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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Big Game Parks’ Imvelo MTB Classic 2023 – Entries open!

Nedbank and Mlilwane are excited to welcome back Imvelo MTB Classic as Big Game Parks celebrating the the 20 year anniversary of the event. The race is set to happen on the 3rd June 2023 at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, and entries are now open.

Entries are capped at 500 cyclists to ensure the race maintains it’s fabulous personality and has the lowest possible environmental impact.

Big Game Parks has had 19 years’ experience in organising an extremely successful Mountain biking event and this year is no different. The 4 different race categories (+-65km, 35km,22km and 12.5km) are set to challenge each cyclist – from the challenging Nyonyane Mountains to the less challenging but beautiful breath-taking scenery. The event being held in a wildlife reserve makes it even more enticing. Prizes for the top cyclist will be of monetary value, accommodation or activity option across Big Game Parks reserves (Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris and Chubeka Trail) with many more prizes from the various sponsors.

The annual mountain biking competition is historically held in June at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, though last year’s event was held in September to allow for plenty of planning and preparation time so the event could return after the two year hiatus due to COVID.

The year’s event will once again be sponsored by Nedbank Swaziland and Big Game Parks. The race comprises of a series of races over different distances, the longest being over 65km! Of course, as with any great Eswatini event, a fantastic party for all cyclists follows the race.

Since 2000, when Imvelo first took place (then known as Ngulube MTB Classic until it adopted the name of Imvelo in 2004), it has been raising money for various community projects. Nedbank Swaziland has been a sponsor for a number of years and with their sponsorship and the race entry fees collected, funds have accumulated in the Big Game Parks Projects account. These funds have been used strictly for community projects and the value of money in this account became such that the Hlabazonkhe community project turned out be a huge success so far.

Race details:

+65km Classic (Classic Marathon) 8:00am
35km Challenge (Half Marathon) 9:15am
22km (Family Fun Race) 9:45am
12.5km (Hoglets Kiddies Ride) 9:50am

Registration is available at the following opportunities:

01 June – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Esangweni Gate 15:00 pm – 19:00 pm
02 June –  Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Esangweni Gate 13:00 pm – till late
03 June – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Esangweni Gate 05:00 am

Entry fees are as follows:

+/- 65km Classic E440.00
35km Challenge  E370.00
22km Family Fun Ride E260.00
12.5km Hoglet E220.00

Further information:

Entries into the top race also get a FREE cycling shirt!
There is also a 50% discount for Oracle clients.
Entry fee excludes conservation fee of E60 per person.
Valid Wild Cards are accepted.
E50 on the day cycling licence fee is available at Esangweni Gate with the Eswatini Cycling Association. Contact for further information.

There will be limited accommodation available at Mlilwane Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge and Sondzela Backpackers. Book now to avoid disappointment.

For more information on the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary where the event is taking place, please take a look at our dedicated page here.