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Discussion Starter #1
like last summer there is an official VW touareg experience in marocco north africa in april . VW has overthere 10 touareg's transported to have some fun in the great sahara. also visit included to touareg desert people and a day track of the paris-dakar.
i go, so when i'm back i will upload the pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i heard it's only for buyers of the touareg.. i'm calling the importer tomorrow for details...

i let you know...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
the event is taken place on april 2004.
the factory in germany will organise the event. for holland there are limited places so the dutch importer has to decide who goes.
the exat date is not known yet. it's a seven day trip to marrakesch and futhre south to the paris dakar course.
The cost are 2750 euro for a seven day trip around the desert of south marokko. the trip will be guided by guides who will advise you and give you hints.
that's the info for now...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i heard today i'm not selected for the t-reg experince in marrocco. the reason was that the places for holland was already totally given for this year....
:chainsaw: :censored: :oops: :confused2:

but i have a place to do this next year if i would.... :mrgreen: :dance:

afterall i was thinking; better to do it with touareg driving experince on the normal road...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
i had to add these pic under their site, is there a way to ad bmp pic's to our web-site?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When Touareg meets the Touareg from July 2003



The sat-nav screen in the centre of the Touareg's dashboard is blank. Worryingly, so is the map. Even more worryingly, so is the expression on my navigator's face. In fact, I suspect Gus Gregory has been holding the map upside down for the last half hour, but I haven't mentioned it because it doesn't make much difference - the road petered out hours ago, and the map's just a pale yellow sheet of paper now. If nowhere does have a middle then we've found it, and it lies about 30km from the Algerian border.

Fortunately for us, we're not relying on the sat-nav, or the map, or Gus 'Desert Duck' Gregory to get us in or out of here. We have a guide, not only to stop us dying in a grisly, old-fashioned way, but also to help us find what we're looking for.

You see, the new Volkswagen Touareg is named after a nomadic people of the Western Sahara. If they'd called it the Volkswagen Geordie, you can imagine the people of Newcastle might have an opinion about that; likewise, what do the Touareg think of the car that now represents them in every VW showroom around the world? Difficult to say, seeing as they live in a place with no roads, no cars, no magazines, newspapers or TV, no telephones or internet. The only way to find out what a Touareg thinks of the Touareg is to drive the car to the Sahara, find one, and ask him.

And for that you need more than local knowledge, you need luck too - nomads move around. My dictionary says so. So we follow our guide, Mohammed Oubadi, deep into nowhere, and hope we can track down one of the world's proudest and most elusive peoples.

You wouldn't want to live in the Sahara. The dunes look nice, and it's great if you want some peace and quiet, but most of the Sahara is hostile and ugly. Temperatures reach over 50 degrees on a summer's day, and plunge well below zero on a winter's night. Fierce winds blow grit across the exposed surface, making skincare difficult and hairstyles almost impossible.
Historically all the Saharan tribes were nomadic, moving around the edges of the desert in search of water. But for centuries the Touareg lived an extreme version of this lifestyle that created its own mythology. The Touareg were the desert traders, operating the main camel routes across the middle of the Sahara, carrying salt, dates, spices and slaves. They'd travel for weeks, using an ancient version of the London cabbie's 'Knowledge' to find one oasis after another to survive.

The Touareg have their own unique social structures and traditions: unusually, the men are veiled and women are unveiled; and their clothing is distinctive - they dye their robes dark blue using the leaves of the indigo plant. This in turn rubs off on their skin, which is why the Touareg are known as 'the blue men of the desert'. But the romance of the Touareg has a tragic side too. Both 19th century colonialism and the creation of artificial borders in the 20th have compromised the Touareg's traditional lifestyle.

But nomadic Touareg do still exist, and they can still be found on the northern edges of the desert. If you're travelling from Europe, this is your only hope - drive through Morocco until you reach sand, then ask around. It's not much of a plan, but hey, it's a plan.

The Touareg V6 starts at around £30k and employs a modified version of the trusty VR6 engine - basically it's a 217bhp Golf R32 unit with a bigger oil pump. Fuel consumption aside, it's the perfect vehicle for a cruise across Europe. The combination of low noise, wide seats, air-con, sat-nav, CD player and that tall driving position make it an effortless motorway tool to reach Madrid in one day. Only the thought of burning fuel at 16mpg for 4500 miles causes my eyelid to start twitching.

