In a few weeks’ time from now; 4X4s of all makes pulling trailers or caravans laden with all the camping lifestyle extravagances or perks will head out to the bustling mining town of Selibe Phikwe located in the Central District of Botswana in a precious yet costly pilgrimage dubbed ‘Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race’.
Scheduled to take place from Friday, 21st June 2019 – Sunday, 23rd June 2019; some 407km or so away from the capital city Gaborone, this event, which has been hosted in Botswana successively for the past thirty-five (35) years is a must attend for any traveller looking for some legendary fun and vibes.
The event continues to be popular as it develops from strength to strength every year; the event has been successfully hosted in Jwaneng and still manages to attract a growing large number of spectators from Botswana and the Southern Africa region to Jwaneng.
The majestic Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, the only marathon event on the SACCS calendar and the largest Cross Country event in Southern Africa breaks new ground with the event relocating from the small mining town of Jwaneng to the more populous town of Selebi Phikwe.
Commonly known as Phikwe, this bustling town is situated in Central Botswana and strategically placed as the gateway to the Northern Regions.
The TDR 1000 provides a major financial injection to areas in which the event is held, and the move creates the opportunity for communities to benefit from the race.
The weekend’s programme features a feast of national championship racing with round three of the SACCS Cross Country Motor Racing Championship and round four and five of the Botswana National Off Road Motorcycle Championship.
“Botswana has been home to the Toyota 1000 Desert Race since 1991 traversing thousands of kilometres in several areas including Gaborone, Mantshwabisi, Lentsweletau, Hatsalatladi and Kumakwane with last stop being Jwaneng.The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requires the race area to be changed every five years, which necessitates the need to look for alternative areas. The relocation of the host venue also provides continued interest in the event and new challenging terrain for competitors which is in line with building a sustainable future for the race, attracting new entrants and retaining the loyal competitors. Various areas which could potentially host from 2019 onwards were assessed. The Selebi-Phikwe region was selected as the most suitable, as it offers the most relevant race requirements and infrastructure required for the success of this marathon event. The choice for Phikwe was further influenced by a bid from SPEDU and the Selebi-Phikwe Town Council to host the event, which satisfied the requirements of all the host partners,” read a communique from the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS).
Real boys come out with their big toys, ready to conquer any speck that stands on their jovial pursuit to attaining supreme merriment.
‘Blessers’ gloriously flaunt their bank cards (MasterCard, Diners Club International, American Express or VISA) courtesy of their brim-full bank accounts as the ‘blessed’ open up vivaciously, unruffled by the many consequences that may arise next due to the unstinting expenditure.
Like lost baby birds in springtime, their pitiful chirps awakening a mothering instinct in even the most hard-hearted of souls; the naïve ‘blessed’ will never know what hit them next.
Despite BTO encouraging citizens from all walks of life to participate and experience The TDR 100, the playing field is not levelled. This is where the macho men usually separate themselves from the meek boys; while others simply play spectator roles.
Don’t get me wrong here; anybody is allowed and encouraged to go to The TDR 1000 but due to the distance and the costs associated with this trip, the experience thus becomes a pie in the sky to most of the hoi polloi.
The TDR 1000 experience simply echoes Friedrich Nietzsche’s sentiments when he posited, “In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”
This event attracts a large number of spectators from all over Botswana, as well as a growing number from Southern African countries and abroad, therefore, most hotels in host towns and surrounding villages usually report a substantial increase in business during the race. This benefit extends to other sectors of the economy as well, such as, fuel stations and the wide spectrum of the retails sector.
Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and the Botswana Police Service (BPS) always undertakes awareness campaigns to inform the public planning to follow the race and those with settlements along the route, about the necessary safety tips that need to be observed for their own safety and the safety of their property. In the event of unforeseen circumstances where damage may have been caused to property, reports should be submitted to the nearest police station, where the assessment process will start resulting in compensation where appropriate.
The Toyota 1000 Desert Race is the largest Cross Country event in Southern Africa and forms round three of the South African Cross Country Championship.
“Toyota has a long and proud history with the “Desert”, as it has become known, and we are delighted that this relationship will continue,” said Greg Higgins, SACCS Event Director. “We welcome the move to Selebi Phikwe which offers teams and spectators an array of commercial facilities and new racing terrain in yet another scenic region of Botswana.”
“SACCS has always enjoyed a solid working relationship with the Botswana Government, BTO, BPS, Land Boards and BMS and we will be working closely with our counterparts to ensure the future growth and sustainability of the event”, Higgins added.
Contact a local tour operator to ensure that you add this event to your itinerary to Botswana.