Henko Roukema

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Henko Roukema


Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa



Henko Roukema

"I am a dreamer, with a habit of making my dreams a reality."

I grew up as a swimmer, never the fastest but I prided myself in my determination with long distance events, always wanting to experience more, push myself a bit further. By the age of 18, I completed multiple Robben Island crossings, swam a few Ice swims (1600m in below 5 degrees Celsius water) through these I was hooked on ever wanting more out of life.

After being in the fortunate position of being selected to join the South African explorer, Mike Horn, I went on 2 expeditions (Canadian Arctic and Patagonia), observing and learning from the best. I started to believe in myself and what we are capable of if we fight against our own self-imposed limitations. I am a dreamer, with a habit of making my dreams a reality.

With this mind-set, I am continuously striving to be able to claim, “I am living!”, not simply surviving. Being based in the Western Cape has its benefits as we are spoiled with choice for all types of adventures.

Mountaineering: My preferred type is traditional country climbing, rock climbing in one of the purist forms - on massive cliff faces. Where your only safety is the one you create, no preplaced anchors, only your own gear. You are in control, the sense of achievement is by far greater topping out from a route. Add in the benefit this usually means long days in the hills, slogging extremely heavy packs, camping in serene places, and I am content! Especially since mountaineering is half pushing yourself mentally and physically and the other half finding epic places to drink coffee!

Cycle touring: A way to travel our beloved country side totally immersed with your surroundings as you are exposed to the elements and environment. No glass window or visor to hide behind. This is by far one of the most special ways to interact with the locals, see more, and simply having a blast whilst using the power of your own body!

Swimming: I swam competitively for 14 years from a young age, these days swimming is only for fun, doing ice swims in freezing places, or trying to swim a river from source to sea (Berg river) to raise awareness to the dire state of our water systems.

Giving back: I am currently a trained and certified helicopter rescue swimmer for Lifesaving South Africa - a way to use my skills I have gained to give back to society and being an active citizen. Over the years I’ve tried to do my bit by organising social outreach projects, youth camps for the less fortunate in the Cederberg, Tree planting projects or simply collecting books for schools in rural areas.

Work: I studied Maritime studies, working as a Navigation Officer on the high seas on massive ships, hence all the time I have on my hands, 6 months a year working at sea, and another 6 for travelling and exploring our beautiful country. I have a deep passion for freelance writing, taking photos and simply sharing my experiences which I feel so fortunate to be able to experience.

Favourite gear:

  • Ice Breaker Sleeping bag

  • Hurricane Jacket

  • Transit down hoodie

  • Corefit Shorts

  • Free rider cycling shoe

  • Carbon MTB shorts