In this raid there is no «organization» that provides services to participants. TRANSAHARA is a raid among friends who want to go together to reach the authentic, tribal Africa. Participants are searching «Control Points» individually. Their expenses – accomodation, restaurants, garages etc. – are to be paid directly on the spot during the raid. Naturally, to appear in the «Control Points» in the required time one must be prepared well in advance.
Solidarity, friendship, strength of will, good humor, curiosity… That’s the style what we, the “Tribe of Transahara», like.
We also like the holidays, traveling by car, spend little money, pass the night outdoors choosing the place which appears to us, eat what we cook…
In October 2000 a group of eight friends went to Dakar in two cars. That time people had to cross the border between Morocco and Mauritania gathering in convoys, whose departed on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, of course accompanied by the Gendarmerie. The convoy was formed in Dakhla and reached Nouadhibou. A strange convoy: travelers of many nationalities, shining new cars, and ruined old ones, motorbikes, vans and trucks, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Mauritanians, Senegaleses… The tarmac road to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauretania wasn’t built yet, so to go South, you had to travel 460 km of difficult tracks through the dunes of the Banc d’Arguin National Park. People used to go together. That time we joined a group of more than a dozen cars.
And however the majority of drivers in the group agreed to go individually in their own pace, they insisted to put some «meeting points» at noon and evening. If somebody didn’t appeared in the meeting point, we would know he had problems…
It worked during the two-day crossing Sahara to Nouakchott. The system permitted everyone to go his own pace, but without separating from the «Mother» group.
After a couple of years we repeated the experience in the same friends’ company, adding two more teams to our group. This time we planned to go to Mali, so we prepared around a hundred «meeting points» along the way from Algeciras to the Bandiagara Escarpment. We had all: beach, mountain, adventure and relaxation. So we started repeating overlanding vacations in Africa in every August: 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The 2008 edition was a milestone. Friends became rally teams in a highly competitive RAID. As for the «Meeting Points» we started to call them «Passage Controls» – those who collect highest score of «Controls» at appointed time, win. Again, everyone liked the formula.
In the START point of Algeciras appeared people, and nobody knew them. Then, on the fifth day, in the Mauritanian desert we were all like brothers.
In the «VII RAID A BURKINA FASO» in August 2009 participated a record number of 64 vehicles participated and we spent again an unforgettable holidays. We were one of the most «strange» African Tribes. Unfortunately in November 2009 Algerian Islamists (better call them desert bandits) kidnapped three Catalans in Mauritania. And in successive editions teams’ assistance to our RAID was diminishing. The French military intervention in northern Mali in early 2013 allowed the return of public security to that country. In the summer 2014 dozen vehicles appeared again in the «XIV RAID» to Burkina Faso, and now we can observe a slight increase in participation in TRANSAHARA Raids.
When we started these raids we called them TOURIST. And we were driving mostly on tarmac or on well kept primary trails, because the goal was to get to the heart of Africa in only two weeks. But asphalting of the old tracks and increased local traffic in recent years, have forced us to reschedule routes to less attended dirt roads and tracks.
Now we go directly to the secondary tracks. Narrower and much more deteriorated, those tracks increase exotism and interest in travel, but also the difficulty.
Now it is more difficult to get to the «Control Points» at the time required. We can forget that old «tourist» connotation that we had: now our RAIDS have become authentic sport events, with little time for tourism! Who want to «keep up with the rhythm» and meet the schedules, should strive.