15 September 2020

Into the wild with Riaan Manser

When it comes to roughing it, almost no one matches Riaan Manser.

  • He was the first person to cycle around Africa – 37 000km. During his trip in 2006, he was arrested in Equatorial Guinea and taken hostage in Liberia by drug addicts.
  • He’s also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest peak in Africa) and travelled to Lake Assal (the lowest part of Africa).
  • He’s the first person to solo kayak around the island country of Madagascar, in 2009.
  • He and his partner, Dan Skinstad, who lives with mild cerebral palsy, kayaked around Iceland in a two-person kayak, in 2011.
  • And Riaan took his now-wife Vasti from Africa to North America in 2013… also in a little boat. It was the first row from the African continent to North America, and Vasti became the first woman from Africa to row across any ocean.
  • For their honeymoon, they rowed from California to Hawaii, a 4 000km journey, and broke three world records on the way.

Now you can stream most of these epic trips on Showmax!

Riaan isn’t just doing these adventures for fun. It’s to educate viewers and society, and to bring about change in the world – even if it’s one person at a time. He’s also an author (his 2006 book Around Africa On My Bicycle is a bestseller), as well as a film producer and editor. And after all his adventuring, Riaan has learned one very important lesson about life: “If you are not sure about why you are doing something or what the end goal is, then you are going to have more problems than the more determined person. They know why they are doing this, and they are going to have an easier time sticking it out.”

Around Iceland on Inspiration

“Chill, bru” takes on a whole new meaning in this epic adventure. Riaan and his pal Dan Skinstad are heading to the far north – Iceland, to be exact – to make a tiny splash in the frigid waters. They’re kayaking almost 2300km along the entire coast of Iceland to see what makes this country so magical. If you’re a fan of blizzards and snow and asking, “Do you want to build a snowman?”, this is perfect for you!

You won’t just see a beautiful country and two men bonding while paddling in their boat, it’s also about friendship and finding peace with nature even when she’s not peaceful herself – those raging winter storms take Riaan and Dan by surprise.

Madagascar Maverick

Eleven months is a long time. It’s even longer when you’re alone. And it’s the longest when you’re alone, paddling a teeny tiny kayak around the tropical island of Madagascar. That’s the plan for Riaan in this doccie, which will land him a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as he becomes the first person to kayak around Madagascar.

It’s not just the 11 months of being alone that will push Riaan’s willpower – his body will be up against the elements too as rough seas and tropical cyclones try to slow him down. Plus, the country’s political climate isn’t looking too favourable either – Riaan gets arrested five times and is accused of “carrying out mercenary activities”. All that is forgotten though by once-in-a-lifetime experiences like being close to breaching humpback whales and giant turtles swimming by within arm’s reach.

The Odyssey

Riaan takes a complete stranger on a 5500km from the Canary Islands to Barbados. “It’s an adventure that will either make you a hero or kill you,” says Riaan. And he’s not joking – that’s open Atlantic Ocean, where waves reach 20m in height and sharks are the least of your worries. The pair are also not doing their trip in a powerboat… or with the help of an engine. They’re rowing! Over 15 000 entries were received and the hopefuls are put through their paces before one lucky winner is announced – and told to pack their bags because the adventure is just getting started.

Like Riaan says, “You can’t buy what we’re going to do.” This is survivalism and pushing the human body, mind and soul to their limits – and coming out smiling.

Never miss a beat

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