One of South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious trail running events, the WILDSERIES Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge takes place on the 7th of September 2019. This year, the event takes on a new look and feel as WILDLANDS and EKZNW (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) partner with KZN Trail Running. With a minor shift within the Royal Natal Park, the race village and start/finish will now be set up at the Mahai Campsite. This new setting, as well as some other exciting re-structuring means that spectator and family involvement is greatly enhanced in this celebrated event.
MAS (or “Monties” as it has affectionately become known in the trail community) is a firm favourite amongst the trail community, having earned itself almost cult status it attracts both local and international athletes. The annual event takes place in the Royal Natal Park, which forms part of the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site.
The event is no walk in the park and poses a proper challenge for the intrepid participants who sign up for the 50km of rugged but astoundingly beautiful terrain. Their effort is rewarded by stunning views from typically inaccessible areas of the park. It is one of those life-time experiences, the memories of which will endure for years.
Participants will journey through the breathtaking Mahai Valley to reach the escarpment where the famed chain ladders await. The views from the top captivate participants every year, regardless of the number of times they have completed the course. The final descent is through the Gully before reaching the finish at the Mahai Campsite.
The area is home to a population of endangered Bearded Vultures, the true heroes of this event. Once a widespread species, these majestic birds are now thought to be restricted to the isolated and rugged Maluti-Drakensberg highlands. If spotted, athletes are sure to stop in their tracks to take in their beauty. These exceptional raptors are monitored by a dedicated group of individuals under the Maluti-Drakensberg Vulture Project who study population ranges in an attempt to better understand population status and trends.
The event provides a fantastic opportunity to get family and friends together to enjoy a weekend in nature in an exhilarating setting at the foot of the majestic norther Drakensberg Mountains. A number of packages are available to participants and spectators in an attempt to make this event more accessible.