First of all – don’t forget to read the Terms and Conditions and the Dangers and Contingencies documents!
- Who can participate?
- How many places do you have?
- When do you close the registration?
- What if I’m too late and can’t get a place?
- Is it safe?
- How do I get to the starting line?
- What should I do with my car in Benin?
- Where are we going to sleep?
- What papers do I need for the trip?
- Do I need to get Carnet de Passage?
- What about vaccination or other health issues?
- What should I take with me?
- What about the road conditions?
- What kind of weather can I expect?
- Do I need a visa? How do I get it?
- What maps and navigation do you recommend?
- What if I break down?
- Can we have sponsor stickers on our cars?
Who can participate?
The rules of the Run are pretty liberal: anyone can enter with any kind of vehicle which has a valid registration. You need to be 18+ when signing up for the event.
How many places do you have?
40 teams can sign up for the 2011 run.
When do you close the registration?
We close the registration on December 31st 2011, or whenever we have the 40th team signed up. But be aware: the sooner you apply the more money you can save!
What if I’m too late and can’t get a place?
As long as you inform us, you’re welcome to trade registration with any team that might have to bail out, so keep in touch to hear if any spaces open up. Our Facebook forum is a great place for this action.
Is it safe?
Yes and no. You will certainly face dangers along the way, but that’s kind of the point. We’ll keep you informed of anything specific (natural, political, etc.) that you need to watch out for, but the rest is up to you. You will be driving through some very remote place, and there is no support vehicle to bail you out. Before you commit, think about your abilities and what the journey involves, and be sure to read the terms and conditions page of the website. You’ll be travelling off the beaten track – literally. But don’t be scared by the media or what your friends say. If you keep the rules and advises from us you can surely make it.
How do I get to the starting line?
That’s totally up to you. The event doesn’t start until we meet in Tunis. We recommend you drive to Genova or Civitavecchia, Italy, where you can catch a cheap ferry ride to Tunis.
NOTE: if you’re more comfortable with renting a fully prepared car for the trip, we can let you one of our 4WD vehicles. If you rather buy something for the trip and need assistance we can help you in finding and even delivering you a vehicle suitable for your needs and budget.
Both have a price of course. Let us know if you need help or advice.
What should I do with my car in Benin?
If you purchased your vehicle just for the event, we can help you sell it (or give it to charity) in Benin. Alternatively, if you have some extra time/money left, you can drive back to Europe through Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and from Nouakchott taking the relaxing Atlantic route through Mauritania, Western Sahara and Morocco. You can count with at least 10 days to reach Spain. If you want to ship your precious car to Europe, there are value for money options available. A 4×4 from Cotonou-to Antwerp (as an example) is around € 850. Flight tickets to major European airports (London, Paris, Rome) start from €400 with Royal Air Maroc or Afriquiyah Airlines. Contact us with specific requests and questions.
Where are we going to sleep?
We will mark a campsite or a hotel as the official base camp for every night of the run. You don’t have to sleep there, but you should definitely show up since that’s where the party will be! Furthermore this is kind of an information center as well. We’ll have hotel packages available so if you don’t have a roof tent or don’t want to waste time with calling hotels in Africa, take the hotel package and your accommodation will be covered all along the route. We’ll inform all registered participants about the exact price of the hotel package after the scouting trip in January 2011 – but to give you a rought amount it will be around 250-300 Euros per person for the whole length of the trip.
Participants will get a list of hotels (or whatever lodging is available) ahead of time, so you can reserve spaces or find alternatives. But be prepared, you won’t have too many options in the middle of Africa!. Also, if you go for hotels every night, don’t expect European standards. We do inform all participants about these options in the Road Book.
What papers do I need for the trip?
A passport for a start. Furthermore you need the same papers you’d need to travel by a car/bike elsewhere. We’ll provide the essential papers provided by the governments so you can drive smoothly between the road check points. We’ll inform you about any special papers you need to carry or buy en route (insurance, permits, etc.)
Do I need to get Carnet de Passage?
Nope. Luckily you don’t need the infamous a CdP in any of these countries.
What about vaccination or other health issues?
Depending on your state of health you should consider consulting with your doctor. Also, see the WHO website to gather information about the specific countries as a reference.
NOTE: you need to prove your vaccination against yellow fever (copy of “yellow booklet”) in order to get a visa to Niger and Benin! So even if you believe in your good karma and don’t get vaccinated this one is essential. Registered members will get a document of how to get prepared for the trip.
What should I take with me?
Essentials and less important things to pack. We’ll provide you a list of necessary or recommended items for desert traveling but feel free to ask us if you have specific questions.
What about the road conditions?
Our goal was to pick a route that could be accomplished with any kind of vehicle. However, given the nature of the landscape, there are stages where it’s highly recommended to have a 4WD vehicle, especially if you enter in the Competition category. Expect rough terrain, washed-out roads, rocky areas, deep sand, and as often as not, we follow ‘paths’ that are not even marked on maps. That’s part of the challenge. In case you can only afford a 2WD car, don’t give it up! You’ll probably need to skip some stages but you can make it.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Depending on the region you drive you can expect all kinds of weather in March. Remember, the Sahara is extremely hot during the day but can be very cold in the nights. We’ll cross mountains with high passes so expect chilly after sunset. As we move South the extremes will disappear but it will be hot and humid. More info will come about the specific regions in the road book.
Do I need a visa? How do I get it?
You may need several visas depending on your passport. We conducted a thorough investigation on this and will help you in arranging your visa IF you provide all the necessary documents by the deadline. Also, you need to get away without your passport for about a week while we do the paperwork for you. This is not mandatory though, we can send you official papers to minimize troubles in embassies. Collecting the passports for visa application is in end of January 2011. Please note, that you must collect the Algerian visa yourself at the consulate/embassy your country belongs to! The visa for Niger and Benin will/can be done by the organizers.
More information will follow for registered teams.
What maps and navigation do you recommend?
Your registration fee includes a package of maps. We procured several large scale maps which are not available in map stores, but which can be helpful or even essential for certain parts of the event. We highly recommend that to bring a GPS device with you. Not only will it help with navigation, but you will also need it for the geocaching challenges if you enter in the Competition category. The official GPS brand of the event is Garmin, all the maps and points will be available in default Garmin format. Get a tough, rugged one if you can. Don’t think about using a PDA or mobile GPS, that will make you hard time even if you can use them at all. If you have any further questions, contact us.
What if I break down?
Bad luck, but you need to solve the problem. Learn some basics about your car before the start. Lots of things can be fixed on the spot but make sure you have at least a basic toolkit and some spare parts. If you’re close to inhabited areas ask help from locals, they’ll be more than happy to help you. You have a wonderful opportunity to test your sense to find a mechanic in the middle of nowhere and learn names of car parts in local languages. Desert travelers never leave each other alone in trouble, so no worries. Just try to move with another team if you feel safer.
Can we have sponsor stickers on our cars?
Yes! In fact, every participant is required to put an official number badge and official sponsor stickers on his vehicle. But apart from that, you can promote your own sponsors if you like.