Javascript is not enabled! Please turn on Javascript to use this site.
Herman's Dead Sea Challenge 2016

Herman's Dead Sea Challenge 2016

Personal message

”There are many reasons to do what we do, or to not do what we do, but it must be a journey and it must be fun” 

I am an engineer, company owner, husband, family man, water and sports enthusiast and lover of things that make my heart beat faster and one of these are doing swims that are dangerous or have never been done before and, therefore, a proud member of the Madswimmers.

As introduction to our new adventure, I want to briefly tell you how I see it: Swimming in dangerous places or the big oceans of the world or in ice conditions is a growth process and each extreme swim changes you in some aspect. It excites me to try something where there are zero guarantees: it makes me much more aware of life and its small intricacies. I appreciate living and our world and its diversities more by experiencing life when all luxuries are stripped and its only you and the water and what is in the water. Many times, your brain wants you to stop or panic or to get out of the situation at all costs. These are defining moments in any extreme situation and at that point you must decide to stop or to carry on.

This is just as applicable to life around us, we all experience the same feelings at some time in our lives. But do you know, that there are so many children in all walks of life that experience every day what we experience from time to time: For them, the world and daily life is most of times reduced to an endless sea of stress, worries, hunger, fear and fight for survival.

By doing what we do, the adventure of a particular swim draws attention to an event and at the same time to the cause of supporting children that really need the support of every person that can make a contribution. This is really what Madswimmers is about.

Our next mad swim is to attempt to swim across the Dead Sea from Jordan to Israel. This has never been done before and will also be a world record for the lowest long distance swim ever (approx. 400m below sea level, and just over 16km). For the mad swimmers, this will be the second leg of the record breaking highest and lowest swims ever. The highest swim ever was accomplished in December 2015 when we swam near Mnt Ojos in Chile at an altitude of 5995m in 0 degrees C water.

Swimming the dead sea for so long has its own challenges, of which the following are just a few: The water is 10x more salty than the sea. We have to keep the concentrated salt out of our eyes and sensitive skin areas to prevent burns; the special mask we will be using is uncomfortable and limits your breathing (and you have to keep it on all the time), it is pretty claustrophobic and your swimming stroke is completely different due to the increased density. Oh yes, and nobody yet knows what immersion in the extremely salty conditions for 5-8 hours will do to the human body.  

For the Dead Sea Swim, we will be joined by swimmers from Israel, Palestine, USA and England, making it a truly international attempt.

Each of us carries our own costs and when we signed up, we each undertook to contribute a minimum amount of R 50 000 towards the children charities we support. I can add that if I do not make my target of R 50 000, I have to swim without boat support…

I would therefore like to invite each of my friends, colleagues, business partners, clients, suppliers and associate businesses to contribute to this cause. Even if it is just a small amount, please contribute and make it count. I can assure you, the way Madswimmers do it, really ensures that every cent gets to the right people.

Just do it….I am!


  • Nov 18, 2016 - R 2 000.00
  • "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Herman leef jou drome! " - Marely van der Westhuizen

  • Nov 07, 2016 - R 2 000.00
  • "Swem Herrie, swem!!" - Stefan en Theunetha

  • Nov 07, 2016 - R 2 500.00
  • "Steek hom Steyntjie....." - Bernard

  • Nov 02, 2016 - R 300.00
  • "VERY inspiring!" - Anrie Venter

  • Oct 31, 2016 - R 250.00
  • "Ek gaan volgende keer saam!" - Cimon van der Westhuizen

  • Oct 31, 2016 - R 500.00
  • "Ek gaan ook eendag 'n MAD swim doen" - Armani van der Westhuizen

  • Oct 31, 2016 - R 100.00
  • "Go pappa!" - Milan van der Westhuizen

  • Oct 31, 2016 - R 5 000.00
  • "Good luck! Come back safe! " - Water Skills Pty Ltd

Donate to this charity


Donations to date

R 11 640.00

Fundraising target

R 50 000.00
Donate Logo

Madswimmer is a registered non-profit company consisting of individuals involved with daring open water swims to raise funds for children’s charities. They are established businessmen and women in their own right, but also do these extreme, adventurous swims. Take a look at some previous campaigns here to see how they managed to raise over $420000 over the past 13 years.