Nouakchott to Bamako - best route?
Can anyone offer some advice for the best road ( best surface + condition) possible from Nouakchott - Bamako - Burkina Faso. The Route de l'espoire is very bad these days. I have been told that the rozd to Dakar is better and then to cross East towards Mali.
Can anyone offer any suggestions on the best route ( not the longest), not sure if my Landie can take too much more!
Onwards to Mali
To get to Bamako you can take the 1100km sealed Route D'Espoir towards
Néma. However, the so-called 'Road of Hope' is not what it was, and east of
Aleg is badly broken up and occasionally covered in drifting sand. Most
vehicles drive alongside the ruined tarmac.
The two mains routes leading into Mali are from Kiffa to Kayes and Nema via
Nara to Bamako. This is what Dutch biker, Peter Kik had to say about the
It's the worst route I've ever taken! The first part is a quite good
dirt road, although parts of the surface have now been washed
away. The rest is constant corrugations and the middle section
from Kouroudjel to Aourou is a very sandy track where lorries
(unbelievable that they can get through) have made deep ruts.
Even standing on the footrests it was sometimes impossible to
look over the long grass alongside the track. My shocks had
packed up in the desert so I couldn't keep my speed up and fell
off more than I want to remember. For a while I tried to ride in
the high grass (and thorn bushes) but this was very slow as you
couldn't see where you were going. Waiting for the train in
Kayes, I spoke with some of the Paris-Dakar guys who rode that
track three days later and some of them also had to ride beside
the track because they couldn't cope with the sand.
There are a lot of tracks criss-crossing this route so we often got
lost. The last part was better (no sand) but there were a lot of
deep ditches made by floods which would be almost impossible
to cross with a car. It was much more difficult than the desert
because you can choose your route - must stay in the tracks. I
would never want to try it with a two-wheel drive.
I think im the biker Chris is talking about, but that was 5 years ago. I ve done the same route again, 3 years ago and most of the route from Nouakchott to Kiffa was worse than is was. BUT they were working on that road a lot and often we had to take diversions because we were not allowed to rideon the fresh new tarmac. We went from Kiffa to Kayes which is not as worse as i described in Chris' story, but I still wouldnot recommened it with at car, especially not if you are not sure it can handly really rough roads.
From Kayes to Bamako most of the road now is sealed. Only the first 100 km, were you follow the river is quite difficult, but very scenic, most of the rest is by now sealed.
Most of the people with cars (also the 2 wheeldrive) i spoke in Bamako had followed the route l'espoire with no real difficulties except that they had to take it very slow. More to the east the road even gets better. It seems that about 100 km before the end of the route you take a not-so-bad dirtraod to Bamako.
Going via Senegal into Mali to Kayes is not to difficult either.
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