The Matopos Heritage Ride”

8th to 12th March 2017


Greetings from the Matobo Hills – 1st December 2016

Yebo Abatshovi beBhayisikili



Entries will open on 15th December 2016.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS ONE MONTH EARLIER THAN THE CORRESPONDING 2016 ENTRIES.  We expect to have a full field of 100 riders within days, so be sure to enter as soon as possible.  The limit is to protect the integrity of the ride, maintain that special corp-de-esprit and protect the environment.  We look forward to seeing our old friends, and many new friends, in March 2017 for the eighth edition of the “Matopos Heritage Ride”


We have made some significant changes in the format from prior years:

1 – Day One will start and finish at Maleme Rest Camp

2 – We will provide for a TRANSFER for vehicles on Day Two

Both these changes mean that a second if no longer necessary, but welcome if you so want

We have prepared the new Day 1 trail, and will review the remaining sections of the route in early 2017.  We will keep you posted of any modifications, but in essence it will be much the same except for day one


Arrangements with Matobo National Park have been concluded


Our principal sponsors namely Stanbic Bank, and Satib Insurance have confirmed their participation.  Added to this is a host of other sponsors, whom we will acknowledge in due course


Any queries about any of the items below contact Jean 0772 168 136, Des on 0772 211156, Gavin on 0772 221223, or Fozzie 0712 208142.  You can also refer to the Matobo Conservation Society web site, or more specifically to:

This contains route information, pictures from last year and a host of other information.  We also have a Facebook page “Matopos Heritage MTB Challenge” which you may find interesting


Registration will be on-line.  These will open on 15 December 2016 and close on 15th January 2017.  Previous participants will receive entry forms and links to the on-line registration by email.  New competitors should check the MCS web site for information or email


Check-in will open from 15:00hrs to 17:00hrs on Wednesday 8th March 2017 at Maleme Rest Camp and the Briefing will follow at 18:00hrs.  Allow at least one hour travel from Bulawayo to Maleme Rest Camp.


Entry forms, costs and details will be released in due course, and they will be posted on the web-site.  As always it is our intention to maintain an entry fee as low as possible, so for budget purposes you can work on $440 per person – but these may change as National Parks have not yet confirmed their 2017 rates, whilst there have been increased costs in some areas!

Teams may comprise 2 or 3 riders.  Two riders per team must complete the event for a team placing.  The time of the last team member will be recorded as the team time, and team members have to ride together.  Entries by a single rider will not be accepted


Teams will no longer require a second to back them up if they elect for a transfer on day two.  However, if you want your own driver / second, that is acceptable.  Please note that on day two, whilst you are riding, the camp including your vehicle, moves 50km’s across the Matopos from Maleme to Camp Dwala

Seconds will NOT be able to support you on most of the race.  They will be given at least one location on each day where they may be able to provide support


There are no places to get food or fuel in the Matobo Hills.  We expect total road travel to be about 250km’s from Bulawayo so please leave Bulawayo with full fuel tanks.

Please note that National Parks restrict entry of trucks etc so if you are planning to use a large vehicle for support please advise us so that arrangements can be made with the Matobo National Park authorities


All competitors and seconds will have to pay entry fees to the National Park on arrival at the entry gate at Sandy Spruit.  Please retain your slips.  National Park conservation fees are not included in the race entry fee.  At the present time the fees are as follows, but these may change come 1st January 2017

Park entrance fees per person > 12 yrs US$4.00 US$12.00 US$15.00
Park entrance fees per person 6 to 12 yrs US$2.00 US$ 6.00 US$ 7.50
Park entrance fees per person < 6 yrs Free Free Free

Zimbabwean’s over 65 years old may request a pensioner discount.  These fees are subject to review by ZPWMA


Excluded from the competitors entry fee, but payable on entry to ZPWMA on arrival, subject to review by ZPWMA

Vehicle entrance US$3.00 US$10.00
Trailer entrance US$3.00 US$10.00


The entry fee includes accommodation at both Maleme Rest Camp (nights of 8th and 9th March) and at Camp Dwala on 10th and 11th March).  Maleme Rest Camp has been reserved in its entirety for these two nights as the first official race village, and will comprise partly a tented village and partly lodges.  Camp Dwala has limited rooms, but a tented race village will be established here for the second two nights.  Please note that all accommodation will be allocated on a points system that is based on first come first entered basis (a valid entry includes payment) and service.  We request that you bring a sleeping bag and pillow.  Mattresses will be provided.  Accommodation allocation will only be notified at registration


