Your Big 5 marathon Tour & Travel Operators

The Big Five Marathon is held in the African savannah, among some of the area’s unique wildlife. Runners from all over the world will converge on one of the ‘Big Five’ game reserves in Africa to enjoy this exceptional race. Travelling Fit is offering a 7 Day Package staying at the private game reserve Entabeni, located in the Limpopo Province, There is also plenty of opportunity to experience several game drives. You also have the option to stay longer and treat yourself to one of the 3 extension options which include:
  • 5 Days/4 Nights – Safari and Panorama Route
  • 5 Days/4 Nights – Cape Town and Tour of the Winelands
  • 4 Days/3 Nights – Victoria Falls
PLEASE NOTE: The extension packages sell out so you need to book in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment
Ei Chefgradient

PACKAGE FLYERS

PACKAGE PRICES

deposit and payment structure

Initial Deposit
$1580 per Runner
$1250 per Supporter
PLUS an additional 25% for all extension packages
Final Balance
Fri 13 March 2024
Trav Cut V2 Op

The Big Five Marathon Course

The start and finish line are situated at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. After the start, the half marathon route takes the runners past Ravineside Lodge, the Entabeni Monolith and further on to the lower plateau. This first section is run on dirt roads made up of red sand. Runners will pass a few hills (nothing too bad…the worst is yet to come!). And when you reach Hanglip View Point, you backtrack and run back before you reach Yellow Wood Valley. Pay attention to this section as the surface is very uneven with loose rocks, pebbles and holes.
The Yellow Wood Valley is the most dreaded part of the course. You are about to run down the steepest slope of your life! This sharp descent is on a paved surface. The next three kilometres or so will be excruciatingly hard on your quads as you negotiate the steep slope. You reach lion country after the descent and although the next 9kms are flat, you’re running through deep sand. This brings you back to Yellow Wood. And yes, you guessed correctly – you’re going up the dreaded hill this time! Be prepared to take things slowly as it’s virtually impossible to run up this hill.

The route carries on to Long Drive, a narrow valley, where marathon runners do a 6km loop. This section is run on dirt trails, a welcome respite from the deep sand and loose stone terrain earlier on.

The end of the run is fairly hard (final four kilometres). You run halfway down the ridge, which provides you with a wonderful view out over the plateau’s lake. The surface is fairly bad, consisting of hard uneven stony ground with plenty of large rocks and stones of all sizes. This final part has quite a few hills and as the surface is loose, it pays to keep a careful watch on the ground as you run towards the finish, but with the finish line in sight you can now take it nice and easy.

The course will be marked with kilometre signs but these should be used as a guide only and are not intended to be used to gauge your pace.

Have you thought about extending your stay? Check out our amazing optional tours to make your holiday the trip of a lifetime.

Testimonials

Race Reviews
Race Information Menu
Enquire now about a fully escorted marathon alongside like-minded experts.

Big 5 Marathon Race Information

Entry Fees

The entry fee for the Big Five Marathon is incorporated into the price of the package you choose and cannot be purchased independently.

Please note that all competitors MUST be 18 years of age on race day

Qualifying Times

There are no qualifying times for the Big Five Marathon.

Start Time

The marathon is planned to start at 09:00. Please note that the presence of wildlife near the route may cause delays.

Cut-Off Times

  • Cut-off 1 – 26.5km – 4 hours and 15 minutes after start
  • Cut-off 2 – 32.5km – 5 hours and 30 minutes after start
  • Cut-off 3 – finish line – 7 hours after start

Runners who haven’t reached the cut-off points in time will not be allowed to continue and will be picked up by a ranger vehicle and taken back to the finish line.

The cut-off times are strictly enforced to keep everybody safe!

Race Timing

The Big Five Marathon will be accurately timed using the ChampionChip system.

You will get two copies of the your bib number for the Big Five Marathon. Both must be worn visibly during the race – one on the front of your body and one on your back.

Race Packets

T-Shirts and Race information (including race numbers) will be handed out to you on inspection day.

Pace Setters

There are no pace setters in this event.

Aid Stations

Drinks stations are located along the route at approximately every 4km (2.5 miles). Water and Coca Cola are served at all stations.

The drinks stations will be open until the last runner has passed. Electrolyte drinks and bananas are served at selected drink stations and at the finish line.

A team of Danish doctors and South African paramedics will also be present during inspection and race days.

Personal Refreshments and Clothing

It is possible to leave jackets, sweaters, hat and other personal belongings at the start and pick it up after finishing the race.

If possible, please leave personal belongings in a bag or backpack. Please mark your personal belongings clearly with your name and bib number! Do not place any valuables among the items you hand in on race day.

