Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   Sahara Travel Forum (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum/)
-   -   Mali: Timboctou - Taudeni (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/sahara-travel-forum/mali-timboctou-taudeni-24655)

moro 18 Dec 2006 13:52

Mali: Timboctou - Taudeni
 
Anybody ever been from Timboctou to Taudeni (or vice versa)?
What about Taudeni - Tessalit or Kidal?
Any info greatly appreciated.

ursula 18 Dec 2006 14:14

mali
 
hi moro
"Timboctou to Taudeni"
very interesting because there are salt caravans
landscape: sahel, flat and then small dunes

"Taudeni - Tessalit"
very nice landscape BUT also a hotspot...

we did it the other way round, from Tessalit to Taoudenni to Timbouctou before the 2003 kidnapping

Ursula

Chris Scott 18 Dec 2006 21:25

I think post 2003 is no longer the time to explore northern Mali without risks. We crossed the Tim-Taou piste last month, coming from Atar to Bordj and a truck which came to help us was robbed twice. I understand this is normal for the area, a 'tax', and they were smugglers anyway - but with toubabs the tax would be a lot higher then a drum ot two of fuel.

I also understand that MBM (GSPC guy) has been chased out of the Tuareg area around Kidal into a hole north of Taoudenni, a Berabish controlled area where he has been told to not make waves. But he and his people are up there nevertheless, waiting.

We wanted to visit the area of Tagnout Chag' well crossing the little known Tess-Taou piste but - as I suspected beforehand from the 'lie of the land' - were told it was not safe.

Of course this assumes you are travelling in a nicely-equipped car. On a camel or a clapped out Series III you would not have much to lose.

Ch

Haakonbj 19 Dec 2006 09:47

Hey!

"We wanted to visit the area of Tagnout Chag' well crossing the little known Tess-Taou piste but"

Is that the route going north east out of Ouadane, Mauritania?

How do you consider the South of Chinguetti, crossing the Tagant plateau to Tidjikja? I go by bike.


Cheers
Haakon

Chris Scott 19 Dec 2006 09:59

Is that the route going north east out of Ouadane, Mauritania?


No, it's SE to Tessalit from Taoudenni in Mali

Ching to Tidjikja (R10) is no problem, everyone does it and it's a great route.

Ch

ursula 19 Dec 2006 10:30

hi Chris
you wrote
"coming from Atar to Bordj" Mokhtar
thats why poeple are troubled...
probably you meant Adrar in Algeria and not Atar in Mauritania

Ursula

Chris Scott 19 Dec 2006 10:41

Hi Ursula, no I did mean Atar in Mauritania to Bordj.
www.sahara-overland.com/SEQ/SEQroute.jpg

Adrar to Bordj is fine - a bus leaves every day (although permits for fuel are a big problem - they give you 50L to get to Tam.)

Ch

moro 19 Dec 2006 12:44

THANKS for feedback
 
I'm not too bored about being robbed exactly for the reason Chris mentioned - driving in an old 2a lendrover means I haven't got much to loose. I also count a little bit on laid back manners, basic knowledge of hasania and tamachek and some experience witj various locals.

My actual plan is to travel from Lihfera (or Bir Mogrein) to Taudenni and then either Sout to Timboctou or SE to Gao. Being in one car I will depend on finding some travelling companions (either trucks or, heh, easy going smugglers.
From what I heard from people who did the caravane Timboctou - Taudenni, the piste might be a bit hard on my 2a lendy... hence Gao

Chris Scott 19 Dec 2006 16:05

... and some experience witj various locals.

Well I'm sure they would not steal your 2A but they will take everything else - often more valuable. And of course they might take you too like in 2003. IMO the MBM guys are not in the same category as they light smugglers we all meet.

My actual plan is to travel from Lihfera (or Bir Mogrein) to Taudenni and then either Sout to Timboctou or SE to Gao. Being in one car I will depend on finding some travelling companions (either trucks or, heh, easy going smugglers.

Good luck. It is not a busy area. We organised protection in advance and may well have benefitted from it. We will never know.

From what I heard from people who did the caravane Timboctou - Taudenni, the piste might be a bit hard on my 2a lendy... hence Gao

You can manage Taou Tim piste easily I am sure - big lorries do it regularly. To Gao would be quieter.

Smuggling lorries go from Halil (near Bordj) direct to Zouerat, avoiding Taoudenni (and of course Chegga) I believe.

