PARTICIPANT INFORMATION for
the Real Way to Dakar
We have gathered all the ‘nice to know’ information and collected all the questions that most frequently hits our mailbox and facebook page. This will hopefully help you with most of the questions and considerations you have before joining us on the Real Way to Dakar.
Going to Morocco
There are a number of options on how to get to from Europe to Morocco and you are free to choose the one that suits your travel plans. Some ferry crossings are shorter than others but will require you to drive longer distances in Europe or Africa – depending on where you are located.
Specialised vehicles transporting companies can take care of the transport from your home country to Spain. Let us know if you would like to have the contact with someone who can help you with the transport of your car or bike.
Most companies will prefer to deliver the car or bike to you in Spain, but you may have the option of a delivery in the first camp in Morocco.
Getting back from Dakar
1) You can drive back through Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco to Europe. In that case you will need another visa for Mauritania as you are only granted a single-entry visa when you enter with the rally. Your insurance for Mauritania also must be renewed.
2) One of the most common options, is that your service team bring back your vehicle for you. Make sure to arrange for this with your serviceteam well in advance so you get all the paperwork done the right way.
If you don’t yet have a service team, you can visit the website and explore your options to find a service team.
3) The third option is to ship your vehicle to a European harbor, like Rotterdam, Hamburg or Copenhagen. And there is a lot of other options around the globe.
We can help you get in contact with a shipping agent who can help you with all the details.
If you plan to ship your vehicle out of Dakar, you must inform the organization no later than November 12th as we will need to prepare the appropriate papers for this procedure.
CAMPSITES AND WILDCAMPS
As we are travelling in some of the most remote areas in north-western Africa, we alternate between camps in existing campsites and wild camps.
When in wild camps you need to bring your own tent and sleeping equipment. There will be no infrastructure for power supply, water, sanitary facilities etc. You must manage everything by yourself and with your service team.
When in camp there will be access to sanitary facilities and in some of the camps even power supply for light, charging etc. Your service team may have options for electricity for charging etc.
In some of the camps there are a limited number of rooms or cabins for rent on a first come first served basis. You will have to make arrangements and pay for these yourself.
Some of the camps are in, or close to, smaller towns with plenty of options to upgrade your accommodation to cabins, hotels etc. You will have to make arrangements for this yourself. If you are buying service from one of the support teams, you may want to check with them if they have made plans for your team.
Dinner in camp is included in your registration and the food service runs for the duration of the race. First meal is dinner on the day of technical inspections. The last meal is the evening before we end in Lac Rose, Dakar.
The dinner is served every day in our camp dining area between 18:00 and 20:00. If you come into camp later in the evening, there will be warm food for self-service in the dining area.
You will be able to buy food in the camp where we stay for the technical inspection as well as in the camp where the rally finishes in Lac Rose, Dakar. In some of the camps we are staying you have the possibility to buy food for dinner if you want something local. You will have to make arrangements and pay for the food yourself.
Most of the days will bring you through a town where food can be bought. However, the standards will vary from day to day and most days it is not possible to shop for food at European standards. And you may want to focus on the rally – not spending time to go shopping at local markets.
The Real Way to Dakar is a GPS navigation rally – no roadbooks. The rally route is based on a list of waypoints that are supplied every night at the briefing as a GPX file. (GPX is a Garmin format, readable in most standard gps-devices.)
You must bring usb-sticks to get the file and you must be able to transfer the file from the usb-stick to your device. If it is a Garmin device this can be done in the free software tool called Garmin Basecamp available for both PC and MAC.
We suggest that you try downloading our test file to test your file transfer and navigation setup as part of your preparations before the start in Africa. The GPX-file can be downloaded here and imported to your device. You should now be able to navigate the route from Paris to Almeria and see the waypoints on that route. (Note this route is made only for demonstration-purposes.)
In your vehicle/MC you must bring one (or more) gps-device(s) loaded with the route. You may also find it helpful to bring some electronic maps loaded on to your device. Note that not all devices will allow you to load your own maps but will only work with the preloaded maps. These may not cover the parts of Africa we are travelling in.
Some of the most used maps include the OpenStreetMaps maps for Morocco, Mauretania and Senegal. And the Garmin 276Cx is a classic among participants although a number of different and newer devices will do the job.
Finally, you may consider bringing a smaller handheld GPS-device and/or a paper map and a compass as back-up.
Everybody is responsible for his or her own safety while participating in the rally. And appropriate steps should be taken by everyone considering the part of the world we are travelling in.
We will do whatever we can to ensure a safe environment during the rally and in camp. We do this in cooperation with national and local authorities in each camp and along the route. The Real Way to Dakar is not a dangerous rally to participate in, but there are risks inherent when travelling in these areas and through rough and isolated terrains.
Every participant is encouraged to check out the recommendations for safe travel put forward by the ministries of foreign affairs in most European countries and to assess the situation for themselves.
It is important for us that you feel safe doing the Real Way to Dakar from start to finish.
