Blogs from Nouadhibou, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Mauritania, Africa


Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou December 11th 2010

We were excited to hit our second country of the trip – or third official territory! Albeit probably the most dodgy country we would be visiting in terms of current political unrest. The border is notorious for taking a while.... but this time it was the Moroccans who decided to hold us up. We spent about 4-5 hours on the Moroccan side trying to exit, I think Mauritania had us stamped in in about an hour. Ridiculous really being harder to leave a country than enter one!! I think the most interesting aspect of our border experience was the no man’s land – always a place I find surreal. This particular no man’s land was a cross between a car graveyard, an abandoned fridge graveyard and random locals trying to solicit random business. It was desolate ... read more
Our guards at the bush camp in Mauritania
Tent we slept in Nouadhibou
Nouackhott street markets

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou June 21st 2010

Met a german with dreads and a van to give us a 700km lift south into Mauritania. slept in the dessert on the way, dodged camels, and traversed landmine infested terrain. border was a bit of a deal. took 5 hours to cross due to paper work and double checks.. looking at our passports again and again. inbetween mauritania and morocco theres 5 km of no mans land. with no road, local nomades offer to guide you through for 10 euros. if you go solo without their help it can be risky: fake tracks in the sand, with traps just over the hill, once you get stuck sudenly they want 100 euros to pull you out. anyway.. aparently the german knew what he was doing more or less and we made it through by following a ... read more

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou April 6th 2010

Moroccan Sahara days sit at a perfect 33 degrees Celsius with barely a cloud in the sky, and the nights are cool with thousands of stars visible above. The small towns of Zagora and M’Hamid are the last towns on the southbound road in eastern Morocco and are heavily marketed to tourists as the “gateways to the Sahara”, but thankfully tourism has only had the effect of opening a few colorful souvenir shops, and so you don’t have to go far to see that the traditional Berber lifestyle still dominates. Spending an afternoon trekking south towards the Algerian border on camels belonging to a friend of Aziz quickly explained how easy it is to get lost in the desert; orientation is nearly impossible because of the lack of any type of trail or notable landmarks (unless ... read more
African Drumming
Moroccan Hollywood

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou July 18th 2008

This was one of the best stretches of the journey - taking the empty iron ore train from the coast at Nouadhibou to the desert outpost at Choum, and then travelling by pickup over the escarpment into Atar. We waited all day for the train to pass by the station outside Nouadhibou, and then it was all rush to pile foodstuffs, oil barrels, furniture, animals etc into the open wagons. We ended up in a wagon full of wooden doors travelling to Zouerate. It was 9pm by the time the train headed into the desert. We went to sleep on the floor of the wagon, to the sound of the train shuddering into the night. In the morning we woke to open desert and big black hills looming over the landscape. The train was so long ... read more
On the Iron Ore Train
On the Iron Ore Train

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou July 10th 2008

el puto culo del mundo. eso es lo que es nouadhibou. para hacer los 350 km que separan marruecos de mauritania estuve 13 horas en una furgonetilla. al entrar solo estabamos una pareja franco/marroqui que estaban haciendo mas o menos el mismo viaje que yo, pero de improviso en el maletero de la fugonetilla entraron otras 9 personas: oops! en fin, muy divertido el viaje; con bombonas de butano sin amarrar del techo de la furgoneta que va por una carreterilla en territorio minado; ofrecimientois de matrimonio; ninos volando de un lado a otro; dos conejos apestando a orina; la abuela y elo abuelo medio muerto; clases de arabe aceleradas... ese el viaje, ahora bien; noudibou es cosa aparte. no hay nada, rien, end of the line, fin del mundo, cape horn. es surrealista este sitio. ... read more
and so on
afrique cest la merde! :D

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou December 8th 2007

The Moroccan side of the border took us just over 3 hours to get through, lot of bureaucracy we got stopped no less than 3 times within the frontier, police stop, army stop etc. Then after we are through comes 3 km of no mans land full of garbage and abandoned cars, we stopped a moment to help a stranded car in the sands little did we know we will get stuck as well, out the tire mats and we worked hard to dig betsy out and by the time we got to the Mauritanian frontier it was quarter to 3, the border closed from 1pm to 3pm for lunch, but we hadnt had lunch yet so we set up our kitchen right at the border and have to catch up with the truck as it ... read more

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou October 17th 2007

We arrived in Nouadhibou the night of the 14th. A stark contrast to relatively civilized Morocco. This is when Kathie finally exclaimed, "okay, now we're in Africa!" The town itself is not much to speak of, but it was a place to re-charge after a couple of nights bush camping and stock up on supplies for the 3-day journey across the sand dunes to the capital of Nouakchott. After a short drive along the road, we left the tarmac and began our trek through the sand. Rather than roads, there are trails left behind by previous vehicles where the tracks haven't been covered by blowing sand. We would not have made it very far if we did not have our guide Ahmed with us. He is from Nouadhibou and is a very famous guide. He knows ... read more
Nouadhibou 1
Nouadhibou 2
Nouadhibou 3

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou September 24th 2007

When I got to the station there was still plenty of time before the train left. A man drinking tea in the shade had told me it was twenty past three and the train didn’t go till six o’clock, so I decided to have a look outside to pass the time away. The journey from Atar had been both dreadfully hard and gloriously spectacular. Over twenty people -all men- crossing one of the harshest desert in the world on a white Toyota van. The car was so overloaded that more than once we all had been forced to get off and walk next to it while the skilful driver did his best to keep the engine going although at minimum pace. Atar, the administrative capital of Adrar region, is just a tiny speck of humanity surrounded ... read more
Train Ticket Seller
The Longest Train on Earth

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou February 4th 2007

Om 8:45, wordt er op mijn deur geklopt, ik heb me verslapen, om 9:00u stap ik verkreukeld in het oude Nissan, minivrachtwagentje, we gaan eerst heel Dahkla door, om boodschappen te doen, olie bijvullen, tanken, thee halen, mint kopen, broodjes kopen, nog wat spullen laden, nog een tijdje wachten bij de politiepost, tegen de tijd dat we goed en wel op weg gaan richting Nouadhibou is het 11:00u, we rijden een uurtje, dan gaan we lunchen en dan kunnen we eindelijk opweg, ondertussen zijn we al bijna verdronken in de thee, de bijrijder maakt onder het rijden met een gasbrandertje tussen zijn benen de ene pot thee na de andere. Het eerst uur gaat het goed, tot we de eerst heuvels tegen komen, er is iets met de gaskabel of zo, we komen net boven, na ... read more

Africa » Mauritania » Dakhlet Nouadhibou » Nouadhibou December 20th 2005

A lot of banter in several languages was going on between the six of us. Two of the three Moroccan women were in the back with Gianni, Julian, Brendan and myself. Having been firmly shut in by a bar across the back door of the van we couldn't see much at all and were trying to talk above the noise level of the engine. Occasionally Gianni would peer out of the dirty rear windows and tell us that there were camels out there .. I started reading my first guide book on Mauritania which Brendan had thoughtfully brought along. First things first; the import of alcohol was strictly prohibited into the Islamic Republic of Mauritania - did that include Bombay Sapphire? Would anyone take away my prized possession that I bought on the Algeciras-Tangiers ferry?? Secondly, ... read more

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