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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #1  
Old 4 Dec 2013
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Current situation Westsahara, Mauritania, Mali (Dec 2013)

Just drove from Europe to Mali and obviously found a different, much tougher situation, compared to my last trip 7 years ago.

Trip report here: Driving through Westsahara. Mauritania, Mali (Dec 2013) - Gentleman Adventurer

In a nutshell:

Mauritania visa on arrival (50 Euro) now available again at border (since Nov 2013)

Morocco-Mauritania border opens at 08h00 (in reality 09h00) and closes at 18h00, on weekends possibly earlier (14h30 ?)

Car insurance for Mauretania (25 Euro) and - separately - most of West Africa (Brown Card, 75 Euro) available at Mauri border

Mali visa usually available at border, but advise to obtain it beforehand (at Rabat embassy within ca. 1 hour, 60 Euro), because of potential refusal at Mauri-Mali border in the current war turmoil

Mauri-Mali border opens at 08h00 and closes at 18h00 (or 20h00 ?)

Compulsory military escort (soldier in car with AK 47 and 2 magazines; cost 10 Euro) from Mauri-Mali border to Nioro du Sahel and another soldier (50 Euro) from there to Bamako, because of current reflaming of Tuareg rebellion and several AQMI & Ansar Dine incursions and kidnappings in that area

Corrupt chief of brigade at "Douanes" customs office in Nioro du Sahel(Mali) tries to enforce an additional rip-off customs escort on transit travellers (so called T1 carnet), all the way through the country. Avoid this at all cost and insist you enter as a tourist !!! Otherwise you have a customs guard in your car (at 75 - 100 Euro cost, starting in Kati/Bamako) who keeps your passport and car papers and decides your Bamako hotel and the immediate onward drive out of the country.

For Westsahara, Mauritania and Mali you need to prepare a total of 50 (!) "Fiche d'Etat Civile" photocopies to hand out at the many control posts.

Last edited by Travelbug; 15 Dec 2013 at 04:58. Reason: Added insurance info, visa cost
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  #2  
Old 4 Dec 2013
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Thanks for the new info....50 euros does not sound TOO bad, its still a difficult area with lots of kidnapping and the guys with the beards would normaly target a non escorted vehical rather than one with a guy with a AK
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  #3  
Old 5 Dec 2013
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Thanks for the update!

Cheers,

Gee
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  #4  
Old 6 Dec 2013
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Thank you for the informations

Surfy

Last edited by Surfy; 6 Dec 2013 at 20:52.
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  #5  
Old 6 Dec 2013
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In Mali you would have to get yerself north or east of Tomboctou to get kidnapped these days.
That is a scam they are pulling, just say no.
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  #6  
Old 6 Dec 2013
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Originally Posted by priffe View Post
In Mali you would have to get yerself north or east of Tomboctou to get kidnapped these days.
That is a scam they are pulling, just say no.
The difficulty was that the customs chief told us that our military escort ends in Bamako and there we would get our car papers back. Only in Bamako we were told that the escort continues. Try to get your papers back from someone with an AK47
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Old 7 Dec 2013
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In Kayes I asked at the commissariat if there was a need for escort to Bamako, he replied 'ask the gendarmes'. Went over there and sat for a while, noone was interested. Finally a bossman showed up, he asked me 'are you mr Diallo?' This was so surreal I replied "Non je m'appelle Sidibé. Abdullahi Sidibé!" At this everyone present was laughing and slapping their knees.
I said 'I am going to Bamako'. Bossman said 'Bon voyage!'
That was it.
Lots of crooks around Nioro-Diema and that is where you could also, possibly, be kidnapped.
Man I hate giving away my papers. I will carry copies of passport and driver's license, that is all they are gonna get from me. Once they have your papers you're out of luck.
In Bamako I gave the driver's license away too often to corrupt policemen, finally I said 'look I am not going to pay you even one CEFA, so what are you going to do with it? Show it to your wife??' They found that funny, but insisted I 'needed to support the police'. Wearily I gave him a couple hundred and swore never ever to hand over any important documents again.
Edit: in fact, I doubt I will even stop or pull down the window. Just ignore, ignore.

Last edited by priffe; 7 Dec 2013 at 16:51.
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  #8  
Old 7 Dec 2013
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Hey guys,

In Mali and enjoying the hospitality and the good mood of the people here (especially the girls here ) We had issues with the gendarmerie in Nior, but with a healthy attitude we where able to get our passports back at Diema.

From there on on our own without any problems.

Cheers Richard
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  #9  
Old 11 Dec 2013
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Mauri Oct 2013

Just to say we have done a very good trip in Mauri desert this Autumn: 15 days , 3 cars and a very nice guide "petit" Fadel.
Our route: Nouadhibou,banc d'Arguin,Benichab,Akjout,
Erg Amatlich,Amazmaz,Tifoujar,Oued El Abiod(about Akjout--> Oujeft we have followed the route described in Cyril Ribas' book),Oujeft,Atar,Ouadane,Chinguetti,Rachid,Tidjik a ('old piste'),passe de Nega,Boumdeit,Aleg,Diama.

After Sénégal,Gambia,Guinée Bissau and return (the whole trip:10weeks).

If you need more details, just let me know.

RR.
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  #10  
Old 14 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roro View Post
Just to say we have done a very good trip in Mauri desert this Autumn: 15 days , 3 cars and a very nice guide "petit" Fadel.
Our route: Nouadhibou,banc d'Arguin,Benichab,Akjout,
Erg Amatlich,Amazmaz,Tifoujar,Oued El Abiod(about Akjout--> Oujeft we have followed the route described in Cyril Ribas' book),Oujeft,Atar,Ouadane,Chinguetti,Rachid,Tidjik a ('old piste'),passe de Nega,Boumdeit,Aleg,Diama.

After Sénégal,Gambia,Guinée Bissau and return (the whole trip:10weeks).

If you need more details, just let me know.

RR.
Hi,

Heading there in a couple of weeks, and would appreciate some more info.

Cheers,

Gee
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  #11  
Old 14 Dec 2013
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Originally Posted by Thimba View Post
Hi,

Heading there in a couple of weeks, and would appreciate some more info.

Cheers,

Gee
No poblem Thimba, just ask me what infos do you need and I'll try to help you.

RR.
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  #12  
Old 15 Dec 2013
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Originally Posted by roro View Post
No poblem Thimba, just ask me what infos do you need and I'll try to help you.

RR.
Thanks,

I understand you used a guide. Could you pm me how I can contact him (mail, or perhaps Facebook?).

Cheers,

Gee
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  #13  
Old 15 Dec 2013
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Originally Posted by Thimba View Post
Thanks,

I understand you used a guide. Could you pm me how I can contact him (mail, or perhaps Facebook?).

Cheers,

Gee
FADEL HABIB : 00222 22 44 38 04 - 00222 46 44 38 04


MAIL :info@smcp.mr (not sure about it)


He lives in Nouadhibou.

A very nice guy, indeed

RR.
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  #14  
Old 17 Dec 2013
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I heard they now demand you have a fire extinguisher in the vehicle on the Mauri border; correct?
Also heard they are being more strict against carrying extra fuel inside the car (fuel is cheaper in Western Sahara). Some have had their extra bidons confiscated.
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
I heard they now demand you have a fire extinguisher in the vehicle on the Mauri border; correct?
Also heard they are being more strict against carrying extra fuel inside the car (fuel is cheaper in Western Sahara). Some have had their extra bidons confiscated.
Probably true. When Mauri customs saw our 6 fuel canisters in the car, they went into attack mode, but immediately let us go when we showed a diplomatic passport.
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