Bamako (Mali) Challenge

The 3 week Bamako Banger Rally Challenge which leaves the UK in Dec 2019, heads South through Morocco, Western Sahara, and Mauritania and after the Sahara Desert crossing the route heads 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.

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. 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.

The music festivals of Mali are well worth seeing at the end of the 3 week challenge.  We will start the 2021 rally on Jan 15 2021 so we end at the music festival ‘Festival au Segou’.

There is also the option of pressing on south for no extra cost to Cote D Ivoire and Ghana.  Teams will be flying out to Bamako to buy cars from the finishing line to do just this.

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 2019 so far are:

  • Gordon Mackie / Andrew Mackie / Graham Mackie
  • Cyrille Djankoff/Isabelle Blanchott
  • Barbel Lochman Ritter & Gerhard Schilling
  • Chris Gulliver / Mark Hahnel
  • Daniel Church / Lawrence Church
  • Clive Grace
  • Colm Stynes
  • Sean Gleeson
  • Stephen Howard
  • Philip & Christine Nash
  • Simon & Suneal Smith
  • Justice McDonald / Moriah Joy
  • Hans Pfeiffer / Thomas Rothe
  • Pamela Keck / Jareb Steines
  • Hilary Nowill / Sarah Blewett
  • Nick Merry
  • Andy Tyler & Phil Suter
  • Andy & Bryan Rolfe