At the first briefing you will be introduced to the medical team that will travel together with us all the way to Lac Rose, Dakar.
They will be in the terrain during the day and in the camps in the evening to help you with medical issues.
If you are in needs of treatment during the day in the route, they will give you the first aid you need and – if needed – bring you to a local hospital for further treatment. From here you activate your travel insurance for further help.
You will be given a tracking device that doubles as an alarm to make a request for medical help at any time during the rally if you have critical needs. (Please consult the rules). Every night in camp you may consult them if you have questions or need help.
The medic team are professional first-responders and are educated doctors, paramedics, and nurses
If you are holding a European passport, you don’t need a visa for Morocco, and you will be able to obtain a visa for Mauretania at the border. For the visa to Mauretania there will be a cost you have to cover and pay directly to the authorities. As part of the registration process for the rally you will be asked for details about the passport you intend to use in the rally. We will use this information to obtain a group visa for Senegal.
Other nationalities (Non-EU) need to pay attention to the visa requirements of their individual country and organize as appropriate. This can be done by visiting the websites of your Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the embassies of Morocco, Mauretania, or Senegal in your country.
Senegal may require that you have inoculations/vaccinations against yellow fever and that you are able to document that by showing the yellow inoculations card at the immigration office. For that reason, it will be part of the papers check at the inspections. However, you will have the full responsibility to bring and show appropriate documentations at all border crossings.
Be aware that your passport has to be valid for more than 6 months after we leave the countries. You also need to make sure that you have free pages in your passport for Visa and stamps for three border crossings.
Every day during the rally we will let you know where to buy fuel. Both in terms of gasoline and diesel by supplying waypoints to gas stations near camps and along the route. This is a part of our daily briefing. Remember to read the rules to learn how far you need to be able to travel on full fuel tanks.
Some days MC’s/ATVs/Quads will need to refuel during the day. When this is needed, we will inform you at the evening briefing the day before. You will then have the opportunity to bring your own full jerry cans to us and we will bring it to the refuelling point in the track.
As we are travelling in Africa supply may not be up to standards and fuel may be sold out or you may not get the quality you are used to. It can be beneficial to bring an external fuel filter.
To smoothen the border crossing we have made some arrangements with the authorities and organized local representatives to help at the borders to facilitate your exit and entrance. We are expecting the crossings to be fast and smooth. You will get up-to-date information and specific instructions at the briefing the evening before a border crossing.
Every participant is responsible for his or her own insurance including vehicle, travel and medical insurance for all needs during the rally.
Most European insurance companies include Morocco on the list of countries where your policy will keep you covered. This includes the vehicle insurance. You must bring your “green card” to prove that you are covered in case you get into a mishap in Morocco.
At the borders to Mauretania and Senegal we will organize vehicle insurances covering your responsibility in an accident as required by local laws. This does, however, not include damage on you or your vehicle. We will organize this legally required liability insurance for your vehicle before we arrive at the borders. To cover these insurances, we will collect the fee as part of the registration and technical inspections. The insurances will be valid for around 10 days. This means that in most cases it will also be valid as you make your departure from Senegal and through Mauretania on your way back to Europe.
The Real Way to Dakar offers two main categories for participants:
The race category and the adventure category.
The race category is a challenge for all participants, even the more experienced rally veterans and off-road drivers. Each day will have 1 or 2 off road special sections with timekeeping and with time limits. You will race the entire route. You will have to conform to all the rules of the race and may be subjected to time penalties which will influence your overall ranking. You can participate in the race category with a variety of vehicles and motorclasses. This is the option for everyone who wants the full rally experience.
The adventure category is an opportunity to participate in the rally in a more relaxed format. You will take part in all aspects of the rally, but you will not be keeping time limits. Furthermore, you are free to skip sections of the race route or maybe even the entire race for a day to just enjoy the landscapes and the towns we travel through. The participants in the adventure category will have a dedicated go-to-person and a special briefing every night. The briefing includes advice on how to avoid the most difficult parts of the terrain and how to cut the route short during the race if you want to get to camp faster. This is the option for everyone who wants the adventure of the rally without the race-element. It is also a great opportunity to test yourself and your vehicle before entering the race.
In The Real Way to Dakar we give you the opportunity to participate in the full route from Paris to Dakar, and if you prefer you can do shorter routes and only participate in parts of the journey.
It takes two full weeks to race from the Northern Morocco to Dakar in Senegal – and a few days more if you are starting in Paris. Most participants favour the African route but for some the time is limited so we offer shorter routes.
You can choose to start in Northern Morocco and finish in Dahkla. Or you can start in Dahkla, Morocco and do the sand and desert stages in Mauretania to finish at the iconic beaches at Lac Rose, Dakar. Both of the shorter routes can be done in a week.
STARTING IN PARIS
The Real Way to Dakar starts in Paris to pay tribute to the original idea of the long-distance rally tradition and this option is open for race as well as adventure participants. However, there will be no racing, timekeeping and the time spend from Paris, France to the technical registration and race start in Morocco will have no effect on the final ranking.
