"For the sake of greater security the adventure category and the touring category teams will travel along the same route this year", said the rally's founder Andrew G. Szabo. "In previous years we had to break up the competitors into two groups because of border difficulties on the Moroccan-Mauritanian border. This year things improved greatly at the only border crossing between the two Saharan nations."  The first African stage will end in the town of Khenifra in Morocco. From here teams have to negotiate the treacherous mountain roads of the Atlas before making their way across the Jebel Sarhro and entering the Sahara. The Budapest-Bamako will pass through some entirely new sections of Morocco, where the rally had not gone before. There will be some old Dakar "pistes" along the route in 2011. 

"It's amazing that some of the road marking sand piles, that the Dakar bulldozers made for the 1994-95 rally are still here", added the Mr. Szabo.  The rally will spend only two and a half days in Mauritania instead of the usual five, but the golden dunes and the fast salt flats will compensate the teams. "The local authorities have already issued our permits for 2011 and have assured us of the highest level of security", said Mr. Szabo.  Terror threats in Mauritania lead to the cancelation of the 2008 Dakar Rally and made the Budapest-Bamako organizers change the route in 2010. The Bamako will travel on the western seaboard of the country which is said to be much safer than the eastern parts of Mauritania.  For the first time in the history of the Budapest-Bamako the 160 teams will pass through Senegal.

Drivers will have to complete the sandy sections around Lac Rose outside of Dakar. This iconic lake has been the grand finale of previous Dakar Rallies. From here four nerve-wrecking days will await the teams as they tackle herds of elephants and hippos in the Niokolo Koba National Park, must cross the Senegal river and navigate the dusty savannah roads of Mali.  [Return...]