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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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Mauretania X/XI '11

Hi all,

here are some photos and short films from the trip to Mauretania organised by me and Bartosz this year.
GLOBERIDER-GALERIE

Summary/ reflections:
-2 cars + 1 bike (8 adults + 1 child)
-Mauretania is definitely worth visiting, its vast expanse of untouched desert strikes imagination
-the piste from Bon Lanuar area to Choum along the railway (Olaf's Maroco map works well here) is a good place for a novice to gain some basic sand-driving experience and do some silly
mistakes (like burning clutch disc) without grave consesequences
-Passe d'Amogjar in some places might be difficult to pass with a vehicle wider than ordinary 4x4
-driving along the beach from Nauakchott to Nouamghar was very nice
-Chinguetti itself & Parc National du Banc d'Arguin were somehow disapointing
-we were unaware that camping on the piste or driving at night in the desert in Mori is forbidden nowadays
(you are obliged to leave a fiche in every small village and sleep by the gandarmerie's post)-
we thought it was rather strange and constraining regulation unless we read that two blokes that we had met along the way (that is Stephen Gown on XT600E and Jacobus Ruke in HJ61) were kidnapped in Tombuctou.
-you do not realize the danger (with regard to terrorism) unless it affects people you know...

Hope it ends well

Tomek
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  #2  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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Hey,
Great pics Tomek and thanks for the useful info!
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  #3  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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Loved pictures No.164 and 165 in particular

Thanks for the post Tomek.
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  #4  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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Quote:
-we were unaware that camping on the piste or driving at night in the desert in Mori is forbidden nowadays
(you are obliged to leave a fiche in every small village and sleep by the gandarmerie's post)-
Not heard that before but not surprised to learn wild camping is no longer allowed after all that's gone on, even before Timbuktu. It would indeed restrict you on some of the longer pistes.

Depending on how strictly they enforce it, one could say that the freedom to roam in the Mori desert has finally succumbed, as with the desert areas of every other Saharan country except Mk and Sudan, only in Mori's case, without resorting to escorts.

Hopefully it's a temporary measure, but from what you read, the threat is far from over.

Ch
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Old 23 Dec 2011
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I spent a good 15 days in Mauritania on the trip which I've just returned from, and camped wild on many nights in Mauritania.

Usually we would tell the Gendarmerie that we were carrying on riding through the dark for a bit to an auberge and then we'd nip off piste/road a few k's until we thought we wouldn't be spotted (I always do this anyway when camping wild).

A couple of times the next morning the first Gendarmerie we encountered would ask where we slept as their friends at the last post had said we were coming. When we answered with wild camping they told us it was dangerous and we should find them next time.

There were 2 times I was physically stopped riding in the dark though. Once at the very big post with a big arch on the N3 between Aleg and Kiffa. And once right near the (Gogui) Mali border - this actually turned into an amazing evening which I wouldn't have changed for the world!

So in my recent experience wild camping and driving in the dark is still possible in Mauritania (this was in November), it is depending on which Gendarme you meet though...

Eddie.
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  #6  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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Thanks for the update Eddie - now we know.

At he very least, it's good to know they're looking out for travellers

Ch
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Old 25 Dec 2011
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Wild camping

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieWouldGo View Post
So in my recent experience wild camping and driving in the dark is still possible in Mauritania (this was in November), it is depending on which Gendarme you meet though...

Eddie.
I agree that if you hide yourself then camping in Mori is easily doable (it is a big country with low population density). Nevertheless if you stick to the main pistes and don't hide, the gandarmerie will politely but firmly force you to sleep at the nearest post.

Regards

Tomek

P.s. If I travel alone I always do like you do. Futhermore if you master hiding yourself you might not need a guide or even a visa to travel across f.ex. Southern Algeria
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Old 26 Dec 2011
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Yes they do look out for you in Mauri. Some places, the gendarmes would exchange phone numbers, calling later to know that we were installed somewhere safe. Like in Selibaby, where there was high alert when we passed through since the president was there the same night.
I remember one traveler ignored the advice given by the gendarmes and went into the bush, which triggered a helicopter search - not something you would want.
They have in Mauri a kind of lodging I haven't seen elsewhere - roadside mattresses where you can sleep for free if you eat the goat meat they have on display. You select the pieces you want and they prepare it for you with onion and bread.
Too hardcore for many white people perhaps, but mixing with the locals I feel much safer than staying at some toubab motel.
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Old 26 Dec 2011
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Hi, Tomek. Nice to see you again. In meantime I eMail with Bartosz. We missed one day in Chinguetti. I realized all my planes in Mauri and Morocco. Now planing complete off-road bike circle in Mauri for next year :-). If any is interested I published on my disk server whole tour in 549 pictures. Just follow Link ---> MotorCycle Travel ---> Picture with Flags ---> Slidshow

All the best in 2012, Tomaz
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  #10  
Old 26 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomek View Post
Hi all,

-the piste from Bon Lanuar area to Choum along the railway (Olaf's Maroco map works well here) is a good place for a novice to gain some basic sand-driving experience

Hi Tomek and Bartosz,

Great trip, great pictures

Can you please tell me which pictures belong to the piste Bon Lanuar to Choum along the railway?

I rode from Western Sahara to Senegal via Mauritania this February mainly through tarmac and have been planning to ride this R2 piste for some time.

Your pictures will give me a rough idea of the terrain, I'm riding an Africa Twin.

BR,
Luis Cabrita
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Old 26 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaBRita View Post

Can you please tell me which pictures belong to the piste Bon Lanuar to Choum along the railway?
Hi Luis,
22-77. If you can, take a lighter bike for this piste.

Regards
Tomek
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  #12  
Old 26 Dec 2011
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Mauri

Quote:
Now planing complete off-road bike circle in Mauri for next year :-).
Hi Tomaz,
it's nice to hear that you are ok.
Your plans are very interesting:-) I thought about second half of November and December. We keep in touch.

Happy New Year,
Tomek

p.s. I will look at your photos as soon as i have faster internet connection.
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  #13  
Old 26 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomek View Post
Hi Luis,
22-77. If you can, take a lighter bike for this piste.

Regards
Tomek
Thank you for the feedback! My other two bikes are lighter but they are roads bikes so the option will be ride together with friends in order to have someone to push me

Have you ridden MS6? How do you (or someone else reading this) compare this R2 with MS6 in terms of required off-road riding skills?

BR,
Luis CaBRita
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  #14  
Old 27 Dec 2011
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Ok, Tomek. Sure, we will stay in touch. I will inform you about our November 2012 Mauritania progress. Best wishes also in 2012.
@Luis: Does we meet us in Laayoune this October? I was riding behind Carlos from Tan Tan to Tarfaya -> Laayoune.

Tomaz

Last edited by Bertrand; 27 Dec 2011 at 10:44.
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  #15  
Old 28 Dec 2011
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Does anyone know if petrol (Essence) is available in Tidjikja?
Persistence.
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