Big Five Marathon & Half 2025

14 June 2025
  • Adventure
  • Half Marathon
  • Marathon

2025 Big Five Marathon

The Big Five Marathon and Half-Marathon provides the opportunity to run among the wildlife in their natural habitat in the northeastern corner of South Africa. The course is in the Entabeni Game Reserve, which is a 220KM private reserve situated in the Limpopo Province between Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park.

The package tour includes game drives in four-wheel jeeps through the Reserve. You will have the opportunity to view the “Big Five” (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros) as well as numerous other species such as giraffe, hippopotamus and the many splendid species of antelope, not to mention the abundance of bird life. Your safari lodges will offer spectacular views to the mighty Entabeni-monolith.


Half Board

Half Board

Full board accommodation during your trip

Meals Included

Meals Included

Breakfast, lunch & dinner are provided daily



Support from our team during your stay



Group transfers & game drives (see itinerary)

Trip Extension

Trip Extension

Various trip extensions available as add-ons



Choice of lodge, resort & camp accommodations



Guaranteed marathon or half marathon entry

Celebration Party

Celebration Party

Celebration dinner with live entertainment



Various social events & sightseeing opportunities

Travel Package Information

  • Itinerary

    • Big Five Marathon Package/6 Nights/June 11th - 17th, 2025

      Wednesday, June 11
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      Arrive at Johannesburg International Airport (JNB) for your transfer to Entabeni Safari Conservancy

      Transfer departure times from the airport are: 8:30am, 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Depending on your arrival time you may need to arrive the day before to connect with one of the following transfers or book an individual transfer at an extra cost.

      Upon arrival to Entabeni you will meet your tour leader and be checked in at your respective lodge/camp. Participants arriving on one of the first three transfers (departure from Johannesburg International Airport at 08:30, 10:00 & 12:00) will have the possibility to go on the first of several exciting game drives. The game drives will provide the opportunity to experience an authentic African safari in serene surroundings. The Entabeni Safari Conservancy offers diverse wildlife, open safari vehicles and relatively few tourists, creating an ideal wilderness atmosphere. (Dinner included).

      Thursday, June 12
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      Activities at the Zebra Nature Reserve/Arrival at Entabeni

      8-Day Tour: Today starts with a visit to South Africa’s most famous township Soweto. With a guide who was born and raised in Soweto you’ll hear personal insights into the culture of the township and learn about Soweto’s vibrant modern personality. In the afternoon choose between a range of activities back at the reserve, including fishing, kayaking or mountain biking (extra cost). There is a spa on site and 5km route you can elect to run on your own. Later, enjoy a game drive where you are likely to encounter Zebra, giraffe, warthog, wildebeest, eland and impala.

      7-Day Tour: You will start your tour at Johannesburg International Airport where you will pick up your scheduled transfer to Entabeni Game Reserve. If you are on one of the morning transfers, there may be the possibility to go on the first of several exciting game drives. The Entabeni Game Reserve offers diverse wildlife, open safari vehicles and relatively few tourists, creating an ideal wilderness atmosphere.

      Thursday, June 12
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      Today is dedicated to exploring the game reserve through a game drive and/or a bush walk. We will get accustomed to the park’s geography, and climate, and we can slowly start preparing ourselves for Saturday’s exciting event: The Big Five Marathon.

      The game drive is included in the itinerary and will take place either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. A bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included on the second day, giving us a chance to get really close to the nature and wildlife. Additional game drives and bush walks can be purchased on spot. Alternatively, some of your free time can also be used for shorter runs outside Entabeni – the tour leader will help organize the runs.

      Please Note: June is winter time in South Africa and while the temperature often rises to 20-25 degrees Celsius (68 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) at night time is not unusual! Especially the large drop from day to night time temperatures makes the evenings and mornings feel extremely cold. It is therefore essential to bring a winter jacket, warm hat and gloves when going on game drives! Blankets are available in the jeeps for extra warmth.

