The Dakar Rally is an off-road endurance event that hundreds of avid racers participate in every year. The competitors traverse extremely tough terrain with advanced off-road vehicles and motorcycles. The traditional Dakar Rally took place from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal but now is contained entirely in Saudi Arabia.


This world-renown event all started in 1977 when Thierry Sabine was participating in the Abidjan-Nice rally. Unfortunately, he got lost in the Libyan desert and did not place very well in the competition.

However, Thierry fell in love with the landscape he had found and was completely enthralled and amazed at its beauty and terrain. This led him to want to share what he had found with as many people as possible and proceeded to come up with the route of the traditional Dakar Rally.

This route started in Paris, France, went through Algiers, crossed Agadez and finished in Dakar. The distances of each stage of the race range from short to very long distances of up to 800-900 kilometres. These long ranges are taxing for the mind and body, which is why this race is seen as an ultra-endurance event.


The Dakar Rally is infamous for being one of the most dangerous races in the world. So far, 28 participants have not survived the events, and dozens more have very narrowly escaped death. The danger comes in various forms, including vehicle collisions, disorientation in the desert, personal injuries and mechanical failure of vehicles.

The terrain is extremely tough with soft sand and large rocks where a crash or accident can easily cause vehicles to break down, causing disorientation or possibly fatal injury.

The climate in the area of the race is also part of the challenge, with temperatures easily reaching 45 degrees celsius. Elevation has also reached 5000 meters in the past, creating a serious risk of altitude sickness.

Teams or individuals are not allowed to use digital devices to find their way and need to make use of physical maps and roadbooks to trace their routes day to day. This also poses the risk of getting lost in the desert without supplies, which can be extremely dangerous and has caused fatalities in the rally in previous years.

The Dakar Rally has a rich history and brings excitement and adrenaline to the lives of many. It is no mean feat, though and can be extremely dangerous for inexperienced drivers and even professionals due to the unpredictability of the desert terrain. It certainly is thrilling to see.