Cape to cape and further

Richard is on the road for his major trip.

Destination: all the way..........



Week 49 - 50, monday 02 December - sunday 15 December  2013.

After crossing 1300km of the Western Sahara, I finally arrived in the early morning of the 25th of November at the border-crossing of Mauritania with Ricky Ciana. Leaving Morocco was quite easy, all I needed was a stamp from the customs, a stamp from the police and a stamp  from the gendarmerie. All those stamps cost me not more than 45 minutes and at 09.45 we were leaving Western Sahara behind and had to drive 2km on a crappy, unpaved road towards Mauritania.

Before I was allowed to enter Mauritania I had to get a visa. Leaving the motorbike in no-man land I applied for the visa which cost me €50. Ricky had applied for the Mauritania visa in Rabat and that had cost him only €20. With the visa in my passport they opened the gate for me and here I was in Mauritania. At this time Ricky had already arranged his insurance and drivers’ permission. For me everything took much more time and after 3 hours of going from office to office I was allowed to ride my bike in Mauritania. It was very warm with almost no wind and the waiting had exhausted us, we decided to drive to the nearest place, Nouadhibou, where we found a campsite in the middle of town. With a cold shower I was back alive and went into town to get some grocery like bread and vegetables. In the early evening we were invited to drink tea with a local at the campsite and he showed us how to make traditional mouse tea. Nouadhibou is famous  for its long coal train up  to 3 km in length. Before we left the next morning we went to see the train, today it had only 250 wagons and therefore only 2 km in length, still very impressive anyway. After this we packed our tents and took off to Nouakchott. It was about 400 km till Nouakchott, there were many police checkpoints where we had to give a “Fiche d'Etat Civile”. This is a form with all your personal and vehicle details. After a tiring day of driving in an average temperature of 37 degrees we arrived in Nouakchott around 15.00. Coming from the north Auberg Sahara is located on the main-road and therefore easy to find. Auberg Sahara is not a real campsite but we were allowed to pitch up our tents at the roof of the main building. There were more overlanders and even more were coming the next day. We wanted to apply for the Senegal and Mali visa the next day, but unfortunately for us that day would be Mauritania independence day. Because of this, everything would be closed and the next two days and after that it would be weekend. This caused us to stay longer than planned in Nouakchott. However because there were other overlanders we had a great time at the campsite. In the late afternoon we went to the fish market to buy some fish which we prepared with garlic and lemon and put it later on the BBQ.

On Monday we were finally able to apply for the visas and in between I arranged a three months insurance for the west-Africa countries, the so called ‘brown-card’. People had told me that getting this insurance at the border would be very expensive. Now I paid 17.325 UM and that’s only €39,80.

After five days in Nouakchott and lots of chats we left finally for the east part of Mauritania. Both Ricky and I were looking forward to see a bit more of the country side. We took the national road number 2 to Aleg, Kiffa and Ayoun el Atrous. This road goes over a famous pass in Mauritania called the Djouka pass. It was 300 meters high with many different views. The views didn’t come out that well on the photos but believe me it was great. The last 70 km of the road to Ayoun el Atrous was under construction and therefore mostly gravel. Since there were no campgrounds we did three nights of bush camp and we had some incredible sunsets and sunrises. An incredible experience in Mauritania was that we did not get harassed by locals, this was in opposite with all the other Arab countries I’ve been to so far. It is also completely safe and if there are people passing by they just say Bonjour and continue on their way. During our ride from the border of Western Sahara till the border of Mali we had to hand over 51 “Fiche d’Etat Civile”.

In my experience the Mauritanian people are in general very friendly and willing to help you if you have any questions. However if you leave the big places there are not many people who speak any language other than French and Arabic. Because of this the people from the countryside are a bit shy in the beginning. I speak a bit of French and as soon as I started speaking to them in French they opened up and started talking, but then I have to say “Je parle Français un peu’. Their first reaction was then “Ohh, un peu” which resulted in a slower and more simple way of French. It’s always really nice to see that people are pleased that you try to speak their language especially if I use my very basic Arabic that I’ve learned in Egypt.

From the people I have met during this trip, I heard that Mali will be a new experience. The people in Mali use to be much more friendlier and happier. In my next update I hope to tell you more about this.

The local who made us the mouse thee.

BBQ with the fresh fish of the fishmarket.
Peeing my name in the Mauritania desert.
Got my insurance for the ECOwas countries.

Baba from Nouakchott in his traditional dress..

A guy who sold bread in one of the many small villages.


Countries I have visited: