Big Five Marathon

13 Nov 2021 / 18 June 2022

Big Five Marathon 2021 7-day package

The Big Five Marathon is an exclusive event that combines a challenging marathon experience with a classic African safari vacation.
10-16 Nov
7 days
2 200 EUR

Please note that the 2021 event, has been moved and so is now taking place on 13. November 2021.

Situated in the Limpopo province, the Entabeni Game Reserve provides the perfect setting for this event. Within this 22,000 ha, malaria-free, private game reserve, you have the option of several accommodation facilities, varying from tented camps to luxurious lodges.We use exclusive safari lodges that are placed in the middle of Entabeni, meaning that, as soon as you step outside, you will find yourself surrounded by the savannah wildlife. From our lodges, you will have a spectacular view of the mighty Entabeni-monolith, as well as the opportunity to catch a glimpse of all the "Big Five" game, along with several other stunning creatures like giraffes, hippopotamus, crocodiles and many splendid species of antelope, not to mention an abundance of birdlife. Between game drives, bush walks, and the marathon itself, you'll have plenty of chances to see the wildlife. 

English

Itinerary

The itinerary is detailed below. This is what you'll be doing during your stay!

10 Nov 2021Arrival at Entabeni

Your tour will start and end at Johannesburg International Airport (also known as OR Tambo). All participants will be transferred at set transfer times from the airport to Entabeni Game Reserve. 

The set transfer departure times from the airport are: 08:30, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. If none of these transfers fit with your arrival, it is possible to book an individual transfer at an additional cost. 

Upon arrival to Entabeni, you will meet you tour leader and be checked in at your respective lodge/camp. Participants arriving on one of the first three transfers (departure from Johannesburg International Airport at 08:30, 10:00 & 12:00) will have the possibility to go on the first of several exciting game drives.

The game drives will provide the opportunity to experience an authentic African safari in serene surroundings. The Entabeni Game Reserve offers diverse wildlife, open safari vehicles and relatively few tourists, creating an ideal wilderness atmosphere.

Meals: Dinner

11 Nov 2021Entabeni Game Drive

Day two of your stay in Entabeni is dedicated to exploring the game reserve through a game drive and/or a bush walk. We will get accustomed to the park's geography, and climate, and we can slowly start preparing ourselves for Saturday's exciting event: The Big Five Marathon.

The game drive is included in the itinerary and will take place either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. A bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included on the second day, giving us a chance to get really close to the nature and wildlife. Additional game drives and bush walks can be purchased on spot. Alternatively, some of your free time can also be used for shorter runs outside Entabeni - the tour leader will help organise the runs.

Early morning game drives typically takes place between 06:00 and 09:30. During these early hours we will experience the cool morning, spot spectacular wildlife, and most probably work up an appetite. Once back from the morning safari we will be richly satisfied by the overwhelming breakfast buffet that awaits us at our lodge/camp.

The afternoon game drive begins around 16:00, and arrives back at the lodge in time for dinner around 19:30. Similar to the morning game drive, the afternoon drive provides great wildlife experiences. Moreover, the afternoon drive offers the opportunity to experience a beautiful sunset in ideal settings: enjoying a cold drink on the savannah, while admiring the changing colours of the darkening evening sky. The afternoon drive then turns into a night safari, where we will get the chance to spot the fascinating nocturnal wildlife with a spot light.

PLEASE NOTE: November is spring time in South Africa and while the temperature often rises to 20-30 degrees Celsius during the day, temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius at night time is not unusual! Especially the large drop from day to night time temperatures makes the evenings and mornings feel extremely cold. It is therefore essential to bring a winter jacket, warm hat and gloves when going on game drives!

Over the last few years, the reserve's wildlife has become increasingly accustomed to tourists. It is therefore not uncommon to see elephants, giraffes and different species of antelopes grazing in close proximity to the safari vehicles. A pride of lions even occasionally holds up traffic, lying lazily across the track. We use open 4x4 safari vehicles, which provide us with an excellent opportunity for viewing the wildlife in safety.

During our stay, we will have a number of park rangers allocated: one for approximately every ten participants. The rangers ensure our safety, drive the safari vehicles, provide competent guiding, coordinate the events with the race management, and are at our disposal around the clock. Furthermore a tour leader will be with the group from beginning to end.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

12 Nov 2021Route inspection

After breakfast, all participants will be transported from their respective lodges/camp to the starting point of the marathon. Before we set off for the start line, there will be a short briefing about the route inspection. All safari vehicles follow the route in a convoy, allowing the participants to examine the different running surfaces, note the locations of water stations and assess the overall difficulty of the route. 

