We've just return from Chingetti (4WD Toyota, desert virgins).
Very few tourists (90% down after 4 french killed 2 years ago and cancellation of Paris Dakar race).
Much army at Oudane, but we told to protect TOTAL engineers who are
prospecting out there. The engineers (French/Spanish) are very evident and high tech. There is also a new discovery of very good quality gold only 3 meters under, in desert south east of Nouadibou which may garner unsavorary interest.
But i must balance by saying it was the most sublime drive from
Chingetti to Ouadane. For us desert virgins, it was our first sea sands,
our first play in dunes, our second SIS (stuck in sand), and our first loosing our way and the piste in a sandstorm and finding it thanks to the simplest Garmin GPS.
I am much indebted to this site - and Chris Scot and his book in particular for our knowledge and recommended equipment - just wish we had bought a compressor to reflat the tyres!
We are now at Nouakchotte, gettiing Mali Visa and replenishing. Atta expensive for food and fuel. Will be able to give accommodation pointers for Mauritania by the end if useful.
With best wishes
Rachel and Barry