Zirk Botha – Naval officer, solo adventurer, environmentalist.

Short Bio

Naval Combat Officer & Combat Diver.

Captain of a warship at age 23

Recipient of Admiral Packer Trophy for Leadership

Founding Member of Adventure Racing World Series

Business Owner

Master of Yachts 200T

Adventurer, Survivor, Father

Solo TransAtlantic Ocean Rower – Row2Rio2020


Navy Officer

During compulsory conscription in South Africa, I joined the SA Navy as a Combat Officer. I stayed on in the permanent force for 17 years. At 23, I became the youngest Captain of a SA Naval Warship, I qualified as a combat diver and was awarded the Admiral Packer Trophy for Leadership.

Life challenges

In 2002, I was involved in an adventure related motor vehicle accident. To recover I had to persevere and re-build my life one day at a time, fighting depression, inability to focus on goals and radical mood swings and other symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury. I recovered and went on to run a successful business solutions company for several years before joining international renewable energy company, juwi, in 2012.

Adventure Sports

I left the Navy in 1996 to launch a Sports Marketing company. My passion was sport and I knew that this was where my future lay. I specialised in Adventure Sports and launched Adventure Racing in Southern Africa. I was a Founding Member of the Adventure Racing World Series.


On 19 December 2020, I embarked on a solo, unsupported, transatlantic ocean ocean row from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro – 7200km or 4000nm, in support of sustainable development and the environment. It was the longest, toughest row undertaken by a South African solo rower, over the Atlantic Ocean. I completed the voyage in 71 days, establishing world records for the fastest and longest transatlantic crossing by row boat.

Let’s make something together.

Botha completes WORLD RECORD 7200km solo transatlantic row from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro

Rowing for the planet and sustainable development,extreme adventurer and ex naval officer, Zirk Botha (59 years old) completed his solo transatlantic ocean crossing on his boat ‘Ratel’, from South Africa to Brazil in a world record of 70 days , over a total distance of 7200km or 4000 nautical miles (nm). After leaving Cape Town on 19 December 2020, Botha rowed into the small bay of Buzios just north of Rio de Janeiro, at 03:45 on 27 February 2021, South African Time / 22:45, 26 February 2021, Brazilian time.

Zirk Botha counts down to record finish in 7200km solo row, Cape Town to Rio

Extreme South African adventurer and ex naval officer, Zirk Botha (59) is in the home straight of his solo transatlantic ocean row, sponsored by juwi Renewable Energies, from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, a total distance of 7200km or 4000 nautical miles (nm). Set to arrive on Sunday 28 February 2021, Botha is two weeks ahead of schedule in 71 days, and is set establish world records as first person to attempt the route alone and unsupported by any safety craft, and for the fastest row on this route.

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