South African Mike Horn is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest modern
adventurer-explorers. He has undertaken exceptional feats of endurance, determination
and courage which have extended the boundaries of human achievement.
Born in Johannesburg, in July 1966, he studied Human Movement Science at
Stellenbosch University before moving to Switzerland where he became an instructor for
an outdoor company offering extreme activities such as abseiling, hydrospeed,
canyoning and rafting. There he developed a taste for outlandish challenges and shortly
afterwards descended the Mont Blanc glacier on hydrospeed finishing at the French
Mike Horn’s first expedition of long duration was in 1997 and was called the Amazon
Expedition. This was a solo, un-motorized traverse of the South American continent. Mike
Horn left from the west coast of South America on foot, climbing from the Pacific Ocean
to the summit of Mt Mismi, the source of the Amazon River. He followed the entire length
of the river, hunting and living alone along the river banks in the evenings and swimming
down the river with a hydrospeed during the day . Mike Horn left the Amazon and swam
into the Atlantic Ocean six months later.
In 1999, Mike Horn left on a new challenge called Latitude Zero, the circumvolution of
the world around the Equator. On June 2, he waved goodbye to his family and traversed
the Atlantic Ocean from Gabon, on the west coast of Africa, to Brazil, on a 28ft trimaran.
Brazil to Ecuador, he crossed on foot, bicycle and canoe, traversing the Amazon jungle
and the high altitudes of the Andes. Afterwards he crossed the Pacific Ocean to
Indonesia, passing the Galapagos Islands. Journeying through Borneo and Sumatra on
foot, through the jungles, and sailing with his trimaran, he then continued across the
Indian Ocean. The last leg of the expedition took Mike Horn across the African continent
on foot, through the drug zone areas of the Congo, and back to Gabon, where he arrived
at his starting point on October 28, 2000 - 18 months later. This amazing feat won him
the 2001 Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award and an
invitation to meet Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
Mike Horn achieved yet another staggering feat of human endurance in October 2004
when he completed a two-year, three month solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle -
by boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot. Starting and finishing at North Cape in Norway, he
became the first man to travel the Arctic Circle without motorized transport, completing an
unimaginable 20,000km journey through Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the Bering Strait
and Russia's Siberia, pulling a kevlar sledge piled with 180kg of equipment and food.
This Arctic adventure called Arktos earned him nomination for the 2005 Laureus World
Alternative Sportsperson Award.
In 2006, Mike Horn and Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, became the first men to
travel without dog or motorized transport to the North Pole during the permanent
darkness of the Arctic months, reaching their goal on March 23, 2006 after 60 days and 5
hours. The men started from Cape Artichesky in Russia, using skis, pulling sleds and
swimming frequently in the freezing Arctic Ocean.
2007 presented a new opportunity for Mike Horn, the Himalaya Expedition. He was
asked to accompany three experienced Swiss climbers on an expedition in Pakistan.
Wanting to gain more experience in mountaineering Mike Horn found it hard to refuse.
After two months, Mike Horn successfully reached the summit of two peaks higher than
8,000m - Gasherbrum I (8,035m) and Gasherbrum II (8,068m) without the use of
Mike Horn has ventured twice on expedition with his family. The first expedition was in
2005, when they crossed Bylot Island on ski and the second expedition was on ski from
Barneo base to the North Pole. Thanks to the experience of this remarkable explorer,
Mike Horn’s two daughters, Annika and Jessica (born ’93, ’94) are now the two youngest
children to ever ski to the North Pole in temperatures of around -35°C.
Mike Horn was elected a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in January
2007 in recognition of his ground-breaking achievements.
Mike Horn is unique. His experience of the oceans, rivers, mountains, swamplands,
tundra, ice, jungles, deserts, make him stand out above any other modern day explorer.
With this experience behind him, he is now ready to start a new chapter in his life - to
share and pass on his knowledge to the younger generation, to share his experiences
and to educate the youth about the beauty of our planet and how we can preserve it.
This all lead to the birth of the Pangaea Expedition. This expedition, already one year in
the running, has taken the world by storm. Not only is Mike Horn talking about the
environmental problems that the world is facing today but he has also taken three groups
of young and motivated explorers to visit some of the most spectacular parts of this
world, the polar region of the Antarctic, the ice cut fiords in Milford Sound, New Zealand
and most recently the reefs and animal sanctuary’s in Malaysia.
Over the next three years the trips with the Young Explorers will continue and the
Pangaea philosophy EXPLORE – LEARN – ACT will continue to be spoken about from
all corners of the world.