      Over the last few years, the reserve’s wildlife has become increasingly accustomed to tourists. It is therefore not uncommon to see elephants, giraffes and different species of antelopes grazing in close proximity to the safari vehicles. A pride of lions even occasionally holds up traffic, lying lazily across the track. We use open 4×4 safari vehicles, which provide us with an excellent opportunity for viewing the wildlife in safety. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

      Friday, June 13
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      After breakfast all the participants are transported from their respective lodges/camp to the starting point of the marathon. Before we set off for the start line, there will be a short briefing about the route inspection. All safari vehicles follow the route in a convoy, allowing the participants to examine the different running surfaces, note the locations of water posts, and assess the overall difficulty of the route. After the route inspection a large buffet lunch will be served. This is the time where everyone is gathered – the participants, race officials, medical staff and rangers – for a formal introduction to the event, and a presentation of the practical issues surrounding the marathon. There are no scheduled game drives this day. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

      Saturday, June 14
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      It’s race day! Today you will be met by a challenge that will be worth remembering: The Big Five Marathon. In the morning all participants will be transported from the various lodges and camps to the starting line in time for final preparations. The marathon is planned to start at 9:00am, but delays may occur, as the exact start time will be dependent on the location of the big five game – if too close to the route, the start will be postponed. There are no scheduled game drives this day. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

      Sunday, June 15
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      Today we have time to relax after running on the African savannah. Additional game drives and excursions can be purchased and, in the afternoon, we will experience yet another fantastic game drive followed by our post-marathon celebration. There will be great food, live entertainment, an award ceremony, a big bonfire and partying under the starry skies. Please be aware that the party takes place in a traditional South African boma with open roof and large open doorways. It is therefore advisable to dress warm! For the same reason there’s no dress code and casual clothing is recommended. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

      Monday, June 16
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      On the final day at the Entabeni Private Game Reserve you will have one last game drive either in the morning or in the afternoon. Those interested will also get the opportunity to stretch their legs on one final bush walk. In the evening farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

      Tuesday, June 17
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      Our week at Entabeni Safari Conservancy has come to an end and it’s time to head back to Johannesburg. Your transfer from Entabeni to Johannesburg International Airport will have you arriving at the airport at 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM or 6:00 PM depending on your flight departure time. If you wish, you can choose one of our three optional post-race extensions and extend your stay. Like when you arrive, for an extra charge, you can book an individual transfer to Johannesburg if the group transfers don’t fit your onward journey. (Breakfast included)

      (Itinerary subject to change)

  • Extensions

    • Cape Town | Four-Night Package: June 17 – 21, 2025

      Cape Town is a beautiful metropolis – whether you’re enthused by glorious waterfronts, towering mountains, rich culture, or flavorful cuisine, you will be captivated by this South African gem.

      Underneath the renowned Table Mountain lies the blue, frothy waters of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. South Africa’s southern cape marks this oceanic convergence, and during your journey we pay a visit to one of the most famous of the meeting points – Cape Point at The Cape of Good Hope. Other activities that are sure to whet your whistle include a tour of the Winelands with tastings (of course!) and various highlights throughout Cape Town itself.

      Big Five Safari & Panorama Route| Four-Night Package: June 17 – 21, 2025

      Treat yourself to more game drives and bush walks! Stay at our Mantobeni tented camp situated near the world-famous Kruger National Park and extend your safari adventure.

      Join us for an exciting safari trip which includes game drives, bush walks, and exploration of the area along the famed Panorama Route.

      Spot the Big Five game and a wealth of bird species, as well as other African wildlife. Our camp is beautifully situated in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, bordering the famed Kruger National Park. Consisting of fifteen stylishly-appointed tents with modern ensuite facilities and private terraces, a pool, bar, lounge and dining area and spacious, lush lawns, the camp provides an authentic African safari experience. During our stay in Mantobeni Camp, we will have the opportunity to visit a local community situated beside the reserve that our camp works closely with. This is a great chance to gain insight into the daily lives of the locals. If you are interested in the local community visit, please let the tour leader know in advance.