By the next afternoon we're on one of the regular, 35-minute ferry crossings from Gibraltar to North Africa. Entering Morocco is a face slap for any complacent, weak-minded European. Border officials say our paperwork is not correct, even though it is. We're in trouble, we're told, but if we help them, they'll help us. Understand? After an hour the papers are suddenly - miraculously - correct, but only because we've been marched from room to room, handing out Euros to officials like confetti. Stitched up? Consider it an extremely direct form of taxation.
Northern Morocco is surprisingly green and verdant, and beautiful if you fancy Italy, Bosnia and North Yorkshire all rolled into one. But the landscape changes when we get further south and cross the Atlas mountains, and descend onto a broad orange plain. By now vegetation has disappeared, and mile by mile the scenery is becoming more and more like an open-cast mine.

We meet our guide Mohammed and his Land Rover driver, Hassan, in Erfoud, one of the last big towns before the desert. From here there are two ways to reach the dunes, Mohammed tells us - on the last stretch of tarmac in Morocco, or on 'piste', the local word for 'off-road'. Reckoning that real Touaregs wouldn't touch tarmac if their lives depended on it, off-road it is.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I'd include Hassan's Land Rover Defender in this story. It seemed a bit embarrassing - I imagined we'd drive all the way from Europe in a fancy 4x4, rammed to the roof with the latest electronic differentials and torque-sensing stability programmes, only to sink to the doorhandles in the first patch of sand we meet. Until a tatty old Land Rover could tow us out.

And true enough, the first signs are not good. Out of town the bumpy tarmac merges into a compacted brown sand, covered in tracks. It's the Sahara. Over time, where 4x4s have dug in, the surface breaks into a fine dust, and through these shallow gullies the Touareg starts to feel queasy as the standard road tyres fill with sand, squirming and slowing to a high-revving crawl. I spend the first hour convinced the Volkswagen is going to be to hopeless, only to realize it wasn't getting stuck. In fact, the Touareg never got stuck, no matter what we drove it through, and we never needed the Land Rover for anything more than guidance across the featureless desert. Featureless, that is, until you reach the dunes.

Sand dunes are the friendly face of the Sahara. The dunes of Erg Chebbi rise 160 metres from the desert floor, silent and enigmatic, sculpted into beautiful shapes that seem innately perfect to the human eye. This is exactly how you imagine the Sahara to look, all 3.5-million square miles of it, but in reality the 'Erg' are just patches of land where the sand piles up. Erg Chebbi is relatively small, an area maybe 20 miles long, but it's still big enough to attract tourists on Land Rover daytrips before they hurry back to the shops in Marrakech.

But our goal lies beyond the dunes, out towards the Algerian border, where Mohammed believes there are Touareg. The next day, we head south around the base of the Erg, and then drive east, away from the dunes and towards the Black Desert.

Tourists tend not to visit the Black Desert. It's the unfriendly face of the Sahara, a vast, bony, featureless expanse of burnt rock. To understand the name, you have to understand a cornflake packet. You know how all the big flakes are at the top and the crumbs are at the bottom? That's because the contents settle, and over millions of years, deserts settle too, until the fine sand is underneath and the rocks are on the top. The Black Desert is carpeted with a uniform layer of sharp black stones, that crunch under the tyres when you drive over them. Looking out the window, it's easy to believe you'd die quickly on this lunar surface.

Which is why it comes as a bit of a shock to find a family of Bedouin nomads out here, miles away from anywhere, fixing their camel-hair tent after a windy night. It's an important part of desert culture to offer a drink to anyone who passes, even those guzzling bottled water at the wheel of a huge SUV, so when we stop to ask the whereabouts of the Touareg, we're invited into the cool air of a mud hut, to lie on handmade rugs and drink sweet mint tea.

Further on we see an even more amazing sight - two blokes and a tiny scooter, heading no-where in the midday sun with a split tyre. To me it's an emergency situation, and I immediately start calculating how we can get the two of them and their ancient bike in the boot. But when Mohammed talks to them, the tone is astonishingly calm. I can't understand a word of it, but it goes something like this:
'Everything alright?
'Yeh, just a flat tyre.'
'Need a hand?'
'Nah, we're sowing up the inner tube of this knackered old moped using a bent needle and a piece of old wool we found stuck to our soles, before reinflating the tyre, climbing on two-up, and riding another seven hours to avoid certain death in this Godforsaken hellhole.'
'Great. See you later then!'

