Hiking Giants

Hiking Giants is the hiking option of the Giant’s Cup Trail Run. Many hikers are looking for a real physical challenge in the mountains on an ‘event’ style format, but without the requirement of running, and it is Hiking Giants ambition to provide that opportunity.

Hiking Giants is open only to hikers but otherwise replicates what the Trail Runners do in every way and is staged as one event under the umbrella of the Giant’s Cup Trail Run. Hikers and runners will rub shoulders out on the course and swap stories over the 3 nights in the Hotels along the route. The Giant’s Cup Trail Run has traditionally been limited to 100 runners and this cap will remain in order to preserve the unique intimacy and special camaraderie that is generated during the event.

The principle beneficiary of Hiking Giants is the local branch of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) based at Cobham Nature Reserve. R500 per hiker will be dedicated to this cause that will focus on local issues within the Maloti Drakensberg Park. These include alien vegetation, maintenance of the trails, funding of vital equipment for EKZNW staff and assistance with monitoring of critically endangered species such as the Bearded Vulture.

The event weekend starts with registration and dinner on Thursday 21st May 2020 at the Premier Resort Sani Pass, and finishes at the Bushman’s Nek Resort on Sunday 24th May 2020 with the farewell breakfast.

Registration will take place from 16h00 at Premier Resort Sani Pass.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Accommodation

Hikers are accommodated in the newly upgraded Premier Resort Sani Pass. Rooms are allocated on a sharing basis. Hikers wanting their own room may request this option. It is dependent on availability and the will require a top-up fee.

Meals

Dinner and breakfast will be provided in the hotel and lunch will be provided at the finish of both days of the event. For those seeking additional replenishments there are cash bars and ala carte menus available at the resort.

Dinner on the final night of the event will be in the form of an Awards Dinner whereby the overall podium positions will be awarded their prizes together with any category winners and lucky draw prizes.

Hikers are welcome to book extra seats at the Awards Dinner for friends and family for an additional charge and must do so when entering the event. The cost per extra ticket will be R325 p.p.

Shuttles

Hikers will be shuttled to the start of each day and will be shuttled back to the resort from the finish of Day 1. The finish of Day 2 is at the resort.

Medical and Security

There will be a full medical team on standby throughout the event to respond to any medical emergencies that may arise.

Injured or ill hikers will be treated on site by the medical personnel who will gain access by foot, horseback or vehicle where possible.

Should any extraction of a hiker be deemed necessary this will be done by horseback or by vehicle where possible.
The isolated nature of the course means that extraction could prove time consuming and difficult and hikers will be expected to acknowledge this in the indemnity form that will need to be signed when entering the event.

Should the need arise for any security on the Trail this will be provided by EKZNW Field Rangers.

RACE ROUTE

Hiking Giants covers the entire 62km of the iconic 5 Day Giant’s Cup Hiking Trail in only two days. There is the full course option HG 30/32 which covers 30km on Day 1 and 32km on Day 2 and the short course option HG 15/12 which offers 15km on Day 1 and 12km on Day 2. These options mimic what the runners will be facing.

HG 30/32 hikers start at the Bushman’s Nek Hotel and follow a short section down the district road before entering the Giant’s Cup Trail. It is then the long climb up to the high point of the day in the saddle below Langalibalele Peak at 2158m.

This is followed by the fast and flowing descent down to the Mzimude River and the short sharp climb out of the valley and the gentle descent into the Aid Station at Swiman Hut which is the 15km mark and the start point for the HG 15/12 hikers.

From Swiman the hikers undulate along the Garden Castle Ridge line towards Black Eagle Pass before the steep and technical descent down to Wintershoek Hut. From the hut there’s the small bump past the Castleburn Windmill before the drop into the finish of Day 1 at Castleburn Farm.

Day 1 of the HG 32/30 is 32km in distance and covers the first 3 days of the traditional Giant’s Cup Hike in one effort. It begins at Sani Pass Hotel and ascends the magnificent Gxalingenwa Gorge before turning onto the official Giant’s Cup Trail after 4km and heading South towards Cobham. Cobham is reached after 12km. From Cobham it is 9km to Mzimkulwana Hut before the last big climb and the 11km to the finish at Castleburn Farm.

Day 1 of the HG 20/15 starts at Cobham to where hikers will be shuttled from their accommodation at Sani Pass Hotel. The Short Course then follows the same route to the finish at Castleburn Farm.

The Giants Cup Day 1 Profile

GC 30/32 hikers start from Castleburn Farm and follow the Mhlambonjwa River before the short climb over the ridge and down to the Mzimkulu river crossing. From the river starts the longest climb of the day up to Crane Tarn. The descent from Crane Tarn down to the 1st Aid Station at Mzimkulwana Hut (11km) is long and fast.

