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Sahara Travel ForumTopics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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can anyone tell me where we can cross the senegal-river with a car? Coming from Atar,Mauritania, we would travel southwards to the senegal-river and then cross it somewhere to enter Senegal?
You can cross the river at a few points. I take it when you said "car" you have a 2WD, which leaves you with two options, Rosso and Diama. Rosso is at the end of the day the easiest if you are two or more people or your car is a little bit of a wreck. The formalities are pretty easygoing if you can speak French and can stay cool. As the road to here from Nouakchott is tarred all the way and on the Senegalise side as well its easy on the car. The ferry goes five times a day.
Diama was the traditional crossing point for years for car dealers but has gone downhill for several reasons, its gotten very aggressive and expensive. The piste is possible in a car in the dry season but if you are having any technical problems with the car I would give it a miss.
If you do have any problems in Diama or Rosso don`t worry, St.Louis is just down the road and it`s a great place to spend a few days and to get completly pissed.
thanks for your information.
Maybe I was not complete on my initial question : we want to cross the senegal-river with a group of 7 Land Rovers. The period will be end of july. Does this leave us with more options (crossing points)?
If you are thinking of crossing in July then Rosso and Diama are the only really suitable options. By July the river level and water flow has increased leaving any other options dangerous. I'm not aware of any place where it is possible to ford the river, as it is too deep and too wide in most places. Depending on the amount of rain which has fallen in July the Diama route may be impassable too. Although it is possible in a 4WD the piste is sometimes closed by the police to stop it being too badly damaged. It used to be possible to take a smaller ferry upriver but I understand that it is closed now. Anyway you would have problems with the paperwork for the car if you didn't arrive at a recognised crossing. Not having valid papers for the car means that you could easily lose it if checked. If you have time and are interested you can drive through Mauritania and head south then southeast from Aleg and drive into Mali, cross the river in Kayes (bridge), and then head into Senegal. I did most of this route on foot and with an old Chinese bicycle about a year ago and it was well worth it. I can guarantee you you will meet **** all tourists but I suppose seven Landies will cause enough of a commotion anyway. If you are thinking of bolting the Landies together then I suggest you stack them on top of each other, at least the guy on top can see where the hell youre going to.
The road from Atar to Aleg via Nouakchott is good tar all the way, so take as long as you like. There are a few harmless checkpoints along the way. If you are in a group the piste from Chinguetti/Atar to Tidjika is not that difficult and incredibly beautiful.
The crossing at Diama is on top of a small dam or barrage, it's complelty safe for cars. Leaving Rosso it's about 90km of piste to Diama and on the Senegalise side about 20min on a very good piste (Nov 2001). I wouldn't spend the night in Diama though, the place is plagued with mosquitos.
I've just returned from Senegal. All the information stated by Kevin is true. Be aware that, in July, the piste to Diama may not be practible at all. I've catched a day's rain and it was allready too muddy in some sections.
Also police and customs at Diama are rough and all try to get money from you. But even so I would prefer it, instead of Rosso.
Are you the Kevin who lives/lived in Bamako for a couple of years, the guy who has driven across the Sahara 20 or 30 times?
We were in touring in East Africa for 10 months and we met at least 7 or 8 people on seperate ocassions who crossed the desert with you. Is it true you live from selling cars which you drive down? I would like to cross the Sahara in a car this year. Any tips?
I have followed this thread with interest as I will be travelling this way in April going from Mori to Ghana via Guinea or Mali and wondered what route to take then and on the way back in early June. On the way out we will be two well equipped 101's and will have time and inclination to travel the most scenic route. In June we will be on our own and in more of a hurry, Advice on routes and diversions, would be very welcome.
Looking at the map, there would seem to be a number of crossings of the Senegal River, Ross, Bogue/Demer (presumably this is the Diama mentioned before), Kaedi/Silla, Sive/Matam? and Selibabi/Bakel. Are these all open and operating? If ferries can they take a fully laden 101 (3.6 tonnes). Is it worth crossing the river at all? Are there any border crossings between Mori and Mali near Kayes or do you have to go up to Kankossa?
IMHO, Senegal is nothing special unless you're going down via Bissau to Guinea - the latter can hard work and hard tracks in the F Djallon (tho never been), but for better or worse is a taste of untamed Congo-like Africa. It will be memorable in retrospect...
Otherwise go Mori to Mali
>Are these all open and operating?
Unless you categorically hear otherwise, I doubt it.
>If ferries can they take a fully laden 101 (3.6 tonnes).
If its a car ferry it will manage a 101
>Is it worth crossing the river at all?
Good question - see Senegal above.
>Are there any border crossings between Mori and Mali near Kayes or do you have to go up to Kankossa?
According to the 953 Kankossa looks most likely in a car. I'v always thought the area south of the kayes-bam road looked intriguing - lots of cig/gold/diamond smuggling to/from Guinea - there is a new sealed road now and wild west gold mines manned of russians (in my day 8-10 years ago). But there are some big rivers too.
I reckon coming back you will be worn out & heatstruck, so make it easy. Or come back via Alg - much more satisfying than the Atlantic assuming the 101s run cool.
Make us an S-File, I'd like to see some 101 desert action!
Thanks for the info Chris. Very useful! I had wondered about the route north via Algeria but thought that it might be too much hassle to organise from the southern end. Also concerned about bandits & having to join convoys etc. or am I worrying too much? Will be pleased to send you a file on our return. We intend to take plenty of pics and DV
> too much hassle to organise from the southern end.
All you need is Niger and Alg visas plus a hat and water.
>Also concerned about bandits & having to join convoys etc. or am I worrying too much?
Yes buts thats normal until you get there. In Niger I'd head promptly up from Agadez to the border - it will be very hot anyway. Avoid Air tenere w/o others. Once in Alg youre safer. Avoid the TS highway (as in recent S-File) - a faster and easy way north is Route A7 then A6, a fab way is A2 to Djanet with A7 as an easy start. Then up over the Fadnoun to Tunis.
If that isnt the best part of your entire trip I've give you 30 gallons of DERV. Check out the vid from Matt Savage LRs
Looking forward to the multi media show.
Are you in ambulance tanks or the sleek racing radio bodies?
Diama is WEST of Rosso, not east, I don't have a Michelin 953 map but if I can remember properly it was never marked very well on it, its possibly marked as "barrage" or whatever, anyway it's a doddle to find.
Regarding the other crossings, I don't know if the other ferries are working or not, I think the one at Bakel was running a couple of years ago, but most of the traffic crosses the river at Kidira/Diboli on the bridge now.
I said earlier on that the biggest problem is crossing the river into Senegal and not being able to do the paperwork for the car. If you have no laissez-paisser or no stamp in your carnet de passage then the car will more than likely be impounded. I sell cars in Senegal occassionally and where you may have gotten away with no papers a year or two ago with a heafty backhander those days are well and truly over since Senegals new President clamped down on corruption.
If you want to enter Senegal I would only do it legally at either Diama, Rosso or Kidira.
If you want a trip to see scenery, then I really recommend Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry (which is even better if youre on a bike), and the Man area of Cote d'Ivoire. You can either pass through Senegal and Gambia which are a nice change after Mauritania or cut through West Mali, I could suggest you go Kayes, Diamou, Sellinkegni, Bafoulabe (ferry CFA5,000) and then either the difficult piste along the river to Kita or the good dirt road via Manantalis. The road from Kayes to Bafoulabe is one of the most beautiful in West Africa and one of the least travelled. You don't need 4WD either, a 2WD with a lot of ground clearance (Mercedes 207) will do it to.
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