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  #1  
Old 13 May 2006
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Question Travelling in Mauritania

Hello
New here and new to travel so far.
Question to You experinced travellers:
1. Is it a problem travelling alone in a 4x4 vehicle (security and so)?
2. On the more remote sections (ex Atar-Tidjikja-Tichit), is it easy to meet other people (cars) to travel along with? Planning going 3-4 weeks some time in the period November-February.
3. Which time of year is it more easily to find someone to travel with for the remote sections?

Regards
Grove
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  #2  
Old 13 May 2006
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I've only spent a month in Mauritania so someone can probably give you a fuller answer, but I wouldn't hesitate for a second on security concerns.

As for meeting other people to travel with, on the route you mention, in January this year, we passed about 15 tourist cars in 2 days. Not exactly busy, but then not exactly lonely either. There were even nomads selling coca cola by the piste...!

I'm sure it would be easy to hook up with someone that time of year, although you would have to allow time to wait.
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  #3  
Old 14 May 2006
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Hi Grove
I agree with Richard K, I never felt security was a problem in Mori; but trust no one, nowhere, even back home!
Police check points, both official and unofficial, may demand small 'fees' regularly, and you accept this as part of the deal.
My trip was a while back, but the report here may be of interest: http://www.kitmax.com/kit12travels_0...htm#chinguetti
There were a few travellers around in Atar but none that I wanted to travel with... Wanked out cars and inexperienced drivers!
But the odd local truck is always worth befriending.
Take your time and you'll have no trouble.
Kitmax
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  #4  
Old 14 May 2006
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Hi Grove, I had been in Mauritania on June 2004:

1. We travelled 5 vehicles and never felt any danger with local people or police.

2. We didn´t make that part of Mauritania, from Atar we went to Chinguetti and Ouadane, then to Nouakchott and we did encounter other vehicles on route.

3. Havig that much time to be there I guess you won´t have too many difficulties in finding someone to share the route.

Good luck and nice trip,
Jorge

www.expedicionesfennec.com
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  #5  
Old 15 May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grove
Hello
New here and new to travel so far.
Question to You experinced travellers:
1. Is it a problem travelling alone in a 4x4 vehicle (security and so)?
2. On the more remote sections (ex Atar-Tidjikja-Tichit), is it easy to meet other people (cars) to travel along with? Planning going 3-4 weeks some time in the period November-February.
3. Which time of year is it more easily to find someone to travel with for the remote sections?

Regards
Grove
Hello Grove,

1. I don't know if you mean: one car solo, or even going solo in a car ?
Traveling solo always has some dangers depending on the terrain, distance and certainly your skills and preparation (which doesn't really matter if you stick to the tarmac). If you mean the riscs of getting robbed.... read the other posts. We certainly never felt insecure in Mauri.

2. Finding the right companion can take some time ( right companion = people you still can talk with after a stressfull day, who don't mind your strange habits and skills and are fun to see early the next morning).
When you want to go Atar-Tidjikja there is always some traffic going back and forth (not much!),
Tidjikja-Tichit is more or less the same.
If you want to go from Tichit to Oualata/Nema it's a different story, not much traffic (no locals) only sometimes a organised tour or a group.
It took us about 2 weeks to find other people to travel with us from Atar to Nema, time we well spend exploring the region of Atar and getting used with travelling in the dessert and driving in dunes. We arrived in Atar (BabSahara) spread the word and made some nice trips of about 3-4 days returning to Atar using the campsite as a base.
Because you're on a schedule I would advise to try to get in contact with others upfront (thru the hubb) or try to get in contact with BabSahara in Atar. If you cannot find company to team up with (or you don't trust their skills) you can always hire a guide to come along with you or the whole group for the whole trip or only one of the streches you planned. When you don't like this idea maybe skip Tidjikja, explore the Adrar, interresting history, beautifull scenery and every sort of desert/mountain you can imagine, big enough to spend your 3-4 weeks without getting bored.

3. Oct - March is the best time to visit the Adrar region, in April it gets rather hot so you wouldn't find much more travellers or tourists. (10th of April 44° in the shade), you can coop with that but you have to change your pace (difficult when you're on a tight schedule).

Prepare well but don't forget to enjoy.
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  #6  
Old 15 May 2006
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Hi,


2 - Concerning the remote areas do no to go with only a single car. Between Atar and Tidjikja there are bush taxis operating, but traffic will be most irregular.
Between Tichitt and Oualata there are no bush taxis and tourists will be also very irregular. Thus, I would suggest for these routes to go with a guide (in its own vehicle) or to team up with other turists.


