from the Atlantic route towards Niger
There seem to be several alternative routes from Nouakchott to Bamako, but all (I read, I hear) are not very reliable during the wet season (starting very soon):
-from Kiffa (Mauritania) to Kayes (Mali), described as hell on earth by a motorist (Sahara overland)
-from Nema (Mauritania) to Nara (Mali): maybe impassable during the rainy season (West Africa Roughguide)
-from Ayoun el Atrous (Mauritania) to Nioro (Mali), same problem.
Another alternative seems to be getting into Senegal (Rosso), follow the river Senegal up to Kidira and cross to Kayes (Mali). Again the roughguide says: may prove impassable in the wet season...
We are planning to get near those points at mid-july, about when the rainy season starts. We are going to travel with a land rover series III. I know this is no pure Sahara, but maybe anyone has some useful information about what to expect... Thanks.