A man in a billion, he’s been everywhere…
BEDFORDVIEW-born explorer Mike Horn has become the first person ever to circumnavigate the planet from its poles over land and sea in his expedition called Pole2Pole.
He also became the first person to complete a solo crossing of Antarctica. His 5 000km crossing of the continent is the longest ever. Horn, 50, completed his expedition last month.
“I was told as a child that if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough,” he said. “I am extremely proud to be South African. We have some amazing people on the southern tip of Africa. To be a South African ambassador is a priority in my exploration,” he said.
Horn began Pole2Pole on May 6 last year from a yacht club in Monaco, on the Mediterranean Sea. From there he sailed to Namibia. He then trekked through the Okavango Delta in Botswana, before coming home to South Africa . He then sailed to Antarctica, which he crossed on skis via the South Pole.
From there he navigated the Pacific through the islands of Oceania to Asia. An overland journey took Horn through the tundra in Kamchatka (Russia) before he set sail to the great north. He crossed the Arctic via the North Pole before concluding his one-year adventure by navigating his way back to Monaco.
“Pole2Pole is simply everything I’ve done in my life as an explorer in one expedition,” said Horn. “I will always stay a proud South African explorer.”
Horn left South Africa in 1989 to travel around the world and ended up in Switzerland where he lives today. “I ended up in a small ski resort called Chateau d’Oex where I worked in a youth hostel and eventually become a Swiss ski instructor and river guide.”
He carries the memories of home with him on every adventure.
He travelled the length of the Amazon in 1997, followed by a 20 000km solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle five years later. He also trekked to the North Pole with a Norwegian explorer, using nothing more than skis in the Arctic winter of 2006.
Horn’s voyages to the planet’s most extreme regions have inspired many. Chris Brinlee, a budding adventurer and photographer with The Red Bul- letin (an international men’s magazine), joined Horn on his three-week voyage to Antarctica two years ago – when he attempted to be the first man to cross the continent unassisted.
“I think a lot of people, especially millennials, feel trapped and under this pressure where they have ideas of things they want to do, but not necessarily the courage” said Brinlee.
“Even taking little steps, anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone can give you the courage to do more,” Brinlee added. Said Horn: “If more South Africans can be inspired to believe in themselves, the possibilities become endless.”
Mike Horn has been here, there and everywhere in his adventures.