The Valley of a 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation is supporting the 2024 Dusi Canoe Marathon, supported by Euro Steel and the KZN Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, taking place from 15 to 17 March.
The marathon, which started in 1951, attracts some of the world’s top canoeists and canoeing teams, and is focused around the 120 km waterway between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
Typically, there are just shy of 2000 participating athletes, and their supporters.
This year the race starts again at Bishopstowe Country Club outside Pietermaritzburg, on the uMsindusi River. There are three stages of the race – the K1, K2 and K3: the first stage is from the Bishopstowe Country Club on the uMsindusi River through to the Dusi Bridge – then 15 km of portage (carrying your canoe). Stage two is an exhausting 42km stretch from Dusi Bridge to Inanda Dam – and then a paddle across the dam. Stage Three is from Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon in Durban – 36km. The race ends at the Kingfisher Canoe club, with the prize giving at Blue Lagoon.
This year’s event also sees the launch of the Big Five Challenge which takes place next year. 25 years ago, as part of the Millenium celebrations, Project organiser, Graeme Fraser challenged a team of tenacious athletes to complete some of the world’s most gruelling sporting events in one year: the Dusi Canoe Marathon; the Midmar Mile Swim; the Cape Argus Cycle Tour; the Comrades Marathon; and an ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro. 35 athletes completed the challenge in 2000. 25 years on – in 2025 – the challenge is on again. Primary beneficiary is the Order of St John, South Africa.
Three of the five Big Five events are on our doorstep in 1000 Hills – which is situated conveniently at the halfway point of the Dusi race – equidistant between Durban and Pietermaritzburg – with easy access to both centres. It is ideal for participants and supporters to find accommodation, meals, relaxation and recreation throughout the Dusi week.
“We are aware that supporters, spectators and family may not be actively encouraging the paddlers from the banks of the rivers all the time – so we want to remind non-paddlers of the many things to do in the vicinity, while the race is in progress. We have accommodation options available – and things to do during the day: from hiking to shopping; to going on a safari game drive to fine dining; from doing a forest walk through the quirky AmmaZulu Garden and Sculpture in Kloof, to visiting a reptile park; from relaxing at a spa to adventure sport; visit the weekly Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market on Saturday morning – or simply enjoying the magnificent view with a cappuccino and a good book at any of our coffee shops. On behalf of the 1000 Hills CTO, we wish all paddlers and supporters a fabulous, safe, rewarding and enjoyable event!Paul Paine – Valley of a 1000 Hills CTO Chairperson
This year Dusi is also in Valentine’s week – so Dusi supporters and participants can take advantage of some of the Valentine promotions in the area: lunch time meals specials at the Pot and Kettle all week; an evening picnic at Macnut Farm on Wed Feb 14, Balinese massage specials for two at CHI (create, heal, inspire) spa situated at the Macnut Farm, and specials at Shongweni Farmers Market on Saturday morning.
*All Images courtesy of Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media / Dusi Canoe Media Office.