Ch

Sophie-Bart 20 Dec 2006 09:51

Zouerat
 
Last March/April we did a trip more or less following/combining routes discribed by Cyril & Sylvie (Mauritanie au GPS).
East of Zouerat we stumbled on a big lorry-piste, probably coming directly from Zouerat going to El Mreïti. Must be this smuggling piste.
We followed this fast and easy piste (it skips the detour to the vulcanic mountains (Tourine?) as shown on maps).
Because of our limitations (range) we left this piste and went south to find ourself a shortcut to Bir Amrane, due to the terrain (beatyfull!!!), we came back on tracks about 20km east of Bir Amrane (we found the well but the place was deserted at that moment!). We had a wonderfull (a vast sandsea)trip back to Ghallaouîya to find the old fort occupied by Mauritanian Military, which became quit nervous about us showing up from the 'wrong' side. Had to follow them to the fort at gunpoint but a few phonecalls later we were free to go.
Later we heared of two more 'incidents/encounters' involving military activity in this area North-East of the Guelb er Richât in the same weeks (maybe the unsolved killing in El Mhreïthi in 2005 can partly explain this activities and nervousity).

Don't get me wrong, don't want to scare anybody, but although it seems there is a lot going on over there and there are a lot of lines on the map, we didn't see anybody for five days and virtually no tracks or traces (old or new)!

Chris:
I wanted to mail you about this but you were left before I knew it, later it turns out you went a bit further down south to cross. Anyway glad you made it in one piece, and as it seems in a better shape than the ute. Would love to hear/read the whole story soon.

moro 21 Dec 2006 12:40

[QUOTE=Chris Scott][I]
IMO the MBM guys are not in the same category as they light smugglers we all meet.

Sorry Chris, what do you mean by IMO the MBM Guys?

NCR 21 Dec 2006 16:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sophie-Bart
We had a wonderfull (a vast sandsea)trip back to Ghallaouîya to find the old fort occupied by Mauritanian Military, which became quit nervous about us showing up from the 'wrong' side. Had to follow them to the fort at gunpoint but a few phonecalls later we were free to go.

In 2003 me and some friends crossed the (Erg) Maqteir from Zouerat to Tourine - non existant populated place except for Michelin mapmakers - and Ghallaouiya and also found the fort occupied by the Military (some kind of special forces).When they saw the cars in the horizon they jumped to their pick-ups and surrounded us machine-gun in hand! A bit scary in that part of the world, specially until you know who they are... When they saw we were turists they relaxed, but we couldn't enter the fort and were escorted to the well...
It seems that they are always nervous in that part of the desert!

Chris Scott 22 Dec 2006 11:05

As the above posts suggest the area north of Guelb, while more interesting scenically, is also busier with military activity and presumably the people who are trying to evade them (fyi, cig smugglers also do runs from Zouerat direct to Adrar in Alg). Let's not forget the big massacre at the base on the piste to Chegga in summer 2005 - forget the name, was that El Mhreïthi, I thought that is a lonely well further south??

I would like to go up there some time (no escorts, hamdullilai!) but we chose to stay south for the straightest line to Bordj and one that initially steered clear of known activity (as well as having the interesting 1975 101FC element).

IMO the MBM Guys?
Sorry Moro, I like to save space ;-)

In My Opinion the GSPC (= Al Qaeda franchise) guys supposedly led by a guy called Moktar Ben Moktar ('MBM' - the 'one eyed one' but nothing to do with Bordj Moktar the place) will probably not be as friendly as as regular smugglers who are merely avoiding Customs taxes.

It helps you being Slovenian (as opposed to Brit, American, etc) but meeting MBM is still undesirable. The Sahara is big enough not to have to take risks with GSPC etc and if you do I believe you are much safer travelling far from all known pistes (smuggling lorry, regular or otherwise). Of course you are then very much on your own which makes it risky in other ways but it is the Sahara after all!

Ch

(Xmas tip: if I was pushing my luck like this I think I would run XS pattern tyres widely used by locals, not some exotic pattern like BFG AT which signifies a tourist)

moro 29 Dec 2006 17:10

Mbm
 
Thanks for the tyre tip Chris.
MBM - ah, this guy, the saharan robin hood of sorts, he must be over 100 by now

greetings from rabat where I stumbled upon a really well stocked and cheap spare parts shop for old land rovers (just off Bulv. Hassan 2)

Yves 29 Dec 2006 21:15

MBM at Interpol: http://www.interpol.int/public/Data/...2002_16355.asp


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:15.


vB.Sponsors