Born in Johannesburg, he studied Human Movement Science at Stellenbosch University before moving to Switzerland where he became an instructor for an outdoor company offering extreme activities such as abseiling, hydrospeed, canyoning and rafting. There he
developed a taste for outlandish challenges and descended the Mont Blanc glacier on hydrospeed and completed a six-month traverse of South America, swimming down the entire length of the Amazon.
Mike became a worldwide personality in 2000 after completing a solo journey around the equator without motor transport. He left Gabon on June 2, 1999 and crossed the Atlantic Ocean by trimaran. He travelled from Brazil to Ecuador by foot, bicycle and canoe, traversing the Amazon jungle and the Andes. He journeyed through Borneo and Sumatra by foot and sailboat and across the Indian Ocean by trimaran. He arrived back at his starting point on October 28, 2000, 18 months later. This feat won him the 2001 Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Horn achieved yet another staggering feat in October 2004 when he completed a two-year three-month solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle - by boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot. Starting and finishing at Nordkapp (North Cape) in Norway, he became the first man to travel the Arctic Circle without motorised transport, completing an unimaginable 20,000km journey through Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the Bering Strait and Russia's Siberia, pulling a kevlar sledge piled with 180kg of equipment and food. This earned him a Nomination for the 2005 Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year Award.
In 2006, Horn and Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, became the first men to travel without dog or motor transport to the North Pole during the permanent darkness of the Arctic months, reaching their goal on March 23, 2006 after 60 days. The men started from Cape Artichesky in Russia, using skis, pulling sleds and swimming in the freezing Arctic Ocean.
Passionately concerned about ecological issues, he devised the Pangaea Expedition, a revolutionary 35-metre environmentally-friendly ocean-going yacht which in May 2008 undertook a four-year trans-navigation of the globe by sea and land. Through his Young Explorers Programme, Mike took with him young adults from every continent on various sections of his journey around the world to discover the importance of nature and to learn about environmental issues.
Mike Horn was elected a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in January 2007 in recognition of his ground-breaking achievements which reflect the triumph of the human spirit against daunting odds.