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Cyclists from 13 other countries arrive in Windhoek for this weekend’s Desert Dash

Cyclists from 13 other countries arrive in Windhoek for this weekend’s Desert Dash

It may be hard to believe there are so many silly people in Namibia but more than one thousand cyclists have entered for the gruelling Nedbank Desert Dash that starts on Friday 07 December and ends the next day and some 370 kilometres later in Swakopmund.

The Desert Dash has assumed such proportions in the sporting community that riders from 13 countries other than Namibia, will all arrive this Wednesday and Thursday to start their voluntary ordeal on Friday.

The Dash is no ordinary race. Whether cyclists compete individually or in teams, the physical demand is enormous. Within 24 hours, the riders must cover the distance, traversing the desert from Windhoek to Swakopmund on gravel roads, over mountains, and through daunting river beds.

Gitta Paetzold, the Hospitality Association of Namibia’s Chief Executive, said the Nedbank Desert Dash has “truly become one of the most important sporting and adventure tourism events on the Namibian calendar.”

“The Dash is an outstanding race that not only attracts local cyclists, but has over the years attracted increasing numbers of international competitors as is proven by the 2018 entry numbers, with people from more than 14 countries taking part.” she said.

More than 60% of the more than 1000 entrants for this year’s Dash, is local with 311 South African’s and 69 cyclists from another 12 countries, including Germany, Austria, Canada, The USA, France and Luxembourg.

It is estimated the event pumps at least N$20 million of additional revenue into Namibia’s economy, from flights, car rentals, health services, and other tourism related activities.

Speaking on behalf of the sponsor, Gernot de Klerk said “Nedbank Namibia realizes the importance of consistently offering quality races to hone the skills and competitive edge of our cyclists, who do not have to stand back for anyone as far as sheer talent is concerned. We remain exceptionally proud of our flagship event.”

Caption: Team Gondwana is again in the Desert Dash, hoping to take home the laurels in the corporate teams category.


About The Author

Sport Contributor

The Economist does not have a dedicated sport reporter. This designation is used for several contributors who want their sport stories in the Economist. Experience has taught us that companies usually want their sport sponsorships published prominently, being the reason for a sports category. It now also carries general sport items but only those with direct Namibian relevance. - Ed.