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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Seb and Kim Leeson, Belgium. Tire changing with an audience in Mongolia on our ex-USSR tour. Suzuki DRZ400E.

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Seb and Kim Leeson, Belgium. Tire changing with an audience in Mongolia on our ex-USSR tour. Suzuki DRZ400E.



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #1  
Old 28 Dec 2011
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WS & North Mauri

Hi, back from a 3 week trip to liberated WS and north Mauri.
I took roughly the following route: Bou Lanour - Inal - Douera - Zoug - Dougaj - Mijek - Tifariti (via north of Bir Mogrein) and back from Buer Tighisit (a border settlement 13 km from Tifariti) - Confluence Point 25N 10W - CP 24N 10W - CP 23N 13W - Dougaj - Zoug - Tmeimichat - Ahmeymim - Nkc. Route lenght 2.500 km - 200 km tarmac, the rest roughly 50/50 between pure off-road and piste driving. I travelled alone, except for the nervewrecking 45 km stretch from Zoug to Tmeimichat where I followed a Mauri nomad returning from cheap fuel shopping. Camped most of the time in the bush well away from any sight of human activity, twice with very forthcoming Mauri gendarmes and a few times with desert folks. Didn't experience any upsetting moments. I does get terribly lonely up in the northeast of Mauri though. Originally planned to follow Washingtons 9degW paralel proposal, but opted for a more leisurely approach (less driving, more lazing around). Luckily, as I returned with no clutch and brakes virtually gone. But all smiles. There were a few brief moments when I though of mr. Belaour et consortes but experiencing this immense expanse of arid land mostly reaffirmed the words of George Carlin: terorism is a minor risk, nothing more. (It is a fantastic bussiness to some of our noble compatriots though.) Didn't take any special precautions except for the usual secrecy about my real intentions, revealing just as much as I needed to reveal. My biggest worry were the many, not-exactly-by-the-book border crossings. All went well. Saharawi military appreciate an invitation, but it is doable without it. Mauri gendarmes are indeed very concerned. I avoided all checkpoints except for Douera (going out) and Tmeimichat (coming back in), which I approached at the time of the evening prayer, when even the surliest guys mellow out a bit. Spent the night with them and took off in the morning. Driving at night in Mauri is formally forbidden but there are always exceptions. The three words to fear most are "pour votre securite". You don't want those as they inevitably mean no "securite" and a lot of complications. Mauri gendarmes tend to be trigger happy these days (I witnessed a rather silly incident at Douera, with shots fired and a lot of shouting). There are rumours of yet another coup in the making. Mauri gendarmes DO communicate between . Sneaking off might not be the best possible attitude ...
The landscape north of Dougaj in WS is stunning. Same goes for the area W of Fderik. I visited the site of a SA 1994 plane crash (Avro Shackleton 1716 forever missing-in-action). The Ahmeymim and areas south of it are splendid too (very biblical - a very easy ride except for some 20-30 km's at the beginning and at the end.
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Old 29 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by florence of arabia View Post
I visited the site of a SA 1994 plane crash (Avro Shackleton 1716 forever missing-in-action).

Hello, Florence.

Could you please tell me the directions you took to reach this crash site?
I just saw it should be very close to the Algerian border, close to the village of Aguenit.

Where were you coming from?

Is the road leading there easy for a newbie of dirt roads like me? (been riding Harleys for the last 12 years, now I bought a XT1200Z Super Téneré: I'm not experienced for example in riding on the sand and stuff like this, even though I rode my HD on the gravel roads of the Caucasus).
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Old 29 Dec 2011
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Inspiring stuff Florence, thank you for kindly sharing. Clearly there is no reason not to visit Pelican 16.
(Seems there may be occasion where my old green passport could be more useful than the red).
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Old 29 Dec 2011
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you mean mauri border
the crash site is some 70 north of Aghoueinit
I came from NNE
there is no road leading to the site
not even a piste worth mentioning
sounds like a heavy bike for this kind of terrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight of the Holy Graal View Post
Hello, Florence.

Could you please tell me the directions you took to reach this crash site?
I just saw it should be very close to the Algerian border, close to the village of Aguenit.

Where were you coming from?

Is the road leading there easy for a newbie of dirt roads like me? (been riding Harleys for the last 12 years, now I bought a XT1200Z Super Téneré: I'm not experienced for example in riding on the sand and stuff like this, even though I rode my HD on the gravel roads of the Caucasus).
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Old 29 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by florence of arabia View Post
you mean mauri border
the crash site is some 70 north of Aghoueinit
I came from NNE
there is no road leading to the site
not even a piste worth mentioning
sounds like a heavy bike for this kind of terrain

Thanks for your reply, Florence!

I'll skip this, in this case, even though I'd have wished to visit it.
Next time!
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Old 3 Jan 2012
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WPs and some pics

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  #7  
Old 3 Jan 2012
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Amazing trip florence, you're far far braver than me.
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Old 3 Jan 2012
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Dear Florence, thanks for sharing info, photos and GDB

Amazing trip, quite brave route IMHO
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Old 8 Jan 2012
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Thanks guys, there's nothing brave about this really, just pragmatic consideration: stay well off the beaten track and you'll stay out of trouble. It always worked fine for me.
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Great Trip FoA, and a very useful report. Sounds like the perfect 2011/12 Sahara trip to me - novel, off the beaten track, solo, reported after rather than before and missing off the towns and hassle. You have it just right with your view of 'for your safety'!
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Old 9 Jan 2012
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Mixed feelings to see that Shackleton! I remember when it went down. Bad fuel in west Africa I read once. There were/are so few left.
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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I thought the fuselage had succumbed to some bedouin scrap dealer? But it seems mostly intact. In that case, gotta go!
I also remember reading that it went down in a valley, which doesn't seem to be the case.
Great trip, sir Florence, good to have you back.
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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Question any women travelling in Mauritania

:confused1:Hello I am travelling with 'Persistance'....and persistance...ha ha...but seriously am not sure whether I feel safe about going into Mauritania. Sure I love the travelling and love to experience the desert...but how bad are the police/border patrol officials? Is there a real threat of kidnappers or nasty bastards with guns.... Please? ...are there any other women who are going or have been through Mauritania that can give me their opinion. How does it feel out there? I would appreciate some feed back... Thanks
Rensina
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  #14  
Old 10 Jan 2012
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- met recently two young Breton girls in NKC ... they seemed perfectly happy and at ease. I think women are safe in Mauri, like in most of W Africa. Mauri men have great respect of women (not so strange as Mauri women tend to be twice the size of Mauri men .

- Shackleton: what amazed me was that all men onboard (19? guys) survived the crash. Also the site of the crash is odd, all around perfectly flat desert, but they nearly crashed into a small mountain chain: it seems as if they nearly hit the mountain, sverved in the last moment and crash landed. Is that possible?
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Old 10 Jan 2012
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From memory Florence, the aircraft suffered two right side engine failures, I think due to problems with the ignition systems, making a crash landing inevitable. Their problem was that the crash landing happened at night so they'd no idea what the terrain was like. At the time it was regarded as a text-book example of an emergency landing as they'd prepared the aircraft and crew, radioed their exact position-well before GPS-and made an excellent landing.
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