At the start in Paris, all participants will be given their vehicle decal with the race number so this will be on the vehicle as you depart from Paris. After the ceremony and photo session in Paris you are on your own until we meet in the camp in Morocco.
You must travel the entire distance from Paris to the camp in Morocco on your own vehicle to receive the special decals, recognition, and awards for this.
Please note, that the event in Paris is not the technical and document inspection. These will take place in Morocco, and you are required to pass them to participate in the rally.
Entering Paris, you may need an environment certificate and sticker for your vehicle depending on your vehicle.
You can bring any road legal vehicle – but the challenge of getting it through the desert will be immense if you bring a vehicle that is not up to the job. Getting to Dakar requires a good team or driver, navigation skills, driving skills, technical skills, teamwork, stamina and endurance – as well as a good deal of hard work and pure will. Choosing the right vehicle is about preferences and making life easier for yourself.
If you drive a car, you will be happy in proper 4×4 with good ground clearance, diff locks and proper off-road tires that can be driven even when deflated to get traction in the sand. A roll cage is good for safety.
If you drive a motorbike, you’ll find that many participants drive smaller off road/rally bikes with smaller engines – 350-700 ccm as they will not dig in to suddenly when you hit that deep Mauritanian sand. Bringing a 700-950 ccm engine will be a delight when riding gravel tracks and lighter sand tracks as well as the longer road stretches from Paris to Morocco – but in the big sand dunes you will easily get stuck.
Please note that in the Moto category you can’t participate on an engine larger than 950 ccm!
Other categories will face the same type of challenges. To get the most of the rally you should bring a vehicle that is suited to get you all the way to Dakar. Any way you do it, we will do our best to make it a great adventure for you.
As part of your registration, you also get dinner in camp every evening while the rally is on, while breakfast and lunch will be your own business.
For technical service you can choose between 3 options:
1) Be on your own
If you are on your own, you bring your own tools and spares to work on your vehicle and you’ll need to bring your own tent and other equipment with you. You will be able to go to local garages in the towns on the route but inside the camp you are on your own and will not be able to get any service from the service teams or the organizers.
2) Bring your own service team
If you bring your own service team, you need to register them on our website. They will then be allowed to be in the camp with you and supply service for you and your vehicle. The sky is the limit in terms of what kind stuff you can bring and what kind of service you can demand as it is your crew.
3) Buy service from the one of the registered service teams
If you buy service from one of the registered service teams, they will bring along your stuff and tent and prepare camp for you. They will transport your spareparts, tools and they will help you take care of your vehicle. Services offerings differ between teams. Once the rally is on it is not possible to buy services from other serviceteams, so it is important to make arrangements with a service team before you go and to let us know when you register for the rally. Go here to see a list of serviceteams that will be participating in the rally.
Service from organizers or serviceteam
When considering your needs, please note that every day we will have medical and technical assistance in the track – from the start of the special stage to the finish of the special stage and we will make sure you and your moto get back to camp every night in case of an issue. (Please read the rules)
When you are not yet at the start line in the morning, when you have not started for the day at the start line, when you have finished the special and are on your way to camp – as well as when you are driving the service route or doing border crossings – your service team should be able to assist you in case of an issue.
We recommend that you align expectations with your service team before the Rally to make sure you can focus on your participation and race challenge.
DOCUMENTS & TECHNICAL INSPECTION
The purpose of the technical inspections is to make sure that all vehicles are safe, legal, carry the needed equipment for the rally and meet the requirements to participate as explained in the rules. As a participant you should read the rules and familiarize yourself with them, including the technical requirements. If your vehicle or your equipment does not meet the requirements of the rules at the technical inspections, you will not be allowed to participate in the rally.
Together with the technical inspections we will also check to make sure that all documents for the rally are ready. This includes the registration certificate for your vehicle, insurances, driver’s license, passport, visas etc. As these requirements may vary from nationality to nationality and from one year to the next you will receive a detailed list of documents well before the start of the rally. We will do our best to guide you, but it is your personal responsibility to make sure to bring the travel documents needed for yourself and your vehicle to allow for smooth border crossings.
In each camp there will be a designated area for normal camp garbage and other leftovers from working on vehicles. Please be aware, that leaving worn out tires, other spare parts or garbage in the tracks will not be tolerated and may be subject to a time penalty or a disqualification.
In wild camps you must collect your garbage and bring it to the next camp or town.
In Morocco some gas stations in major towns will accept credit cards, but it is advised to carry cash in the event they don’t. In smaller towns cash is the only way to pay. Most of them will accept Euro but local currency is to prefer due to bad exchange rate.
In Mauritania gas stations, shops and workshops will only accept cash in local currency. In the first camp in Mauritania there will be a local representative that will exchange from Euro to ouguiya the local currency of Mauritania (MRU) if you need this service.
In Senegal some gas stations will accept credit cards and Euro. It is recommended to use CFA-Franc the local currency of Senegal (XOF).
In all three countries you will find ATM machines in larger cities.
The Real Way to Dakar
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