Spain and Morocco
As wilderness go, the Sahara is a big one. The largest hot desert in the world, stretching the width of Africa, some 9 million square kilometres of rolling dunes and rock plateaus. The environment is stunning in every respect, to be able drive a rally car there is not just a challenge, but a privilege.
To witness this huge area is a once in lifetime experience, to rally out here on the other hand, that is a joy that is only really known by those that have done it.
The Sahara Challenge will select the very best bits that the desert has to offer and condense it all into a 13-day adventure, that will test the soul and leave an unrivalled feeling of triumph after one has conquered the ever-encroaching sands of the desert.
From Spain, around Morocco and back again, this is one of those trips that offers up life-affirming experience after life-affirming experience and by the time it is finished, it threatens to become an addiction.
From the dunes of Erg-Chebbi to the mighty Atlas Mountains, this is the event to leave you feeling like a Dakar Superstar. The roads are incendiary, the scenery incredible and the cities and towns that we will visit along the way are magical. The opportunity to rally a classic car in this astounding country is one not to be missed. We hope to see you on the start line in Spain September 2024…
Distance Travelled (KM)
Distance Travelled (KM)
(Non-Refundable & Non-Transferrable)
Morocco sits on the northwest edge of the largest “hot” desert in the world, the Sahara. The climate is one of the extremes; the broiling heat of the day contrasts with chilly nights. The terrain ranges from pastoral countryside to the rocky massifs of the Atlas Mountains and on to the threshold of the desert, the rolling dunes of Erg Chebbi and the Algerian border.
Yet, all this is a mere 40’ ferry crossing from the southern coast of Andalucia, Spain, where the adventure starts with a “warm up” route and some revisionary rally sections to prepare the crews for what lies ahead.
The event is conceived as a warm-up for the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, condensing all the conditions encountered during that event into the 12-day Moroccan experience. The journey is a true eye-opener to the uninitiated and a thorough joy to the experienced. From the Spanish-influenced North, the route wends its way from the Mediterranean coast through increasingly impressive scenery as it gradually climbs to the foothills of the Atlas.
But this is Africa and the culture, architecture and population present a completely different world. The colourful towns and villages teem with people living their simple but traditional lives and going about their daily business in a manner that has changed little in centuries.
As the route climbs from the Anti Atlas toward the High Atlas, the “European” influence dwindles and the Berbere influence increases. The Berbere people of the Sahara, unrestricted by political borders, freely roam the desert and that influence becomes increasingly apparent; coffee is taken at the roadside, family-run shacks, lunch of the local speciality, Tagine, at the kasbahs that lie along the route.
The roads meander up and down remote valleys and pass through breathtaking and very dramatic scenery. The route alternates between civilised asphalt roads and off-road tracks traversing remote deserted mountainsides which afford a very real sense of isolation while inducing production of the rally competitor’s fuel – adrenaline!
Traffic is a word that doesn’t translate into Berbere. In fact, the sighting of another vehicle is reassuring both security and social-wise! This is rallying with adventure, a true trait of Peking to Paris.
Beyond the Atlas, the desert beckons and the competitor is thrust into the realms of GPS navigation as the route crosses sections of “open desert” and the competitive skills with which that is associated. Virtually trackless, the route instructions take the competitor around Bedouin camps, through wadis and other notable features in a logical, disciplined manner – perfect training for negotiating the wilds of Mongolia, or simply a good cross-country rally experience.
Fear not, this is not a “sand and shovel nightmare”, the route and tracks are chosen to be well suited to classic 2WD vehicles and, proved, by numerous past events! However, the crews who successfully negotiate these sections can depart Peking with confidence in the knowledge that the crew and the vehicle are a very capable combination and a place on the Parisian podium is a potential reality if only an aspiration!
The rally enjoys 12 Moroccan nights which offer a plethora of experiences; 5* luxury to glamping and towns and cities which stir the imagination. The former Royal Palace of Fes, the traditional lodgings, Marrakech, with a tourist-oriented Rest Day, the windy coastal city of Essaouira to Bogart’s Casablanca before heading for “the boat” and a Spanish finale day leading to the trophies and champagne (Cava)!
Whatever the rationale for entering this event, be it Peking to Paris “warm up”, or simply a great adventure, the experience will be amazing; it consists of every challenge that a rally can “throw” at the competitor and is a guaranteed major experience.