From the Hut the second climb of the day looms as hikers climb towards Bathplug Cave. After topping out the trail contours around past Tortoise Rocks and down towards the 2nd Aid Station at Cobham (20km) which is also the start for the GC 15/12 hikers.

From Cobham there is the climb up the slopes of Ndlovini before a section of undulating trail and the final drop into the Gxalingenwa Gorge. The 4km descent down the beautiful Gxalingenwa is one of the highlights of the event after which hikers pop out onto the golf course of the Resort for the final 800m into the finish.

Day 2 of the HG 32/30 is 30km and starts at Castleburn Farm and covers the last 2 days of the traditional Giant’s Cup Hike. Hikers climb Black Eagle Pass and turn West towards the famous Rhino Peak and the halfway point of Swiman Hut at 15km. From Swiman it’s the long descent down to the Mzimude River crossing before the final climb up to the high point of the event at Langalibilele Pass. Hikers then drop down steeply to Bushman’s Nek Hotel and the finish.

Day 2 of the HG 20/15 starts at Swiman Hut and follows the last 15km of the Giant’s Cup Hike to Bushman’s Nek as described above.

The Giants Cup Day 2 Profile

CUT-OFFS

Due to the challenging distances on offer in HG 30/32 there is one cut-off on each day. These cut-offs are generous but must be enforced to prevent hikers potentially coming in after dark.

Day 1 Cut-Off is at Swiman and is 4 hours after the Start.

Day 2 Cut-Off is at Cobham and is 5 hours after the Start.

There are no Cut-Offs in the HG 15/12.

RACE ITINERARY

THURSDAY 21ST MAY
15h00 to 18h00
Registration at Premier Resort Sani Pass
18h15
Race Briefing Day 1
19h00
Dinner at Premier Resort Sani Pass
20h00
Breakfast Packs collected by Hiking Giant’s participants
FRIDAY 22ND MAY
05h00
Shuttle to Bushman’s Nek Hotel departs for HG 30/32 Hikers
06h00 to 06h30
Breakfast for HG15/12 Hikers
06h30
Start HG 30/32 Hikers
06h00 to 06h45
Breakfast for GC 30/32 Runners
06h45
Shuttle to Swiman departs for HG 15/12 Hikers
07h00
Shuttle to Bushman’s Nek Hotel departs for GC 30/32 Runners
06h00 to 08h00
Breakfast for GC 15/12 Runners
08h00
Start HG 15/12 Hikers
08h15
Shuttle to Swiman departs for GC 15/12 Runners
08h30
Start GC 30/32 Runners
09h30
Start GC 15/12 Runners
11h30 to 16h00
Finish Line Beers and G&T’s at Castleburn Farm
13h00 to 16h00
Shuttles back to Premier Resort Sani Pass
18h30
Sundowners & Race Briefing Day 2
19h00
Dinner
20h00
Breakfast Pack collection for HG 30/32 Hikers
SATURDAY 23RD MAY
05h00
Shuttle to Castleburn departs for HG 30/32 Hikers
06h00 to 07h00
Breakfast for HG 15/12 Hikers
06h30
Start HG 30/32 Hikers
06h00 to 06h30
Breakfast for GC 30/32 Runners
06h45
Shuttle to Castleburn departs for GC 30/32 Runners
07h30
Shuttle to Cobham departs for HG 15/12 Hikers
06h00 to 08h00
Breakfast for GC 15/12 Runners
08h00
Start GC 30/32 Runners
08h30
Start HG 15/12 Hikers
09h00
Shuttle to Cobham departs for GC 15/12 Runners
10h00
Start GC 15/12 Runners
11h00 to 16h00
Finish Line Beers and G&T’s at the Resort
17h00
Cheese and Wine
18h30
Awards Dinner
20h00 to LATE
After Party

COMPULSORY KIT

Due to the variable and potentially dangerous weather experienced in the Drakensberg the Compulsory Kit list is taken very seriously by the Organisers.

We will use weather forecasts to determine the level of kit to be carried by all hikers.

