We left the Auberge Sahara and headed out into the morning rush hour traffic of Nouakchott, the road south to Rosso was at the other end of the city so we had a fair amount of traffic to negotiate to leave the city. When we had passed the police checkpoints and weíre cruising along I cast my eyes off the road and took in the every changing scenery. The sand had changed to a rich red, dotted with green vegetation, which camels, goats and donkeys munched on It was a shame to be leaving Mauritania so soon after arriving, probably not the last time Iíd be feeling this on the last days ride in a country.
The heat of the day was rising and I really didnít feel like the hassle of a border crossing so we decided to pull off the road into the shade and chill out for a few hours. Letting the hottest part of the day drift past from my hammock seemed like a good idea.
No sooner had my side stand hit the sand I could spy a young boy making a beeline for us. I greeted him as I have all other locals shaking his hand and introducing us. He looked on as we ate our lunch, his younger brother joining him. He seemed very curious so I got out my camera and took a couple of shots of him and then passed the camera so he could have a look at himself. He loved that and it wasnít long before he had taking possession of the compact camera and was snapping left right and centre with himself and his brother doing funny poses and standing on their heads. This I had to video, which in turn he was amazed to watch himself. This continued for some time before I crashed out in my hammock, I woke a couple of hours later when the sun had moved and I was no longer in the shade. The two kids had also crashed out on my sheepskin, which was laid out on the ground.
I strolled off to photograph a few camels that were munching away on the trees. So much for missing the heat it was now four and time to get moving but the day was as hot as ever.
Only a few hundred metres down the road and another police check point. Can we see your insurance, I passed over my insurance certificate, which I knew full well, didnít cover Mauritania. It covered every other country between Senegal and Cameroon for the next three months but not here. Nothing a few euros in the right palm didnít sort out.
Rosso is a frontier town on the Senegal River, which at our time of arrival, was hot and busy. We topped up our water and bought bread before heading eighty kilometers west to another border crossing which Iíd heard was a lot easier. The ride was on one of the best pistes Iíve ridden so far. It followed the river passing through the national park; we rode into the sunset, birds flying overhead and dozens of wild bore running across the track in front of us.
When the sun set we rode off into the bush to make camp, which was also idyllic that was until the mosquitoes woke up! I made a speedy retreat into my tent for some well-deserved sleep, listening to the sounds of nature around me.
The next morning we were over the border in an hour or so, riding across the dam which bridges Mauritania and Senegal. I had a good feeling about Senegal right from the beginning. The landscape got lusher and it had a more liberal feel about it, women were dressed in bright coloured clothing and music pumped out of speakers on every other corner. Quite a contrast to the desert towns, which were only, a stoneís through away.
Posted by Michael Beckett at November 10, 2007 10:11 PM GMT
Zebra bar, Senegal 15į 51.901 N 16į 30.738W
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