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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 26 Mar 2004
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bamako to mauretanie

Hi, We are travelling in west-africa with an old VW Van. As we don't want to sell the car, we are planning to drive back to Belgium. We are leaving Bamako for Mauretanie next week. Which road is most recommended to reach the "Route de l'espoir" in Mauretania?
thanks!!! tom and tine
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  #2  
Old 26 Mar 2004
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Tom,
See my reply to your first posting in "Travellers' Advisory..."
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  #3  
Old 29 Mar 2004
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Hi,

We did this route the other way round in January... from Bamako the road is sealed as far as about Didieni (as far as I remember) then it's a badly graded dirt road with bone shaking corrugations as far as Diema. No problem with a VW bus, so long as it holds together. After Diema the road is really rough - deep dusty sandy sections, ruts, basically fallen apart. No problem in anything with decent ground clearance and a bit of power to get through the crap. That's as far as Nioro, after which it's good. Into Mauritania the road is partly brand new - we didn't even see a border post, it's that new. Other bits are under construction, or ordinary dirt road. From Ayoun the Route D'espoir is in excellent condition. Have a good trip - the only vehicles we saw were donkey carts and lorries converted into local buses. I guess most people probably take the other route and go via Nema - we didn't, so I can't tell you what the road is like that way.

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Old 29 Mar 2004
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Thanks werner,

I think we go for the Nara-Nema option as this should be the piste with the most traffic. Only security clouldn't be guaranteed but where can this...

tom
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  #5  
Old 30 Mar 2004
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The route via Nema was pretty straightforward. We took three days to go from Nouachout to Bamako. It was slightly difficult finding the right track from Nema down to the border post as there were lots of offshoots but the conditions weren't that difficult. We ended up going directly cross country with some locals following a donkey track which was slightly harder but providing you have good clearance, you should be fine. There were lots of wash outs, pot holes etc on the road to Nouachout - Nema but again perfectly managable.
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Old 30 Mar 2004
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Thanks Toby,

we heard that the road indeed is'nt that bad to Nema, but embassies don't guarantee the security between Nara and Nema. But in which year did you cross?
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  #7  
Old 30 Mar 2004
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We went trans africa in 2001 - 2002 and crossed between Nema - Nara on the 19th / 20th Dec 2001. We certainly had no concerns about security on that section and I hadn't heard of any security concerns since. (we were far more disturbed by being stopped two days later in the evening in central Cote D'Ivoire by several soldiers dressed like Rambo who were extremely edgy and suggested we got off the road as quickly as possible as "there were bad people about". Given we had to drive another hour to the next settlement, it wasn't ideal.

The Nema - Nara section was fine - we got kept at the police point at Nema for 1 hour by an over officious Policeman who wanted to write our details down in his log but insisted on stopping every few seconds to go outside the hut to wave anybody past, not that they were stopping anyway. We then ended up with three locals in the front passenger seat giving us direction cross country to the border post. The Mauritanian Policeman on the border was half asleep and we didn't have any problems.
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  #8  
Old 20 Apr 2004
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Did this route in Feb from Nouakchott to Bamako in a 1985 Merc 190 D. The most challenging part was getting to the start of the tar in Ayoun el Atrous. Parts of the route in Mali were tough as well (as described above) but doable. I was aware of the security issue but nowhere felt unsafe.

Camiel
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