Heading Back to Mauritania

Last updated

February 2, 2018  

We were quite glad to be driving with Mate and Aliz on our way to, and the next day through, Mauritania. Our goal for the day was Nouakchott, 350 miles and a border crossing away.

We were considering stopping in the Zebrabar again to look around St. Louis, but there were some recent riots in town so we decided to skip it.

The main road leading north from Dakar is quite smooth, but you have to be careful with trucks and donkey carts.

We noticed in Dakar that public transport is run by small, privately-owned buses and there are probably not enough of them, so we often saw people hanging off the back – and not only in town either. We saw several buses and small pickup trucks with dozens of passengers holding on for their lives by very little when their vehicle was driving 60 miles an hour.

The main event for the day was the border crossing into Mauritania. It was relatively easy, albeit with the usual scam attempts by local ‘helpers’. We paid our €40 for stamps and ‘barrier fees’ and were on our way relatively quickly. This was the same border crossing as the one we used on the way south at Diama, so we were driving through the Diawling National Park again with all the flamingos, pelicans, storks and warthogs.

Pelican flying over our overlanding truck
Flamingos gathering

After this part we had the dreadful road leading to Nouackchott, with its endless number of massive potholes that are difficult to negotiate even with 4×4 trucks.

Porsche Cayenne and Toyota Prado 120 LandCruiser in the Sahara
Man standing next to the road in Mauritania

It was dark by the time we arrived in the capital. We knew we had the option of staying in the hotel where we stayed previously, but as they quoted a much higher price for us than last time we decided to stay elsewhere. The other hotel was equally expensive (€100) but quite nice. This fact did not really matter to be honest, as we only planned a short sleep so that we’d be able to get to Dakhla by the end of the next day.

Overlanding in the Sahara Desert
Car wrecks
Potholes on main road in Mauritania

Photo of author
Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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