Matopos Heritage Trail Run
Date: 25 – 27 August 2023 (TBC)
The inaugural Matobo Hills Trail Run was held in 2016, from Camp Dwala in the Eastern Matobo Hills
The event was held over two days, with day one covering 30 km and day two covering 20km. Runners followed GPS trails through spectacular scenery.
To register, please download the documents below, which will give you information about the event and the link to the on-line registration
The Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe’s ancient landscape full of mystery and fascination is Zimbabwe’s largest World Heritage Site, in excess of 3,000 km2 and is the country’s only UNESCO Cultural Landscape Site.
The Matobo Hills is over 2.5 billion years old, and has hosted mankind for the past 400,000 years. Within the historic area is found the greatest concentration of rock art to be found anywhere in the world – and this will feature in the Heritage Ride. The hills have been a retreat not just for the bushman, but for various Bantu tribes, culminating in the 1896 Uprising. The hills are a burial ground of Kings and Heroes, and a tapestry of forts and battlefields, through which we will pass.
The Hills also posses the greatest variety of tree species south of the Zambezi, a diffusion of plant species, and a rich legacy of rare and unique plants. It also plays home to the greatest variety of birds of prey in the globe, the largest population of black eagle and the longest running bird study anywhere in the world. It is reputed to have the biggest leopard population to be found anywhere, and contains both black and white rhino. The largest black mambas are also found here – but we’ll do our best to avoid those! And of course at the bottom of the food chain is a huge population of dassie (rock hyrax) that sustains so much of the predator pyramid.
The Rhodes Matopos National Park, or Matobo National Park, is one of the oldest in the country, with its origins in the will of CJ Rhodes who Left his Matopos estate to the benefit of the people of Bulawayo. Today we will take up that legacy and use the hills for two days of hard recreational activity as we run through this special place.
- Each participant must carry his/her supplies for the duration of the race; these may be checked by a race official at any stage during the competition.
- The route will not be clearly marked with marking tape and so it is essential that you have a GPS with the route pre-loaded.
- The route of the MHTR is mainly on paths, jeep track and dust roads, the overall distance is measured on these tracks which often wind their way between the hills. It is NOT PERMITTED to leave the track and deliberately take a short cut across open ground to reduce the distance and gain an advantage. Any participant seen deliberately taking a short cut off the tracks to shorten the distance of the marked route will be considered a NON FINISHER of the event. It is permitted to run parallel to the track to find harder ground.
- Except for first day there will be staggered starts. These start times are based directly on the overall times of each participant. These start times are posted each evening after the last participant has finished. These start times CANNOT be altered. If you miss your allocated starting time, your overall time WILL be calculated on your allocated starting time.
- There are checkpoints at approximately every 7km to 10km intervals.
- It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that the check point time keeper has listed them as having passed through the check point.
- The route each day is over a set distance, with a timed start and finish.
- Competitors must plan what equipment and supplies they will carry with them.
- All equipment that you start with must be carried for the duration of the race and only food / food packaging may be discarded at the check points
- Participants will be required to run with their race numbers, un-obscured, on their front.
- All other areas can be used for personal advertising on condition that it is not in conflict with any of our sponsors.
- No competitor may interfere with another competitor.
- Abuse directed at ANY other competitor or ANY crew member will not be tolerated and will result in immediate disqualification.
- Should a participant see anything during the event that they are unhappy about, please discuss this with the Race Directors or the Camp Master immediately. Do not leave this until the finish of the event.
- The Race Director’s decision regarding any dispute or disqualification is final.
- The Organisers reserves the right to modify any part of the competition as a result of circumstances beyond its control.
- Participants can be withdrawn from the competition if instructed by the Race Director, or on advice of the medical team if it is obvious that they are not coping with the extreme conditions that an event such as this demands.
- NO SMOKING IS ALLOWED DURING THE EVENT
- For safety to both the participant and other participants, earphones will not be allowed whilst on the route.
- The competition is open to persons 16 years and over.
- Juniors 16 – 18 years must have written permission from a parent or guardian.
- It is assumed that by entering this event that each competitor has satisfied themselves as to their medical fitness to participate in this event.
- The event is run in a wilderness area and the organisers accept no liability for accident, death, loss of property that may arise during the event.