After the route inspection, a large buffet lunch will be served for all of the participants. Everyone will be gathered - participants, race officials, medical staff and rangers - for a formal introduction to the event, and a presentation of the practical issues surrounding the marathon. There are no scheduled game drives this day. 

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
 

13 Nov 2021Race day

The day we have all been waiting for has arrived! Today you will take part in an unforgettable challenge: The Big Five Marathon. In the morning, all participants will be transported from the different lodges/camps to the starting line in time for final preparations. The marathon is scheduled to start at 09:00, but delays are to be expected, as the exact start time will depend on the location of the big five game - if too close to the route, the start will be postponed. 

For more information about the race, look here.

There are no scheduled game drives this day.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

14 Nov 2021Celebration dinner

Today we get some time to relax after running through the African savannah. You will have the option to purchase additional game drives and excursions for the morning. In the afternoon, we will venture out for yet another fantastic game drive followed by our post-marathon party. There will be delightful food, live entertainment, a prize ceremony, a big bonfire, and partying under the starry skies. Please be aware that the party takes place in a traditional South African boma with open roof and large open doorways. It is therefore advisable to dress warm! For the same reason, there will be no dress code and casual clothing is recommended.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

15 Nov 2021Entabeni

On your final day at the Entabeni Private Game Reserve, you will be able to enjoy one last game drive either in the morning or in the afternoon. 

Today, those of you who are interested will also get the chance to stretch your legs while taking part in one final bush walk. This bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included in the package, giving you the opportunity to have a close encounter with the African nature and wildlife. 

In the evening, a farewell dinner will be held at your respective lodges/camps.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

16 Nov 2021Farewell South Africa or Hello Extension

Our time at the Entabeni Game Reserve has come to an end and it's time to head back to Johannesburg. As upon arrival, all participants will be transferred from Entabeni to Johannesburg International Airport. 

Transfer arrival times at the airport are: 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00. As on arrival, it is possible, at an additional cost, to book an individual transfer to Johannesburg, if the group transfers don't coincide with your onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast
 

Extensions

Victoria Falls Nov 2021 - The Smoke That Thunders

16-19 Nov | 4 days | 1 850 EUR
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With a height of 108 meters, a combined width of 1700 meters, and picturesque rain forest backdrop, Victoria Falls is an impressive place to spend four days topping off your African adventure.

In the Bantu language, the falls are called “mosi-oa-tunya,” which means "the smoke that thunders," and that is a perfect representation of Victora Falls - a huge puff of "smoke" accompanied by the thunderous sound of the water.

  • Day 1 - 16 Nov: Arrive in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

    After breakfast, we start our drive to O R Tambo International Airport where we will check in for our 1 hour 40 minute flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

    On arrival, and after clearing customs and immigration, you will be transferred to your hotel for the next four days, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

    Situated on a plateau just 4km from the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the award-winning hotel is surrounded by the wilds of Africa and offers an unforgettable experience. The sunset-facing, 72-room Victoria Falls Safari Lodge offers a view of the African bush that stretching endlessly toward the horizon, including views of a waterhole frequented by elephants, buffalo, kudus, and other wildlife, as well as a rich variety of birds.

    We offer the Waterhole Facing Room. All rooms are spacious and light, with glass sliding doors opening on to private balconies with unrivalled views of the bushveld at sunset.

    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 2 - 17 Nov: Tour of Victoria Falls & Sunset Cruise

    After breakfast, we will take a walking tour around the indescribably beautiful Victoria Falls, which spans as far as the eye can see. During the tour, our guide will explain the history of the area and provide information about its location along the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

    There is often spray from the waterfall, so it can be a good idea to bring an umbrella or light raincoat. 

    In the afternoon, we will take a sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River upstream from Victoria Falls. From our safe position aboard the boat, we will enjoy a cold drink while on the look-out for crocodiles and hippopotamus. 

    Meals: Breakfast 

  • Day 3 - 18 Nov: Optional Activities & Boma Dinner Drum Show

    Today is set aside for you to experience the many activities that are available around Victoria Falls. We offer an optional safari in Botswana’s Chobe National Park. Or you could enjoy a helicopter flight over the falls, go river rafting on the Zambezi, or perhaps bungee jump over the falls. There is also the opportunity to experience the falls from the Zambia side.

    Our local representative will be able to assist in booking activities. 

     

    Today is set aside for you to experience the many activities that are available around Victoria Falls. We offer an optional safari in Botswana’s Chobe National Park. Or you could enjoy a helicopter flight over the falls, go river rafting on the Zambezi, or perhaps bungee jump over the falls. There is also the opportunity to experience the falls from the Zambia side.

    Our local representative will be able to assist in booking activities. 

