The Graduate Desert Challenge: Are you IN?

INEOS will be taking its 3rd-year graduates on an African adventure of a lifetime – to test and expand their limits, build their fitness, and show them what they’re truly capable of when they say yes.

Here’s a taster of what this year’s graduates can expect…

For 6 days, the graduate team – supported by medical and fitness experts – will run and cycle through the untouched Namibian desert, enduring gruelling physical conditions and climbing mountains both real and metaphorical. The rewards will be huge – the satisfaction of having completed the rarest and toughest of teambuilding challenges, the enduring health and fitness gains of months of preparation, and lifelong knowledge that they can truly achieve anything when they “take the mental brakes off”.

This website is designed to support the team in their preparation for the event, and share the expedition’s progress with friends, family and colleagues when they finally take to the desert.

Check back here for itinerary updates – and in the meantime, meet the expert team, the daring graduates, and find all kinds of practical training and preparation advice here.

The Highlights

Using a combination of hiking, mountain biking and running we will traverse the Skeleton Coast, Damaraland and Kaokaveld Wilderness areas of Northern Namibia.

We will pass over 3 ancient volcanic craters (calderas), climb Namibia’s highest peak, conquer the unforgiving basalt lavas of the Ugab on foot, bridge 2 major ephemeral river systems in one 100km desert day, and traverse the last frontier of the Big 3 – the Black Rhino, Desert Elephant and Dryland Lions of Africa.


25 May – 1 June Namibia


Arrival in Namibia, 25 May

  • Team to land at Windhoek International, fly to Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast.
  • Overnight at Cape Cross Lodge.

Day 1 , 26 May

  • 45km cycle to the Messum Crater.
  • Overnight camp at Messum Crater.

Day 2, 27 May

  • 21km run out of the Messum Crater.
  • 51km bike ride to Brandberg Mountain.
  • Self-built Base Camp on Brandberg Mountain.

Day 3, 28 May

  • 21km hike up the Brandberg (more than 2000m elevation gain). Team to carry own gear (15kg backpack).
  • Overnight camp below summit.

Day 4, 29 May

  • Descent of mountain with kit- 8-9 hours.
  • Overnight Brandberg Base Camp.

Day 5, 30 May

  • 42km marathon run along base of the Brandberg Mountain.
  • 35km cycle towards Ugab river.
  • Overnight with Save the Rhino Trust.

Day 6, 31 May

  • 21k run through the Ugab Rock formations.
  • 81km cycle past the Doros Crater and down to the Huab River.
  • Transfer to luxury camp.
  • Overnight Twyfelfontein Lodge.

Day 7, 1 June

  • Team departure.