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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #46  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Western Sahara - Mauritania border open?

Hi there,

Was just wondering if anyone had recent experience crossing from Western Sahara into Mauritania overland?

If so was wondering where you crossed? Any challenges faced etc.

Thanks,
Dan
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  #47  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Dan, please do even some elementary research before asking such questions.

Click the banner above that says 'Trans Sahara Routes'
It's updated every few months and looks like this:


Or the last post in the uppermost sticky titled:
Mauritania Visa: Rabat or @ the Border
or the one below it that says:
Border crossing into Mauritania
Both have had responses in the last couple of weeks.

The HU travel forums are a great resource where a little reading and clicking first goes a long way.
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  #48  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Yeah I hear what you're saying, I haven't just come in here blind. The issue I'm facing is there is so much information, some of it contradictory, some of it old, it's always changing, so it's hard to know what is right. And even when you know it's right, you don't know if it's the best option.

So it was more of a generic 'what did other people do' call, rather than a 'do all the work for me' call.

Nevertheless those links you gave are good so thanks for that.
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  #49  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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There is only one crossing. Look at the map.
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  #50  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanNewBeginnings View Post
The issue I'm facing is there is so much information, some of it contradictory, some of it old, it's always changing, so it's hard to know what is right. And even when you know it's right, you don't know if it's the best option.
You've just made it very clear to yourself too, you're doing the research now for a trip that might start in a year or so?

BUT as with the rest of the continent, visas/borders/internal crisis etc can change at any given moment, you will have to keep your ear to the ground once on the road! So keep that in mind too!!!
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  #51  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Trying to dot all the ii and cross all the tt for a trip in Africa at a distance of one year is a sure receipt for failure and frustration.

Dan, Africa is a different continent and very different from what us, westerners are used. The best approach, as a matter of fact, is to just plan very broadly (and I mean to plan just rough dates to start and end and an idea of countries you want to visit and stop the planning there) and once there just go with the flow. Don't try to plan for you'll soon find that nothing will ever go according to what you planned. You won't be able to keep schedules or even fixed dates and many times places you want to visit will suddenly become off-limits and you end up visiting other places which you didn't consider originally. Changes happen without any prior notice, political situations change from one day to the next, rules are enforced differently even inside the same country, some others are made on the spot according to your demeanor and a very big etc fueling the uncertainty. There exists a handful of countries in the continent where things are more reliable and organized but these are the exception rather than the rule.

Go there and start going. Then just allow things to happen and go where you can according to what you hear on the spot at any given time. And always, no matter what, take it easy. Let it flow.
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  #52  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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No not starting in a year or so, starting as soon as I can, my aim is for the end of the year. Save and train while I research.

I know I'm not as experienced as everyone else on here, and some of you might be thinking I'm crazy or that's it's undoable, and it could be, that's the whole point of digging.

I take this seriously, I take safety seriously but I can't be expected to be the master of Sahara travel and know everything after 2 weeks looking into it, which is why I value everyones comments so much.

Please forgive my ignorance sometimes dumb questions, but if you don't ask you don't learn right? I see now the title of this thread is kind of dumb, but hey at least I know a lot more now and I have somewhere I can start.

Thanks for all the comments, and if you have more info to add please do
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  #53  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Thanks for the post Plooking. That is basically what I'm intending to do, find where I can cross the borders (as that will denote a rough route), do some initial research on guides who can help and take me and my companions through the desert and go from there. That's the whole point of this, to get there and somehow find my way to where I want to go, and if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen. I have semi-ample funds for this and plenty of time when I'm there, in fact the only time I'm limited by is the visa time.

If I plan to go this direction and someone says 'no go this way, it's a lot safer/better/enjoyable' then I will happily change. I feel if I try and get to detailed it's just going to be a huge mother stress.

So I guess I'm planning the broad brush strokes, the detail will happen when I get there.
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  #54  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanNewBeginnings View Post
Thanks for the post Plooking. That is basically what I'm intending to do, find where I can cross the borders (as that will denote a rough route), do some initial research on guides who can help and take me and my companions through the desert and go from there. That's the whole point of this, to get there and somehow find my way to where I want to go, and if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen. I have semi-ample funds for this and plenty of time when I'm there, in fact the only time I'm limited by is the visa time.

If I plan to go this direction and someone says 'no go this way, it's a lot safer/better/enjoyable' then I will happily change. I feel if I try and get to detailed it's just going to be a huge mother stress.

So I guess I'm planning the broad brush strokes, the detail will happen when I get there.
You are 110% right ... there are many border crossings people use over & over again, but there are some minor ones. I crossed 2 in the last month in West Africa that never see 'les blancs' ...

