Riaan Manser is known for his huge heart, his even larger endurance muscles, and his insane way of doing these adventurous escapades “no sane body” has considered attempting.  He holds four world firsts:

  1. Around Africa on his bicycle – September 2003 to November 2005
  2. Around Madagascar on his kayak – August 2008 to July 2009
  3. Around Iceland with a friend in a paddle-ski – March 2011 to September 2011
  4. Vasti (his wife) and Riaan bravely took to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean with no support boat in sight.  Alone and unaided, they endured a 172 day expedition from Agadir, Morocco and arrived in New York City, USA – 30 December 2013 to  20 June 2014

Vasti now holds two World firsts herself.  This incredible world-first row from the African continent to North America, also marked her as the first woman from the African continent to row across any ocean. 

Riaan has written three books about these expeditions: “Around Africa on my Bicycle”, “Around Madagascar on my Kayak” and “Around Iceland on Inspiration”.


This indomitable South African has challenged not only himself, but continues to challenge and inspire those around him.  Besides his extreme sporting feats and his three books, he has firmly entrenched himself as the motivational speaker you need to hear.  He wants to push those around him to do better and be better. 

His own charity “No Food for Lazy Man” is a prime example of his hard work ethos: “This charity identifies schools needing sporting equipment, an important developmental tool, which should be experienced by all growing children.  These children are not just handed the sporting goods.  For example, a school who received much-needed gear were expected to participate in a beach clean-up before receiving the goods.  Riaan hopes this “nothing comes for free” philosophy will remain with these beneficiaries and they will strive to work harder to be better.

There is an ocean between saying and doing, but when you’re motivated by a cause that you believe in, every bit of pain and discomfort is worth it.

On 29th February, 2020, Riaan partnered up with the Sunflower Fund and completed another insane selfless act – that of walking from Port Elizabeth (PE) to Cape Town (CT).   Oh yes, easy, you may think?  No, remember this is Riaan the MANser.  He did this with a 50 kilogram sack of cement and a supporter, Johan Potgieter, ‘Pottie’, who had won the prize online to participate in this fun task. 


BUT, wait folks – this is not all!  Fans could send in activities for them to complete with this 50 kilogram bag of CEMZA cement.  The most challenging aspect of this whole journey, according to Riaan, was “Most definitely the cycling on the Cape meander cycle route.  The route is absolutely amazing when you do it on a normal mountain bike, but having a 50kg of Cemza cement on the back, and doing it on a Qubekha bike, was a trial.  I am a cyclist, but 50kg gets heavy after the 1st km.” 

Remember they were hitchhiking their way from PE to CT and this became the toughest part of their journey.  “Having to convince people, who are driving on a national road, to give you a lift is not easy.  Pottie always said if we can just get them to stop, we are sure we could convince them to pick us up.  But we did it!” Riaan reminisces.

On completion of this madly entertaining expedition CEMZA cement handed over a cheque for R150 000 to The Sunflower Fund, which helps patients fighting blood diseases try to find their life-saving match for a stem cell transplant.  “Partnerships like this one with Riaan and CEMZA are incredible because it funds the work we do and creates further awareness about our cause,” says Alana James of The Sunflower Fund.

Our only limitations are the ones we set ourselves.

Riaan is known for reminding us that “there is an ocean between saying and doing, but when you’re motivated by a cause that you believe in, every bit of pain and discomfort is worth it.”

We look forward to watching and sharing your next noble expedition, breaking new ground, and bringing us a reminder that we can do anything we set our minds to do.  Our only limitations are the ones we set ourselves.


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Edited By:  Michelle Pagel