Every year a number of adventurous people trek all the way from Budapest to Bamako (and sometimes further), with nothing more than the car they travel in… oh, and some toys to donate! Here at Extreme Element we love everything extreme and to find out this charitable event was happening right under our noses we just had to find out more! We managed to catch up with a couple from Hungary who are now already on their sixteen day adventure.
Hi, I hear you’re driving all the way to Bamako from Budapest? Could you tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing and what your journey includes?
We are not going to Bamako, it is Bissau where we are heading, it is only the name of the race brand which stayed as Bamako (same as with the Dakar Rally, it is only the name, which stays the same). In answer to your question we run our own design company (ADVEX Design Srtudio) together and alongside this we are the founders of a nature photography club (Foto Natura) so we were always up for challenges, something new, adventures and extreme. Joining this event was an idea from my husband, Laszlo Herbaly last year. It was his dream since his childhood to become a car racer, this almost came true when he took his Dad`s old & shabby car once and entered a race, where he qualified for the next year race but due to the lack of equipment and qualified people`s help he gave the car back to his father. Hence, when he heard of this Budapest-Bamako race he came to me and asked or maybe even tricked me into entering the race with him. I am up for adventures as well so he did not have a hard job. Hence, we equipped our Land Rover and entered the race for the first time in 2012, with the idea that my husband will be the main driver and I will be the navigator throughout the journey, obviously we did swap roles every now and again. This event is a great adventure and one humanitarian caravan altogether.
I understand you’ve done this sort of charity fundraiser before, what did you find to be your greatest achievement last year?
Crossing the finishing line was awesome, not only physically but morally as well, since we could bring toys and other equipment for the Cacine village`s missionaries and this is a great feeling.
Is there anything else you wish to achieve this year?
This time around we are hoping to live through a lot of new experiences, see new things, take photographs and create a full HD small movie about our journey.
With the journey being nearly 16 days where are you planning to stay overnight?
In Europe and Morocco we will be able to hopefully find accommodation along the road in simple and small hotels but from then on during the trip we will be sleeping in camps with camp fires created by the participants of the round.
Apart from the accomplishment of reaching Bamako and delivering all those toys to the children who else are you hoping to help?
We hope to help the other participants (eg. When they are stuck in the sand and need someone to pull/dig them out) and the people who stayed home and would not be able to reach destinations like this to get there and be part of our adventure through our blog, photographs and a small movie.
Is there anything that worries you about the trip, running out of petrol? Meeting some unfriendly people?
For us, all unknown circumstances are a test, by this we even mean finding fuel when needed or being creative of how to work with the little that we have left. Last year, for example, in Senegal there was a walkout; therefore, at the petrol station we could not buy petrol so we decided to flag down trucks and vans to buy petrol from them. We haven`t experienced any unfriendly people so far, obviously there is no guarantee that this will stay the same for this year as there are troubling times in Mali at the moment but we hope this won`t spread out further.
How do you plan on keeping everyone back home updated on your journey?
There is a page functioning as an SMS wall for the participants during the journey, where the participant`s text messages will be uploaded alongside the car`s race number so our loved ones can keep track of us. During the race we will obviously be taking notes and photos and if there is an internet connection we will automatically upload information onto our own blog.
This all sounds really amazing! Is there anything else you would like to tell us about?
THE ADVENTURE, which is not about 5 star hotels and sun loungers, which could last for a life time and you MUST EXPERIENCE! The happiness that the contribution and the donation can give, and the only way to understand this happiness is by participating. Even if we only saw one child`s smile and could help that one child to have a better life by giving them clothes, support and security IT`S ALL WORTH IT.
With thanks to Ildiko Herbalyne Szalanczy and Laszlo Herbaly for their time and we wish them the best of luck!
Here’s the journey they have planned out: