What is O?

Orienteering has its roots in the forests of Scandinavia, where events were held at the end of the 19th century as part of military training. Orienteering was then formalised, and the sport, as defined by the International Orienteering Federation, was introduced into South Africa in 1981.

It is a sport in which the competitor, aided only by map and compass, finds several features, termed “controls”, marked in the terrain and on the map.  Participants compete against the clock.

Competitors usually take part on foot, though separate competitions may be organised for people with disabilities, or using modes of transport such as skis or bicycles. Competitors take part individually or as pairs or groups in competitions that allow such entries.

Orienteering tests the athletic, map reading and navigational skills of the competitor. This minimises the element of luck involved in solving the problems when navigating around an orienteering course.

How do I get started?

In this section we present links to a series of resource articles to help you get started.


Wikipedia has a lovely entry on the sport of orienteering.

Introductory Video

We made this short (5:50) video to show you the basics of orienteering and what to expect at an event.

This video of the World Champion Hubmann brothers is a treat. It shows them racing each other over technical forest terrain. The video is well edited and makes for exciting viewing.