A list of alternative accommodation contact details will be provided on the entry form

Whilst the Organising Committee will assist as much as possible, we cannot accept responsibility for accommodation details, facilities and / or arrangements outside of the Official Race Camps, and there is no variation in the entry fee.  We do ask that you confirm if you are staying outside the race village as this impacts on the facilities available

Any person wishing to stay outside of the dates above should liaise directly with either National Parks or Camp Dwala.  Families are welcome to stay on for the day at Camp Dwala on Sunday 12th March


The entry fee includes the following meals:

  • Dinner (4 – Wednesday night to Saturday night)
  • Breakfast (4 – Thursday morning to Sunday morning)
  • Lunch (3 – Thursday to Saturday)
  • Water points (5; two per race day, whilst day 3 has a third water point)

Extra drinks and snacks will be provided at the end of each stage, and a cash bar will be available each day

Competitors are responsible for their recovery drinks and any special needs

Those wanting a vegetarian menu (which will be provided for) must advise the organisers on the entry form.  Regretfully given the logistics involved, we cannot make last minute changes to the menu


The last day will start and end at Camp Dwala.  Families are most welcome to join in but there are restrictions as regards meals (which must be booked 14 days in advance) and parking.  There will be an entry fee charged of $5 per person.  River swimming pools are available for competitors and families alike – but obviously priority for camping etc.  must be given to the competitors

The prize giving will take place at 17:00 hours at Camp Dwala on Saturday 11th March.  We know many competitors will be tempted to leave early on Saturday so as to travel home, but for those from out of Bulawayo we strongly urge you to stay the extra evening at Camp Dwala and leave early on the Sunday Morning.  It is approximately one hour to Bulawayo from the Camp, and the road may not be in good shape.  Anyone thinking of travelling back to Bulawayo, or beyond, after the prize giving should consider that any travel will be in the dark, which is not safe in Zimbabwe.  We don’t want to end this event with any road accidents, please


As in the past, each cyclist will be provided with an event cycle shirt.  Despite our best endeavours, folk still submit wrong sizes, so please take appropriate care.  The shirts are made by PANDA and are slightly smaller than normal.  This year we are going for Unisex sizing, so please check carefully.  Once ordered as per your entry form we are not responsible for fitting! Shirts will be long sleeve, unless indicated otherwise

Please find below the Cycle Shirt Size Chart.  Kindly confirm your measurement and shirt size so that we are able to provide you with the correct shirt.  If you don’t supply this information, you will receive the shirt you ordered on your entry from and we cannot be held responsible if it does not fit.  The default shirt will be long sleeve, so please indicate if you prefer a short sleeved shirt


Unisex Size Chest Measurement

in cms

XXSmall   91
XSmall   94
Small   97
Medium 100
Large 103.5
Xlarge 107.5
XXLarge 112
3XL 117
4XL 123.5
5XL 129.5
6XL 136


Please ask for our separate advisory notes


We will keep you posted on the rainfall situation in the Hills.  The long range forecast suggests that above average rain will be recorded this year.  Hopefully we will enjoy conditions that pertained in the 2016 event with plenty of water flowing and so we can enjoy the compulsory swimming stop on day 2!


The route has been carefully selected to incorporate many features of, and places of special interest within, the Matobo Hills.  We have been given permission to cycle through the Matobo Game Park, home to Zimbabwe’s largest rhino population! The route also goes through the Matobo National Park and it gives you some great cycling.  Large sections are off road and in the “outback”

Each day entails limited portage, but no special footwear is required for this

We have not yet posted the route profile on the web-site, but this and the GPS data will follow.  The 2016 data remains available for your interest.  Note that on day two, a swimming pool is incorporated.  We will be testing the route in the next few weeks we will be able to give you a further update in due course.  The compulsory stops will be retained; one per day.  PLEASE REMEMBER THAT A GPS IS REQUIRED BY EACH TEAM AND YOU MUST BE ABLE TO OPERATE IT

Please ensure that your brake pads are in good order.  There are some serious descents, and the general terrain of the hills will cause excess wear and tear on your brake pads, especially if we encounter a wet period


So from us for now Salakahle


Contacts: Gavin 0772 221 223, Des 0772 211156, Fozzie 0712 208 142, or Jean 0772 168 136