As for safety, no problems! Just be a little bit more carefull around the Nema area. Its a bit dodgy down there.

Cheers,
José
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  #7  
Old 15 May 2006
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Atar ---> Tidjikja + Tichit--->Oualata

Hi José

I'm interested by your reply about these 2 routes : Do yo think I can do these routes with only one car (4x4) but with a guide ?
What a guide can do if the car is out of order ?
I'm planning this trip with my own car this winter , so thank you for your reply .
RR.
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  #8  
Old 15 May 2006
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Hi,


These routes can be done with a single vehicle. The terrain is mostly sandy but there are no big dunes to actually cross. For instance the route from Tidjikja to Tichitt is relatively easy, it is marked almost all the way with red/white sticks.

However, I do not suggest a single veichle to do it alone due to the remoteness of these pists, especially the connection between Tichitt and Oualata. If you happen to have a breakdown in this area, then you'll be in big troubles. There are no bush taxis running this connection, and turists will be irregular (I would not count on other turists to save me from a breakdown in this area!!).

The guide is only usefull if he travels in another car. Navigation is more or less straightforward, except for an Akhle field after the Aratane wells. If you have experience in desert driving and navigation, then it is no big deal. But if you feel unsure, then hiring a guide in Tidjikja (with a car) is the best solution.

Cheers,
José
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  #9  
Old 15 May 2006
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Thank You All for Your kind and usefull reply .
I will probably go solo in one car
I will not go from Tichit to Oualata/Nema.
The possibility of hire a guide is fine.
roro, maybe we should go together on the remote sections?

Regards
Grove
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  #10  
Old 16 May 2006
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[QUOTE=kitmax]Hi Grove
IPolice check points, both official and unofficial, may demand small 'fees' regularly, and you accept this as part of the deal.

don't just accept it!! The more you accept it the more they are encouraged to do it and the more difficult it becomes for the travellers that follow you. Avoid paying unofficial fees if at all possible, unless the guy has been genuinly helpful beyond the call of duty. if unavoidable barter it down as much as possible.

Don't make a rod for other travellers backs, not all travellers can afford to be constantly handing out 'cadeux' to every person that asks

Andy
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  #11  
Old 16 May 2006
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Here Here....

Well said Andy !!!

If a few people pay or give gifts to officials it becomes expected for all...I personally travel on a budget.....

However, if someone does something or works for you then thats different.

......I did enjoy being in Mauritania after Christmas - when asked for cadeux - I would reply to the officials....... 'Noel a Fini'.......

In response to the main post, we hooked up with some guys in Noadhibou for the leg out to Atar and then Tidjikja, theres normally a few people around there and as is mentioned at BabSahara.
The Dutch guy who runs bab will give you his satellite phone number (if you have one) should you have any problems - (though you should travel with other vehicles IMO) and will help for a price.

Cheers
Grif
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  #12  
Old 16 May 2006
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NO to cadeaux

Just to add to what Grif and Andy have said.

Apart from the fact that it adds up to a lot of cash (there are a lot of police checkpoints) it's bad for the country and feeds corruption. A friendly and polite NO normally works fine, we always left checkpoints on good terms and with wallets intact.

Mauritania is one long line of outstretched hands and "donnez-moi's" as result of indiscriminate bonbon, stylo and Oug spewing tourists and rallyists. It doesn't help anyone.

Reward help and hospitality (uniformed or otherwise), spend your money in small shops and hire the odd guide here and there. Don't treat people like you'd throw bread at ducks in the pond.

Rant over ; )
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Last edited by Richard K; 16 May 2006 at 14:05.
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  #13  
Old 16 May 2006
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Tidjikja + Tichit--->Oualata ( or reverse)

Hi Grove

"roro, maybe we should go together on the remote sections?"

Why not !
I don't know now the timing of my trip , I have 2 options :
- Coming from Niger in November with 2 people in another car
- Going to Mali in March 2007 , but with only one car .
I'm waiting for the decision of the 2 other travellers ( the "another" car )

RR.
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  #14  
Old 16 May 2006
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I will try not to give "cadeux" at checkpoints.
roro: My plan is to travel from Europe-Morocco-Mauritania and back again.
Places want to see so far: Nouadhibou
Ben Amera
Choum
Atar
Chinguetti
Tidjikja
Tichit
Matmata


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  #15  
Old 17 May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gipper
Well said Andy !!!
Ditto!

Paying for special service is one thing, such as an offical that has to be fetched from home to do your paperwork etc, but forking over money otherwise at the endless numbers of police/military checkpoints just reinforces the evil circle of corruption in Africa...
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