Although the personal belongings are under staff surveillance, Entabeni Safari Conservancy and the Big Five Marathon organisers cannot be held responsible for any lost items.

Transport

You will be transported to the start of the Big Five Marathon on race morning and transported back after the race.

Expo

There is no Expo associated with the Big Five Marathon

Finishes T-Shirts, Medals and Certificates

All finishers will receive a t-shirt, certificate and finishers medal.

All results will be net time, meaning your time starts from the moment you cross the start line.

However, the top three male and female finishers of both distances are decided on gun time – the first three to physically cross the finish line.

Weather Conditions

The weather is very dry, sunny and cool at this time of the year. Participants can expect an average temperature of around 15-20 Celsius, but with variations due to sun, shade, wind and altitude.

Please Note: It can drop to between 0 and 5 degrees Celcius in the early mornings and overnight so please be sure to bring a warm coat, gloves, beanie and scarf.

Other Events

Official Travel Specialist for the big 5 half marathon

The Big Five Marathon is held in the African savannah, among some of the area’s unique wildlife. Runners from all over the world will converge on one of the ‘Big Five’ game reserves in Africa to enjoy this exceptional race.

Travelling Fit is offering a 7 Day Package staying at the private game reserve Entabeni, located in the Limpopo Province, There is also plenty of opportunity to experience several game drives.

You also have the option to stay longer and treat yourself to one of the 3 extension options which include:

  • 5 Days/4 Nights – Safari and Panorama Route
  • 5 Days/4 Nights – Cape Town and Tour of the Winelands
  • 4 Days/3 Nights – Victoria Falls

PLEASE NOTE: The extension packages sell out so you need to book in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment

Ei Chefgradient

PACKAGE FLYERS

PACKAGE PRICES

deposit and payment structure

Initial Deposit
$1580 per Runner
$1250 per Supporter
PLUS an additional 25% for all
Final Balance
Fri 13 March 2024
Trav Cut V2 Op

The Big Five Half Marathon Course

The start and finish line are situated at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. After the start, the half marathon route takes the runners past Ravineside Lodge, the Entabeni Monolith and further on to the lower plateau. This first section is run on dirt roads made up of red sand. Runners will pass a few hills (nothing too bad…the worst is yet to come!). And when you reach Hanglip View Point, you backtrack and run back before you reach Yellow Wood Valley. Pay attention to this section as the surface is very uneven with loose rocks, pebbles and holes.

The Yellow Wood Valley is the most dreaded part of the course. You are about to run down the steepest slope of your life! This sharp descent is on a paved surface. The next three kilometres or so will be excruciatingly hard on your quads as you negotiate the steep slope. You reach lion country after the descent and although the next 2kms are flat, you’re running through deep sand. This brings you back to Yellow Wood. And yes, you guessed correctly – you’re going up the dreaded hill this time! Be prepared to take things slowly as it’s virtually impossible to run up this hill.

The route carries on to Long Drive, a narrow valley that you run across to reach the final section of the route. This section is run on dirt trails, a welcome respite from the deep sand and loose stone terrain earlier on.

The end of the run is fairly hard (final four kilometres). You run halfway down the ridge, which provides you with a wonderful view out over the plateau’s lake. The surface is fairly bad, consisting of hard uneven stony ground with plenty of large rocks and stones of all sizes. This final part has quite a few hills and as the surface is loose, it pays to keep a careful watch on the ground as you run towards the finish, but with the finish line in sight you can now take it nice and easy.

The course will be marked with kilometre signs but these should be used as a guide only and are not intended to be used to gauge your pace.

Have you thought about extending your stay? Check out our amazing optional tours to make your holiday the trip of a lifetime.

Testimonials

Race Reviews
Race Information Menu
Enquire now about a fully escorted marathon alongside like-minded experts.

Big 5 Half Marathon Race Information

Entry Fees

The entry fee for the Big Five Half Marathon is incorporated into the price of the package you choose and cannot be purchased independently.

Please note that all competitors MUST be 18 years of age on race day

Qualifying Times

There are no qualifying times for the Big Five Half Marathon.

Start Time

The half marathon is planned to start at 09:00. Please note that the presence of wildlife near the route may cause delays.

Cut-Off Times

  • Cut-off 1 – 10.5km – 4 hours after start
  • Cut-off 2 – 16.5 km – 5 hours after start
  • Cut-off 3 – finish line – 6 hours and 45 minutes after start

Runners who haven’t reached the cut-off points in time will not be allowed to continue and will be picked up by a ranger vehicle and taken back to the finish line.

