The relentless adventurer going to the ends of the earth to save it


Braam Malherbe has pursued purpose all his life. The relentless adventurer’s unceasing drive has seen him conquer impossible physical challenges. But there was a time when the philanthropist and motivational speaker didn’t want to make it past another day. His father had died after a stroke, his career was stalled, and his fiancé had left him. Devoid of direction, he resolved to take his own life in the Cederberg mountains. In a moment of clarity in the wilderness, he was reminded that the earth, with all its beauty and potential, was bigger than his circumstances. He changed his mind, and since then has set out to preserve the planet and help as many people as possible.

In 2006, the extreme adventurer ran the Great Wall of China in a single attempt, covering an average of 43 kilometres – more than a marathon – a day for over 100 days. The journey from the heat of the desert to the chill of the mountains was thought to be physically impossible. And it took its toll. Malherbe’s ambitious endeavor was followed by surgery to repair his knee and the message that he would never run again. But for the man doing it all for children born with cleft palates, physical limitations wouldn’t be a hindrance. He went on to run thousands of kilometres from Namibia to Mozambique for the same cause, as well as racing to the South Pole to highlight climate change in Antarctica.

While Malherbe has raised funds for over 400 children to receive corrective facial surgery through Operation Smile, he has not lost sight of his primary focus – our planet. This year, he rowed 8 100 kilometres from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro. The intercontinental journey launched the Do One Thing challenge, which encourages people to do one small deed to save the planet. His next expedition involves circling the globe without motorised assistance to show that we can live sustainably without relying on means that destroy finite natural resources. Malherbe’s record-breaking adventures are daunting, but the message they convey is clear: do what you can with passion and you will make a difference.