The fourth adventure in the Beyond Expeditions Series, Beyond Bicornis, (a four-country journey with a focus on Rhino Conservation in southern Africa) was originally scheduled for September 2020, but had to be shelved due to Covid-19 and the ban on any cross-border travel.
However, the Beyond Expeditions team did not want to lose the essence of the Beyond Expeditions journey into the most remote corners of the African continent to showcase the most incredible landscapes, cultures and experiences offered by Mother Africa – the team wanted to continue doing this, while simultaneously assisting those in need.
“We have therefore decided to completely re-imagine our 2020 expedition by changing the name to ‘Beyond Lockdown’. Firstly, we wanted to symbolise that there will be an eventual end to all the mental dissonance and financial hardship, and secondly, we felt we had to find ways of helping those who have been hardest hit by the lockdown,” says Jacques Marais, Expedition Coordinator and Photojournalist.
Jacques Marais will be accompanied by Peter Van Kets: Chief Adventurer and Expedition Spokesperson, Peter Kirk: Chief Expedition Videographer; and Zane Schmahl: Day-to-day Logistics & Social Media Coordination.
“The economic sectors suffering most under the yoke of lockdown are indisputably the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, with especially local tourism buckling under the strain of nearly five months of not being able to operate.”
“Something needs to be done to help these small operators, especially those in the rural areas who have seen literally a 100% drop in income.”
“We therefore plan to use Beyond Lockdown as a vehicle to travel to nine inspirational and off-the-grid destinations – one in each of South Africa’s nine provinces – and from our visit create an exhilarating story to draw people to these remote places,” Jacques explained.
Their focus will capture everything from Road Tripping, Conservation and Adventure, to the unique Characters found within these ‘Moer-And-Gone’ communities in faraway places, and they believe the way to regenerate jobs and opportunities will be through creating crackerjack media exposure for these off-the-beaten-track destinations. Along the way, the team will engage with colourful local characters to assist in creating engaging and unique content, and thus convince the general South African public to pack their vehicle and visit them as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.
“Spending your Rands in South Africa is what will make a difference to these communities, and we want people to know that you can have world-class, unique and globally relevant travel experiences right here in Mzansi! Our expeditions always include some inspirational feats of human endurance, and this time around we want to take these adventures and weave them into the local folklore of the area … maybe it will be an endurance river swim in search of a mythical water serpent, or a dark-zone trek on the trail of a desert djinn, maybe an ascent up a snowy peak to confront your own inner guru …,” Jacques continues.
The Beyond Lockdown Expedition is scheduled to leave Cape Town in the beginning of August 2020 and follow a clockwise route throughout the nine provinces (Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, North-West Province, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga,Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Eastern Cape) of South Africa.
Some of the activities they are planning include: spearfishing & kreef diving, tracking pangolins in the desert, SUPing the Gariep Dam and sleeping on a remote island, scuba diving, hot air ballooning, trail running, mountain biking, whale/shark snorkeling, and abseiling – to name just a few.
The key deliverable from the Beyond Lockdown Expedition will be professionally produced and widely distributed media exposure. This will be disseminated through the extensive #SocialMedia Networks of both Peter Van Kets and Jacques Marais, as well as through the wide-reaching networks of various sponsors and partners.
“Once our special brand of road-trip stories have been packaged, these riveting tales will be shared across not only the afore-mentioned electronic channels, in a range of newspaper and magazine print publications, on podcast, and as short, festival-style adventure films. In the end, it will be this heady blend – created by the Adventure, The Characters, and the Destination – that makes these nine stories worth telling, and worth hearing. Our sponsors, Isuzu SA and Dunlop SA and SA Tourism will add huge depth to the media reach,” Jacques concludes.