I have been a Dakar addict for years. Since the first time my dad took me to a Rally I was a fan. We went to different rally raids in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany but we can’t go that much anymore. But that did not extinguish the flame.
Every year the first two weeks of the year mean Dakar time. Perhaps you know it as Paris-Dakar. Tough men drive their state of the art cars, trucks and motorbikes through the hot desert. Dakar is organized by A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation) from France. I think most people will know A.S.O. from the Tour de France but they organize a lot of sport events in running, cycling, automotive, equestrian and sailing.
If you have seen the Tour de France you will probably know this phenomenon. Every day a dozens of helicopters hang in the air and one of them is constantly making overview footage of the scenery. Awesome pictures of the surrounding mountains, valleys, rivers and meadows. A true postcards of the area where the helicopter is flying.
I saw horses running through a panoramic landscape, farmhouses and small towns on hill tops, a flight of flamingos over a lake and a dry river bed between high steep mountains. And all in the middle of this are cars driving in high velocity. The cars stay the same but the scenery changes every episode. You get a really good idea of the nature in South America and the organization makes sure you know which area you are enjoying. Make sure you have a pen and paper ready.
Also the Dutch TV-show (RTL GP), which lets us enjoy the program, contributes by making an extra dimension to the show. In every episode the presenter talks to the locals or he sight-sees a small town with the only reason of letting us experience the uniqueness of the area.
This year Dakar brings us through Argentina and Bolivia. I have enjoyed the views of the dunes near Belén, the ochreous ravines near Salta of the salt plains of Uyuni. Also the website of Dakar is a must-visit. They show a really nice movie with every stage on the site. Enjoy the scenery and make sure you don’t float away on these magic images.
In 2009, Dakar was forced to move from the African continent to South America. Two sceneries who do not differ that much from each other but I am glad that they are now in South America. Next year we will be in Buenos Aires and I will make sure we will stand next to one of the stages to cheer on the many Dutch drivers.
Too bad we have to wait again for one year but this also means we will experience this event up close and personal. Now I really can wait anymore before we leave.