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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 1 Jul 2001
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Mali in a 2WD?

Hello there!

I've got a converted Leyland DAF 400 Diesel Van built in 1993 and an ambition to go to Bamako, Mali.

I'm wondering if it's a stupid idea to take my van!?
Has anyone tried to make a Journey to Mali in a similar vehicle? Is it possible? I was thinking of taking the Atlantic route, crossing over from Spain, But I am open for other ideas if it makes travelling with my van easyer/possible.

I'd be most grateful for any helpful suggestions.
Cheerio and ta for now,
Sara
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  #2  
Old 2 Jul 2001
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Dear Sara
The Western Sahara route (now called Southern Morocco) is easily passable as far as Dakhla.
You then join a convoy through the Mauritanian minefields, and this is where the fun starts.
There are several soft stretches of 'fech fech' sand which will bog even a 4x4.
Several 2wd cars do this trip all the time, and rely on the 4x4's to pull them out!
Take sand ladders (e-mail for more info if required) and sand tyres, which can run on low pressure.
Also take a kinetic (snatch) rop and make sure you have an unbreakable tow hitch on the front. Snatch ropes are effective but dangerous. A well-bogged vehicle can equate to a 10 ton load. Get a chassis fixing ring welded on if necessary.
The Mauritaneans ask for money at every turn, so take plenty. It's often easier to pay £5 for entering a village than to stand there aurguing about it!
You need a guide to take you from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott, across the sand (about £80 if I remember, so share it with a 4x4 friend.) Quite a nice 3-day trip. Or you could put your van on the Iron Ore train to Attar and drive south from there. Adequate piste from Attar to Nouakchott; rough in parts and soft in others, but some passing traffic if you need help.
E-mail back if you want any other info - I last did that trip 3 years ago
Good luck - Kitmax
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  #3  
Old 9 Jul 2001
hed hed is offline
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Hi there Sara,

I live in western Mali, about 70 km's south of Kayes, about 500 k's west of Bamako. Firstly, as long as you have sufficient ground clearance and reasonably large tyres, and you are used to it, you can get almost anywhere with a 2WD. I met some dutch students in an old Peugeot 2WD on the Guinenan border, they had come all the way from Holland, so it is possible, but unless you are experienced I would not advise it. Plan the timing of your trip properly, between about July and October you will not get from Senegal to Bamako by road, whichever vehicle, it is just too wet and muddy. Have fun anyhow !!
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  #4  
Old 11 Jul 2001
GWJ GWJ is offline
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I'm going there myself with a friend in an old Peugeot 305 diesel van. I have been told it is possible, but I guess I will find out soon enough. We are going in november (dry season) through Morocco/Mauritania/Mali (we will not be going through Senegal).
If you want to join us, or want any more info, my e-mail is g.catalan@qub.ac.uk.
By the way, my biggest problem is sorting out the insurance. Have you found any company to insure your van in Africa (and Europe, for that matter)? If so, please send me a line, I am getting desperate!
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  #5  
Old 12 Jul 2001
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Sara, as far as the Atlantic route is concerned its not a stupid idea to take your van. I think your best bet is to have some people in the van to help dig and push. Maybe a good idea to hang around in Dahkla and wait for a few backpackers (or meet them in Morrocco) and also team up with a 4*4/other vehicles.
This way your trip to Nouadibou will be ok. If then you've had enough 'desert driving' put your van on the train. The piste Choum to Atar has some bad corrugations and some soft sand. Atar to Nouackhott is tarmac.
If you get the hang of drivin in the sand (run your tyres soft) and if you can team up again, Nouadibou to Nouackhott will be okay.

Get yourself a couple of long psp's from one of the m.o.d surplus people in a landrover mag. Mount them so you can take them off and on without any hassle. And don't forget your spare wheels.

[This message has been edited by Lamin Sambou (edited 12 July 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Lamin Sambou (edited 12 July 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Lamin Sambou (edited 01 August 2001).]
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  #6  
Old 1 Aug 2001
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hi sara
i'd rather be going in your van instead of an astra 1.3 'f' reg car! don't woory about it - we'll all get there in the end!!!
why don't you look at the advice i've got to my posting - uk to senegal in an astra 1.3petrol - my email is cocowild:hotmail.com if you'd like to get in touch
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  #7  
Old 1 Aug 2001
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hi sara
i'd rather be going in your van instead of an astra 1.3 'f' reg car! don't woory about it - we'll all get there in the end!!!
why don't you look at the advice i've got to my posting - uk to senegal in an astra 1.3petrol - my email is cocowild:hotmail.com if you'd like to get in touch
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