At midday, the sand becomes like a liquid, hot and loose, and every time Hassan drives through a gully he stops the Land Rover and looks back. I floor it in third, keeping my foot in to let the revs climb and the wheels slip and dig, until the car floats through. 'Every time I stopped,' Hassan tells me later, 'I thought you would get stuck. But you didn't!' Hassan seems pretty impressed with the Touareg. He didn't mention my driving.

And here comes the bit you probably won't believe. Eventually we start back towards the dunes, and suddenly it looks unlikely we'll find a Touareg out here. I'm just beginning to feel foolish about the whole idea when it happens, like a scene out of Laurence of Arabia. We come over a brow and there, in the valley beneath us, is a herd of camels, being led slowly, majestically, across the desert floor. And behind them is a small man - a Touareg.

'I knew it was him as soon as I saw him,' Mohammed tells me happily as we drive down the hill. 'By his walk.' We pull alongside and Mohammed does some explaining. Touaregs have their own language, 'tamachikt', but they also speak Berber. Mohammed is our interpreter: he says hello to the small, wiry man in the blue robes, who's called Salim, and he explains why we're here - this car is called the Touareg, and we want to know what you think. Salim's face is dark and wrinkled from so much squinting, but there's a flicker of light in his eyes, a glint that reflects the sun from under his heavy brows.

I open the driver's door and Salim climbs in to appreciate the fit and finish of some solid German engineering. It's his car, it matters.

Salim gazes around the cockpit, his hand passing over the air conditioning vent. 'He calls it the winter car,' Mohammed explains with a smile. 'He likes the cold air.'

But I'm looking for something more profound. Does Salim think this car is worthy of the Touareg name, I ask. Salim answers. 'He says he's sure it will be patient in the desert like a Touareg,' explains Mohammed. My pen hovers over the notebook. Patient?

Then I'm struck with an idea (it happens). How about Salim drives the car. There's hardly anything to hit for miles, apart from his own camels. Can he drive?
He's asked. 'No, but he can drive camels.'
That's good enough for me.
Salim gets in, and Mohammed explains that this pedal means go, this one is stop, and this wheel turns the car. With his foot on 'stop', I shift into drive from the passenger seat, he eases off the brake, and with a cry of 'IALAH!' - Let's Go! - we set off across Sahara desert. He's the worst driver I've ever met.

I mean, give the guy a break, he's never even sat in a car until now, and he does get the hang of the controls quick enough, but he has a morbid fascination with danger. There's nothing, nothing to hit for a hundred miles except two or three big rocks sticking out the sand, yet Salim seems to think this is the whole point. Faced with a language barrier several metres high, I find myself talking non-stop in the hope that my voice tone might give him a clue. He jabs the throttle, jerks the wheel, constantly realigning himself with the big rocks until he decides on a full-bore charge towards them. When we hit 40mph, I decide to shout STOP! and he hits the stop pedal with every sinew in his body.

Salim brakes so hard I can hear my brains slosh inside my head, and Gus in the back seat nearly jumps through an open window. And then Salim suddenly bursts out laughing, so deeply that I laugh too, until all the air is gone and tears are running down my cheeks. 'You nearly killed me HA HA HA HA.'

We head back like a fly battering off windows, and I select park as soon as Salim stops by his camp. His four sons have come out to watch us, absolutely amazed at this unexpected turn of the day. We give Salim a Polaroid of us all, standing by the car. When we drive off, he's a very happy Touareg.

I really think he liked it.





Thanks to Carolyn Hunt, Journeys Elite.
 

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This is a wonderful story. Do you have a link to it somewhere else on-line? Or did you just retype the whole thing here? I'd love to pass a link to this to some other folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
with the events the story's come's :mrgreen:

the thing was on TV in holland i saw it and looked at the website, did some heavy searching and here was the article from another journalist.
i will search for it again... and put it here.

i saw on tv that the 2003 edition was for journalist only. the 2004 was for everybody, that explains to me why so many people wanted to go for 2004. they have read about it and booming event...

the only thing i hope that they will the american version do to the non journalist too...
 
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