The Dusi Canoe Marathon Media Release

 No: dusi1422

16 Jan 2013

Embargo : None

Written by : Nick Tatham

Legends of the Dusi
4) Mariannie and Foley

The mysterious duo of Marianni and Foley

Pietermaritzburg – The paddle from Pietermaritzburg to Durban is a daunting one even for the modern day paddler but for the first two men to be documented doing the trip, it was a pioneering expedition. For Messrs’ P. Marianni and W. Foley it was as formidable an adventure as any and with only a Natal Witness newspaper article to prove that they did it, they still remain a mystery to the Dusi Canoe Marathon some 121 years later.

The newspaper article documents their seven day trek down the river and the hardships that they endured, including losing their rusks to the river which meant that the two men had resort to shooting birds and asking the locals for help in order to feed themselves.

The pair left Pietermaritzburg on the 3 January 1893 and arrived at the mouth of the uMngeni River on 10 January, avoiding a near drowning along the way and managing to complete the journey.

The pair managed to get themselves to Durban with some bumps and bruises but, more or less, in one piece. It is unsure how much influence these two men had on the modern day Dusi Canoe Marathon but having shown that it is possible to navigate one’s way through the valleys of KwaZulu-Natal, the pair’s efforts could only have given others the hope that they too, might be able to complete the feat.

It was a number of years after the two men complete this initial challenge that official founder of the Dusi Canoe Marathon – Dr Ian Player – took to the river to navigate his way to Durban from Pietermaritzburg. Player made the journey in 1951 and the event has since grown into one of the most iconic canoeing races in the world.

In a tribute to the two brave and inquisitive wanderers there is a causeway along the river named in their honour – Marianni Foley causeway – that is negotiated by paddlers on the second day of the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

More information can be found at


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
The Dusi Canoe Marathon 2014 Logo Landscape- GIF


The Dusi Canoe Marathon 2014 Logo Portrait- GIF


The only surviving proof that Marianni and Foley made the trip from Pietermaritzburg to the mouth of the uMngeni River in Durban is a Natal Witness article that was written in January 1893. The article has been scanned from the book 'Down the Dusi: Then and Now' Supplied/
Gameplan Media

The Marianni and Foley Causeway, named after the two explorers, is a popular spot for spectators to sit and watch paddlers come past on the second day of the three-day Dusi Canoe Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Conditions of usage of photographs: All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements, commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at the details below.
Is this of no value to you?
This media release is intended for use by media professionals covering this specific activity or sport. Should this release not be relevant you, please advise us immediately and we will be glad to remove your name from this particular database. It would be useful to us if you could advise us which subjects you would like to continue receiving releases on.
For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017