Saharun Adventure 2012

April 8, 2012 - 18:50 | author: Bálint F Gyula | photo: the author

The Saharun Adventure off-road race and charity tour took place between the 8th and the 20th March. Vitez Kurtos was the only team starting off the race and driving through the Sahara with a two-wheel drive car. Fortunately we have finished the race, had a safe return home and even managed to bag a prize.

Sure, this was a real adventure from the beginning. The participants got hold up in Palermo for half a day, as the seaway - by the port of Sicily - made the start a little more exciting than planned, a freighter stranded. The ferry – carrying the attendees of Saharun – was not allowed to leave the dock. Due to the unexpected interlude, the contributions and donations collected by the Vitez Kurtos Team and its humanitarian partners were handed over on Monday, instead of the planned Sunday.

Handing over the aids in Tunis

“With the cooperation of Hungarian and Transylvanian companies and institutions we brought computers, school equipments, training clothes, football kits and money to Tunisia.” – said Gaspar Balint. “700 Euros were given for medical purposes to an institute in Sousse, which deals with impaired children, and the equipments have been delivered to a primary school in El Houda Wed Ellil, near Tunis. “

The Mides-canyon

Due to the late start, the first Tunisian stage had to be finished in a hurry, having to complete 500km from Tunis to Tozuer. The daily plans had to change, so the Vitez Kurtos Team left sightseeing for the next day, and paid a visit to the Chebika Oasis and the Mides Canyon. March 12th was a day for spectacles: the beautiful upland oases, the panorama route meandering between the mountains, the shooting scene of The English Patient, the Atlas Mountain and the Chott El Jerid salt-lake, whereon a direct route leads to Douz – providing everlasting memories for the team.

The next day meant the cross-country race through the dunes; we stayed on the surfaced road with the Dacia. Our plan was to try the car on the dunes in the Ksar Ghilane oasis, where we had a full day to experiment. This gave us the opportunity to dig the car out in case of any obstruction, and help was also close by. First, we drove round the sandy oasis roads, and then went for the dunes. We felt in control, therefore decided to take upon the dunes all the way to the Ancient Roman Fort of Tisavar, 4kms away.

The riuns of Tisavar fortress. In the background the Ksar Ghilan oasis.

We were surprised by the performance of the car. We were expecting dry sand, but learnt that only the top layer (about 4-5 cm) is dry, under the surface it’s wet, which gives great support to the car. This is reveals the secret: how the plants get their necessary water. It was obvious we would have been unable to climb the bigger upgrades, however the 1-2 metres fall, by choosing the right direction and dynamism, could be conquered.

Prior to our arrival rainy days made the situation easier for us, as we have been told by the organisers after the event –the rain made the sand more solid and wet.

The Saharun Adventure crew spent the 15th and the 16th of March on military soil. The organizers acquired the necessary permits so the participants could get to El Borma. A local tour guide and two overland on board with soldiers escorted us through the prohibited zone (zone interdite). We had no other option but to follow the route through the dunes in the rocky desert, the shingly roads and between the bushes. Our car was not made for these roads, however, we stood up for the challenge, and managed to go through this stage with only one obstacle – a dune proved to be a little more pointy than I have expected it to be and we needed help coming downhill.

I made a small mistake...

By leaving the army area the attendants left the desert behind too. The next stage had more incredible sights to reveal, the mountains to Tataouine, and on the final day the beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea towards Monastir.


The 2012 Saharun Adventure Award Gala was held in a beach resort on the 17th of March. All participants received a plaque, and those reaching the podium got trophies too. HN Aquicum Team won the race, followed by the Polish White Elefant Team and the third prize went to another Polish team, the Solter RS Team. The Vitez Kurtos Team earned a special prize, a stone rose, for contributing and donating the most of all teams.

The most charitable team

On March 18th we made our way to Tunis. The ferry was late again, instead of a 16:00 departure we left the port at 21:40, and arrived to Italy’s shores 10:00 next morning. 1100km drive followed to arrive in Budapest on the morning of the 20th. The Vitez Kurtos Team had a sudden thought and decided to include a 30 minute photo shoot on the Heroes Square, stopping on the busy avenue of Budapest with the dusty car.

Back in Budapest

We’d like to thank our sponsors – Vitez Kurtos, AUTOKART, Hotel Küküllő***, Hargita Line, Dacia Klub Hungary and the Autopress Simo - for helping us make this tour happen. We thank the Eolex Productions for the camera, which was used to record almost four hours of our journey, the Demaco Autocentrum and the Renault Hunagaria for the spare car parts, which we luckily did not have to use. We also would like to thank our humanitarian partners – Vitez Kurtos, MÜTF Oktatasi Központ (MÜTF Institution), Udvarhelyi Fiatal Forum (Youth Forum of Udvarhely), Gymnasium of Orban Balazs in Szekelykeresztur, Hotel Küküllő***, Hargita Line, Fitness Factory,, Dacia Klub Hungary and the Csipike Book Shop – for their contributions and collections.

We had the opportunity to explore such beautiful land. I have been inspired by the view of the Chebika Oasis, the Mides Canyon, the Chott El Jerid salt-lake, the dunes and the reliefs around Kambout. I have mainly travelled as a photographer and I am planning an exhibition for the summer where I could show the images I’ve taken in the Sahara.

Tags: adventure charity dacia off-road saharun tunisia