Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > North Africa
North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



Trans Sahara Routes.

Like Tree15Likes
  • 15 Post By SicIturAdAstra

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 8 Dec 2022
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Posts: 2
Paris - Dakar (125cc, no CDP) - October-December 2022

Ahoy fellow overlanders!

New poster here, but I've been lurking on the site and the forums for a while back (immense thanks to the community for the priceless insights it brought me while preparing for a few trips).

Anyway, I just completed a 45 days Paris-to-Dakar trip on a 125cc motorcyle and I just wanted to share some updated info on border crossing, paperwork, fiches and stuff, because I saw a lot of outdated information prior to that trip. And because I want to encourage everybody to do the same, regardless of your experience with travel or motorbikes.

I'm going to try and make a short as possible, but it might still make for some reading.

So first, a few things about me, so you understand which point of view I speak from.

Passport: French
Languages spoken : French, English
Motorcycle : Honda XL Varadero 2008 125cc
CDP : no
Motorbike insurance : no
Repair skills : none
Previous experiences : completed most of the Silk Road in a 125cc a few years back.

Now...

FRANCE - SPAIN

Nothing to say here really, good ol' European union. We took the ferry in Tarifa and paid around 80 euros, bikes included, which is pretty expensive. Shoulda probably booked before...

Entering Morocco with a EU passport is painless, and your regular bike insurance will suffice (if it's registered in the EU that is).

MOROCCO

As long as you're following the coastline (mostly via the N1), the road quality will range between very good and perfect. These days, all of the intercities routes have been revamped, there is nothing to worry about. You will regularly find gas stations along these new highways, complete with a cafe, a mosk, and the occasional garage.

You will meet the Sahara in Guelmin, when passing through the aptly-named Porte du désert. If there wasn't a lot to see before, now you're literally riding in flatland. Then again, you'll never be alone on the road, nor will you be looking for gas stations. You'll find multiple ATMs in every medium-sized city (Tan-Tan, Tarfaya, Boujdour, Dakhla,Bir Gandouz, Guerguerat).

Western Sahara starts right after Tarfaya (stop there for the night, it's a really laid-back town that was made famous by the Aéropostale).

Starting here, you will encounter regular police checkpoints (around 2-3 per day, keeping in mind that I rode 300-350km tops per day). YOU DO NOT NEED A FICHE, I repeat, they do not care about the fiche anymore. The cops will, however, take your passport, check it, and return it in less than 3 minutes, in perfect professional manner. No one ever asked me anything (there might be some white/ French privilege at play, here).

Then you're up for 2500km of flat nothingness, if you can survive the boredom (get some Bluetooth earplugs and good podcasts - also, cellphone signal in pretty OK, albeit inconsistent, but there are antennas every 20 km or so).The road stays (95%) perfect until you reach the border. Allow yourself a night at the incredible Hotel Barbas in Bir Gandouz. most overlanders stay there and, not gonna spoil, but the place speaks for itself.

One last thought : It was pure chance that I start this trip mid-October, but it was a really good decision. I was chilly during most of my ride through the Sahara, due to being 100m from the coastline. In the mornings, I sometimes had to delay my departure because of the fog. Totally unexpected but welcome overall, as you can easily ride between 2 and 4 pm without feeling too much heat. Remember to stay hydrated, tho. And cover your face, UVs are no joke.

Finally, exiting Morocco was painless. They might search your bags and have a dog give it a sniff but they honestly don't seem to care that much.

THE DMZ

Okay, so, almost everything I saw online about that part is dogshit.
**** you, travel influencers.
You will NOT be risking your life zig-zagging through a 10 kilometer minefield in the sand littered with old trucks rusting under the scorching sun. First, the DMZ is barely a kilometer long these days (or so it seemed, I crossed it in maybe 3 minutes).
Yes, the gravel road is shit, but only for a few hundred meters.
Yes, there are still mines, but you have to wander a few hundred meters away from the road to actually risk exploding. (People don't do that anymore; stray camels do, so we've heard.) Fear not, my brave comrade, and please don't go filming another of these sensationalist videos while you cross that weird lawless territory.

Right after the Moroccan gate, you might be greeted by Lamine, a young Black man and self proclaimed "ambassador of Mauritania". He's a fixer (there are a few others), and will help you get through the Mauritanian paperwork for 10 euros.

If you do not speak French (or even just enough), I would advise you to do it. Lamine is not only a sweetheart, he speaks a few languages, knows his shit and walks the walk. First, I told him I didn't need him, because I like to try my luck. But we met again on the other side of the DMZ and he started directing me to all the right places, and making sure I could get all the paperwork done before the 3pm prayer on a Friday. Even grabbed some cop by the jacket to bring him directly to me so he could stamp my passport. He definitely earned those 10 euros. Great guy. With his permission, here is his Whatsapp number : +222 46 68 69 85.

