Taking place from 17 – 19 February 2022, the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon is one of South Africa’s most iconic sports endurance events. It is a true test of strength, fitness and grit combined with a huge dollop of camaraderie and tradition.
The race comprises three days of paddling from Natal Canoe Club at Campsdrift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban – a distance of roughly 120km.It is the biggest canoeing event on the African continent, and one of the world’s most popular river marathons, attracting between 900 and 1600 paddlers each year. It also traverses some of the most beautiful terrain allowing competitors to see places that few ever do – paddling down river as scenes change is good for the soul.
The race is typically held in February to take advantage of the summer rainfalls. Temperatures can be extreme, often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in the valleys.
The race is unique in that it includes numerous portages where the paddlers carry their craft over hills, either to cut out unrunnable rapids and cataracts, or to eliminate long loops in the river. Most of these portages are through thick bush on steep and undulating terrain, and several of them are around 4km in length.
2022 will be the 71st anniversary of the iconic race – and an almost total return to the MyLife Dusi Marathon much loved by generations of paddlers and supporters, as although there are still layers of Covid health and safety protocols in place, it is substantially less restrictive than over hard lockdown.
This year, seconds (friends or family) and supporters are once again permissible along the course. There are several seconding stations on portages during each leg of the race where seconds provide water and sports drinks, and in some cases food as well.
Stay over in 1000 Hills
The 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation is delighted that the Dusi is once more taking place to virtually its full capacity. The CTO members are adding value to the event by offering a range of special deals and offers to encourage MyLife Dusi competitors and guests to stay over and spend time in the 1000 Hills.
The 1000 Hills have accommodation options available to suit all requirements and budgets – and things to do during the day for families and friends when not along the river’s edge.
Stage One of the race is 42km long, from Camps Drift in the city of Pietermaritzburg to Dusi Bridge, a remote area outside Cato Ridge close to Nagle dam. Most paddlers exit the valley after their stage and stay in local accommodation. It is possible to stay in tents at the overnight stop, or commute to accommodation in 1000 Hills – in close proximity.
Stage Two is the longest and hardest stage, 46km from Dusi Bridge to Msinsi Resort on Inanda dam outside Hillcrest, and ends with 11km of flatwater on the dam. The overnight stop is well suited to camping. This is the heart of 1000 Hills, with a multitude of accommodation and dining options available.
Stage Three is 36km from Inanda dam to Blue Lagoon in Durban, starting with 4km of flatwater on Inanda dam and ending with 10km of flatwater on the tidal estuary into the finish. Each finisher receives a Dusi medal and a commemorative race garment. The race prize giving takes place at Blue Lagoon after the final stage.
With just three weekends left between now and MyLife Dusi, organisers are encouraging participants to use their time wisely to make sure their entry is sorted, and that their kit is in order – and get in some tripping and pre-races – next up is Dash ‘n Crash on 5 Feb which is an opportunity to get two qualifier points in one day.
And for those who have not entered as yet, late entries kick in at the start of Feb.
Good to Know
- The event website is at www.dusi.co.za the Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/DusiCanoeMarathon/ the Instagram account is https://www.instagram.com/dusicanoemarathon/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/DusiCanoe
Feel free to find our tags and sponsors links on these pages. Our event hashtags are #MyLifeDusi #MyLifeDusiCanoeMarathon
- For accommodation options: Visit: www.stayin1000hills.co.za / https://www.1000hillstourism.co.za/listingcategory/where-to-stay/
- To find out about these and other things to do in the area – visit The Valley of a 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation website at https://www.1000hillstourism.co.za/
- Or watch their promo video: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyzlnGsA6Zg