What is this?
You’ll find useful information about the Budapest-Bamako. Read these questions and answers carefully if you’re considering entering the race. If you haven’t heard about the Budapest-Bamako watch this short video.
What is Budapest-Bamako about?
Budapest-Bamako is a charity rally, competition and crazy driving adventure from Budapest to Bamako. Budapest-Bamako is for those who’ve dreamed about the Dakar, Africa, the Sahara and hitting the open dirt under extreme circumstances. B2 is a minimal assistance event, which means that if you’re in trouble you can only count on yourself and your mates. You can enter in competition and adventure category. B2 is not a Sunday drive or picnic in the park. It’s not an organized package holiday. It’s a grueling two week drive on hostile terrain.
How much money is needed for two people?
According to years of experience we have a good sense of how much it should cost. You should be aware of your car’s fuel consumption and your needs along the way. The following calculation is a relatively middle of the road budget. It can be lower and can be higher.
The price of the vehicle and the entry fee is not included in this budget.
BUDAPEST-BAMAKO BUDGET FOR TWO PEOPLE
|Insurance + Permits||350 Euro|
|Road tolls||130 Euro|
|Ferry||40 Euro for 2 people|
|Mechanic||400 Euro (not necessarily needed)|
|Plane ticket home||1000 Euro|
|TOTAL||~4900 Euro –> 2450 Euro per person|
What kind of dangers can we expact?
You can reduce all the risks and you prepare for dangerous situations, but there is one very important rule: in case of danger, you can count only on yourself.
- highway accident in Europe
- kidnapping in West Africa
- becoming victim of a terror attack
- imprisonment in Africa
- lynching by locals if you hit a man or animal
- dehydrating in the desert
- unfixable technical problems on the open road
- accident and injury on the open road
- bandits or thieves in the desert
- corrupt immigration officers who want to let you cross the border in return of money
- lazy immigration officers who let you cross the border after hours or days of awaiting
- corrupt policemen who wants to let you along the way in return of money
- improvised taxes and fees in Africa ranging from 5 to 30 Euros
- dangerously driving Africans
- dangerously driving Budapest-Bamako participants
- nerves stretched to the breaking point
- and thousand of other dangers which can’t be defined in advance
Accidents can happen anywhere. You can only rely on yourself and your friends.
What is racing category?
In racing category the participants have to complete daily stages from one camp to another. Along the road they will have to find geo-challenges, which are navigational points usually given by GPS coordinates. These points have to be visited, photographed and entered on a daily race sheet. Teams can collect points for completing the daily stages and reaching the geo points. Penalties are given for missing daily stages or speeding in residential areas.
What is touring category?
In touring, there are no points, no geo challenges and no tasks to complete. You’ll get a detailed road book with the daily stages and you’re free to roam and discover. The touring category is about adventure, discovery, connecting with other people and visiting places you never knew existed in the world.
Who may enter Budapest-Bamako?
The motto has been “Anyone, By Anything, By Any Means” from the very beginning. You can enter the B2 by car, motorcycle, quad, bike, on foot, or on roller-skates. You should be at least 18 years of age.
Important information about the start-ceremony and about the administration
The start ceremony will take place in January 2016, in Budapest. You should try to make it there because it’s always and exciting event. However, if you can’t be there you may join the rally wherever you wish. The visas and the administrative paperwork (insurance, road permits, start numbers, passes) can be picked up in December in Budapest or if you arrange for a courrier (DHL, Fedex, UPS) we can have everything shipped to you. Please note that we don’t pay for shipping. You must make your own arrangements.
What is the the race sheet and the road-book?
The road-book is a detailed guide to the daily stages and the countries and territories that we pass through. The road-book will provide you with advice on how to drive in the Sahara, how to behave in the Sahara, where to buy food and other important issues relating to your trip. The road book will contain information about the road conditions for every stage. It will have a list of the official hotels and campsites as well. The road-book is usually published in November/December. It will be available for downloading.
Important facts about the paper work for your vehicle
Every vehicle must have a valid registration, an international insurance (“green card”) and insurance to Mauritania, Senegal and Mali. This will be requested at various border crossings. Important! If the vehicle is not in the driver’s name, you must have a power of attorney with you in French. If the car is owned by a company the French authorization must be stamped by the company’s rubber stamp. It may cause complications at border-crossings and checkpoints for you if you don’t have POA from the owner of the car.
“Carnet De Passage” is not needed in any of the countries. In Mauritania there is a 15 EUR “customs” to pay at the border, in Mali a “customs revenue stamp” can be purchased for 80 Euros. This has to be obtained from the rally office.
You must have proper liability insurance for Mauritania, Mali and Senegal prior to the start. Our rally permits require that we use certain insurance companies. The insurance must be obtainted through the rally office.
Important facts about the visas
We’ll help you arrange the Mauritania and Mali visas. We save time, money and energy if we arrange the visas for all the participants. We upload the application forms in October on the password protected team-site with instructions. We’ll require you to submit your visa application by November with your passport. Keep in mind that you may obtain your own visas, but they will not be easy. Citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia don’t need a visa to Morocco. If you need a visa, you must obtain a tourist visa on your own. We can’t really help you with that.
In the past you could obtain visas in Mauritania at the border. That is no longer the case! People are regularly sent back to Morocco for not having proper visas.
Important facts about shots and medical issues
Your best bet is to contact a travelers’ clinic in your home country and enquire about shots and medical precautions needed before undertaking a trip to West-Africa.You get a so called “yellow-book” about your shot against yellow fever. This book is almost as important as your passport. You can’t enter Mauritania and Mali without this. Next to the shots it is important to have a medical kit with you. In the roadbook you will have detailed information about this.
