2024 Budapest-Bamako Rally Part 2 Ends on Gigibonta Today

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

As Sierra Leoneans heartily welcomed and hosted the first batch of participants of the 2024 Budapest-Bamako Rally on the 11th February, 2024 at Bureh Beach with them bravely proceeding on the 12th February, 2024 to the Finish Line at Gigibonta Restaurant Car Park on Lumley Beach , it is again with great pleasure and open arms that the second batch of participants, in a 9000km on-the-road journey from Europe to Sierra Leone, were graciously received and accommodated at the same Bureh Beach, in the Western Rural District on the 3rd March , 2024.

This took place after the Second Batch, comprising 194 participants with 96 vehicles entered Sierra Leone via the Kambia border and drove all the way to Bureh Beach, where a beach carnival with a live band show was held in their honour. The reception given to them was indeed warm with a lot of social interaction on the iconic beach with the participants visibly seen as feeling at ease with the hospitality and friendliness that were graciously accorded them.

After spending memorable times at Bureh Beach, in the morning hours of today 4th March, 2024 the participants, driving in their vehicles with some riding motor bikes, will go through Waterloo to Wellington to Up Gun, the East End of Freetown to Siaka Stevens Street, in the Central Part of Freetown to Wilkinson Road to Lumley Round About and end at Gigibonta Car Park at Lumley Beach in the West End of Freetown where a Finish Line Event will take place around 12:00pm.

It must be noted that this second batch of participants departed, Budapest in Hungary on the 12th February, 2024 traversing a vast array of countries along the designated route to complete a 9000km journey that stretched from the heart of Europe that will end today at the finish line on Gigibonta, encompassing a journey across two continents and 10 countries.

At Gigibonta, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nabeela Farida Tunis and her team will express gratitude to the participants as well as highlight the significance of their presence in Sierra Leone.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in Sierra Leone the 2024 Budapest-Bamako Rally should be better referred to as the : “Budapest-Bamako-Freetown Challenge” claiming that it is the world’s largest amateur vehicular rally as well as Africa’s biggest humanitarian event further revealing that this will mark the third time that the country is hosting the Finish Line Event, with this year witnessing two participating teams.

In a rather ecstatic mood, during a snap interview, the enthusiastic Tourism Minister, Nabeela Tunis, intimated that she is delighted to again welcome another batch of participants to Freetown adding that their efforts are commendable in terms of promoting tourism and cultural exchange.

She disclosed how her Ministry recently launched a One Year “Tourism for All” campaign and briefly dilated on strides taken and plans mapped out  towards actualizing the objective of the campaign underscoring the importance of domestic tourism.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Edward Kwame Yankson, pointed out that what is today unfolding within the Tourism landscape of the country is a testimony that a strong political will could drive meaningful transformation. He lauded the support that President Bio and his Government have given to enhance the tourism sector. Kwame Yankson maintained that the event will immensely spotlight Sierra Leone as a peaceful tourist destination giving rise to various advantages also thanking all those that made it come to fruition.

When this medium caught up with the Honorary Consul of Hungary, Jihad N Eter, he expressed profound enthusiasm and optimism that the event will successfully end as planned. He extended thanks to President Julius Maada Bio for his positive support to enhance tourism in the country also commending the tireless efforts demonstrated by the Minister, Nabeela Tunis, in ensuring that Sierra Leone hosts this year’s event.

Jihad N Eter lucidly described the bilateral relationship between Hungary and Sierra Leone as one that is cordial and mutually beneficial.  He mentioned how the Government of Hungary has been committed in offering fifty (50) scholarships, through the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, on a yearly basis to Sierra Leonean students to study in Hungary in various fields of study, saying such a commitment is borne out of a willingness to support the country in its drive to enhance Quality Education.

He further revealed that forty-four (44) Sierra Leonean students were successful in the 2022 application to study in Hungary, another 47 in the 2023-2024 academic year further disclosing how 760 participants have so far applied for the program this year with 50 students to be chosen based on certain criteria for the 2024-2025 Academy Hungary scholarship. The Consul also informed this medium that the Hungarian Government plans to continue to offer the scholarships for an additional two years.

According to him, representatives of thirty business companies in Hungary, who accompanied the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister to Sierra Leone last year to hold a fruitful  business meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel, have expressed willingness to participate in any planned future Trade Fair that will be organized in Sierra Leone.

He ended up saying that the Rally, starting from Budapest in Hungary and ending in Sierra Leone will continue to be a bridge that will bring the two countries closer.

In a telephone conversation with the Director of Budapest-Bamako Rally, Andrew Szabo, he said the peacefulness of the country, the friendly nature of its people, its pristine beaches and natural beauty of the country are all attributes that befit Sierra Leone as a better choice for the finish line. He praised the importance that is being attached by the Government to tourism adding that they are grateful for the hospitality and warm reception that were accorded in the past expressing optimism that the Finishing Event will be a joyous and memorable one.


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