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Iron Crown Run Trail & Event

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In Haenertsburg

-23.9471, 29.9372

21km, 2 - 5hours, Intermediate - Hard

+27 83 659 1227 www.mountaingetaways.co.za

Configuration: This is an out-and-back route

General Information: Gravel roads, wagon trails, firebreaks and single-track footpaths. The trails are marked on race day only. There are three trail options of 5, 10 and 21.1km. If you intend to run outside of race time, permits are available from Rotary or the Foodzone Supermarket (ask for Ann). The Haenertsburg Iron Crown Trail Run takes place on 13 July 2013. Register online at www.myactive.co.za.

Water points will be provided on the route during the race. There are no facilities en route, but all you need can be found in the village close to the trail head. Cell phone coverage along the trails is irregular.

About

Right on the edge of the great escarpment, midway between the Highveld and Lowveld, you will find the tiny village of Haenertsburg. Lying between Polokwane and Tzaneen along the R71, it is situated at the foot of the Iron Crown, the highest peak in the Limpopo Province. The town was originally established in 1886 when Carl Ferdinand Haenert discovered gold here. The area boasts its own microclimate caused by the sudden change in altitude, with the peaks often shrouded in mist and cloud. Lush tropical vegetation abounds in stark contrast to the arid surroundings just a few kilometres away.

Extremely rare greenstone rock and boulders, dating back 3 200 million years, are found in the grassland here. Frequent mist and a relatively high rainfall have created a lush vegetation with remnant afro-montane forest blanketing the kloofs set within the rolling grasslands and surrounding mountains.

To run this trail outside the race, you must first obtain a permit; the route is marked on race day only. With the trail head at the end of Church Street on the south-western side of town, the out-and-back route starts on the edge of town. You immediately head onto gravel to follow the road past a few farms before the first climb of the day at the 2km mark.

At an abandoned school (3km), the gradient eases off as you tunnel into beautiful indigenous forest, exiting on the other side into plantations. Here the road bears left and offers the only respite for the first half of the run as you head down to a river crossing and another uphill. After 6.5km, the real agony of the trail hits home, as you turn right onto the technical single-track en route to the summit.

A sharp left turn at the top of the first gulley leads you onto an old, overgrown wagon trail. The views over the surrounding areas open up and give you some encouragement, even as your lungs suffer in Limpopo’s own ‘thin air zone’. 

Single-track leads onto service road before you finally glimpse the radio mast and arrive at the highest point in Limpopo for a superb view across the Ebenezer Dam below. Now the very technical, loose and slippery downhill home starts, following the same route. Keep your mind focused on your footing, as this is classic ankle-rolling territory.

Your GPS will inform you that the 21.1km route climbs 687m from 1 439m in the village to the top of the Iron Crown, the highest point in the Limpopo province at 2 126m. The 10km route is less testing and climbs to 1 600m, while the 5km fun run is for the less energetic. Contact the race organisers if you intend to run outside of race time. Permits are available from Rotary or the Foodzone Supermarket (ask for Ann).

Capricorn

Limpopo

About

Capricorn is a gateway region with a distinctly African heartbeat. The region includes farmlands, highveld wilderness and mountains. It borders Botswana and leads to the Lowveld and the world-famous Kruger National Park.

Capricorn is centred on Limpopo’s capital city of Polokwane, named after the tropic of Capricorn which passes through the province. Just north of Polokwane, a giant rock spray-painted with colourful, cheerful graffiti marks the imaginary spot.

The urban hub of Capricorn, Polokwane is friendly and growing fast. Home to the provincial legislature and a dynamic business sector, the city is a peaceful mixture of people and cultures. In Sapedi, Polokwane means ‘place of peace’.

Capricorn is a lively combo of urban and rural, cultural and natural attractions. Polokwane is busy and vibey, with a diversity of hotels, interesting restaurants, museums and galleries.

Yet right on the city’s doorstep is a variety of scenic mountains and wilderness areas. After fine dining, good retail therapy and excellent museums and galleries, head for the hills on a canopy tour. You could also take a mountain hike or drive to the Kruger and its wide open, Big 5-inhabited spaces.

