A group of charity swimmers have made the first ever group crossing of the Swahili Channel from Zanzibar to Tanzania. The Madswimmers completed the 31.8km crossing in aid of Tumaini La Maishi, a children’s cancer refuge centre in Tanzania.
“The Swahili Channel is Africa’s version of the English Channel,” says Madswimmer Nicolene Steynberg.
The 16 swimmers left Kizimkazi Island off the Zanzibar coast at 6am on 10 October and completed the swim in 9 hours 38 seconds, touching land at the Lazy Lagoon on the Tanzanian mainland. Eleven swimmers swam in relay format, while Megan Harrington-Johnson, Emil Berning, Jean Craven, Rob Dunford and Samantha Whelpton completed the distance solo.
“Conditions were good overall except for a lot of jellyfish, blue bottles and fireweed en route as well as massive currents and swell for the last two hours,” says Steynberg.
Madswimmer is a South African non-profit company that was founded by Jean Craven in 2009 after he won a R100,000 bet to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar. Madswimmer has since raised more than US$300,000 for various charitable causes.