Merrell Whale of Trail

5 (1 Review)
South Africa, South Africa
27 Jul, 2024 (Sat)

Trail running

35 km, 53 km

About the event

Treat yourself to a truly special race event this year by joining the Merrell Whale of Trail! This iconic five day hike in South Africa has been transformed into an exhilarating 53km and 1900m elevation trail running ultra. With spectacular mountain fynbos, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches, and endless beautiful vistas, it's a must-do for those who have already conquered the more conventional runs out there. Located just a 3 hour drive from Cape Town or George along the Southern Cape coast, close to Cape Agulhas, the route takes you on a thrilling journey from the base of the Potberg mountain to the beach at Koppie Alleen in CapeNature’s De Hoop Nature Reserve. If this sounds like a bit much for you, there's also a 35km route that offers a taste of the area's splendour. Plus, you get to run with the whales - it's the peak of whale season, after all! Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to run hard and tread lightly on the earth.

Races offered by this event

You have less than a week to prepare

Whale of Trail 53km

27 Jul, 2024 (Sat) - 07:00
Trail running
53 km
1900 m of elevation gain
On site
Mountain range
Ocean view

Whale of Trail 35km

27 Jul, 2024 (Sat) - 09:00
Trail running
35 km
1200 m of elevation gain
On site
Mountain range
Ocean view

Course details

Course highlights

The route will follow the well-established CapeNature 5-day hiking Whale Trail and is 53km with approximately 1900m ascent. The route will be marked only where necessary. Deviations from the established hiking trail will not be allowed and it is mandatory to stay on the paths at all times. There will be two water tables along the route and various checkpoints.

Start address

Potberg, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Overberg DC, South Africa

Finish address

Koppie Alleen Beach Parking, Overberg DC, South Africa

Route map

route map

What’s included in entry

These are included in your entry
Finisher medal
Event T-shirts
Drink Stations
Bag drop
Timing chip (single use)
Shuttle to Start Line
Post-race meal
Medical Assistance


1 Review
Write a review
user avatar
Mark van Houten
Jul 2022
53 km

The trail is situated in a private reserve and which includes a scenic 40 km coastal reserve which is home to hump back whales 🐳 who nurse their newborns in this area and which is well populated during race time. Magnificent scenery and a approx 3 hrs drive from Cape Town and a must do.

The trail consists of 2 distinct sections. The first is a tough mountain section of approx 30 kms and the second a beach section which very steep but shorter climbs.

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News: Trail running

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Whale entries open without big splash

30 Oct, 2015 (Fri)

Credit : Mark Sampson “If you want it, come and run it. Don’t put it on some unattainable, unticked List. Put your mind to it, get training, and do it. You only know what you are capable of when you put yourself out there.” Entries open quietly for two of the big trail runs of 2016 this Sunday 01 November. Keeping it simple, keeping it affordable, keeping runners loving trails. The Merrell Whale of Trail 53km blew everyone away this year with its understated magnificence and organisers Mountain Runner have once again been granted permission by Cape Nature to book out the hiking trail in the south Western Cape for this event on 6th August 2016. Entries can be bought online on a first come first serve basis from 18h00, with a waiting list automatically created when all 175 spots have been filled. All accommodation at the historic De Hoop Collection in the reserve is held for runners and their families for this weekend and reservations can be made directly with them, with options also specifically available for athletes to be able to share rooms or chalets. “We started organising trail runs five years ago to share the joy we have of being outdoors and active.” says Graham ‘Tweet’ Bird. He and business partner Tatum Prins are both well-known and respected multisport athletes. “We apply the same dedication and commitment to our events as to our own training. We don’t like to race at overcrowded events with massive fanfare, so we don’t plan our runs this way. It’s our business, for sure, but we keep our entry costs down so it’s viable.” Credit : Bruce Viaene The magical two day Merrell Hobbit Journey 90km in the Eastern Cape’s Amathole Mountains is an intimate affair of just 30 runners who are prepared to be humbled and inspired by this forested mountain range quest. Those who wish to join the adventure are invited to apply if they will have completed a trail marathon within one year of the start date of 29th April 2016. Entries for the technical and tough 38km trail to be run on 30th April 2016 will also open online. The Arminel Hotel once again provides the optimum race venue and has been booked out exclusively for the long weekend event and rooms or self-catering houses can be booked through Mountain Runner. There will be several shorter races for novice trail runners. The charming village of Hogsback has plenty to offer for those not competing.
Ahotu event page:
2 min read
Translation missing: en.reference.tags.22

Merrell Whale of Trail 2016 date announced

13 Oct, 2015 (Tue)

Credit : Peter Kirk and Mark Sampson They have some family commitments and feasting to attend to in Antarctica, so some are thinking about heading home soon, but the Southern Right Whales will leave with a ‘Sea you later’ promise to be back next year to take up their cheerleading positions. South Africa’s acclaimed five day Whale Trail hiking route is offered as a challenge to runners capable of embracing all 53km of spectacular mountain paths, technical rocky ridgelines, sandy beach stretches and endless, mind blowing, beautiful vistas all in one tough day out. The Merrell Whale of Trail event, in partnership with Cape Nature, is the only opportunity each year for just 175 nature loving athletes to run hard on this iconic trail while treading lightly on the earth and has become a must-do for those who have already tackled the more conventional runs out there. Hosted by the historic and picturesque De Hoop Collection, just a 3 hour drive from Cape Town along the Southern Cape coast, close to Cape Agulhas, the route takes runners on a journey from the Potberg nature reserve to Koppie Alleen in CapeNature’s flagship De Hoop Nature Reserve. The first half winds through unique fynbos covered mountains with expansive views of the Breede River Valley and mouth and then descends to the enchanting Noetsie Bay, turning west and winding along the rocky shores of the Indian Ocean, with a mix of sandy beach and coasteering trails with the shining white dunes of the finish area teasingly and tantalisingly in sight. Bang in the middle of whale season, runners are left wondering who is watching who as scores of the annual migratory cetaceans continually breach out the water, spy hopping and waving their fins at the passers-by. The checkpoints and well stocked food and PVM water tables are manned by staff and medics so enthralled with their office that their enthusiasm manages to motivate even the most exhausted, blistered feet to keep going forward in this wonderful playground. Credit : Peter Kirk and Mark Sampson Next year the event will be held on Saturday 6th August 2016. With Tuesday 9th August being a public holiday, this creates the perfect opportunity to stay and explore more of this phenomenal area. De Hoop Collection, situated alongside the Ramsar wetland vlei, is the race venue, and offers not only sublime accommodation but also excellent guided birding excursions, nature walks and boat trips, mountain biking trails, and soon a spa for the ultimate indulgence. Traffic encountered during a walk to dinner comes in the form of herds of eland, bontebok and the rare mountain zebra. Families and friends are well looked after and welcomed into the race vibe. The finish area at Koppie Alleen is a festive affair. Situated right above the welcoming beach, spectators may forget to look for their loved ones while mesmerised by the whales, exploring the dunes and many rock pools packed with prolific life – thanks to the long standing protection offered by the marine reserve – or enjoying the food freshly prepared by the caterers. In line with all their events, Mountain Runner is keeping it personal and keeping it pristine. Just 175 runners will have the privilege of running this in 2016. Entries will open online at 18h00 on 01st November 2015 on where all information is already posted.
Ahotu event page:
2 min read

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