London to Dakar 2005

12th - 31st January 2005

THIS IS 20 days of driving into the great unknown. We drive away cheered on by Lord Nelson who still bears the reminder of having received a poke in the eye from the French, to drive down to Parliament Square and onto the Dover Road. We drive France and Spain as a touring route – Africa is plenty tough enough without us manufacturing anything artificial before we cross to Tangiers.

In Morocco, we drive some of the routes of the early Dakars. Into Mauritania, we are now in the most empty and least populated country in the whole of Africa. It’s vast – bigger than France and Spain put together, the total population is less than Bristol. Enthusiastic children will cheer you on your way but don’t expect big crowds – this country has never seen a crowd. We camp for two nights out in the Sahara, the stars are so vividly clear you could pluck them, and meteorites and even satellites can be seen clearly through tired eyes.

It’s man and machine up against the elements – we are not seeking out in-land routes with giant sand-dunes as “stoppers” – it’s just practical for a well-prepared two-wheel drive Historic car driven with care and determination, but will be an enormous and memorable challenge.

This will appeal to those who can swap the rut of normal living for the ruts of the greatest wilderness on earth, and join in the camaraderie of taking on a marathon drive with other like-minded enthusiasts.

The route will include a number of difficult roads, and good ground clearance (you can never have enough of that commodity), and careful preparation will be essential ingredients for success.

Entrants should accept that this is not intended as a gentle tour and cannot be without risks, careful research of the countries and the route is strongly advised (some of the backpackers paperback books, such as the Lonely Planet book of Mauritania, make for interesting background reading). 

Day No.DateDayRoute
Day 1Jan 9SunLondon to France
Day 2Jan 10MonFrance to Spain
Day 3Jan 11TuesSpain to Tangiers
Day 4Jan 12WedsTangiers to Fes
Day 5Jan 13ThursFes to Midelt
Day 6Jan 14FrMidelt to Erfoud
Day 7Jan 15SatErfoud to Zagora
Day 8Jan 16SunZagora to Ouarzazate
Day 9Jan 17MonOuarzazate to Marrakech
Day 10Jan 18TuesMarrakech Rest Day
Day 11Jan 19WedsMarrakech to Agadir
Day 12Jan 20ThursAgadir to Laayoune
Day 13Jan 21FriLaayoune to Dakhla
Day 14Jan 22SatDakhla to Nouadhibou
Day 15Jan 23SunNouadhibou to Cap Tafarit (Camp)
Day 16Jan 24MonCap Tafarit (Camp) to Nouakchott
Day 17Jan 25TuesNouakchott Rest Day
Day 18Jan 26WedsNouakchott to St Louis
Day 19Jan 27ThursSt Louis to Dakar



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