Compulsory Equipment – Survival Gear to be supplied by participant and must be carried at all times
- Backpack (1.5 litre is suggested)
- Head cover (Cap)
- Eye Protection / Sunglasses
- GPS, with route loaded (and spare batteries)
- Torch and spare batteries
- Sun block lotion
- Toilet paper or tissues
- ID card,
- Medical Aid card and some cash, US$10 (for emergency transport)
- Spare batteries or power-bank for GPS to last the entire event as charging facilities are limited
- Cell phone, fully charged and with air time. Please note there is limited cell phone network coverage in the Matobo Hills. Ask local people where the nearest signal is.
- First Aid Kit consisting of three (3) wound dressings, plasters, anti-inflammatory tablets, pain relief tablets, tweezers
The Matopos is home to a variety of dangerous snakes, and we have come across snakes on some of our runs. The major risks are black mamba (the world’s largest!), puff adders, boom slang and cobra’s. However, if you are lucky enough to see one of these creatures, enjoy the rare moment and please do not attempt to kill it! We are in its domain!
What to do
- Unless you are absolutely positive of your identification, treat all snakebites as serious and seek medical treatment at a hospital immediately – phone ahead if possible so they can lay their hands on anti-venom
- Do not cut or suck the wound, and don’t apply a tourniquet. (Tourniquets are only helpful in the case of a Cape Cobra or Black Mamba bite, and they should never be left on for more than an hour and a half)
- Don’t use potassium permanganate or any other remedy your granny told you about. These have all been shown to be pretty much useless
- Don’t try to catch the snake, but ask the person for as clear a description as they can give. If the snake was killed during the incident, take it with you for identification purposes
- Quick rule of thumb: most adder venom is cytotoxic – toxic to cells – while the venom of cobras and mambas is neurotoxic – toxic to your nervous system and boomslang and vine snakes are haemotoxic – toxic to blood cells. Cytotoxic venom causes severe pain and swelling; neurotoxic venom causes dizziness, slurred speech, numbness or pins and needles, and problems breathing. Haemotoxic venom causes headaches, nausea and diarrhoea, disorientation, and bruising and bleeding, not just at the bite site but also from body orifices
- Keep calm, and keep the victim calm – accelerated heart rate can pump the venom more quickly round the body. Remember this: you need to move fast, but keep your cool. Panic is dangerous
- Keep the person still and keep the bitten limb immobile. Carry the person if possible; if not, walk slowly but briskly. Prepare to treat the victim for severe shock – that means keeping him/her warm, and in the recovery position
- If a snake has spat into the person’s eyes, rinse under running water – with lots of water
- Be ready to apply artificial respiration if the person stops breathing. This may occur within 30 minutes of a serious mamba bite, but does not have to be fatal
- But don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in bandaging or splinting or identifying snakes – the most important thing you can do is get to expert medical help as fast as possible
- Tick Bite Fever: Ticks are commonly acquired while walking in long grass or amongst shrubs where they wait for animals to brush past. On finding a host the tick usually crawls to tender areas of the body (often under the arms or around the groin) and will penetrate the skin to take a blood meal. The tick parasite may carry a bacteria-like organism (Rickettsia) which causes tick-bite fever in some animals, including man. About 10 days after infection, symptoms develop which characterize the disease. These include fever, chills, swollen lymph glands, headache, and dizziness. The fever can be treated with asprin or paracetamol until a doctor’s prescription for antibiotics (usually Tetracycline) is obtained
- Tick Bites: Unlike Tick Bite Fever, this is simply a festering tick bite, which is usually the result of small pepper ticks getting “under your skin” about a day or two after your run. Constant scratching results in a festering wound with symptoms of swollen glands and headaches. Best to keep the bite clean with dettol, and take a disprin!
- General: When walking or running in the bush it is advisable to check arms and legs occasionally for ticks. Remove them carefully to avoid infection caused by leaving the mouthparts imbedded in the wound. The application of insect repellent reduces the risk of tick infection, but repellents containing a high proportion of DEET can cause skin irritation on exposure to UV rays. It is therefore advisable to apply these lotions to areas not exposed to sunlight, such as the upper legs, under shorts, or under your socks
Use dialling code +263 if on an external roaming line
- MATER DEI HOSPITAL: 09-240000
- GALEN HOUSE: 09-881051
- MARS AMBULANCE: 09-64082 / 60351/ 78946
- EMRAS AMBULANCE: 09-62611 / 62188 / 0732475853 / 0712051725
- RACE DIRECTOR:
- CAMP DWALA: 0735 332 847 / 0776 086 037
- Gavin: 0772 221 223
- Dessy: 0772 211 156