on one of the first three transfers (departure from Johannesburg International Airport at 08:30, 10:00 & 12:00) will have the possibility to go on the first of a number of exciting game drives.

The afternoon game drive begins around 16:00 arriving back at the lodge in time for dinner around 19:30. Similar to a morning game drive, the afternoon drive provides great wildlife experiences. Moreover the afternoon drive offers the opportunity to experience a genuine African sunset in ideal settings: enjoying a cold drink on the savannah, while admiring the changing colours of the darkening evening sky. The afternoon drive then turns into a night safari, where we will get the chance to spot the fascinating nocturnal wildlife with a spot light.

PLEASE NOTE: June is winter time in South Africa and while the temperature often rise to 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius at night time is not unusual! Especially the large drop from day to night time temperature makes the evenings and mornings feel extremely cold. It is therefore essential to bring a winter jacket, warm hat and gloves when going on game drives!

Over the last few years the reserve's wildlife has become increasingly accustomed to the visiting tourists. It is therefore not uncommon to see elephants, giraffes and different species of antelopes grazing in close proximity to the safari vehicles. A pride of lions even occasionally holds up traffic, lying lazily across the track. We use open 4x4 safari vehicles, which provide us with an excellent opportunity for viewing the wildlife in safety.

During our stay we will have a number of park rangers allocated: one for approximately every ten participants. The rangers ensure our safety, drive the safari vehicles, provide competent guiding, coordinate the events with the race management, and are at our disposal around the clock. Furthermore a Tour Leader will be with the group from beginning to end assisting with every need of the participants.

20 June 2014: Route Inspection
After breakfast all participants are transported from their respective lodges/camp to the starting point of the marathon. It is now time for the route inspection: all safari vehicles follow the route in a convoy, allowing the participants to examine the different running surfaces, note the locations of water posts, and assess the overall difficulty of the route.

After the route inspection a large buffet lunch will be served for all the participants. This is the time where everyone is gathered - the participants, race officials, medical staff and rangers - for a formal introduction to the event, and a presentation of the practical issues surrounding the marathon. There are no scheduled game drives this day.

21 June 2014: The Big Five Marathon®
The big day has come. Today you will be met by a challenge that will be worth remembering: The Big Five Marathon®. In the morning all the participants will be transported from the various lodges and camps to the starting line in time for final preparations. The marathon is planned to start at 09:00, but delays must be expected, as the exact start time will be dependent on the location of the big five game - if too close to the route, the start will be postponed.
There are no scheduled game drives this day.

22 June 2014: After Marathon party
Today we have time to relax after running on the African savannah. Additional game drives and excursions can be purchased and in the afternoon we will experience yet another fantastic game drive followed by our After Marathon Party. There will be great food, live entertainment, prize ceremony, a big bonfire and partying under the starry skies. Please be aware that the party takes place in a traditional South African boma with open roof and large open doorways. It is therefore advisable to dress warm! For the same reason there's no dress code and casual clothing is recommended.

23 June 2014: Entabeni
On the final day at the Entabeni Private Game Reserve you will have one last game drive either in the morning or in the afternoon. Those interested will also get the opportunity to stretch their legs on one final bush walk. In the evening farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges.

A bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included today, giving us a chance to get really close to the African nature and wildlife. In the evening farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges/camp.

24 June 2014: Depart for Johannesburg
Our days at Entabeni Safari Conservancy has come to an end and it's time to head back to Johannesburg. As upon arrival all participants are transferred from Entabeni to Johannesburg International Airport.

Transfer ARRIVAL times at the airport are 08:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00. As on arrival it is possible, for an extra charge, to book an individual transfer to Johannesburg if the group transfers don't fit your onward journey.
Post Tour Extension

Safari Extraordinaire Extension - 5 nights - Double room: 950 EUR - Single supplement: 350 EUR

Day 1: Departure Entabeni. After breakfast, we start our journey to Khoka Moya Camp. First stop is an exhilarating canopy tour. Glide through the forest and experiencing waterfalls, river and enjoy astounding views from the treetops. We'll have a lunch stop on the way to the camp (not included in the price). Dinner will be enjoyed at the camp.

Day 2: After breakfast, we will either go for a game drive or bush walk. All meals are included today except for drinks.

Day 3: Panorama Route, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon (subject to weather). Breakfast and dinner are included.

After breakfast we drive from the camp to the province of Mpumalanga, which means "place where the sun rises". The Panorama Route is true to its name, with magnificent scenery and by God's Window, there are panorama views of the lowveld savannah that lies 1,000m below the plateau.

The route also takes us to Bourke's Luck Potholes, a rocky landscape where water has eroded deep cylindrical holes into the bare rock. Finally we stop at Blyde River Canyon, which is the world's third largest canyon. We will bring packed lunches, or we have lunch in an old gold mining town, Pilgrim's Rest (a possible lunch stop in Pilgrim's Rest will not be included in the price).

We expect to be back in Khoka Moya late afternoon giving you some time to relax before dinner.

Day 4: Full day trip to Kruger National Park. We'll start right after breakfast and drive to the national park where we'll spend the day and enjoy a picnic lunch. We'll have dinner back at the camp.

Day 5: We'll start the day with breakfast and either go for a game drive or go on a bush walk depending on what we did on day 2. All meals are included today except for drinks.

Day 6: After breakfast, we head back to Johannesburg. The journey will take approximately seven hours by bus. We'll stop for lunch and be back in Johannesburg at around 3pm. Lunch is not included in the package price.





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