Next month in Morocco, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc will welcome over 300 adventurers in the world’s largest all-female off-road rally race. Celebrating its 29th season this year, the North Africa event includes competitors from more than thirty countries in ages ranging 18-71. Racers begin in the south of France in mid-March culminating in a nine-day rally-competition through the desert of Morocco, with vehicles ranging from standard 4x4s and quads to electric vehicles – the “E-Gazelle Vinci Immobilier.”
In addition to tough desert terrain, competitors must reach their destination without the use of technology. Each morning, participating “Gazelles” receive a road book of sorts, documenting the geographic coordinates and distances of the day’s initial checkpoints. Using only a compass, a navigational plotter, and maps, competitors must plot their route and plan their itinerary. The winning team is the one that finds the greatest number of checkpoints while driving the least number of kilometers.
“I wanted to make an intelligent rally, rather than an adrenaline rally; something that went beyond just putting your foot on the accelerator and advancing along in a straight line,” the event’s founder, Dominique Serra, commented to The Guardian.
The race also brings recognition and support for the Coeur de Gazelles, a non-profit organization that works to meet the needs of Morocco’s remote populations: medical care, education, the environment and sustainable development, job training for women, improving living conditions, and a desire to spread joy by distributing donations.
As the website states, “The only requirement is determination.”
You can read more from writer Lia Grainger, who tagged along for the event last year.
Photo credit: Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc