Monday, September 7, 2009

South African Adventurers - Riaan Manser

Riaan Manser is a solo-adventurer, based in South Africa. Riaan was the first person to circumnavigate the African continent by bicycle - 37,000km through 34 countries in two years and two months. In July 2009 he successfully became the first person to kayak 5000km around Madagascar, alone and unaided.

In September 2003 Riaan began his epic cycle journey from The Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. He travelled north along the western coast of Africa, and hugged the coastline

as closely as possible. He originally believed he would be able to complete the journey in one year, thereby adopting the expedition name 'Africa365'. In December 2005 Riaan Manser crossed the finish line back in Cape Town, clocking a staggering 37,000km and having visited 34 countries, including all of those on Africa's coast. Remarkably, Riaan never paid a single cent in bribe money. Instead of giving over zealous immigration officials or police the satisfaction of a bribe, Riaan would search for an alternative route or method to pass.

His resulting book 'Around Africa on my bicycle' is a best-seller. I am currently reading this book!

His stated reason for the trip was "My vision is to assist the African Renaissance by cycling around the entire coastline of Africa. In doing so, I hope to generate both local and international awareness of just how dire the standard of living is in Africa. My aim is not to change the world, but to give this continent’s upliftment schedule a shot in the arm through education. Education of not only the children I will meet along the way, but also of the powers-that-be both here in South Africa and abroad."

He was honoured with the "Adventurer of the Year" Award in 2006 by Out There Magazine, and Nelson Mandela personally requested a meeting with Riaan, at which Riaan presented Mandela with a photo of himself on a bicycle in Dakar.

Riaan Manser has just become the first person to kayak around Madagascar, alone and unaided. Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island with a coastal perimeter of 5000 kilometres. Riaan began his expedition, paddling north in an anti-clockwise direction, from Tamatave on the eastern coast in August 2008. The journey took around ten months. Riaan completed the journey on July 8 2009.

'Every day, millions of people get up and make the most of even the harshest situation. Those sitting on their butts, only complaining, get nothing. Results come from action. Think about it...' No Food For Lazy Man is Riaan Manser's personal brand. He was struck by the slogan when he saw it in Nigeria and recreated it as a number plate on the back of his bicycle.

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