LEVEL 1
Clear & Fine
LEVEL 2
Cloudy / Misty with Light Rain / Drizzle
LEVEL 3
Cloudy Cold and Raining
LEVEL 4
Cloudy & Very Cold with Rain / Sleet / Snow

Item
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3 / 4
Comment
Race Number
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Race Number and pins supplied by event
Space Blanket
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Supplied by event
Whistle
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Supplied by event
Emergency Rations – 2 X Energy Bars
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Supplied by event
Silicone Cup or Equivalent
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Hydrapak Speedcup available for purchase
Beanie / Buff
Recommended
Compulsory
Compulsory
Cap / Visor
Optional
Optional
Optional
Shirt
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Thermal Top
Optional
Compulsory
Compulsory
Sub-zero Temps are Possible
Long Thermal Tights
Optional
Recommended
Compulsory
Sub-zero Temps are Possible
Windbreaker / Light Jacket with Hood
Compulsory
Optional
Optional
Waterproof Jacket with Hood
Optional
Compulsory
Compulsory
Must have Hood
Gloves
Recommended
Compulsory
Compulsory
Preferably thermal
Backpack
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Must have capacity to carry all compulsory equipment
Water Bottel / Hydration Pack
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Must have a capacity of at least 750ml
Water available at checkpoints and rivers
Charged Cellphone
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Must be fully charged
Zip Lock Bags
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
Essential for protecting Cellphone
Nutrition
Recommended
Recommended
Compulsory
Sufficient nutrition for 4 – 8 hours
Headlamp / Torch
Compulsory
Compulsory
Compulsory
For HG 30/32 – you will be starting just before daylight

Cup Free

Conservation is a subject close to the heart of Hiking Giants and as a result we take our environmental footprint very seriously. In light of this the event will be a ‘cup free’ event and all hikers will be required to carry their own cup for use on the trail and at the water tables.

Please ensure that you bring your own cup or equivalent to the event.

ENTRY FEES

Entries for Hiking Giants will open on 1st October 2019 at 09h00. Only 100 entries will be made available.

ENTRIES CLOSE 19 APRIL 2019

Race Package – includes 3 Nights hotel accommodation on a room sharing basis and 6 meals (dinners / breakfasts) in the three hotels en-route including the awards dinner on the Saturday night

Supporters Package – a limited number of packages for supporters are available at the rate of R 3950. This includes 3 nights accommodation on a sharing basis / all hotel meals (3 dinners including awards dinner & 3 breakfasts) / health lunches at end of both days. Access to cheese and wine and sundowners where applicable. Any supporters packages required must be selected at time of entry.

Early Bird

Early Bird entries will open at 09h00 (SAST) on 1st October 2019
Early Bird Entry Fee is R5750
Early Bird entries will close at 17h00 (SAST) on 7th October 2019

Standard Entries

Standard Entries will open at 17h00 (SAST) on 7th October 2019
Standard Entry Fee is R6450

How many entries still available?

The race package also includes:

– 2 Healthy lunches at the finish of each day.

– Quality garment(s) from our apparel partner The North Face.

– A bespoke panorama of the Berg along the Giant’s Cup Trail, hand-sketched by local author and general mountain man Dr Tod Collins.

– Pre dinner entertainment / presentations at the hotels on the Friday and Saturday nights.

– An afternoon of cheese and wine tasting on the Saturday afternoon after the finish of the event.

– Nutrition at the checkpoints along the route.

– Sweeping and support along the trail.

– Access to full medical support during the event and an evacuation plan overseen by EKZNW that includes horses and a helicopter if required.

R500 from each entry will be donated to EKZNW and these funds will be ring-fenced and used on local projects within the Giant’s Cup biosphere.

– Further donations will be made to the local branch of the Honorary Officers.

– Best of all … a fully supported event along a 62km trail in a World Heritage Site

Hikers will be able to register for the event using a South African ID Number or an International Passport Number, and must be 18-years of age to register.

Waiting List

Once entries are full you may register on the waiting list. If entries become available due to cancellation the waiting list will be used on a first come first served basis. The next person on the waiting list will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to accept their entry otherwise they will be removed from the waiting list and the next in line will be contacted.

Payment Details

Full payment is required on entry. Email confirmations will be sent on completion of the on-line entry form with details of how to make payment. Payments can only be made via EFT or bank deposit.

Please note: payment needs to be received within 48 hours to secure the entry. If no payment is received the entry will be cancelled and you will be notified as such. You will then need to restart the entry process if you wish to enter, providing entries are still available. Only once a participant has paid in full will they have a confirmed spot in the event.

For information about our payment plan option please email us at info@thegiantscup.co.za

Substitutions

Substitutions can be made but it is the withdrawing participants responsibility to find a substitution and not that of the event organisers.

– A fee of R200 will be charged for all substitutions and apparel gender / size changes will only be made if stock is available.
– After 24th April 2020 no apparel changes will be possible.
– Substitutions will be accepted up until 1st May 2020.

To request a substitution please contact us at info@thegiantscup.co.za

Refunds Policy

The event organisers will refund 90% of the entry fee if an entry is cancelled on or before 10th April 2020.

To request a cancellation please contact us at info@thegiantscup.co.za

Under no circumstances may someone take part under another person’s name, proof of identification will be required at registration.