Join Dame Kelly Holmes as she takes on the 2018 Orbis Challenge!   

In October 2018, Kelly and 20 teammates will take on the ultimate Malawi Challenge: running Mulanje Mountain, cycling across Zomba Plateau, and kayaking on Lake Malawi.

Kelly is excited to be working with Orbis Expeditions, to help them launch ‘Sport with a Purpose’ - a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of key organisations working towards improving nutrition in Malawi.


The Three Elements of the Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose

The Run

Each year, a group get together to run Mulanje Mountain in an event known as The Porters Race.

The trail winds for 25km from the base to the plateau, with a 1,660m elevation gain.

Tracks are narrow and steep in places, and the hot summer temperatures make this run even more challenging.  The current record for The Porters Race is 2 hours and 10 minutes.  

Though the run will be a closed event just for the team, local children and community members may tag along for sections; they are very fit!

Click here for previous footage of The Porters Race You Tube Film.

Mulanje Mountain3

The Cycle

Zomba Plateau rises to 1800m high, and is covered with vast forests and plantations. The top is crisscrossed with streams, and dotted with awe-inspiring waterfalls and lakes.

Offering fantastic views over southern Malawi, the Orbis Challenge’s cycle trail circumnavigates the plateau in a 35km route - or an optional longer 55km route.

The following day you will go on a gentle descent and cycle into a nearby community to take part in a village sports day event.

Mountain bikes will be provided.  Alternatively, team members can bring their own bikes, with transport arranged for an extra cost.

Cycling Luwawa


Lake Malawi is a freshwater lake bordering Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi.  

The southernmost of the African Great Lakes, Lake Malawi is also the ninth largest lake in the world and is home to more fish species than any other lake on the planet (including over 700 species of cichlids)!

The team’s 20km kayak begins from Cape Maclear, heading out to and around Mumbo Island before heading back to the mainland.

A kayak guide will be present, and there will be the option to get a boat back to shore following the kayak to Mumbo Island.

Domwe Island Kayak2. Lake Malawi

The Cause at the Heart of the Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose

The team will visit several community initiatives while in Malawi, in order to help raise awareness of this year’s Sport with a Purpose cause: Raising awareness about health and well being in Malawi. 

One of these initiatives  is Street Chef which aims to get more nutritious street food out to Malawians, using locally sourced food, cooked in an environmentally friendly way. 

Chris and Florence combined their passion for permaculture and nutrition with the need in Malawi to fight against deforestation, and came up with stoves that use minimal firewood and are the perfect accessory for a street food kitchen. 

These stoves come hand in hand with recipes and training for the business ‘street chefs’ on how to make delicious, local food that is cheap to buy, accessible to source and – most importantly – packed with nutrients. 

The dream is no more chicken and chips cooked in vats of oil, no more cheap packets of crisps bought for a lunchtime snack…instead, street kitchens feeding city workers and school children while simultaneously building a business for the street chefs. 

Street Food Example

During the Orbis Challenge team’s first couple of days in Malawi, they may be able to join Florence to cook and sample some of the food!

A Just Giving Campaign – to raise funds for the first Street Chef kitchen, based at the local hospital – has been set up, and donations can be made from 1st July 2018.


Could you be part of the Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose team?

Who wants to join Dame Kelly Holmes?

We are now on the hunt for 20 athletes to join Kelly as she takes on the very first Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose.

The key skills we are looking for are passion, determination, a high level of fitness and, above all, a real sense of adventure. 

The hardest section of The 2018 Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose will be the run up Mulanje Mountain. The trail climbs over 1,500m, and is likely to take team members anywhere between 2.5 – 6 hours. 

Temperatures at the base of the mountain can be as high as 35 degrees, so some experience running in warmer climates is advised if you are interested in joining the first Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose team.

What support will we have during the challenge?

There will be medical support and a back-up team.  

Due to the remote environment that you will be running, cycling and kayaking in you should ensure that you are fit, healthy and any ongoing medical conditions are managed. 

Orbis Expeditions has a company based in Malawi – The Responsible Safari Company – that will manage the logistics and be the team’s point of contact. 

You will have a driver and guide throughout the expedition, and a medic on stand-by. There will always be a back-up support vehicle in close proximity. 

All team members should take out full travel insurance and inform Orbis Expeditions of any medical requirements.


Whether you want to reserve your place alongside Dame Kelly Holmes, discuss our expedition in the media, or want to know anything else about the very first Orbis Challenge: Sport with a Purpose, don’t hesitate to contact us at

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