The event is the biggest social and sporting event of the year in Botswana, with locals and visitors from South Africa and neighbouring territories turning out in their droves to catch the action.
After being based at Kumakwane on the outskirts of Gaborone for a number of years, the race has moved to Jwaneng, about 160km west of the Botswana capital.
The move was at the request of the Botswana Tourist Organisation (BTO).
The Desert Race brings a huge financial windfall to areas which stage the event, and the BTO authorities are keen for other regions to benefit.
“There are 19 designated spectator points along the route, along with numerous vantage points that will be well known to the local population,” said route director Adri Roets. “The area had good rains in the wet season, and vegetation is nice and green.
“The route, however, is going to be dry and very sandy with all the rocks, bushes and tree stumps part and parcel of this race.”
The 100km route for the June 27 qualifying race to determine grid positions will take competitors from Jwaneng towards Sese before branching towards Makhomma. The course then doubles back to the finish at Jwaneng.
On day two of the race competitors will complete two loops of approximately 225km, with a 15- minute halt at the designated service point in Jwaneng at the end of the first lap.
The route again takes crews towards Makhomma, Lefhoko and Maokane before doubling back to the finish.
The third and final day will see competitors complete two loops of approximately 190km, with another compulsory stop after the first lap.
This time the route heads towards Sese, Tshono, Tsonyane and Lefhoko on the way to the finish.
The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race and an invitation motorcycle and quad race are again included in the Dakar Challenge.
The winners of the Desert Race and the invitation motorcycle race will receive free entries into next year’s Dakar Rally.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will all be located at the Jwaneng sports complex and adjoining showground.
Public access to these areas will be restricted, but spectator points on the route are open at no charge.
The qualifying race on Friday will start at 11.30am and the race on Saturday and Sunday at 8am.