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Sahara Travel ForumTopics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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I'm interested to know if the atlantic route can be done without guide and no gps. I've been reading "Sahara overland" yet it seems to me that this route has so much traffic going through that it would be hard to get lost. Wrong idea?
To all, have a save trip and keep the conversation going.
Last time I went without the guide, just before x-mas. Coppers did not mind as we said we had no money for the guide. This was true as we did not have enough cash.
I would not go without the GPS, because it will take you long time as you will have to stop every so often to check your bearing. The actual route does leave the sea, so at some points you will not see it. If you are the nervous type that may be a bit scarry.
Also if you are going for the first time it may be scarry even with the GPS. We met few locals comming from the capital who were not sure about the way and were asking for it.
Also just using the compass or following the sea you will be bound to that particular route and it can be hard work. We found it pays not to go in the straight line.
Chris and Remi, thanx for replying. I will drive to Senegal/Gambia with a '94 Peugeot diesel and yes, buying a GPS will be well responsible. To Chris, your book is wonderful....If everything fails to work out, I already have had the pre exitement while reading it. Thanx again.
[This message has been edited by thiello1 (edited 21 January 2002).]
I would not risk it with 2WD on your own. The GPS coordinates were taken in 1996 and naturally the best route does not always go the way Chris said. We had no problem but met 2 groups with 2WD. 3 french cars going to Cot D with no guide and no 4wd, obviously overloaded. We helped them out. Later we a met a large convoy with the guide who reported that they had an easy ride.
Also on our border crossing wwe had VW Golf in front which kept stalling till the local guy sat behind the wheel and then it started flying. It kind of slides over the sandy bits. But it was not overloaded, it makes a big differense.
Don't know when exactly you're going, but instead of buying a gps, I would suggest you form a small convoy with some other travellers (plenty of choice). Knowing that you don't have a 4x4, it is advisable to follow the piste. A guide knows the best tracks and is fairly cheap (about 30 Euro per car in a small convoy).
But ... Make sure you liaise with the french "car smugglers" as they know the good guides. I heard stories (2 years ago) of "bad" guides who take your through difficult pistes where your car has a high chance of breaking down. You'll be forced to leave it behind and sell it for few money. The guide gets a commission from the buyer, who "just happened to be in the area".
Plotting the GPS route in Chris's book on a map I am not sure about the beginning of the route. The GPS point and the reference to km33 dont seem to tie up, or am I just getting it wrong? Where is km0 and exactly where do you leave the rails?
>Plotting the GPS route in Chris's book on a map I am not sure about the beginning of the route. The GPS point and the reference to km33 dont seem to tie up, or am I just getting it wrong? Where is km0 and exactly where do you leave the rails?
The route starts in NDB town centre gare routiere - I failed to get an exact point that time. In the book there is no waypoint for KM33; there is a waypoint for the Bouchon checkpoint before it - and one at the 'longditudinal pools' after KM33.
KM (or PK - 'pointe kilometre') markers run at 1km intervals alongside the railway (unless they are missing). AT the 'PK' or 'KM33' marker the beach route that our driver took left the rails to the northeast towards the top of the bay and 'long pools' waypoint.
KM or PK Zero is in the rail yards south of NDB (at a guess), not in NDB town centre. Hope this makes it a bit clearer. This route was not logged under ideal circumstances - I still have the paint from the back of the pick-up (22-up!) ground into the back of my jacket...
As I've found myself, one can spend a lot of time fretting over other people's route descriptions - once you get out there you hardly need them.
------------------ Author of Sahara Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, among other things
Traffic was pretty heavy at that time and if your car was fast enough you could follow another group who either knew the route or had a guide.
Part of the reason for heavy traffic is the bottleneck caused by the dahkla convoy. If that is ended when you get there, the trafic will be spread over 7 days a week, not 2.
Don't do it without another vehicle. And even if possible without a GPS, you can buy an older unit that will work great in the dessert for $50 us. It would be stupid not to.
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