NEIJAKH / EL FECHT - ideal distance 290 km – estimated minimum time 20:00 – Marathon leg

First of all, this is a leg that lasts 48 hours, with no bivouac and no mechanical assistance overnight.

Second, today the Gazelles will confront the legendary dunes of Erg Chebbi!

With such a challenging combination, this is sure to be the crowning leg of the rally!  


On the first day of this marathon leg, the time has come to plunge the competitors into a world of beauty and softness, source of apprehension for newcomers and pure pleasure for the "Gazelles of the sands": the dunes! However, the competitors’ skill levels vary considerably, and although sand is an important part of the rally, every team needs to be able to handle this leg.


The dunes are therefore optional, depending on the technical ability, competitiveness, and strategy of each team. Three routes are possible: an easy route, where teams should be able to reach all of the CPs but will be penalised; an intermediate route with lower penalties; and a difficult route that can lead to a comfortable advance in the rankings but with a greater risk of misadventure or even failure. 


So the more cautious teams can choose a route that alternates between wide rolling spaces and tight landscapes. For the others, sand will be the colour of the day…

The intermediate "X bis" route may be a prudent choice; a fairly accessible route that will take the Gazelles into the dunes, where they will manoeuvre around the larger dunes but will still experience the pleasure of moving silently through the sand.

And then there is the "X" route... leading the Gazelles into the heart of the dunes, close to the highest sandy peaks of Erg CHEBBI. This major challenge may be left up to the few brave souls who dare…

But watch out, once the sand has been conquered, orientation skills will still be needed to locate the last CPs of the day...

A first night alone in the open desert, under a brilliant canopy of stars. Not a sound to be heard apart from an occasional laugh or song of a nearby “Gazelle” - the silence is profound and surprising…


On Day 2 of this marathon, navigation and careful map reading are once again the order of the day. Early in the day, the Gazelles will be tackling one of the most difficult regions that they will have to navigate during this year's competition. The next section will require a good dose of perception in choosing the right passes to get through the many decimated landscapes between the CPs.

The route to the new bivouac will pass close to Taourirt Timlaline or "Gazelle Mountain". And while this night in El Fecht will certainly be less peaceful than last night in the open desert, it will also mean a good meal, a hot shower, and the conviviality of the bivouac.