The cut-off times are strictly enforced to keep everybody safe!

Race Timing

The Big Five Half Marathon will be accurately timed using the Champion Chip system.

You will get two copies of the your bib number for the Big Five Half Marathon. Both must be worn visibly during the race – one on the front of your body and one on your back.

Race Packets

T-Shirts and Race information (including race numbers) will be handed out to you on inspection day.

Pace Setters

There are no pace setters in this event.

Aid Stations

Drinks stations are located along the route at approximately every 4km (2.5 miles). Water and Coca Cola are served at all stations.

The drinks stations will be open until the last runner has passed. Electrolyte drinks and bananas are served at selected drink stations and at the finish line.

A team of Danish doctors and South African paramedics will also be present during inspection and race days.

Personal Refreshments and Clothing

It is possible to leave jackets, sweaters, hat and other personal belongings at the start and pick it up after finishing the race.

If possible, please leave personal belongings in a bag or backpack. Please mark your personal belongings clearly with your name and bib number! Do not place any valuables among the items you hand in on race day.

Although the personal belongings are under staff surveillance, Entabeni Safari Conservancy and the Big Five Half Marathon organisers cannot be held responsible for any lost items.

Transport

You will be transported to the start of the Big Five Half Marathon on race morning and transported back after the race.

Expo

There is no Expo associated with the Big Five Half Marathon

Finishes T-Shirts, Medals and Certificates

All finishers will receive a t-shirt, certificate and finishers medal.

All results will be net time, meaning your time starts from the moment you cross the start line.

However, the top three male and female finishers of both distances are decided on gun time – the first three to physically cross the finish line.

Weather Conditions

The weather is very dry, sunny and cool at this time of the year. Participants can expect an average temperature of around 15-20 Celsius, but with variations due to sun, shade, wind and altitude.

Please Note: It can drop to between 0 and 5 degrees Celcius in the early mornings and overnight so please be sure to bring a warm coat, gloves, beanie and scarf.

Other Events

WELCOME TO THE MOROCCAN SAHARA DESERT

As the official Marathon des Sables representative for Australia & New Zealand, Travelling Fit are here to help you every step of the way. We will answer all your questions and guide you with sound advice in the lead up to Marathon des Sables. Mari-Mar Walton, Founder and Managing Director of Travelling Fit, has completed 7 MDS events and can provide first-hand knowledge and experience. We know what it takes to participate.

Travelling Fit also take care of your pre-race land arrangements in Morocco and answer all your questions in the lead up to the event so that you are well prepared. Our involvement in your booking process allows you to focus on your training and we will take care of the rest.

We highly recommend that you stay a minimum of 2 nights in Ouarzazate prior to the event. To facilitate this we have put together a “Pre-Event” package that will allow you to not only meet your fellow competitors but also to acclimatise to the conditions before you get to the start of the race.

We hold two Marathon des Sables training camps, usually in October and February. This is the chance to trial out all your food, equipment and ask all the questions you have. You will be presented with an extremely informative and invaluable weekend to help you prepare for “the toughest footrace on earth”, the Marathon des Sables.7

Ei Chefgradient
  • 1 Nights Accommodation at Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche
    (Check In: Tue 09 Apr | Check Out: Wed 10 Apr 2024)
  • 2 Nights Accommodation at Hotel Club Hanane, Ouarzazate
    (Check In: Wed 10 Apr | Check Out: Fri 12 Apr 2024)
  • Breakfast Daily
  • Informal welcome get together dinner (Tue – own expense)
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Dinner in Ouarzazate (Wed & Thu)
  • Bus Transfer from Casablanca to Ouarzazate (Wed)
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Optional Warm up run in Ouarzazate (Thu)
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Personalised Travelling Fit Running Top
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Invite to Travelling Fit’s MDS Closed Facebook Group
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Travelling Fit Representative on site and available for questions
    exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
  • Taxes and Service Charges

PACKAGE FLYERS

PACKAGE PRICES

deposit and payment structure

Initial Deposit
$400 per Runner and per Supporter
Final Balance
Friday 19 January 2024
Trav Cut V2 Op

The Course

Marathon des Sables is a self-sufficient foot race held across the Sahara desert in Southern Morocco. It’s held in five stages over six days covering a total of approximately 250kms with set distances for each day ranging from approximately 30kms to 85kms.

Participants must carry all their supplies including clothing, food, sleeping bag and first aid for the duration of the event. Overnight shelters (in camps/bivouac) and water (strictly controlled and distributed during the race) is supplied. All stages will be timed with the final stage known as the “Solidarity” stage.

The route details are only given to the participants on the day of registration in Morocco, so there is no unfair advantage in planning.

The event goes way beyond merely covering 250 kilometres in extreme conditions; it is a challenge to get past what normal people would regard as crazy and achieve one’s personal goals.

Testimonials

Race Reviews
Race Information Menu
Enquire now about a fully escorted marathon alongside like-minded experts.

Race Information

Entry Fees

Entry Fees must be paid directly to the race organisers online –https://inscription.marathondessables.com/en

The total registration cost for the 2024 Marathon des Sables is EUR3,540 for individual registration and EUR3,640 for team registrations (per person) and includes all arrangements from 12 April through to 22 April 2024.

Qualifying Times

Qualifying Times are not required however you must be 18 years or over. Written permission from parent or guardian must be given for any entrants aged between 16 and 18 years inclusive.

Competitors must hold a medical certificate form (issued by the event organisers) which must be completed by their GP along with a resting ECG report with graph. The medical certificate and ECG must be dated no more than 30 days before the start of the race.

Please note that failure to provide an up to date medical certificate and ECG may result in a fine or potential disqualification.

Start Time

The start time for each stage race will be confirmed by the race organisers at race control the day prior to the event start.

Cut-Off Times

Stage 1, 2 and 3 must be completed in a maximum time of 10 hours (approximately).

Stage 4, known as the “long” stage – between 75 and 85km (held partly during the night) must be completed in a maximum time of 32 hours.

Stage 5 marathon, known as “solidarity” stage must be completed in a maximum time of 12 hours (approximately).

Cut off times will be confirmed by the race organisers in the handbook which is distributed on the way out to the Bivouac on the Friday.

Race Timing

Competitors will be equipped with a ChronoTag for real-time monitoring and ranking.

Race Packets

Technical and administrative verification will take place at the first Bivouac, on Saturday, prior to race start. Participants must present themselves to the race organisers and meet all administrative, technical & medical requirements.

Participants will receive two race bibs, timing system (Chrono Tag), distress beacon (SPOT), salt tablets, toilet liners, road book and a check-in card.

Pace Setters

Not applicable for this event

Personal Refreshments and Clothing

Competitors must be completely self-sufficient during the entire 6 day event. However, water will be provided on a daily basis.

All of the compulsory equipment and personal belongings for each competitor (eg food, first aid, sleeping bag and backpack) should weigh a minimum of 6.5kg and a maximum of 15kg.

NOTE: This minimum/maximum weight does not include your daily water supply.

Each participant will have to fulfil the above obligations during the administrative and technical checks on a daily basis.

Aid Stations

Water will be distributed per day to each competitor during the race at check points and upon arrival at the bivouac.

Medical assistance will be available at each check point. As a “rule of thumb” water will be distributed as per the following:

Stages 1,2 & 3:

  • 1.5 litres or 3 litres at check-points 1 and 2
  • 1.5 litres or 3 litres at check-point 3, if applicable
  • 6.5 litres at the finish.

Stage 4:

  • 1.5 litres or 3 litres at check-points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
  • 5 litres at the finish
  • 6.5 litres at the bivouac (Day 2 of Stage 4).

Stage 5 (Marathon known as the “Solidarity” stage):

  • 1.5 litres or 3 litres at check-points 1, 2 and 3
  • 6.5 litres at the finish.
Transport

Travelling Fit’s pre-MDS package includes transportation from Casablanca to Ouarzazate on Wednesday 10th April 2024.

MDS Event: A transfer will be provided from Ouarzazate to the first Bivouac and after the final stage race you will be transported back to Ouarzazate.

Finishes T-Shirts, Medals and Certificates

All finishers will receive a medal after completing stage 6 (Marathon, “Solidarity” Stage).

T-Shirts will be given out the day after the event in Ouarzazate.

Finishers Certificate and Official race video will be downloadable about 3 months after the race.

Weather Conditions

Average Temperature in April is 30 degrees Celsius during the day and 14 degrees Celsius during the night. The Moroccan Sahara is a very dry heat with the average humidity being less than 10 %.

In the event of a sand storm lowering visibility to zero, competitors must stop on the course and wait for instructions by the organisers.

Other Events

N/A

TravellingFit
Priority Signup

Sign up to join our Priority Notification List to be one of the first to receive up-to-date race information and packages details about a specific event/s you are interested in.

Event type
All EventsMarathonHalf MarathonUItra MarathonMulti Stage
Location
All ContinentsAfricaAntarticaAsiaEuropeNorth AmericaOceaniaSouth America
Search
Share This

Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page.
Your friends or family will thank you later.