Gallops of Tunisia: report in April
First scheduled in November, the Gallops of Tunisia have been postponed to 22 – 29 April 2023 to benefit from a milder weather and better enjoy the incredible landscapes that the organizers of this fifth edition have unearthed. For the candidates to this fabulous adventure, there are still a few places that you should book now.
After the Sultanate of Oman and its fascinating Wahiba Sands (2014), Morocco and the dunes of Merzouga (2017), India and the sands of Rajasthan (2018), and Jordan and the extra-terrestrial landscapes of Wadi Rum (2021), it is in the Tunisian Sahara at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains that Bady Kebir and Benoît Perrier will make people dream and travel on horseback for the fifth edition of the Gallops of …
As soon as you wander off the beaten tourist tracks and the large seaside hotel complexes, Tunisia is a fascinating country, full of sites which are real hidden treasures: “It is a country which has a heritage, a culture and an extremely rich history, emphasizes Bady Kebir. Carthage, a Phoenician city under Greek influence, is one of the most emblematic archaeological sites on the planet. Tunisia was a jewel of the Roman Empire. If it is above all a country embraced by the sea, the Berbers have strongly marked the mountain and the desert with their presence for centuries. Some mountain villages with their cave dwellings are remarkable wonders. The landscapes that the competitors will discover with the Gallops of Tunisia will surprise them, even those that have already participated in one of our previous editions”.
A Haven of Peace in the Desert
To embark on such a raid (180 kilometers), it is necessary to build up your strength and energy. For this, the organization has chosen the Anantara Sahara Tozeur Resort & Villas. The first gathering will take place in a dreamy location: a top-of-the-range hotel, near which the trial day to test the horses will take place and where the starting line begins. The caravan of riders will cross the dunes of Nefta for two days to arrive at Ong-jmal, a site famous for being one of the scenes filmed in Star Wars. The route will continue onwards in the famous triangle of the Oasis of the Atlas Mountains whose foothills first begin in Tunisia before expanding across Algeria and Morocco. The journey will take you to the location of the film Black Gold (directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, 2011) and will end in the mountain oasis of Midès before returning to the Anantara Resort in Tozeur for the award ceremony and the gala celebration evening. The principle of this raid remains the same as the previous editions: one hundred riders, representing eighteen different nations, will be divided into twenty teams of five people, and will have to complete each of the five stages of thirty kilometers in a time close to a pre-set objective time.
It is not really a race, but rather an equestrian raid through spectacular desert landscapes with a GPS as the only orientation tool. It is a significant sporting challenge and a formidable surpassing of oneself. The competition still remains, and many come to win, but that is not the main goal.
The warrior’s rest
Sometimes the adventure can be difficult for some, but comfort awaits all participants at the end of each stage: a bivouac for which this year will be more comfortable (cf. photo), and with tents that are rather more like real lounges with shimmering colors. Meals will be cooked by the restaurant chefs of the Anantara Sahara Tozeur Resort, with Berber and Asian flavors. The Gallops legendary white party at the end of the fourth stage in Chebika, and a Berber soirée and DJ at each stage will allow for an “active…. and festive recovery”!
The entire caravan (rider and non-rider participants, staff, and press) will be transported by a privately charted plane from Roissy Charles de Gaulle that will go directly to Tozeur.