I travel alone and do a lot of talking locally to people, particularly in regards to whether it was an international crossing still & I could get my passport stamped, I went ahead and did it.

What will probably help you is a good map, either IGN or Michelin of the region so you can see border crossings marked (and check later if you're able to use them when you're on the ground!)

PS. How is your French? Arabic may help you too, but it would be good to have a French phrase book if you don't speak French!

Last edited by CREER; 24 Aug 2016 at 14:29. Reason: Language PS
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  #55  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Dan, while I understand your intentions and what you want to accomplish I can't, like others already did, stress vehemently enough that what you are trying to do with the camel caravan is very dangerous even to attempt right now. Now, if you'd like to stick to the coastal areas, that might be ok but even here trying to plan is worthless. Things just don't work like that in that region. It's ok and very rewarding to look for off the beaten track adventures. But Mauritania isn't the right place for this just now. If you look at a map or Google Earth you'll probably find some places which resemble like possible border crossings from Morocco to Mauritania. Trying to cross at these spots, even assuming that the Moroccan army somehow lets you slip thru the berm (very, very unlikely given that even approaching the berm from the Moroccan side is very difficult and the military just sends you back long before you reach the wall) is one of the most dangerous things you can attempt in Africa right now. Between the land mines and the bad guys your chances of ever seeing civilization again upon entering Mauritania that way are slim to none.

The Sahel has been a dangerous area for quite a while but since the downfall of Khadaffi in Lybia it became even more dangerous and even more populated by people who won't hesitate to harm you for profit, be it either just stealing all your belongings and leave you for death in the middle of nowhere or kidnapping you either for ransom or for political and local prestige of some minuscule group looking for recognition.


Let me put it bluntly. I'm fairly proficient with weapons and have no mental or emotional reservations whatsoever with shooting to kill whomever approaches me with bad intentions. I can easily gather a group of 5-6 friends with similar dispositions and of the adventurous type. Let's also assume that I could source a few decent guns for the trip, this being decent assault rifles (in the desert this doesn't allow for many options what is a further constraint), plenty of ammo, some RPGs and pistols for a last resource defense at very close range. On a camel you can't realistically aim for much more than this. Now I tell you that even like this, decently armed, with a group of friends and with the right mindset, I wouldn't venture, in Mauritania, east of Ouadane or Zhouérat. And even this far only after seeing things there for a little while because there is the strong possibility of deciding, upon reaching Atar that going further east wouldn't worth the risk.
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  #56  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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To back Plooking's message up, the region wasn't good before Ghadaffi died, I'd say similarly that I wouldn't go too far east in Mauri, certainly not up to Zouerat ...

Back in early ?2008 there was the attack on 4 French tourists in a vehicle in Aleg (which is a lot further south nearer the Senegalese border) and a year later an Italian man & his Burkinabe wife on the BF/Mali border. AQIM have been active in the region for a while, the Mauritanians have made massive efforts to keep as much of the country as safe as they can, it was since then that they lost the Paris-Dakar to S.America. Having said that, with all the checkpoints I can imagine they'll probably want to escort you

However, you could possibly bring this trip a little further south, going through Mauri, skirting into Senegal and continue onto Mali (but still keeping your ear to the ground), Burkina & Niger ... however I've got no idea what the authorities will make of doing it with a camel & how much cash they'll try to get off you!

Language issues are going to be very important for this trip!
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  #57  
Old 24 Aug 2016
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Listen to the FOAM.
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  #58  
Old 25 Aug 2016
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What do you mean 'listen to the FOAM'?
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  #59  
Old 25 Aug 2016
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Hi
Ive spent time in the desert, with camels. a journey. with Nomads. I had to, due to mis-adventure. I did not choose it.

I think its alot harder than you might think. its a long walk. it is walking. Walking for many days/ weeks. you had better love walking. sitting on the camel is worse. you have to walk. You take a camel to carry supplies for your long walk. did I mention that you will be Walking? Personally I wouldn't do it again. sorry, just putting a different opinion here.

Note also: if you focus on the challenge of the completion of the journey (A to B) you may find that it is an anti-climax when you arrive after all that effort and endurance.

I would test it out by going on an organised camel trek somewhere and see how it feels after say 7 days. maybe you will love it.

cheers
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  #60  
Old 25 Aug 2016
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Mauretania has been safe for years now. The limiting factor is where the army will let you go.
If you stay south of the river Niger you can walk to Burkina and perhaps continue as far east as Agadez. But you wont be in the Sahara much.
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