Polokwane has blossomed on the back of being a FIFA 2010 World CupTM host city. The atmosphere in the city is upbeat. The Peter Mokaba Stadium stands proud on the outskirts of the city. The new Mall of the North, the province’s biggest property development to date, has already become an icon for Capricorn’s growth. It’s big.

Set on a massive 27ha site, near the N1 Polokwane byway, the Mall of the North covers an area of 75 000 square metres, has over 180 shops and parking for 45 000 cars.

Capricorn has some of the biggest citrus farms in the southern hemisphere, centred on Zebediela, Dendron and Marble Hall. Zebediela Citrus Estate lies southeast of Mokopane and is one of the largest citrus farms in the southern hemisphere.

Mokopane is the second-biggest town in Capricorn; a multicultural centre for surrounding wheat, tobacco, cotton, beef, maize, peanut and citrus farms.

It's also home to Makapan's Valley, a fascinating national heritage site and sister site to the Cradle of Humankind at Sterkfontein in Gauteng/North West.

Adventure lies in all directions from Capricorn. To the east is the Mopani region, realm of the legendary Rain Queen, rare cycads and the country’s biggest baobab. The Magoebaskloof and Wolkberg Wilderness areas are famed for walking, birding and adventure spots.

North of Polokwane is the Vhembe region, Louis Trichardt and the Soutpansberg mountains. To the south are the Waterberg mountains and wilderness areas.

Look out for

Arts & culture in Polokwane - Polokwane has a lively and bustling downtown area, set around the pleasantly green and artistic civic centre. Here one can visit the Polokwane Art Museum which has an excellent collection of South African art. Or wander through the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum which records the early life of the city in over 2 000 black and white images. You could check out Irish House, a bright green building with a comprehensive collection of exhibits from prehistory to Victorian and modern times. North of the city is Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Museum - an open air ‘living’ museum that showcases traditional northern Sotho culture.

Makapan’s Valley National Heritage Site - On the outskirts of Mokopane you’ll find Makapan's Valley, a significant palaeontological and historical site. In 1936, Professor Raymond Dart discovered an Australopithecus fossil that indicated the presence of hominids here some 3,5 million years ago. The valley is rich in fossils and bones that tell tales of the escapades of our hairier, hominid ancestors. Makapan’s Valley is the sister site to the Cradle of Humankind at Sterkfontein. It is also the site of a vicious battle between indigenous people and the Afrikaner Voortrekkers. Guided visits to the area can be arranged through the Arend Dieperink Museum in Mokopane. The museum is worth a visit for its exhibits detailing the pre-colonial and colonial histories of the area.

Capricorn Letaba Birding Route - The extreme variation of habitat along this route means there are over 500 recorded species of birds. The route stretches from Polokwane to the Great Letaba River beyond Tzaneen in the east. It runs just south of the tropic of Capricorn, linking the towns of Polokwane, Haenertsburg, Tzaneen and Gravelotte.

Polokwane Game Reserve - This well-established and much loved reserve is a short drive from the city centre and home to a variety of wildlife - including antelope, rhino and tsessebe. The reserve offers assorted adventures ranging from horseback safaris and personalised bush outings to game drives followed by a champagne breakfast or a candlelit dinner.

Meropa Casino & Entertainment World - Set on the outskirts of Polokwane, Meropa is the capital city’s pleasure dome. Rising up like an ancient African palace under modern skies, Meropa has a relatively small, but very enjoyable casino. There are plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and nightclubs. Wild World, a multi-species enclosure, contains a bird and reptile park as well as a butterfly park and an insectarium. Meropa has long been the place to see and be seen among Polokwane’s hip and happening people. Meropa’s Jembe Tavern is an Afro-chic jazz club and the capital city’s grooviest place to meet, greet and get on down all night long.

Extreme adventures - North-east of Polokwane is the Magoebaskloof mountain area. Here you can go tubing and river rafting, spelunking and kloofing. or you can take a canopy tour. Expect awesome mountain scenery and pumping adrenaline.

Mall of the North - The recently opened Mall of the North is the province’s biggest shopping complex. The 75 000m² mall’s anchor tenants include national supermarkets, leading brand chain stores as well as a state-of-the-art theatre complex. The complex has six cinemas, all with digital sound. Three of them offer 3D viewing, a first for the province. The complex can seat almost a thousand people.

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