He’s slept on beaches, in garages and even in drain pipes. He has cycled from Cape Town to Cairo and run 4 000km across Southern Africa … and now he’s bringing his insane sense of adventure and desire to help others to the North Coast.
Some people are born with adrenalin coursing through their veins and adventure surging through their soul. Gaven Sinclair is one such human.
A professional adventurer, 48-year-old Gaven has made it his life’s mission to help others by embarking on exciting challenges that allow him to chase that constant ‘adrenalin high’ that he says never goes away.
His latest challenge, set to take place in October, will see him and Ballito All Saints Catholic Church pastor, Father Stephen Tully, doing a 1000km beach walk from Mozambique to Ballito to raise funds for the Napier Centre for Healing.
Gaven was born in Johannesburg and spent his youth taking part in BMX and motocross races and doing just about every sport he could. “I got my first bicycle and my first taste of freedom when I was 4-years-old. From then on, my parents always supported my sporty, adventurous spirit.”
After completing his business management studies and trying his hand in the corporate world, Gaven soon realised it wasn’t the right path for him. “I never liked to conform and I just didn’t fit in. At school I suffered with dyslexia and ADD and it was very hard. I’m really glad to see how much more awareness there is nowadays in schools around kids who are different and that they are being taught how to be self-sufficient entrepreneurs.”
It was in 2015 that Gaven decided he needed a massive shift in his life. Having always felt a strong connection to Egypt, he decided to ride his bicycle from Cape Town to Cairo while raising funds for a charity organisation. The organisation he chose was Missing Children SA and it took him nine months to complete the trip.
“I’ve always been addicted to adrenalin and endorphins – I chase that feeling every day of my life. I love bending the ‘fear metre’ and pushing myself beyond my own perceived limits.”
In true Gaven style, he decided not to train for the adventure (and says his buttocks were very sore for the first week). He also decided not to go the traditional route, but rather to make his way up along the East Coast of Africa. He travelled through Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and finally, Egypt. “I had lots of media following me along the way, which was great for the tourism in each of the areas and I met the most fascinating people. I would say ninety-nine percent of the trip was amazing … but there were one or two occasions where I had to pedal for my life,” Gaven laughs.
He did the entire trip completely alone. “I don’t think it’s a real challenge if you have a support vehicle with you. I wanted to do it completely solo and somehow, I just believed everything would work out okay. I believe in never allowing the fear of the unknown to paralyse you.”
Gaven’s trip certainly was an adventure and one that, he says, he managed to complete because of the kindness and support of the people around him. “I never felt lonely and there was always someone to talk to. It was humbling on so many levels. I slept everywhere – from hotels to drain pipes and camp sites to garages – and I always managed to find something to eat.”
After returning home for a short six months, Gaven was ready for his next adventure. Representing the same charity organisation, he set out to run 4000km across Southern Africa.
He started his run in St Lucia, running north towards Mozambique. He went across to Botswana, Namibia and down the West Coast of SA, finishing the trip in Cape Town.
“It wasn’t easy and I really had to listen to my body. I would sometimes run up to 40km in one day and I had to carry a 10kg backpack with me (mostly for water) at times. Gaven says he ate lots of spinach and lots of beans and always managed to find a Coca-Cola!
In the past few years Gaven has embarked on other challenges, like swimming from an island called Iles de Mozambique to Mozambique mainland in 2019 and running 388km along the beach in Mozambique in 2020. “I just need to do these things all the time,” he says.
Although Covid brought with it some challenges for Gaven, he has now returned to South Africa and started his own adventure company called Get Lost Adventures, which sees him taking individuals, groups and corporates on adventures. He is also a motivational speaker and life coach.
He is also gathering momentum for his fundraising walk in October in aid of the Napier Centre for Healing. The centre for recovering drug addicts aims to support and reintegrate addicts back into society.
Asked about his future goals, Gaven says he has many adventures still to tackle … and he would like to star in a reality show one day! “So many people have helped me get to where I am and achieve what I have and I’m really open to trying anything. I believe everyone should chase their dreams, no matter how wacky they are!” One day in the future though, Gaven says, he would like to build himself a bamboo treehouse and live a quiet, secluded, simple life.
Details: IG: @gavensinclairadventures, FB: @gaven.sinclair