For four years, Mike Horn, known to many as the greatest modern-day explorer, circumnavigated the globe many times. All for the sake of saving the environment and getting young people from around the world to do the same and inspire generations to come.
The Pangaea Expedition arrived back in Cape Town on 1 August 2012, almost four years after it began in Punta Arenas, Chile. I was lucky enough to meet this explorer of explorers and step onto the beautiful Pangaea, a sailing vessel sponsored by Mercedes Benz.
It’s hard to believe that this man, with his strong South African accent and bare feet, became the first man to circumnavigate the earth around the Equator, circumnavigate the Arctic Circle on his own and trek to the North Pole during winter. I sat there watching him chat away about being blind in the Amazon for 5 days and loosing his one fingertip while tying his shoelaces in the Arctic. He was talking in the same way that I talk about hiking in the Matroosberg and I realised that this man’s idea of adventure is something completely beyond my own conception.
The Pangaea and the Young Explorers
As Mike says, ‘In the many years that I have travelled and explored, I have seen the world change. The aim of the Pangaea mission was, and still is, to enhance a respect for the environment and encourage the cleanup of the planet and the protection of its resources for the sake of future generations.’
Mike wants to make a physically visible difference in the state of the environment. That was the motivation behind the Pangaea. Named after the supercontinent that existed 250 million years ago, this was said to be one of his most influential missions ever.
Young people, aged between 15 and 20, joined Mike on board the Pangaea to join him on parts of his expedition. Twelve groups of youngsters, twelve mini-expeditions and twelve different corners of the earth, the last of which took place in our very own South Africa and Namibia.
The strap line for the Pangaea Expedition is ‘Explore, Learn, Act’. And that’s what these young people did. They hiked up the Skeleton Coast, rafted down the Orange River, mountain biked in the Drakensberg and climbed Table Mountain. They learned all about the flora and fauna of the areas they visited and became ambassadors for the environment. Now, these young environment enthusiasts are busy carrying Mike’s vision further by organising their own cleanup events and sharing their enthusiasm with their peers.
Mike reckons that ‘the Pangaea Expedition is the most exciting adventure I’ve ever undertaken. After almost two decades of exploration, I wanted to invest the knowledge and experience I acquired from past expeditions into a new challenge and to share these experiences with others.’
The entire expedition covered 140 000 nautical miles, reached the North and South Poles and crossed all the continents and oceans. It is said to be the largest environmental project to date. At many times, it was only Mike and his two trusty crew men and they worked around the clock to make this epic journey possible.
Looking after the future of our planet
‘I want to the future generations to find solutions and ultimately enhance a respectful balance between nature and mankind. During these past four years, we have shed light on environmental problems we face today. By working together with hard work, ingenuity, drive and courage, we can complement each other and find new energy of hope and ambition.’
Read more about the Pangaea Expedition and Mike Horn himself on www.mikehorn.com. The Pangaea Expedition was sponsored in its entirety by Mercedes Benz.