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AD: Trans Sahara Rally - Tunis to Grand Popo (Benin) in March
We’re going to Africa, and we'd like you to come with us. The Trans Sahara Rally is a drive-anything, “minimal assistance for maximum effect” adventure challenge that will start in Tunisia, cross Algeria, traverse Niger and the Sahara, and end in Grand Popo, Benin 18 days later.
The route is guaranteed to be off the beaten path so that you can genuinely explore that instinct for discovery and adventure. Drive your own vehicle or any vehicle of your choosing- from bikes to cars, trucks to quads.
Meet up with your fellow travelers every night at camp to exchange stories, and enjoy drinks (or mint tea...)
Join an international crowd, see new lands, escape the daily grind, meet new people, and truly challenge yourself.
Full details of the route shown, sponsers stickers maintained in place are a condition of entry, but you're on your own and no mention of an Algerian guide??
How does that fit in with other current advice elsewhere on this forum??
We have a meeting with the representatives of the ministry of internal affairs (they say the minister himself, we'll see), the president and secretary general of the Algerian Technical Sport Association and some other bureaucrats in Algiers on the 31st, then we'll see what is the common state of affairs. Our latest info is that all of them (i.e. four ministries and a numerous other institutions) already approved the project ->signed the necessary papers.
Depending on the number of participants they'll send kind of an escort, but the number of these people and their involvement is part of the negotiation. Knowing the characteristics of the event we don't want them to interfere too much but we can't get away without having them with us.
Algeria: If there is an organized group of more than five foreigners/tourists, they get a police escort. Traffic police and civilian agents when traveling on the north and gandarmerie when traveling by the main roads between the oases (Taghit, Beni Abbes, Timimoun, El Golea, Ghardaia). There is some gun fire between islamists groups and police lately, read El Watan.
How do you ’escort’ 50 to 100 vehicles especially if the attitude from the escorted is we “don't want them to interfere too much”? If an escort means a convoy then I think the organizers have to decide what is the purpose of the convoy. If it is considered to be just some bureaucratic hindrance then this attitude will percolate down to all the participants and they will do their best to escape from it confines (and probably succeed). If the dangers in Algeria are real then this could place them is some real danger. If on the other hand they really believe that they need it then you can forget about rallying through Algeria as it will be a procession and likely a pretty slow one at that. One solution is to organize special stages in safe areas and convoy between the stages. I have been in a few ‘convoys and they tend to disintegrate after the first ten minutes unless someone lays down the law. A puncture – everyone stops; boiling radiator everyone stops etc. A convoy of, say 50 vehicles, is torturous. As individuals we can take risks with our own lives but as organizers of an event the responsibility is greater.
back from Africa - it was a great but exhausting trip lasting 35 days.
I'm more than happy to answer all questions re. Algeria, Niger and Benin.
"How do you ’escort’ 50 to 100 vehicles especially if the attitude from the escorted is we “don't want them to interfere too much”?"
They know the route for the specific date incl. GPS coordinates and make 'posts' en route, i.e. they'll be 'around'. That's the only way to give freedom for the participants still secure the route.
Convoy is not an option and they understand it.
We got something similar in Mauritania 2 years ago. There was a black dressed guy behind every dune - just in case.
Our escort (2 cars, 4 people) was way over organized from border to border with a minimum of 3 cars (9-10) people to 15 cars (incl. 2 trucks of soldiers, 50 armed men in total). They slowed us down a bit but couldn't do much - it was not that bad considering we worked with them for the first time.
Overall it was fun and the route is truly magnificient.
Interesting to see how you are working this out.
I met the Buda-Bamako rally people at Bamako airport, looking slightly worn and their gaze fixed at the horizon. Waiting to board what must've been a chartered Hungarian jet.
Are there only Hungarian rallys to the Sahara these days? Are u the only ones who can get insurance?
Only the Mali-owned agencies are doing Timbuktu and northeast Mali now, the Europeans can't get insurance cover. The NGOs are also staying clear since November.
So I was told in Bamako.
"Are there only Hungarian rallys to the Sahara these days?"
Not at all... I see all kinds of 'rallies' there, especiall on the Atlantic Route (well, only there - hence the efforts to do somthing more Eastward...)
There are dozens of rallies through Morocco, W-S, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Mali. Just look around. It's also true that media sells which makes the size of the rally bigger.
"Are u the only ones who can get insurance?"
Well... just as much as anybody else. What do you mean by insurance? Personal? That can be bought any time.
"Only the Mali-owned agencies are doing Timbuktu and northeast Mali now, the Europeans can't get insurance cover. "
Though I'm not the faint-hearted type I would not go to N-E Mali either. Being an adventure seeking person is quite different from being stupid. Both the event you mentioned and the one we organize are secured by local governments in Mauritania and Algeria respectively, but there is a lot, a lot of work behind this - not just a banger rally some people put together overnight.
Trans Sahara Rally,On your website you say the rally is from March 14-31.
Sorry Im a bit confused, but you said you have just been out there for 35 days. Was this to make sure everything is in place before the rally starts right, not the actual rally itself?
Im interested to follow the rally to hear more about the northern Niger section.
Add me to the list of those who can't make heads or tails of this "rally." Has it happened? Are there photos and reports anywhere? What about the unanswered questions from previous posts, for which answers and documentation was promised? None of it seems to add up.
This is not necessarily a criticism, at least on my part. But I sure can't figure out what's proposed, what's happening, or who's involved.
(from Puerto Natales, gateway to the rather windy Torres del Paine)
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