Maroc Challenge is a genuine low cost raid. It is a simple definition but has as many nuances as participants, because each team lives the Maroc their own way and the most incredible thing is that we all fit in; those with experience who come to compete, those who have never participated in a raid before and come just for the fun of it, and also those who dream of crossing Morocco without even touching a proper road but prefer the protection of an organization, and also those who are simply seeking an adventure. And that is the one thing we can guarantee everybody! !
Moreover it is important to discover what it is you are looking for in the Maroc Challenge, because sometimes we are surprised when we find something we never even knew we came for and that is perhaps the true spirit of the Maroc.
A DAY OF RAID
The day begins with a briefing
The briefing is a meeting at which all teams must be present. Remember that each team selects their own accommodation, some are camping, others in a hotel. . . But this is the moment when we all get together.
Different aspects of the day’s event are discussed at the briefing, and although the Guide Book specifies all critical points of each stage, the briefing serves to stress all relevant aspects of the event before the start, as well as necessary recommendations to complete the stage with the least possible incidents.
The stage starts after the briefing
This is always a moment of stress and nervousness, and it is important to start out having reviewed all the material and loaded the vehicle beforehand, etc . . . Our personal recommendation for a good start, is that despite whatever time we managed the night before to fix our mechanical problems, set up our tent, share Mum’s tupperware of lentils or granddad’s grog with our rivals: the early bird catches the worm.
Therefore, get up early, enjoy the shower (if there is one), toilet (ditto), and have a good hearty breakfast, you never know when you will find a shower, toilet, or hot food again.
This is both the best and the worst. Each team tests their driving skills and orientation. You must follow the prescribed route and go through the respective control points. It’s difficult not to put on the handbrake, forget about everything and just enjoy the breathtaking scenery that Morocco offers and that changes every day. Problems will arise, some may be solved with companionship and a sling, others require companionship and mechanics, and others…
Finally, each stage is a surprise and those involved find themselves before new challenges and concerns. Some people just come for a ride and suddenly discover themselves well positioned in the ranking and thus awakes the competitive spirit; others come to compete and yet abandon themselves to the luxury of enjoying the scenery, the people, the lamb kebabs on the street stalls and a bit of good old Carpe Diem!
Is unpredictable, some teams arrive on time; others arrive late at night with a compass in their hands. You reach the end of each stage quite exhausted, and perhaps it’s the adrenaline, but… nevertheless most people arrive exhilarated and happy to continue sharing Tupperware’s, wrenches, tagines, hariras and anecdotes.
Accomplishment, companionship and respect
The Maroc Challenge is primarily a personal journey and adventure. The organization demands a commitment, an attitude and a behavior that all participants must accept from the time of enrollment and throughout their participation.
This is not a raid for professionals; it doesn’t matter if you come to compete, to discover, to enjoy or to share. On any edition we may be cohabiting with over 200 people, which is an integral part of the Maroc spirit and the Raid. So I strongly encourage you to:
Enjoy adversity with good humor
Unforeseen setbacks are part of the adventure, participating is a challenge in itself. And challenges are best overcome with good humor and a positive spirit.
Fatigue and lack of sleep adds up and takes its toll on everyone. Be aware, patient, tolerant and respectful to all other participants, but also with members of the organization (they are the first to rise and the last in bed) and especially with the local people, who always receive us with open arms..
Help other participants
The spirit of the raid assumes a willingness to help other participants whenever needed. Remember that success depends heavily on cooperation; at times we will be helping others and at times we will be receiving help. And with good vibes, you will sleep much better.
Respect local laws
Respect the Moroccan Highway Code, always drive at moderate speed (animals like goats, donkeys or camels may suddenly appear before you at any time) and reduce speed in villages. Pay special attention to children; the expectation of a gift makes them follow, approach or even cross in front of tourists’ vehicles.
Be respectful of Muslim culture and customs, we are in their country.
It is not necessary to know Moroccan laws, just use common sense. Do not behave in any way you would not do in your own country, try to avoid behaving like those tourists whom we may consider rude, arrogant or disrespectful. That should be enough.
Respect the environment
In Morocco you will not find containers for recycling waste, but normally there will be trash cans in villages and in establishments where we stay. Do not leave your trash along the route, throw it in rubbish containers.
Water is a scarce and precious commodity, especially in the desert, make a responsible use of it during your stay in campgrounds and hotels.