Mauritania Off The Beaten Path Tips by sachara Top 5 Page for this destination
Mauritania Off The Beaten Path: 62 reviews and 128 photos
Looking for a place to spend the night, Baba, our guide brought us to to a place a few KMs from the track. Behind a hill we saw some more trees and vegetation. And at this place, sheltered by the small trees, a nomad family had their tent, the traditional khaima.
Our guide preferred to spend the night in this tent with the local nomad family. We used our own tents. After we heard that for the promised mezroui the goat was not slaughtered yet, we decided to prepare our own food.
Normally the silence of the desert is a very unique experience, but near this nomad tent we heard bleating goats during the whole night.
rocks in the desert
Driving in the soft and solid sands for many hours, you can hardly imagine there could be something else on earth. I think it's a bit hallucinating.
And then all of the sudden you wake up from your sandy dreams or hallucinations and realise you are on a rocky surface. So we had to cross a very rocky area with lots of stones at our second day. Allthough there was a track leading us through this area, it was rather bumpy.
After we had finished almost our route of 350KM and approached Chinquetti, we crossed again an area with sanddunes. At both sides of the sandy tracks we saw 20 M high red-coloured sanddunes. It looked like this area close to Chinquetti is visited a lot by cars from there. Anyway we saw a lot of tracks in the sand.
The next part of our trip with visits to Chinquetti and Atar is described in the ''must see activities'' tips
Tidjikja - Chinquetti, sanddunes
Most people who think of the desert or Sahara, think of sanddunes. People also ask me often ''why do you have to go again to that 'sandbox' ?''
At this trip we allready encountered a lot of sand, like sandy tracks, a single or maybe a double smaller sanddune, but what we saw here.... a very large area with high sanddunes and even more higher sanddunes !
And yes, there was no doubt we had to go into these sanddunes and to conquer them. We all felt a lot of excitement and also a little stress coming into our bodies.
Tidjikja- Chinquetti, rocks !!
Though we didn´t believe surveying the rocky surface, it seemed to be possible to cross the rocky area according the opinion of our guide. So what else we could do than believe Baba. We came out of the car and found out that the sand between the stones was very soft and deep. It would not be easy, so we had to look very good and to drive very slowly and carefully.
Finally we managed to reach the plain at the other side without any damage or getting stuck in the sand between the stones. It felt like a victory.
rocky area between Tidjikja and Chinquetti
Crossing the Sahara desert doesn't mean, that you have to drive in the sands or at flat gravel plains only. After driving in the rather easygoing wadi north of Rachid for a long time, we reached suddenly a very rocky area ahead. We had to cross these rocks to reach the plain at the other side.
To go there by foot, OK. But to bring there our cars? The first car with our guide Baba drove very carefully into the rocky area. At first sight it looked like it was really impossible to drive our car down there......
After the first sandy tracks in the flat empty landscape with small trees and bushes north of Tidjikja we were surprised to see a lot of black rocks. There was a good track between the rocks. Slowly we climbed into a mountaineous area.
I was surprised, how quickly the scenery changed within every hour. The desert boring ? Not at all I can you tell.
start of our desert adventure, north of Tidjikja
After we picked up our guide Baba, we finally started our deserttrip from Tidjikja to Chinquetti. One of the main reasons for me to come to Mauritania, was that this area intrigued me allready for a long time.
Entering the desert, we saw this large empty area in front of us. Here we would travel for the next days till we should reach the desert towns in the north. I felt excited, but also curious, if we would manage.
The track looked rather clear, but within a hour we didn't see the first car with Baba anymore and took the wrong track. We looked for a small dune and from here we saw the dust moving ........ the first car was coming back to look after us.
In the meantime we got stuck in the soft sands near that dune and we had to push our car out. Luckily it was the first and last time, we had to do this .. The only problem was, that we forgot to turn the 4WD pins in the wheels. The inclined car was also leaking diesel in the sands, but after it was straight again, the leaking was over.
Baba said this was no problem and so we continued our trip ......
track to Kankossa
From Ouid Yenjé at the Malinese border we could easily follow the tracks in the grasslands. We drove first in the west direction and bended later more to the north. The only thing we knew, we must be somewhere between Sélibabi in the south and Kankossa in the north.
It was really pleasant to drive in this grassy ondulating landscape in the late afternoon. More to the north in the direction of Kankossa the landscape changed into sandy plains with small trees without grass.
We judged, that the distance to Kiffa was still about 100 KM, but Kankossa must be near. We decided to drive till dusk. We didn't reach Kankossa or maybe we missed it, so we made a bushcamp somewhere between the trees beside the track.
dwellings along the railway
A few times during the 400 KM long desert route from Choum to Nouadhibou we saw small villages near the railway. The dwellings we saw, were nomad tents and other very temporary or inhabited looking dwellings. Some dwellings were made of stone, but there were also used materials of the railway and carriages.
Anyway we didn´t see, as expected, no facilities for buying food, drinks of bread or asking for help for our broken waterpump. Sometimes we saw some people or goats around the buildings, sometimes these places looked totally deserted.
Before dark we reached the railway again. We found a nice place for camping between two low sanddunes, not far form the railway. We were just in time to sit down on the sanddune and have a look at the beautiful sky and a great sunset in the direction of the Azzeffal sandunes in the west.
Just after sunset we heard the noise of an approaching train, our first one! After some time we could also see its lights. When the train came near, the noise became louder and louder. During the silent night, the noise was even so loud, that it was like we had our tents at the rails.
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