Capital city at last and border to Senegal

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
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Trip End Oct 27, 2010


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Where I stayed
Auberge Menata

Flag of Mauritania  ,
Sunday, October 10, 2010

DAY 1

Arrived in dusty and dry Nouakchott about midday. The traffic was chaotic and certainly proved to have the worst drivers in the whole of west Africa by far. There are quite simply .. no rules! Bigger is better. Its quite fun to an extent. We go straight to Auberge Menata, a very famous place for travellers. It certainly speaks for its name. We quickly occupy a top floor open air tent and send off our clothes to be washed.

I take the chance to have a rewarding hot shower that feels like a gift from the gods. All the fine sand comes off and turns the water orange. We also spend a good time cleaning out the cars and wash the pickup bay as the crappy diesel canisters we had leaked all over the back.

Its into town for something to eat and its round the corner to Prince, a small fast food restaurant. There is a fair amount of international cuisine to be found here. We order some cheeseburgers with chips smothered in mayo and both polish off 2 cans of coke each. I normally don't engage in pigging out but this felt like heaven. My stomach certainly did not approve.. In the afternoon we for a short walk into town and observe an abundance of meaty bats flying around with their leathery wings in the twilight. Its a quick stroll to the busy market and i get myself a fancy looking mosquito net of cheap Chinese fabrication. Quite important as the Malaria zone commences here and mosquito's really are abundant.

DAY 2

It rained last night and although the cloth roof on the Bedouin tent help out quite well although we all got wet somehow. I spend most of my stay here updating the previous days of the Blog thanks to the wifi in the complex. Quite a luxury actually. At the moment im updating this blog during a tropical thunderstorm in Gambia which goes to show the lack of time and internet access available..

Not much is done during the day except for for blog updates and waiting for our washing to come back. It turns out that Dominik and Annika whom i both met in Rabat have made it to the Auberge. What a nice surprise!

In the Afternoon i extend my Mauritanian visa in case we return this way and I accompany Jay to the outskirts of town to sell off some car parts. It aint easy and the area is pretty filthy looking. Later on Matthias and Luise have a great idea of going to the fish market to watch the catch of the day come in. Its bustling with people and boats. Sadly many people react a bit aggressively to have their picture taken.

We treat ourselves to some expensive chineese that afternoon in an empty restaurant. Quite nice food actually and I take a liking to really spicy food somehow.

DAY 3

Our stay has basically been prolonged due to the fact we haven't received our washing back yet. At midday i collect it only to later find out in Senegal that it was hand-washed pathetically leaving the clothes a bit smelly.

Midday its off to the border to Senegal. The police checkpoints are plenty but thankfully we have lots of photocopies to hand out otherwise we have to write all our details down every-time we pass. Its a bit annoying but i dont mind this as it means security for foreign travellers is better than before since the kidnappings by terrorist groups (Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb) not so long ago.

The landscape again is wonderful, especially the green schrubs and plants contrasting with the dry desert.

Soon we turn off from the comfortable asphalt road and head off into a bumpy dirt track. Soon enough one of Jays diesel canisters breaks and we have to fill up empty water bottles with diesel instead. We approach a marshy area that we have to cross and since it has rained recently the usual track is unusable. We have to take a detour and then both my diesel canisters rupture and we have to do the same. Luckily ive saved all the water bottles in my car. In Africa nothing goes to waste!

We approach the last police checkpoint at the border in the middle of a marshy land. Its sunset and the mosquitoes are becoming very aggressive. The guard hassles us with the paperwork and finds something not right. No insurance. Its obvious he wants some money so we help him repair the fan belt on his Mercedes 190 and give him some clothes. At the mauritanian border its a ridiculous 3 control points we have to go through and every single place wants 10euros. This is illegal but a popular practice. Each time we have to argue and give them some "cadeaux" instead. A big waste of time.

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