We recommend packing a medical kit with the following:
- Pain killers
- Ointments for insect bites and burns
- Strong SPF sunscreen (lots of it)
- Insect repellent
- Tweezers, needles
- Antiseptic alcohol
- Eye drops (The desert dust and sand can be brutal on the eyes)
- Generic antibiotics
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- First-aid kit
- In case of dust allergy sufficient amount of medicine
Important facts about the roads
The route of the adventure category goes on the road of your choice. The rally travels on roads indicated on roadmaps. However some of those roads are in horrible shape. In Mauritania and Mali the marked roads are not the highest quality. This may cause difficulty to two-wheel-drive cars, but it is not impossible. Locals also drive junky 2wheel drive cars in many case.
The racing category will be hard. If you want to complete all the stages, you have to come with a 4-wheel-drive car. It is not impossible with a two-wheel-drive, but it is sure that you will have to shovel, push and to ask for the help of the locals, if you would like to get every point. In 2010 a 1957 VW Beetle got stuck in the sand in the Moroccan Sahara. He was rescued by a local trucker after loading the bug onto the truck.
Important facts about maps and navigation
The more maps you have the merrier. We recommend getting a Michelin 741 Map and also a good map of Morocco, Mauritania and Mali. There’s another important map, which you can’t buy anywhere. It’s even hard to find it on the net. We have it. Download it from here:
Apart from the maps, you should also bring a GPS. You will need a GPS and not a navigation tool. You should get to know before you embark on the jounrey. It has to be able to handle coordinates (in the right format) and not only street names and numbers. WorldGate GPS in Budapest will upload a GPS map of the region to your GPS device.
Where are we going to spend the nights?
Every night a hotel or campsite will mark the end of the day’s stage. In bigger towns we’ll spend the night in two-three star hotels. Outside of the cities tents are recommended. Participants will receive an official list of hotels though no one is obliged to stay at these facilities, and it is possible, that not everyone will get a room. Even if you make a reservation and prepay your room it doesn’t mean that it’ll be there when you arrive.
How do we get back from Mali, and get our car back?
The return from Bamako is completely up to you. What you do with your car is also optional. Here is what you can do with your car.
- Donate your car to a village, school or hospital in Mali.
- Drive to Senegal and have it shipped from there to your home country. From Dakar to Hamburg it costs approximately 1500,00 EUR. You should get information about the shipping in Bamako.
- Sell it in Bamako.
- Ask another rally participant to drive it back to Europe. Often people who sell their car or donate their car will need a ride back and they’ll be happy to drive your car back if you pay their gas.
Can we participate with quad?
Yes, you can. The rule is simple: if it has a valid registration paper, it can come.
Is a driver’s license needed for the navigator as well?
Is it possible to get through with 2-wheel-drive vehicle?
The answer is yes. On the previous Budapest-Bamako races more two wheel drive vehicles reached the finish line. It wasn’t easy, but if you like easy things, it is better if you stay at home.
What to do if your car stops at the middle of nothing or you have an accident?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The best solution is the prevention. Never go alone. No one has ever got stuck in the Sahara forever. The first solution is that you ask for help using your satellite phone or on CB radio and a participant who is near to you pulls you out takes you to the day’s end stage or helps you. The second is that a local pulls you from the trouble. It can be surprising, but in the Sahara there are people everywhere. The third solution is to walk to a paved road and you call help. In 2008 two participants got stuck in soft sand with motorcycles. They walked for 12 hours to the paved road, where they found a local truck, which pulled them out. The official road book contains important information for situations like this.
What to do in case of illness or injury?
Every year we have an ambulance and a medical crew accompanying the rally. Their job is to give first aid and attend medical emergencies. They travel every day on the official race route. In case of trouble you can reach them on your satellite phone or a help line that you’ll get from us. They can be there in 5 minutes or 5 hours where they are needed. You can find them every night at the official hotel or camp which is given in the road book. You’ll have medical care 24/7 during the race. However keep in mind that they can’t always be at the scene of an accident immediately.
How to prepare the vehicle for the race?
If you want to pass the hardest stages by car, it is recommended to prepare the car for hard terrain. Find a 4×4 specialist, who knows everything about driving in extreme setting.
What you need to know about driving in the Sahara?
That is what we can’t answer in one short paragraph. If you really want to get ready for the Sahara-drive, than the best book to find is the Sahara Overland. If you speak German, there is “Durch Afrika” for you. Both books are available through amazon.co.uk. Also, the road-book will contain several important chapters on this topic.
How serious is the threat of Al-Qaida in the region?
We’d like you to do your own reading on this matter. The best is go to Google News and search for Al Qaida In Maghreb. Every year they kidnap 6-8 Westerners in Mauritania, Mali & Niger. However, the rally enjoys the protection of the Mauritanian and Malian police and army. Every camp is guarded by the local armed forces. We maintain a very special bond with the government of Mauritania. (See our letter of gratitude). The rally’s security is our top concern. Most of the entry fees go towards security. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise caution and follow the security guidelines. In Mali the rally will not travel to areas where Al Qaida is active. We ask you to monitor the situation and make your own decision about your travels. Unless there is a war or armed conflict in the areas we travel we don’t have plans to cancel the rally. However, be ready that the route may change on a moment’s notice. In 2009 we had to cancel a stage because of security concerns.