• Home
  • /
  • Adventure
  • /
  • Budapest-Bamako Rally Toils Toward Sierra Leone

Budapest-Bamako Rally Toils Toward Sierra Leone

Budapest-Bamako Rally

Every two years, a new Budapest-Bamako Rally launches from organizer Andrew Szabo’s home city of Budapest, and the rally has grown by leaps and bounds since the inaugural event in 2005. The first stages of the 2024 Rally left Hungary’s capital on January 26, and theoretically, some percentage of the original 1,100 competitors will reach the finish line in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa by February 12 (with a big dash of luck thrown in).

The B2B follows the same route the storied Paris-Dakar rally abandoned for South America (and later Saudi Arabia) years ago, so the challenges, especially for amateur, largely unsupported racers, are immense—unpredictable weather, harsh terrain, political uncertainties, and breakdowns all conspire to make this one of the most intense rally raids on the planet. The spirit of the original Paris-Dakar endures in the Budapest-Bamako. You can follow the progress of the 2024 rally on their Instagram page, as well as the website.

Budapest-Bamako Rally

What’s remarkable about B2B is its relatively low cost and the wide-open door for any and all types of vehicles and drivers. From tiny Vespas to massive commercial trucks and everything in between, the rally accepts all comers. In fact, the more off-the-wall your ride is, the better—competitors in the 20-vehicle Spirit Category, those with the junkiest, jankiest, oldest, most bizarre vehicles and stories, have their entry fee waived. Other classifications include Touring Adventure, 4×4 Adventure, and Classic GPS, each with different racing goals and routes.

The next Budapest-Bamako Rally is scheduled for 2026, and if you register early, entry fees range from just €550 per person in the Touring category to €1,900 per person in the GPS classification, with 50% off for racers who are just crazy enough to try this event on a bike or ATV. Included in the fee is:

  • Free entry to all events, including start and finish ceremonies
  • Arranging African visas (visa fees excluded)
  • Arranging liability insurance in Africa (insurance fees excluded)
  • Numbers
  • Complete road book with GPS coordinates
  • Government permits
  • Basic medical and emergency services during the rally
  • Race monitoring and evaluation during the competition
  • Sponsor packages and discounts

Once registration opened, the 2024 Budapest-Bamako Rally filled up in just 10 days, so it pays to get on their “insider’s” email list to reserve your own shot at Dakar-style glory. I might even see you there in 2026.

Budapest-Bamako Rally

Read more: Andrew Szabo: Rally Organizer and Adventurer at Large

Images: Budapest-Bamako Rally

Our No Compromise Clause: We do not accept advertorial content or allow advertising to influence our coverage, and our contributors are guaranteed editorial independence. Overland International may earn a small commission from affiliate links included in this article. We appreciate your support.

Stephan Edwards is the Associate Editor of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. He and his wife, Julie, once bought an old Land Rover sight unseen from strangers on the internet in a country they'd never been to and drove it through half of Africa. After living in Botswana for two years, Stephan now makes camp at the foot of a round mountain in Missoula, Montana. He still drives that Land Rover every day. An anthropologist in his former life and a lover of all things automotive, Stephan is a staunch advocate for public lands and his writing and photography have appeared in Road & Track, Overland Journal, and Adventure Journal. Find him at @venturesomeoverland on Instagram.