    In the evening we all meet at The Boma for Dinner & Drum show.
    This evening of non-stop entertainment includes performances by traditional singers, dancers and drummers, face painting and dinner featuring local cuisine. The grand finale is an interactive drumming show, giving you the chance to discover your inner African rhythm! 

    Meals: Breakfast and Boma Dinner Drum show

  • Day 4 - 19 Nov: Transfer for Johannesburg & Departure

    You will have the morning free for any optional activities before your transfer back to Victoria Falls airport, where we will take a flight to Johannesburg, from where you should meet your connecting flight home.

    Meals: Breakfast

  • Price Information

    Shared double room: EUR 1850
    Single room supplement: EUR +150

    Optional full day tour to Chobe National Park in Botswana
    Per person including lunch: EUR 150

  • Inclusions
    • 3 nights at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge - Waterhole Facing Room with breakfast
    • Roundtrip flights between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls
    • Tour of Victoria Falls
    • Sundowner Cruise on the Zambezi
    • Boma Dinner Drum Show (24 June)
    • Roundtrip transfer between the airport and hotel
  • Exclusions
    • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
    • Visa to Zimbabwe
    • Beverages
    • Personal expenses
    • Travel and health insurance 
    • Anything else not mentioned under "Inclusions"
  • Flight Information

    Flying Comair (British Airways)

    16 November 2021 
    Departure from Johannesburg 11:25
    Arrival in Victoria Falls 13:05

    19 November 2021
    Departure from Victoria Falls 13:55
    Arrival in Johannesburg  15:35

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Price information

Have a look at package prices below. Please note that prices do not include the race package.

Prices

Prices are per person in EUR.

Lodges:
 

Albatros Ranger Camp 

  • Shared double room EUR 2200
  • Single supplement EUR 500

 

Lakeside Lodge 

  • Shared double room EUR 2250
  • Single supplement EUR 550
     

    Hanglip Mountain Lodge 

    • Shared double room EUR 2750
    • Single supplement EUR 850
       

    Wildside Tented Camp - Closed for registration

    • Shared double room EUR 2200
    • Single supplement EUR 500

     

    Legend Safari Resort - Closed for registration

    • Shared double room EUR 2350
    • Single supplement EUR 750
       

    Private transfer: EUR 400

    • If your flight doesn’t match with any of the set group transfers from/to Johannesburg International Airport you can book a private transfer.

    Inclusions

    • Hotel accommodation
    • Full board (starting with dinner on day 1 and ending with breakfast on the day of departure)
    • Scheduled group transfers
    • Game drives according to the itinerary

    Exclusions

    • International flights
    • Personal expenses
    • Beverages
    • Race package (EUR 300)
    • Private transfer (EUR 400 one way)
    • Tips for rangers and lodge staff
    • Anything not mentioned in 'Inclusions'

    Race Entry

    Marathon or half-marathon: EUR 300

    Race entry includes:

    • Entry to the race
    • Supplies on the route
    • Champion Chip timing
    • Exclusive Big Five Marathon running t-shirt from Craft
    • Medal 

    Booking and Payment

    The booking of a trip is binding for both customer and travel agency once the deposit (25% of the total trip price) has been paid at the time of booking on the booking.albatros-adventure.com website. The remaining amount, 75% of the total trip price, will be charged to the customer’s payment card as provided by the customer, 75 days before trip departure. Bookings made later than 75 days prior will require full payment immediately.

    The email sent to the customer upon booking a trip acts as the booking confirmation. It is therefore of vital importance that the customer provides a valid email address.

    Refer to our Terms & Conditions for further information.

    Important Info

    Age Restrictions

    Entabeni Safari Conservancy imposes an age restriction on children who may participate in game drives and bush walks. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted on game drives. To participate in bush walks, children must be 12 years of age or older.

    Adults Traveling with Minors

    The South African Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced new regulations under the Immigration Act whereby from 1 October 2014 passengers travelling with children under the age of 18 years - arriving, transiting and /or departing from South Africa, will be required to produce an unabridged birth certificate indicating the biological parents of the minor. The certificate must be in English and have an Apostille authentication. Please note that it can take several weeks to process this certificate.

    Additional documentation is required for children travelling with only one parent, or adults who are not the biological parents. Full requirements are available from the South African High Commission/Embassy in your area.

    Airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families not in possession of these documents. These new regulations have been implemented to combat child trafficking.

    Questions about South Africa?

    For information on visas, currency, electricity, and more, please check our Destination Guide page. 

    For information on weather and clothing, please check the our Climate & Weather page. 

    If you're curious about the destinations that we'll be visiting or other background information on South Africa, you can read all about it on our Travel Destination page. 

    Book this package

    You will be taken to our booking site where you can complete your booking.