MAURITANIA


So yeah, Mauritania is another level of sketchy. Once at the border, do not trust any of the guys that don't wear full uniforms. They'll be asking for your papers, just ignore them, breathe, and make it into an actual office before handing any paper (first one on the left). You will have to pay:

-Visa (55 euros)
-Laisser-passer (10 euros)
-Temporary insurance : you can choose either 5, 10, 15 or 30 days I reckon.
I took 10 days for 15 euros, but you'll have to pay for this on in ouguiyas (you can change at the border, Lamine can also help with that).

And you're good to go!

THERE, you WILL need Fiches.
(If you don't know what a Fiche is, there's a template:
https://www.brendansadventures.com/m...or-mauritania/
Remember to write everything in French.)

I'd printed 20. In four days spent on the road,I gave away exactly 17. Checkpoints are frequent, but not all of them stop you, it's kinda arbitrary. They also barely glance at the Fiche. Just have it ready, say saalam aleykoum, hand out the fiche, say merci and leave. No cop ever asked for any kind of bribe either.

The main road between Nouadhibou and Nouakchott is mostly good, with a few potholes here and there, and a few parts where the new asphalt has these weird perpendicular lacerations due to, I guess, the heat? Cause there, my friend, you will feel Satan's breath as soon as you leave the coast. It. Gets. Hot. Also, you will find a bit less gas stations and cafes, but enough to have a break after an hour or two. I had 5L extra gas with me in case, and never got worried enough to use it (my bike has a range of about 400 km, full tank).

What else? If, like me, you're on a 125cc, you might wanna spend the night in Chami, Mauritania's gold rush city. There's a pretty strange (and rather cold) atmosphere but it's safe overall. In front of the Hotel Iwik, there's a little Auberge called l'Or du Sahara (not on Google Maps, but on IOverlander). Private sort of hut, secure parking, and a cool old Belgian man called Olivier might welcome you there.

Also, be extremely wary with your camera/ cellphone : most Mauritanians I met don't seem to enjoy being photographed, and they will come and ask you, sometimes rather angrily, to delete pictures, even when you're not directly pointed at them. Stay calm, apologize if you must, show them the picture, delete it. Next time, ask for permission.

Once in Nouakchott, be really careful while in traffic. People do crazy shit on beaten-up cars, and go fast while doing so, far from your typical jammed city center where you might get a scratch or two. You might see a couple cars utterly wrecked on the side of the road. Pretty stressful.

Once you leave Nouakchott, you're almost done with the Sahara. A mere 100 km south, you will meet grass, trees, the colour green that' you'd almost forgotten.

I did as everyone does and headed for the Diama border post, supposedly safer than Rosso. After Keur Macène, you're in for about 40 km of dirt road, so don't even try to go there during rain season. Before the border, you'll need to pay for the entrance to the national park (100 MRU), then pay the Exit stamp (500 MRU), then the Taxe de commune (100 MRU), and you're good to go. The policeman that will stamp your passport AFTER you've paid the 500 MRU to his customs colleague next door will try to ask you for a bribe. Play dumb, wait, and get your papers back.

SENEGAL

OK, real quick to finish this. Entry to Senegal was really easy. THERE IS NO (in my experience) RESTRICTION FOR MOTORBIKES OLDER THAN 8 YEARS.

When asked about my CDP, I said I didn't have one and asked for a Passavant de circulation valid for 5 days (for 5000 CFA), that I then extended for 15 days in Saint-Louis (at the Bureau des douanes Nord, 16°02'16.1"N 16°30'09.0"W) for another 5000 CFA, and a second time for 15 days in Dakar (the AXA building on Place de l'Indépendance, 4th floor)... this time for free.

And voilà! You've made it to Dakar. If you have the chance, push a bit further to go to Ziguinchor, and come back to Dakar by boat

Hope this helps! Safe journeys everybody!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 23 Dec 2022
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 27
Thank you !!!!

Thank you very much. Very helpful information. Did you take the ferry back to Dakar from Ziguinchor ? Can you tell a bit more of that experience if you did it ? Also wanted to know if you shipped your bikes back from Dakar to France once you finished your what's sound an amazing trip ..... I am planning the same trip this spring.
Thanks again.
R.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 4 Mar 2024
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Mar 2024
Posts: 1
Great post! I’m aiming to head off from the unfashionable part of The South of France in April.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
125cc, dakar, paris, varadero


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
HU Germany Autumn 2022 is October 29-Nov 1 Grant Johnson HU Travellers Meetings - Europe 5 2 Nov 2022 20:17
Peru - Bolivia - Chile, October to December Ola Travellers Seeking Travellers 4 26 Sep 2018 14:41
Trip advice - two up on a R80 Paris Dakar DanielandPolly Route Planning 3 24 Dec 2014 16:54
Morocco to Dakar Around December Start patdavey78 Travellers Seeking Travellers 13 13 Nov 2014 09:02
Nouakchott to Dakar - October 2012 joostvdwiel Travellers Seeking Travellers 1 27 Oct 2012 00:14

 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

2025:

  • Queensland is back! May 2-4 2025!

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:23.