Features, Spotlight

Coming in hot! The Sahara Challenge returns

Back in March 2020, Bailey of Bristol sent their team to make the journey from England’s West Country to the Sahara Desert and back, taking caravanning back to its roots.

Unfortunately, that year also saw the dawn of COVID and the subsequent pandemic, forcing the group to cut their adventure short at the ‘World’s End’ in Portugal before turning back.

Now, Bailey is back and more ready than ever to complete the mission. In association with the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) and sponsored by CaravanTimes, the team has set off on a 19-day, 2,735-mile intercontinental road trip, testing the capabilities of two of the manufacturer’s caravans and a motorhome.


What does the challenge involve?

For those who aren’t aware, Bailey isn’t new to journeys of this proportion. In fact, it’s the fourth long-distance trial of its vehicles undertaken in recent years and supported by the Club, following adventures across the Australian Outback, Arctic Circle and Europe.

This time around, the Bailey and CAMC dream team features Simon Howard (marketing director, Bailey of Bristol), Nick Lomas (director general, CAMC) and three Bailey brand ambassadors – adventure athlete Marcus Leach, journalist Lee Davey and outdoor adventurer Andy Torbet.

Together, the fantastic five are aiming to “inspire future generations of touring holidaymakers” as they make their way onwards from the ‘World’s End’ in south-west Portugal, across the Strait of Gibraltar into Morocco, over the Atlas Mountains and all the way to the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, before returning home to Bristol.


Dan Cartwright answers questions about the trip

The Sahara Challenge is proudly sponsored by CaravanTimes and we’ll be documenting the entire journey with a full crew travelling alongside Bailey to pick up where we left off in 2020. 

Although Dan isn’t on the adventure, he was heavily involved in the planning and while the crew is in the desert right now (hopefully!), we took the chance to catch up with him and find out more about the Sahara Challenge.


Why do you think the trip is a good idea?

“Bailey of Bristol has always been committed to real-world testing and this is a fantastic opportunity for it. From our perspective, it provides some wonderful inspiration for the public to see what kinds of adventures you can have with a caravan or motorhome.

“Lots of people dream of trips like this, but few pluck up the courage to make it a reality. The Sahara Challenge is just one way of giving curious adventurers a little push and showcasing how much fun it can be – that’s what we believe in here.”


Where is the team heading?

“Essentially, there are multiple parts. First, the team will head through the narrow streets of European cities like Seville before boarding a ferry from Gibraltar to Morocco. Then, they’ll journey into northern Africa and make use of the CAMC’s overseas site network to camp.

“Once they reach the Sahara, they’ll have two days of off-grid camping in the desert which will certainly put the air conditioning and heating capabilities to the test. Finally, the crew will face a strenuous journey through the Atlas Mountains on their way back home. It really has a bit of everything.”

To see the full route, head to the Bailey of Bristol website


How realistic is it for others to attempt this journey?

“Very! The team has met up with Marcus Leach, who’s been living in a motorhome with his family for a year now. He’s taken them along for the ride, meeting just outside of Morocco.

“If you really want to do it, wild camping in the Sahara might be the biggest challenge. It’s worth looking into hiring a local guide for security reasons, but there’s no reason why you or your leisure vehicle couldn’t undertake this kind of trip.”


How do you plan a tour like this?

“Planning is key. You can’t always rely on finding campsites or facilities where you’ll need them. So, make sure you have a route beforehand and make use of the CAMC site network to help locate approved campsites and get a sense of what to expect before you get there. Additionally, come prepared with contingency food, fuel and perhaps a slightly more extended tool kit than you’d take on a weekend break to the British seaside.”


Have the team encountered any problems?

“The current update is that everything has been going well out there. Hearing from the crew, everyone is in good spirits. They’ve been cooking outside a lot, which for us Brits must be quite nice!

“We’re not expecting any problems to arise. On previous trips, the main issues have been around border entries in some of the more remote destinations. This time around, Morocco’s strict drone laws mean that our crew are officially grounded, which is frustrating for them.”

Visit the Bailey of Bristol website for more information about the Sahara Challenge.

Photo credit: Greg Gulik / Pexels