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Hi all i am thinking of riding from uk to dakar . I will go straight through europe quickly then when i get to morocco i will take in a lot of off road till i make it to dakar . Anybody got any route sugestions ? how long should i plan on taking to get to dakar ?? thanks all tips welcome
UK to Dakar? I've done it in 5 days and I've also taken over 4 months, so it depends how fast or slow you want to go.
Lets just take Laayoune to Dakar. If you wanted to drive more or less straight through, and are prepared to spend 8-10 hours a day behind the wheel you could do the following.
Day 1 Laayoune to (or near to) the Morocco-RIM border.
Day 2 Cross border, get to Nouakchott (or bush camp on the way to Rosso/Diama).
Day 3 Start early, cross RIM-Senegal border and you would be in Dakar by night, or stay in St Louis and get to Dakar on Day 4.
The above is easy enough going, based on the fact your vehicle can cruise comfortably at 100 km/h. You would have plenty of time to stop and mess around if you see something interesting, take photos etc.
Worth noting that its dangerous to drive at night in some of these countries as there is a huge amount of unlit animals, people, donkey carts, bicycles, mopeds, cars, buses and trucks on the move. I personally tend to start at dawn and try to drive as little as possible at night. Its OK in southern Morocco or on the desert highway from the border to Nouakchott, but anywhere else you would be surprised at whats moving on the road.
ok thanks for that but 10 hours a day on a single sounds like hell . mabe i should have asked what sort of distance it is . i think it will be about 4 days to southern spain. after that i will try to stay away from the mainroad . i was thinking of making it a off road trip .the is no rush i will travel about 200 miles in a day maybe less and if the are some cool places i will stay for a few days . camping most of the way
I've been thinking of the same trip so am following this with interest. I can't offer anything except I'll be going via Santander ferry, 2 days through Spain and then as much dirt as possible.
The trails depend on when you do it as the mountains could have snow. I'm going to Morocco this autumn but will probably stay there this time to checkout the trails there I haven't done before.
Make the most of the fun dirt tracks in 'mainland' Morocco (for ideas see Morocco Overland, among other sources), because once past Tan Tan options for off-roading while alone are pretty thin or risky, all the way to NKT.
200 miles off road is pretty ambitious up north, but if you want to explore some dirt roads and hang on the way, give yourself 3-4 weeks door to door.
myself and my good lady did the trip last june on a tiger and 650gs,like chris says once past tan its risky off road and another factor to put into the equation are the road blocks/checkpoints,our worst day had us stopped about 15 times all with the demands for passport details as a minimum and sometimes 5 minutes of questions,all in it took us about 12days from blighty to Dakar averaging about 200to250 miles a day all down the atlantic road. We were passed by a lunatic in a car doing about 150km/hr but apart from that we hardly saw another european once past Tiznit,lastly the further south you travel the poorer the people and the more corrupt the regime so make every thing secure on the bike, i used steel cord and small padlocks to secure stuff to the bike
It's possible to do Nouakchott to Dakar in one day, I did this back in Jan on my 650GS. Many hours delay at Diema. The track leading up to this border is fun, the first and last bit of off road in a while. Many hours riding in the dark is much less fun
If you want some off-road in Mauri, there are several places where you can just ride parallel to the main road in hard sand. If you have a GPS it's easy to keep track of where the main road is, even if you don't see it. That way you can venture out into the desert a bit, cross some small dunes and ride hard at around 80Km/h, the sand here allows it. Fun and relatively easy riding.
In Mauri should be fun going off road towards the sea south of Noadíbou and visit lovely Bank d'Arguin; then going the old N-S route on the beach all the way to Nkt. There is a 12 km stretch of soft sand dunes to pass.
Hopefully it will be a while before they seal MS6. I could be wrong but I'd also be surprised if they ever seal MW6 (Assa-Smara) as described in the book. It's an old Dakar rally stage that goes through nowhere. Perhaps they are renewing the military road from Assa down to Zag along the border?
There are some great routes in the West. Got any pix, Bob?
It looks like they were getting ready to seal a small section right at the Assa end in Feb last year, but agree with Chris, I don't see this extending very far.
There's a whole lot of nothing between there and Smara. 2 (568) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
A great route, I'm really glad we did it. Certainly wouldn't attempt it as a lone vehicle though, a bit too long and remote for that.
There are loads of photo's here. Morocco 2010 - a set on Flickr
I never got around to splitting them down though I'm afraid. If you hover over the thumbnails, Smara - Assa starts at number 2(465)
The route is no problems at all and as others have said, go and explore Morocoo routes in Chris' books - some real gem places to see and don't rush. We crossed Western Sahara no problems at all and found Mauritania fine (we crossed in 3 days on the sealed road - good security and helpful police etc...)
We did have some issues crossing into Senegal. Diama was flooded and so we had to use Rosso. You can read about our experience here.
Our advice would be to try and hook up with a car or biker and tackle Rosso early in the day. Attitude is everything and you will have to pay a "helpers" fee but remain calm and watch out for pick pocket kids. I have yet to hear of anyone that has crossed Rosso and not got ripped off. Diama is easier - just watch out for flooded sections if it has rained.
Northern Senegal has some pretty corrupt police stops so have all your paperwork sorted - its saves on the fine / bribe front. If you go to St Louis watch for very keen parking guards who like to clamp you and a police post just South of the city that likes to fine overlanders.... they are full of BS and just stand your ground.
We stopped just short of Dakar at Lac Rose. Nice enough area but traffic was a nightmare and we stayed just outside the city. There is limited camping in Dakar and those that have wild camped in the city have found it to be pretty "wild" ;-)
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