Who is Mike Horn

Vital facts


16 July, 1966

Place of Birth

Johannesburg, South Africa


Les Moulins, Switzerland


Human Movement Science, University of Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

Marital Status

Widow to Cathy, two daughters: Annika (b. 1993) and Jessica (b. 1994)


“Preserving our planet"

  • 01/03
  • 02/03
  • 03/03


Mike Horn is globally acknowledged as the world’s greatest modern day explorer.From swimming the Amazon River solo and unsupported to an unmotorized circumnavigation of the globe at the equator, Mike’s list of accomplishments as a solo explorer is unparalleled. " A never seen before, never done before series of unique expeditions" In two decades, he has seen more of the Earth than possibly any other human. He walked to the north pole during the dark season (more people have been to the moon) and has scaled the world’s 8,000 meter peaks, including a recent attempt to paraglide K2. During his “Arktos” expedition, he walked the Arctic Circle solo and was already dreaming of his next expedition. He built a “4×4 of the sea” in his mind over the two plus years of walking on the ice in minus 60-degree weather. “Pangaea” was born and in 2008 Mike embarked on a four expedition that served as a powerful platform from which young adults experienced and explored the natural world. Over 200,000 miles and multiple circumnavigations were well documented as this environmental initiative to educate a global network of youth. Now he has several new projects on the horizon. And they are bigger and more inspiring than ever.

From August 10, 1997 until January 28, 1998, Mike Horn experienced an incredible adventure which he named the Amazon Expedition. For 6 months he crossed the South American continent, solo and unassisted, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, on foot, with paraglider, hydrospeed and pirogue. From the western coast of Peru, Mike Horn trekked 600 km through the Peruvian Andes, climbing to 5'800m in altitude to the summit of Mt Mismi, the source of mighty Amazon River. A voyage of 6'700 kms followed, as Mike descended the spectacular white water canyons of the Amazon River, living along the riverside, hunting, fishing and surviving off what-ever the nature provided. As the river bed widened and currents became stronger Mike Horn eventually changed his hydrospeed to a pirogue, and fought against the tidal currents until he reached Macapa and the mouth of the river in the Atlantic Ocean.  Travelling the entire length of the mighty Amazon solo must be one of the greatest challenges on Earth. Before Mike, many had tried, but no one had ever succeeded. In January 1998, after 171 days and 7 000km, Mike accomplished what no other man had ever done, an incredible solo voyage over the entire South American continent, and he finally tasted the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Mike Horn has circumnavigation the world along the equator using only his own resources, i.e. non motorised transport. Read through his updates, and view his route on the map above. The six legs of the expedition Leg 1: Atlantic Ocean crossing, from Gabon to Brazil on trimaran, 4 210 nm, estimated 30 days. Completed in 19 days!! Leg 2: South American continent traverse on foot, from Brazil to Ecuador, on hairboat, foot and bicycle through the Amazon Jungle, up the Rio Negro and over the Andes Mountains in Colombia and Ecuador to the Pacific Ocean, 3 626 km, estimated 6 months. Completed in 5 months and 4 days!! Leg 3: Pacific Ocean crossing from Ecuador to Borneo, through the Galapagos Islands, on trimaran 8 685 nm, estimated 2-3 months. Completed in 2 months and 16 days!! Leg 4: Indonesian Islands of Borneo and Sumatera traverse on foot and sailboat, 2 220 km, estimated 2-3 months. Completed in 2 months and 7 days!! Leg 5: Indian Ocean crossing from Sumatera to Somalia, through the Maldives, 3 927 nm, estimated 1 month. Completed in 2 month and 4 days!! Leg 6: African continent traverse, from Somalia back to Gabon, on foot, canoe, bicycle and hairboat, through Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, the DRC and Gabon 4 173 km, estimated 6 months. Completed in 4 months!!
A solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle by boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot lasting over two years was the blueprint for the icy Arktos Expedition in 2002...
Mike’s passion for the planet is matched only by his passion for his family – and he has shared and enjoyed two memorable expeditions with his loved ones...
In 2006, Mike and Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, became the first men to travel unaided by dogs or motorized transport from Cape Artichesky...
The year 2007 saw Mike’s dream of conquering an exciting new level of challenge materialise. As an aspirant mountaineer, he was invited by three renowned Swiss...
Following his previous expeditions, Mike Horn wanted to pass on his knowledge and experience to the future generations. Mike invited young explorers' on 12 different expeditions around the world, Initiating social end environmental projects both on land and on sea. They focused on environmental issues such the melting ice caps at the poles, water pollution, creating awareness about the planet and develop solutions in order to preserve it for future generations.
In 2015, Mike jumped behind the wheel of his G Class with his fellow climber and his daughter and embarked on a two week drive across 12 countries to reach the foot of K2 which he attempted the summit for the third time unassisted. He decided he would drive to climb K2, one of Mike's biggest dreams since he first got the thrill for 8000-meter peaks. Mike Horn realized that by flying directly to the departure point of his adventure, he was missing out on the opportunity of discovering beautiful countries and interacting with intriguing cultures and communities along his way. Thus was born Driven to Explore.
Since 2015, Mike takes on the role of survival expert in two French tv shows, The Island: Seuls au monde and A l'Etat Sauvage where he shares his deep knowledge of survival with the shows participants. Both shows are a great success with the French Audience. In The Island, participants are left to survive for a month on a tropical island with no external help and in A l'Etat Sauvage, Mike takes different French celebrities on a survival journey of four days in the most remote places of the earth. Mike has since introduced his new format Cap Horn, which aired it's first episode in September 2018. In this show, celebrities join Mike on his own expedition around the globe, namely the Pole2Pole to discover what it is like to be a professional explorer for a few days.
In November 2016, Mike Horn left Cape Town on his sailing vessel Pangaea to attempt one of his greatest exploits yet, the crossing of the Antarctic continent on its longest length solo and unsupported. Mike completed his 5100 km crossing in a record-breaking 57 days, becoming the first man to accomplish such a feat.

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