Created in 2008 with the sheer goal to rediscover Africa, the Africa Eco Race has come to be known as one of the most challenging races in the world after Rally Dakar. In collaboration with three African countries—Senegal, Morocco, and Mauritania—Jean-Louis Schlesser and René Metge, the pioneer masterminds of the Africa Eco Race, aimed to lessen the regulations to give room to as many competitors as possible to arrive at the mythical Pink Lake in Dakar from the get-go. In addition, the AER hopes to advance the original values of motorsport, sportsmanship, solidarity, and authenticity. If you’re after the old-school Paris-Dakar nostalgia, this is it.
Although the Africa Eco Race was created in 2008, the first edition of this cross-country rally took place in 2009 and, since then, there’s been a significant increase in the number of competitors every year. Perhaps many adventurers, motorsport enthusiasts, and competitors are signing up for this rally because it’s one with traditional values and great scenery that only Africa can offer, or maybe it’s as a result of the authentic atmosphere with tracks focusing on navigation and driving skills that this off-road race offers. The Africa Eco Race is also a charitable campaign that helps empower development in under-served African communities in a fun and adventurous way.
The 12th edition of the Africa Eco Race (Monaco-Dakar) that took place between January 5th and 19th, 2020 was a huge success. Starting in Europe, over 700 competitors made their way from Monaco through the coastal roads of the Mediterranean and advanced towards Africa to cross the finish line on 19th January on the shores of Lac Rose, Senegal.
The close of the 2020 rally was not only colorful but spectacular. Battle-weary riders went through a 21.93-kilometer non-competitive stage between Niokhob and Lac Rose as they enjoyed the final moments of the competition, which moved across the Mediterranean Sea to Mauritania, Senegal, and Morocco for a total of 12 demanding special stages. The close of the 12th edition of the Africa Eco Race also witnessed the highest number of people since the first edition of the race took place.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 13th edition of adventure which was billed to take place from 2nd to 17th of January 2021 didn’t hold. However, the biggest rally raid in Africa—the Africa Eco Race—is back in 2022, and it’s going to be bigger than ever with many surprises.
Back to Africa
Tagged #BackToAfrica, the 14th edition of the Africa Eco Race is scheduled to hold between 12th to 27th March 2022. This edition will be organized in the pure tradition with a departure from Monaco. The whole caravan will board the boat towards Morocco: the participants in the 14th edition of the Africa Eco Race will hit the start and travel through Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal. After having traveled nearly 6500kilometers, all the competitors will meet on the shores of the mythical Lac Rose on the last day of the competition.
“I’m proud of the team that works on the Africa Eco Race, and which has never ceased to promote this great event despite the difficult times. I believe in a bright future for the AER and I look forward to being able to go to Africa to watch over the competitors from my plane, but also to make the most of the good times shared with other enthusiasts like me on the departure and arrivals of specials, as well as in the evening at the bivouac during our briefings. I look forward to seeing all the enthusiasts in March 2022 for the 14th edition of the Africa Eco Race,” Jean-Louis Schlesser said.
If you’re looking to finally live your Dakar dream, now is your chance: The AER still has registrations open. Consider signing up now before registration closes, so take your shot while you can and dive into the rally world head first!
Images: Africa Eco Race