      Victoria Falls | Three-Night Package: June 17 – 20, 2025

      Extend your African adventure by joining us for an exciting 4-day extension to one of the world’s largest waterfalls.

      With a height of 108 meters, a combined width of 1700 meters, and picturesque rain forest backdrop, Victoria Falls is an impressive place to spend four days topping off your African adventure.

      In the Bantu language, the falls are called “mosi-oa-tunya,” which means “the smoke that thunders,” and that is a perfect representation of Victoria Falls – a huge puff of “smoke” accompanied by the thunderous sound of the water.

  • Packages & Rates

    • Big Five Marathon Tour | Six-Night Package: June 11 – 17, 2025


      • Accommodations for six (6) nights, choose from our three lodges within Entabeni Game Reserve or at Legend Golf & Safari Resort.
      • Three meals included daily
      • All hotel taxes
      • Roundtrip transfers from Johannesburg airport (see below)
      • Game viewing drives with a park ranger
      • Bush Walk
      • Pre-Race briefing and Course Tour
      • Guaranteed race entry is $605 AUD (in addition to the package rates listed below)
      • Post-Race dinner and celebration

      Please Note: Included airport transfers are offered on arrival to Entabeni June 12 at 8:30am, 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm.  Included transfers are offered for departure from Entabeni (June 18) for ARRIVAL to Johannesburg Airport at 8:00am, 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00pm.   Should your flights not arrive or depart within the times listed, private transfers can be arranged for an additional cost of $810 AUD each way (maximum four people).

      Big Five South African Experience | Seven-Night Package: June 10 – 17, 2025


      • Two nights’ accommodation at the Zebra Stables in the Zebra Nature Reserve
      • Arrival transfer from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to your hotel (see timetable below)
      • Three meals included daily
      • Guided nature walk through the Zebra Nature Reserve
      • Guided nature drive through the Zebra Nature Reserve
      • Full Day Guided Tour of Soweto and Pretoria
      • Transfer to Entabeni Game Reserve
      • Five nights’ accommodation at Legend Safari Resort
      • Game viewing drives with a park ranger
      • Bush walks
      • Post-race dinner and celebration
      • Return transfer to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg (see timetable below)
      • All taxes included
      • Guaranteed Race Entry is available for $605 AUD (in addition to package rates listed below)

      Please Note: Included airport transfers are offered on arrival on June 11 for DEPARTURE from OR Tambo at 8:30am, 10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm.  Included airport transfers are offered departure from Entabeni June 18 for ARRIVAL to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg at 8:00am, 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00pm.  Should your flights not arrive or depart within the times listed, private transfers can be arranged for an additional cost of $810 AUD per way (maximum four people).

      Not Included:

      • International Roundtrip Airfare
      • Race entry fees
      • All activities listed as optional
      • Gratuities and tips unless noted above
      • Meals unless noted on itinerary
      • All Incidentals
      • Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
      • Visa (if applicable)

      Post-Race Optional Extensions

      Option #1 – Cape Town | Four-Night Package: June 17 – 21, 2025


      • Accommodations for four (4) nights at the Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town
      • Full day Cape Point Tour
      • Full day sightseeing tour of the Winelands
      • Transportation from the hotel to the Cape Town Airport (CPT)
      • Meals daily per itinerary
      • One way flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town

      Please Note: Flights should be booked into Johannesburg (JNB) and out of Cape Town International Airport (CPT).

