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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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Old 18 Jan 2005
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a couple of news and updates

Hi,

Just return from a trip to West Africa and got several updates and news:

Diesel prices
Tunisia: 0.475TD
Libya: 0.12LD
Niger: 0.75 euros in Dirkou, 434CFA in Agadez and southern Niger
Burkina Faso: 486CFA in Fada N'Gourma, 473CFA in Ouagadougou
Mali:450CFA in Diema, Bamako and Kayes
Senegal: 451CFA in Matam and S.Louis
Mauritania: 158OUG in Rosso, 156OUG in Nouakchott, 159OUG in Akjoujt, 163OUG in Atar and 149OUG in Nouadhibou
Morocco: 3.12DIR south of Tarfaya, 6.29DIR in Foum Zguid and Tagounite, 6.14DIR in Rissani, and 6.06 in Azrou and Tangier


Libya
Libyans are paving the piste from Al Katrun to Tummu and building a fuel station in Tummu.


Mali
The European Union is financing a paved road from Diboli (border with Senegal), to Kayes, and Bamako. The road is paved between 30km west of Kayes to Sandaré and Diema, and between Doubabougou and Bamako.


Mauritania
Route R1 Guerguerat – Nouakchott:
The paved road from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott is almost completely paved. There is a paved road connecting this road to the border, with a clear road sign in the junction. Mauritanians have moved their border post to the end of this new road. Therefore, when doing the R1 route, at km 13 instead of driving south on the road, just cross it straight and head S-SE on the clearest track. You will reach the Mauritanian border post about 4km later.

Route R2 Nouadhibou – Atar
The road from Nouadhibou is now sealed until Bou Lanouar. Here, you leave the paved road just after a police checkpoint and head east in a clear piste.

From Laayoune to Bir Mogrein and Zouerat
I was recently told in Atar that it is relatively easy to exit Mauritania from Bir Mogrein into the Western Sahara and reach Laayoune. You just have to wait a couple of hours for a Moroccan permission. I was also told that the process will be made easier in 2005, as Mauritania will authorise the entering coming from Western Sahara. Tourist agencies in Atar are struggling for it.


Morocco
Route M6 Tagounite – Merzouga:
Moroccans are paving a lot in this piste. A part from the already paved road from Rissani to Merzouga, they are currently paving from Merzouga to Taouz, and I was told that they just might do it all the way to Hassi Ouzina. These new paved roads together with the construction of numerous auberges, campings and restaurants in almost every picturesque corner of the piste are contributing for the loss of the taste of the Sahara, that this piste offered just a couple of years ago.

Route M7 Foum Zguid-Mhamid:
It is possible to avoid a large section of the rough and rubbly track, by driving in another piste just a couple of km south. At km29 instead of crossing the sandy oued with grassy tussocks, continue east trough the plain. The piste then cuts across the northern sector of Lake Iriki and the dunes of Erg Mhazil. After rainfall the ground around Lake Iriki can be muddy. At point N29 50.6 W6 12.1 you exit the dune fields into a floodplain. After 200m, the piste splits, take left to easily reach the waypoint at km100 of route M7.


Cheers,
José


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Old 18 Jan 2005
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Thanks for the updates - yet more work for me!
Good news about Bir Mog, but it may be worth remembering that technically, one crosses a strip of Polisario land between the berm at Guelta Zem, and the RIM border - where some Dutch (was it?) got robbed a couple of months back.
Not sure how they are all going to deal with that - not with a new war one hopes...

Chris S
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