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Mauritania

Curious what backpackers do in Mauritania? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
15w3y2 travelers at this place
  • Day39

    So I've arrived in mauritania. The adventure really begins. A short 3.5 hour border crossing. No corruption just spectacular bureacracy. One person gives you the form. Move forward into the compound. Complete form. Get form checked. Show form to police, they sign it. Take form to passport office get stamp. Show policeman stamp, go to customs get different stamp, show police etc etc ...and that's the Moroccan side. Mauritania includes a 1.5 hour wait for the visa while they finish lunch.

    Most spectacular though is I just pass the border and reach a military roadblock. Fiche demanded, then followed with a first question of "where are you coming from?".  I've come half a mile from the border and either side of the road is meant to have landmines! If my French was good enough I would have been so sarcastic.

    I'm now in Nouadhibou the second city, but a not very exciting place. The only redeeming feature was some really tasty street food. I also found out that the only campsite in the city closed after a German guy was robbed and killed a few years ago. Time to leave I think 🤔

    Good news is I've met some fellow bikers (Ferry and Gülçin) heading in the same direction, to Atar. First plan was to ride the desert piste there, but on more research none of us think we're good enough on sand. So we tried to ride the longest train in the world there, but when we turned up, we were invited into the train chief's office. The title of his department being 'Exploitation'! However they can't unload the bikes where we want to stop and we'd have to go to the end of the line and ride an equally sandy piste.  Instead, we're off to take the tar road via a 500km detour!
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  • Day45

    I've now reached the end of the road.... literally.  I'm in Ouadane, pronounced Wadan, an ancient caravan town in the proper Sahara.  To get here, the last 100 miles has been a corrugated piste where I saw a total of 2 families of camels, 1 4x4, 0 buildings and 0 people.

    I've also visited Chinguetti, Mauritania's cultural capital where there is a rather impressive 500+ year old library with ancient Islamic scripts and astrology charts.

    Other exciting snippets are;
    - My first real attempt at riding on sand.  Started well, then I unexplicably decided to pi k a route through the softest, loosest looking sand and promptly fell down. Crash #1. Slow, embarrassing, but painless. Luckily my new riding partners could help pick the bike back up and remind me they have it all filmed.
    - Getting the last laugh as Ferry and Gulcin run out of petrol and I have to rescue them.  Nearly every vehicle in Mauritania runs on diesel, so we have to carry lots of bottles of petrol to get us to the next station that hopefully has petrol.
    - Realising my army mess tins are slightly less useful to cook with when they dont have handles. Though vice grips make a pretty good substitute.
    - Half a day spent trying to compensate for my terrible French by acting out 'glue' and 'rubber hose'.
    - Half a day, using said glue and a needle and thread to repair my panniers that are suffering a little with all the bouncing up and down.

    Photos
    1) Aftermath of crash #1
    2) Street food in Atar
    3 & 4) Chinguetti library
    5 & 6) Road to and view from Ouadane
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mauretanien, Mauritania, Mouritanië, Mɔretenia, ሞሪቴኒያ, الجمهورية الإسلامية الموريتانية, Mavritaniya, Маўрытанія, Мавритания, Mɔritani, মরিতানিয়া, མཽ་རི་ཏ་ནི་ཡ།, Maouritania, Mauritanija, Mauritània, Mauretánie, Mawritania, Mauritania nutome, Μαυριτανία, Maŭritanio, Mauritaania, ماوریتانیا, Muritani, Móritania, Mauritanie, Môritanie, An Mharatáin, મૌરિટાનિયા, Moritaniya, מאוריטניה, मोरीतानिया, Mauretanija, Mauritánia, Մավրիտանիա, Máritanía, モーリタニア・イスラム共和国, მავრიტანია, Moritania, ម៉ូរីតានី, ಮಾರಿಟಾನಿಯಾ, 모리타니, مۆریتانیا, Moritani, Mauretania, Mawulitenya, ມໍລິກທາເນຍ, Mauritānija, Maoritania, Мавританија, മൗറിറ്റാനിയ, मॉरिटानिया, Mawritanja, माउरिटानिया, Mauritanië, ମାଉରିଟାନିଆ, Mauritânia, Muritanya, Mauretánia, Moritanïi, මාර්ටිනික්, Mavretanija, Muritaaniya, Мауританија, மௌரிடானியா, మౌరిటేనియా, ประเทศมอริเตเนีย, Maritanya, Maulitenia, Moritanya, ماۋرىتانىيە, Мавританія, موریطانیہ, Mô-ri-ta-ni-a (Mauritania), Moritän, Moritanreye, Orílẹ́ède Maritania, 毛里塔尼亚, i-Mauritania