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Old 15 Oct 2009
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Safety situation in Mauritania

Hello all,

Just wondering if anyone has info on the safety situation in Mauritania?

We're getting a bit spooked by the Aus & British Foreign Consulate warnings.
Does anyone know of any viable options for shipping the bike from Morocco to Senegal if Mauritania isn't feasible overland?

Any news welcome.

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Old 15 Oct 2009
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what's your proposed route?
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Old 15 Oct 2009
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We're planning a trip down the west coast of Africa, January to April 2010.

Our planned route is to follow the coast route through Morocco, entering Mauritania at Nouadhibou.
Then we plan to follow the coast route via Noukchott entering Senegal via Diama Dam.

We'll be 2-up on an R1100GS so we are not planning to go off-piste in Mauritania.

We're then working our way through Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso finishing in Ghana.

Mauritania is key to the trip as we don't want to go off-piste or through Algeria.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 16 Oct 2009
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safety in mauratania

Just passed through Mauri theres no problem can get mauri and mali visas on border
Only problem is no petrol between Aleg and Kiffa Or Accomadation about 240 kms
Good Aurberge about 3 km Before Kiffa on right.
Decent Auberge 2 km after Ayoun on road to Nema on right side Easy to miss set 50 yards of the road Once in Mali tarmac has no potholes
No accomadation in first town in Mali but Bank Africa ATM in very small town centre easy to find
Hotel 80 kms on in next town hard to find ask the locals its in suberbs we had a chap on a push bike show us
ATM in Marroc, Mauri and Mali now everywhere
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Old 16 Oct 2009
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English Archie, was it a full 30 day visa for Mauritania at the border? Or just a 3 day transit type one?
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Old 17 Oct 2009
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gilles27, all recent anecdotes suggest that the coastal route does not pose an elevated security risk to travellers, providing the usual common sense measures are taken

yes, i would also be keen to hear what visa options were available to you at the mauri border ^
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Old 17 Oct 2009
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Hi, we were also spooked by the AUS travel warnings about Mauritania but it was absolutely fine. Nouakchott was friendly and laid back, very little hassle at all in Mauri after unpleasant Morocco (bit more hassle here in Mali). It's mainly the northern areas that are of concern, we saw no sign of trouble where we went.

In case you don't know, there is a bit of piste between Morocco and Mauri - just stick to the tracks (there are many!) and watch out for sand. It only goes about 3km but can be confusing. Change your money on the Mauri border (nothing on Moroccan side).

We went straight to Nouadhibou after the border. There is a good highway down to Nouakchott but long hot trip (sandy and windy too!). Next to Aleg (there is a hotel but it's a bit out of the way!!), then to Ayoun to the auberge noted elsewhere in this thread. We have a 36 litre tank so petrol not too much problem, although we carried extra for the Noaudhibou-Nouakchott leg (there was one big station halfway along the route).

From Ayoun to Nioro in Mali - make sure you get your customs stamps done in Kobeni, 20km before the border! We had no idea and got stamped ut of Mauri and reached Mali. They were fine about us going back for the carnet stamp. You end up doing all your customs stamps and insurance and money changing in Nioro. There IS a hotel in Nioro but it's hard to find - it's called Hotel Jamana on the road towards Kayes.

Good luck! We are now worrying about the warnings for Nigeria....

Xander and Mrs X
2000 Africa Twin
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Old 20 Oct 2009
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Englisharchie, PanderingPeter & Mr & Mrs Xander, thanks for the info.

Glad to hear that you're all doing okay on your travels.

We were hoping that the Consulate warnings were just being conservative so it's nice to hear from people there.

Safe riding.
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Old 20 Oct 2009
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The stories and warnings about the threats (especially terror!) in Mauritania are rubbish. I wish most European countries would be as safe as Mauritania.

Especially on the coastal route you won't have any troubles. Probably you'll see more foreigners than locals

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Old 20 Oct 2009
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I think we need to be a little careful about writing off the security warnings for RIM, as per the post above. I am sure you will have no problems, but there is a theme of instability in the country, which sensible travellers will consider.

Without reciting government advisories, there was the death of four French tourists in Aleg in Dec 07. 2008 saw the shooting up of several nightclubs and the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott, along with a shootout in NKT between police and an escaped suspect of Al-Qaeda in the Magreb. 2009 has seen a bloodless coup, along with shooting of an American teacher and an attack on the French embassy in NKT. There has also been longstanding instability on the border zone with Mali, albeit this is usually some distance from the tarmac road via Nema.

Whilst there are rumours that the Dakar rally was relocated in 2008 due to commercial pressure, there was clearly instability in the region which no doubt contributed to ASO's decision to relocate.

Having been to RIM several times in the last few years, little of this is noticeable on the streets on Nouadhibou, Nouakchott or Atar, but the fact remains that these risks exist. If you walk past the Israeli embassy (or linger via the Senegalese embassy on the other side of the road) you will be quickly ushered away, which is a remnant of the previous attack on the embassy.

The basic premise being that Mauritania is generally a peaceful and rewarding country, but recent events in the last three years have created some issues. The vast majority of travellers will not be affected by these, but I think it would be remiss of this forum not to consider them and make people aware that parts of the country are potentially unstable.
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Old 26 Oct 2009
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Thanks for your thoughts Matt.
I think you've made some fair points.
We would not be inclined to completely discount security warnings and as always discretion and awareness are advised when travelling.

At the same time, between your comments and other points made here, I think we can have enough confidence to travel through Mauritania.

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