Bamako (Mali) Challenge

The 3 week Bamako Banger Rally Challenge which leaves the UK on 9 October 2021, and Jan 13, 2022 heads South through Morocco, Western Sahara, and Mauritania and after the Sahara Desert crossing we head inland to Mali perhaps via Senegal or the more direct route, arriving in Bamako in Mali. The journey to Bamako is approximately 4100 miles, and can be covered in 2 wheel drive vehicles in around 3 weeks. European teams meet up with the UK teams in Tarifa 2 days after the UK start date. The run starting Jan 13,2022 uses the Portsmouth Santander ferry which has a sailing that night.


Good flight links exist to the UK and the donation point for cars in Bamako is a short drive from the airport.

The Challenge really starts in Southern Spain, where all teams meet at the rally hotel. European teams start from here so there is no need to go to the UK. The Roadbook provides the clues as the participants bond over a beer (or two) in the hotel bar, and form into travelling groups for the journey south. Ahead lies sand, sea and... even more sand. Experience the heat of the desert sun, and the challenge of nursing a knackered car all the way to destinations that most people would only consider flying to.

saharaThis Challenge is open to either left-hand or right-hand drive vehicles.  It is a condition of entry that all vehicles MUST be donated to the Rotary Club Control Committee in Mali for auction.  Money raised will fund works for the Eden Medical Centre in Dinfara which is being built with the help of the Challenge monies.  This auction is the only legitimate way to ensure that the best price is obtained and that the funds are distributed appropriately.  Nasty things will happen to those who might flout this requirement, because it is illegal to sell your vehicle privately.

We offer a car buying service in the UK for people who find it hard to buy a car (such as those who live in the US or Australia).  This is on a not for profit basis and includes all paperwork.

There are security concerns in Mali but these have eased since French troops started providing support to the government.  We do recommend that you stick to the main cities of Bamako and Segou for most of your stay.   Despite press reports, you will be impressed by the quality of roads, hotels and the organisational skills of our Malian organiser.  Teams should realise that insurance will not be available from any company for Mauritania and Mali. We have run trouble free rallies to West Africa since 2003 and our trips benefit from much ‘behind the scenes’ support.

There is also the option of pressing on south for no extra cost to Cote D Ivoire and Ghana.

The fee is £nil, per car. Really! Yes: but with a twist! You pay £399 per car and this is refunded once you get to Bamako. Reason is we want more cars hitting Mali as they need aid more.  Note that Bamko teams travel with Banjul teams for 2 weeks before turning left to Bamako.

Click here for our Driving Challenges Application Form

Teams for 2020 were:

  • Alan Cartwright & Wayne Lynn
  • Kevin O’Kines & Amy Lynd
  • Clive Grace
  • Colm Stynes
  • Stephen Howard
  • Philip & Christine Nash
  • Simon & Suneal Smith
  • Justice McDonald / Moriah Joy
  • Pamela Keck / Jareb Steines
  • Hilary Nowill / Sarah Blewett
  • Andy Tyler & Phil Suter
  • Andy & Bryan Rolfe
  • Jackie Matthews & Joseph Culver
  • Faheem Kajee & Aisha Chottani
  • Martin Smith & Jane Davison