Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles Morocco
Under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and under the watchful eye and guiding hand of Founder and General Director, Dominique Serra, the 2011 Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles Morocco continues to operate by the founder’s values of ‘commitment, audacity, determination, courage, generosity and solidarity’. The event, which is open to women only, was started in 1990. In the twenty years it has been running, more than 2,000 ‘gazelles’ between the ages of 18 and 67 years, from 36 different countries, have risen to the challenge of conquering the demanding terrain between Meknes and Essaouira, while building lifelong friendships and encouraging others to join them.
The goal of the Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles Morocco is to travel to predetermined destinations, by whichever route the competitors may choose. But rather than arriving there in the shortest possible time, competitors are judged by the distance they cover, with the least number of kilometers being judged the winner. This goal opens up some exciting possibilities and requires navigation skills, logical thinking, endurance, strength of character – all this, coupled with a strong sense of camaraderie, makes this annual event a highlight on the calendar of many an intrepid adventurer.
Each day competitors are provided with a ‘Road Book’, with the check points and finish line identified only by their geographic coordinates, with an indication of distance between points. Using a compass, together with a 1:100,000 scale map, competitors are required to plot their route and plan their itinerary. To overcome the problem of following one another, which is not permitted, vehicles are allocated to different courses, with successive starts ensuring that a suitable gap is created between vehicles. Rankings are determined by taking the shortest distance between points, calculating additional kilometers driven and imposing a penalty for check points missed. The team with the least number of kilometers is declared the winner. Starting at dawn, the average day of competition is between ten and thirteen hours long – clearly this is not an event for the faint-hearted.
Safety and the welfare of competitors are of primary importance, and the organizers have been successfully using a satellite tracking system since 2001 to ensure that the whereabouts of all competitors is known at all times. Teams also have the facilities to send a medical or mechanical alert signal, should that be necessary. In the event of technology failing, teams carry distress flares to call attention to their position. So, even when a team appears to be isolated from the group, or may even fear themselves lost, help is always within reach.
Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles Morocco is committed to preserving the beauty of the areas they explore, making sure that they leave nothing but tire-tracks and foot-prints in wilderness. If you feel you have what it takes to be a ‘gazelle’, you can check the Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles Morocco Website for more information.