      Option #2 – Safari | Four-Night Package: June 17 – 21, 2025


      • Accommodations for four (4) nights at Mantobeni Tented Camp (situated near Kruger National Park)
      • Transportation from Entabeni to Manyeleti Game Reserve Meals daily per itinerary Zip Wire Adventure (activity is suitable for everyone)
      • Morning and Afternoon Game Drives per itinerary
      • Game drives and bush walks per itinerary
      • Transportation from Manyeleti Game Reservation to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport (approximate time of arrival is 3:00pm)

      Option #3 – Victoria Falls | Three-Night Package: June 17 – 20, 2025


      • Accommodations for three (3) nights at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (Waterhole View Room)
      • Meals daily per itinerary
      • Roundtrip flights from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls Roundtrip airport transfer to the hotel
      • Tour of the Falls (Zimbabwe)
      • Sundowner Cruise on the Zambezi
      • Borma Dinner Drum Show
      • Optional: Full Day Tour to Chobe National Park (an additional $195 per person)

      Flight Times (subject to change): TBD

      Please Note: Your visa to Zimbabwe is not included.

      2024 Rates (all prices per person and in AUD dollars) – 2025 Rates Coming Soon

      Six-Night Package
      Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
      Wildside Tented Camp - Limited Availability $5,040$6,429
      Lakeside Lodge - SOLD OUT $5,645$7,385
      Legend Safari Resort $5,645$7,385
      Hanglip Mountain Lodge - SOLD OUT $6,245$8,219
      Post-Race Optional Extensions
      Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
      Cape Town Four-Night Package $3,020$3,855
      Safari Four-Night Package $3,020$3,795
      Victoria Falls Three-Night Package $5,545$7,740
      Race Entry
  • Event Information

    • Race Date

      Saturday, June 14, 2025

      Race Time

      9:00 AM (Marathon) and 9:15 AM (Half-Marathon)

      Course: The Big Five Marathon is known for its challenging course, which takes runners through incredible scenery and showcases the natural beauty and wildlife of South Africa. Course InformationCourse Map and Course Elevation.

      Temperature: The weather is very dry, sunny and cool at this time of the year. Participants can expect a temperature of around 15°C – 24 °C during the day, but with variations due to sun, shade wind and altitude.

      Start / Finish

      The Big Five Marathon starts and finishes at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. Runners staying at the other lodges will be transferred to Lakeside in jeeps. An early breakfast will be served at each lodge before departure.

      The marathon and half marathon have separate start times. The marathon is scheduled for 9am. The half marathon will start at 9:15am. Please note that the presence of wildlife near the route may cause delays.

      All finishers will receive a medal at the finish line. After the race, a buffet lunch will be served at Lakeside Lodge. Jeeps going back to your own lodge will depart when full (10 passengers). It is possible to use a shower next to the medical facility at Lakeside. Please bring a towel along if you wish to shower before heading back from the finish area.

      Route Description

      The Big Five Marathon is known for its challenging course, which takes runners through incredible scenery and showcases the natural beauty and wildlife of South Africa.

      The start and finish line are situated at Lakeside Lodge on the upper escarpment. After the start, the marathon and half marathon routes take the runners past Ravineside Lodge, the Entabeni Monolith and further on to the lower plateau. This first section is run on dirt roads made up of red sand. Runners will pass a few hills (nothing too bad – the most challenging is yet to come!). When you reach Hanglip View Point, you backtrack and run back before you reach Yellow Wood Valley. Pay attention to this section as the surface is very uneven with loose rocks, pebbles and holes.

      The Yellow Wood Valley is the most dreaded part of the course. You are about to run down the steepest slope of your life! This sharp descent is on a paved surface. The next three kilometres or so will be excruciatingly hard on your quads as you negotiate the steep slope and you reach lion country after the descent. Although the next nine kilometres are flat, you’re running through deep sand. Full marathoners do a 9km loop, whereas half marathon runners run a 2km loop.

      This brings us back to Yellow Wood. You guessed correctly – we’re going back up the dreaded hill this time! Be prepared to take things slowly as it’s virtually impossible to run up this hill.

      The route carries on to Long Drive, a narrow valley, where marathon runners do a 6km loop. Half marathoners run across the valley and reach the final section of the route. This section is run on dirt trails, a welcome respite from the deep sand and loose stone terrain earlier on.

      The end of the run is fairly hard (final four kilometres). We run halfway down the ridge, which provides us with a wonderful view out over the plateau’s lake. The surface is fairly challenging, consisting of hard uneven, stony ground with plenty of large rocks and stones of all sizes. This final part has quite a few hills and as the surface is loose, it pays to keep a careful watch on the ground as we run towards the finish. With the finish line in sight you can now take it nice and easy.

      There will be no race pacers at this event.


      The surface varies from deep sand, dirt tracks and trails to paved roads and pebbly surfaces with holes. Take care when running along surfaces with loose stones and holes. The steep ascent and descent is run on a paved surface. For more information, see the elevation map.

      Marathon cut-off times

      To ensure runners’ safety, three cut-off points have been established on the route:


      • Cut-off 1 – 26.5km – 4 hours and 15 minutes after the start
      • Cut-off 2 – 32.5km – 5 hours and 30 minutes after the start
      • Cut-off 3 – finish line – 7 hours after the start

      Half Marathon:

      • Cut-off 1 – 10.5km – 4 hours after the start
      • Cut-off 2 – 16.5 km – 5 hours and 15 minutes after the start
      • Cut-off 3 – finish line – 6 hours and 45 minutes after the start

      Runners who haven’t reached the cut-off points in time will not be allowed to continue and will be picked up by a ranger vehicle and taken back to the finish line. The cut-off times are strictly enforced to keep everybody safe!

  • Registration & Booking

    • On Request Bookings

      Request Bookings will confirm that you have accepted our Booking Conditions. Your booking is not however, guaranteed until our partner company confirms availability. Please expect confirmation of place within 1-3 days of making your booking. Your card payment details will still be required for the deposit to secure your space, though please be advised this information will be held securely, and the card will only be debited upon confirmation of booking.


      Albatros Adventure Marathons reserve the right to change the itinerary and/or running course without further notice in the event of extreme weather.

      By signing up for this event you agree to the Terms & Conditions.


      Please note that it is each traveller’s responsibility to check visa and passport requirements and ensure that they comply. Obtaining a passport and, if required, a visa, is solely the responsibility of each traveler. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after returning from your destination.

      A visa is required for all travellers entering Jordan. Most nationalities can obtain the visa upon arrival at Amman airport at a cost of JOD 40. Note that cash payment is required. USD is accepted corresponding to the exchange rate at the time of entry. Kindly be advised that certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained PRIOR to travel. Please check with the FCO.

      Room Options

      If you are a solo traveller and choose a shared double room when booking, we will pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If you prefer to have your own room, choose single room. A single supplement will apply.

      Travel Insurance

      Travel insurance is an essential part of any holiday you take, and we highly recommend that you purchase suitable insurance for your trip.

      The roads are not closed for traffic. Although traffic is not heavy in the area, please be aware whenever running on asphalt roads. We advise you to run on the left side of the road, so you can see any vehicles coming towards you.

      Age Limits

      Entabeni Safari Conservancy imposes an age restriction on children who may participate in game drives and bush walks. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted on game drives. To participate in bush walks, children must be 12 years of age or older.

      To participate in the marathon or half marathon all runners must be at least 18 years old on race day.

      Adults Traveling with Minors

      The South African Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced new regulations under the Immigration Act whereby from 1 October 2014 passengers travelling with children under the age of 18 years – arriving, transiting and /or departing from South Africa, will be required to produce an unabridged birth certificate indicating the biological parents of the minor. The certificate must be in English and have an Apostille authentication. Please note that it can take several weeks to process this certificate.

      Additional documentation is required for children travelling with only one parent, or adults who are not the biological parents. Full requirements are available from the South African High Commission/Embassy in your area.

      Airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families not in possession of these documents. These new regulations have been implemented to combat child trafficking.