The Dusi Canoe Marathon was founded in 1951, and covers roughly 120km between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban in KwaZulu-Natal on the East Coast of South Africa.
It is the biggest canoeing event on the African continent, and one of the world’s most popular river marathons, attracting between 900 and 1600 paddlers each year. The race is held in February every year, to take advantage of the summer rainfalls. Temperatures can be extreme, often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in the valleys.
The race is unique in that it includes numerous portages where the paddlers carry their craft over hills, either to cut out unrunnable rapids and cataracts, or to eliminate long loops in the river. Most of these portages are through thick bush on steep and undulating terrain, and several of them are around 4km in length.