obstacle course race

Photo: Pixabay

Obstacle course races: Here are some of the top events in South Africa

South Africa has many fitness based activities to do outdoors, like obstacle course races. We take a look at some of the popular events.

obstacle course race

Photo: Pixabay

Is participating in an obstacle course race on your fitness bucket list? Whether you are a beginner or seasoned competitor, the beauty of these events are that they usually offer something for any level of the participant.

Most events will offer various distances and levels. Some races even offer a team entry option.

We’ve listed some of the best events South Africa has to offer.

What is an obstacle course race?

Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is a sport in which a competitor, travelling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges in the form of obstacles.

Races vary from mostly obstacles to track races, to urban and cross country events.

Obstacles may include climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, traversing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire.

Many obstacles are similar to those used in military training, while others are unique to obstacle racing and are employed throughout the course to test endurance, strength, speed and, dexterity.

Obstacle course race
Photo: Toyota Warrior Race

Toyota Warrior Race 

Location: National as well as a race in Namibia.

The Warrior Race began in 2013. It is South Africa’s largest obstacle course racing series and event can easily draw about 3000 people from all sporting disciplines like running, CrossFit or athletics.

There are four race categories:

  • Rookie
  • Commando 
  • Black Ops
  • Kids

Each category of the Toyota Warrior Race differs in distance, amount of obstacles and difficulty in obstacles.

The events happen all year round and take place across South Africa. There are races in KwaZulu Natal, Mapumalanga, Gauteng and Western Cape and there is even a race in Namibia. 

The Obstacles:

The Rookie course involves some crawling, jumping and climbing but the main focus is fun.

Commando requires more endurance, strength and agility and places stress on upper body strength. 

The Black Ops category combines both of the above and involves dragging heavy objects for set distances.It is a good way to test yourself mentally and physically.

Obstacle course
Photo: Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder

Location: Western Cape

Tough Mudder is an international brand that has races all over the world. The South African version takes place in Houwteq, Elgin in the Western Cape. 

There are three different courses:

  • Tough Mudder Half
  • Tough Mudder Full
  • Tougher Mudder

Tough Mudder Half is eight kilometres with 11 obstacles and Tough Mudder Full and Elite is 16 kilometres with 21 obstacles.

The obstacles

There is a wide range of creatively named obstacles like Arctic Enema, Pyramid Scheme and Electroshock Therapy. 

Most of the obstcles involve mud. 

The last obstacle, Electroshock Therapy, is a field of dangling wires which will blast you with 10 000 volts. 

obstacle course race
Photo: Waterra


Location: KwaZulu Natal

Waterra was established in 2016 and takes place at a variety of venues in KwaZulu Natal. 

There are three categories:

  • The Waterra “Juniya hero”
  • Waterra “Heroes in training”
  • Waterra “Heroes for a day”

These courses range from 800m to 15km. They cater from ages six upwards.

You can also enter as an individual or a team. 

The obstacles:

Waterra makes use of the natural terrain as well as some build obstacles.

There are monkey bars, pegboards, cargo nets, heavy carries as well as rope swings. 

obstacle race
Photo: Impi Challenge

Impi Challenge

Location: Western Cape and North West Province

The Impi has been around since 2009. It takes places in Coetzenburg, Stellenbosch, Western Cape and Van Gaalens Kaasmakerij in the North West Province.

There are four Impi courses and challenges:

  • The Impi Corporate
  • Impi Dash
  • The Impi Challenge
  • Impi Mini

The races range from one kilometre runs for kids aged five to ten to five and 15 kilometres 

The obstacles:

According to the website the course is designed differently for every IMPI Challenge event but contains the favourites. Some of these are mud pits, a 2m high wall to climb over, the Lilly Pad Pallet crossing and various rope, net and pole climbs and river traverses. 

obstacle race
Photo: Muddy Princess

Muddy Princess

Location: Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape

The Muddy Princess is a five-kilometre women’s’ only obstacle course race perfect for a “girls dirty day out” 

Unlike the other obstacle course races, there is no focus on times or competition as the sole aim is fun. 


There are 18-19 obstacles with a variety of challenges which include running, walking, crawling, climbing, sliding and balancing.