Information About About the Roof of Africa

About the Roof of Africa


Learn more about the Roof’s history and find out the facts…

The Roof of Africa had its humble beginnings in 1967 when Bob Phillips, a Roads Engineer working in Lesotho, approached the Sports Car Club in Johannesburg and asked them if they would like to run a race over the worst road in the world that he had just finished building. The Roof of Africa was born!

The Roof of Africa quickly gained in popularity and it had become sponsored by The Star newspaper further promoting what was fast becoming a legend. In 1969 motorcycles starting competing against the cars and the event was soon split into two categories.

The event continued to grow through the 70’s 80’s and 90’s and the legend continued to grow. Up until 1982 the event ran right across Lesotho with overnight stops in either Matatiele or Sani Pass. From 1982 the event has been contained within the borders of Lesotho. The Roof of Africa was also attracting overseas interest and regular participation from overseas competitors

By the year 2000 Off Road car racing had become a highly specialised sport with big Manufacturer involvement. Single vehicles were now costing multi million Maloti and the Roof became “too tough” for them and the controlling federation decided to drop cars from the calendar. Some forecast doom but this was in fact a second birth for the Roof of Africa with record motorcycle entries being received. The event is now so popular that a Qualifying event for the Bronze Category has to be held.

Worldwide, Hard Enduro or Extreme Enduro has become increasingly popular and the Roof became known as the mother of hard enduro.


  • The Roof has been run every year since 1967, except 1998 due to the riots in Lesotho.
  • 2017 will see the 50th staging of this event.
  • The Roof is a non political event that has enjoyed great relationships with all the ruling parties and Military over the years.
  • The event is inscribed on the FIM International Calendar and attracts competitors from up to 20 different countries.
  • The event along with events in Brazil, Austria, Poland, Romania and Turkey is part of the Red Bull Hard Enduro Series.
  • The Roof is at the forefront of technology.
  • The Roof attracts nearly 400 competitors.
  • The Roof is contested by the top competitors in the world as well as all the top competitors from the sub-continent.
  • The Roof is now considered as a “bucket list event” in the same way that people do the Comrades Marathon, Two Oceans, Cape Epic etc.
  • The Roof has an enviable safety record. Medical Support is of the highest available standards and world class hospital facilities are close by.
  • The event is attended by many Lesotho dignitaries.
  • The prize fund equivalent or better than the other Extreme events worldwide.
  • The Roof is a highly visible sport reaching not only the town, but a lot of people in rural areas as well.
  • It injects an estimated M80 million into Lesotho economy during Roof of Africa week.
  • Organisation supports local businesses and communities.
  • The Roof has boosted the Tourism Industry in Lesotho probably more than any other medium.
  • The Roof enjoys good relations with its sponsors.
  • The Roof’s Social Responsibility Initiatives include.
    • Support for “Riders for Health” Project
    • Various Community Initiatives
    • Employs community members
    • Employs a full time liaison officer to interact with communities along the routes to minimise inconvenience, crop damage and environmental issues.