“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the forest. Wash your spirit clean.” John Muir
It’s not often that an event is created that offers an exceptional opportunity to experience nature as is should be. Unspoiled and untouched.
The Leopard Run is one such event that provides a unique occasion to explore places seldom accessed by humans. Pure euphoria for the trail and nature lover.
EcoBound Mountain Events has several years of experience in outdoor pursuits and creating world class events. They have carefully developed the concept for this event and planned every component in detail.
The vision for the Leopard Run is thoughtfully built on 3 pillars.
Eco Awareness. Sustainability. Mindfulness.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein
Immerse yourself in spectacular mountain scenery deep in the heart of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve.
Set in a World Heritage Site, there is an abundance of fauna and flora and this area is considered one of the world’s top biodiversity ‘hotspots’. With a total of 32 rare and endangered species and 26 species that are regarded as endemic to the reserve, it is a vast network of biomes, ecological interactions and complex micro communities.
The route is carefully designed to allow runners the unique opportunity to engage fully in their surroundings whilst minimizing the impact on the ecologically sensitive area.
The trails follow natural contours and river paths through geological wonders over 140 million years old. Routes are carefully marked with natural features, such as stone cairns and wooden structures, thus producing a very light trail footprint through the reserve.
The trails are maintained through a joint project by Another Way Trust (AWT) and Eastern Cape Parks And Tourism Agency (ECPTA). This mutually beneficial agreement provides key community development projects which generates income for families and in addition focuses on preserving the ecological diversity of the Baviaanskloof area.
“Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.” Jochen Zeitz
A key component of the Leopard Run is to ensure sustainability of the event from start to finish.
The base for the venue is located at the picturesque Cedar Falls Farm managed by husband and wife team Willem and Marta.
Fresh vegetables are harvested from the extensive garden and meat, including chicken, mutton and venison, are all sourced directly from the Farm and neighboring farms. Delicious lunches are skillfully prepared by the local women and served with love and care as if to their own families.
Local skills and assistance are provided by labourers from the Farm, which ensures that all members of the community benefit from the event.
Critical to the survival and the function of the Farm is the water supply from the Riet River, which has its source in the nearby Kouga Range. This is the life giving force of the Farm and provides the essential network of streams and small dams on the property.
Each runner is given a branded empty glass bottle before the prologue section of the event. Runners are encouraged to complete the spectacular 10km waterfall hike to the Cedar Falls and fill their bottles with pure mountain water directly from the source.
This aims to serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving water as a valuable resource as well as providing a special recurring memory.
“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” Victoria Moran
From the time of arrival runners are given the time and space to have moments to themselves.
Each activity has been carefully planned to allow time for engagement with others and for moments to spend in quiet contemplation and reflect on the journey completed and the paths ahead.
Organised, voluntary sessions include natural running concepts, stretching techniques and meditative yoga with the objective to allow the runners to have a holistic event experience.
The prologue allows runners to develop a sense of wonder and appreciation of their locality, to ignite the spirit of adventure and connectedness with nature that are equally invigorating and nourishing for the soul.
As one runner said so succinctly “Being in this very special place, in the middle of nowhere, you forget about all your problems and really appreciate where you are – and in doing so you realize how important life is”
Be part of this life changing experience and the incredible magic of the Baviaanskloof.
The Leopard Run will take place in October 2019. Sign up on our website to be notified when all the details are available.
Find nature. Find tranquility. Find yourself.
Craig Giese is an Outdoor Adventure Photographer and Media Content Developer from the Eastern Cape, South Africa