A group of Capetonians are swimming a 22km relay from Cape Point to Simonstown tomorrow to support conservation efforts in the sensitive northern Wild Coast eco-system which is under threat from dune mining and over-fishing.

The 10 swimmers will head off at around 10am wearing costumes, goggles and caps only and will make their way along the hazardous False Bay coastline in two groups to Seaforth Beach, Simonstown.

Led by world-renowned open water veteran, Andrew Chin, they’re raising funds for the Wild Friends campaign to protect the Pondoland Marine Protected area and to explore sustainable alternatives to dune mining.

The route of tomorrow’s 22km rugged relay swim. Photo Marcy Loubser

Chin is one of five South African swimmers who were first in the world to swim around the icy waters of Cape Horn. He has also completed more that 30 Robben Island Crossings, competed in Alaska and other races all over the world.

His latest expedition saw him join an intrepid group of Wild Swimmers who set out to raise R250,000 by swimming a sharky 22 km stretch of the Wild Coast earmarked for heavy minerals mining. When torrential floods put paid to the daring feat, the team set out on foot.

They crisscrossed the five proposed mining blocks of Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project, surveyed flood ravaged and flotsam-laden beaches and explored the estuaries of the Pondoland MPA.

The Wild Swim turned overland expedition saw Andrew Chin traversing these lands earmarked heavy minerals mining.


Andrew Chin emerges from the Mtamvuma River at the start of the Wild Swim turned wild hike in the northern region of the Wild Coast. Photo: Fred Kockott
The Wild Swimmers approach an overnight home-stay in the Amadiba region of the Wild Coast.

Villagers also opened their hearts and their homes to the team each night, providing hearty suppers and breakfasts, and a chance to chat intimately about their lives and the plight of the people who could face removal from the land to make way for mining.

Inspired by their stories,  Chin returned to Cape Town to organise a follow-up fundraising swim to grow the Wild Friends campaign.

“We need to inspire people to leave this world a better place for generations to come by protecting the few remaining wild spaces,” said Chin. “There’s huge community support for sustainable alternatives like eco-tourism. We hope tomorrows’s relay swim will help highlight and bolster efforts to protect the Wild Coast from ecological devastation.”

The wild swimmers joining Chin in tomorrow’s challenge include Katherine Persson, Jeanne Topliss, Kim Hawke, Georgina Smith, Craig Doonan, John Dickerson, Monika Heyes and Chris Fourie.

You can track their progress on Roving Reporters Facebook page.

For further info, contact Andrew Chin on 083-708-1390 or Craig Doonan on 083-463-1827.

An associated Wild Friends swim is also taking place in Eastern Cape on June 1 – 2, when another group of Wild Friends will swim up Bushmans and Kariega Rivers  hoping to breeze our way to the same 22km distance that was planned for the Wild Swim last month.

>> Read: Pulling out all the strokes to save the Wild Coast

To pledge your support donate here

Funds raised through the Wild Friends campaign will be used to promote eco-tourism in the Pondoland MPA and enrol deserving candidates on the Wild Coat hikes and trails run by Sustaining the Wild Coast and other partners.

Wild Friends have set a target of R250,000 with the funds to be distributed by Kydrin Foundation  and the 8 Mile Club as follows:

  • R125,000 – Sustaining the Wild Coast and Africa!Ignite for eco-tourism initiatives in the Pondoland MPA .
  • R125,000 – Roving Reporters and WildOceans: enrolment of environmental scientists and intrepid rugged reporters on Wild Coast hikes and associated educational camps.

>> Read a revelation of a rugged sort