Here I am in the Sahara desert and for the first time in months I have had to do up my jacket during the day and put a warm fleece on in the evening. Tonight I will have to sleep inside my sleeping bag rather than on it.
After breakfast with Steve in Noukchott I started North through the desert. The wind was fierce from the start and 90 degrees to the road. At least it was a steady constant wind not gusting.
After my ordeal at the Rosdo border post on the way down, I decided to head for another smaller post called Diama to cross into Mauritania. Everyone said it is better, unfortunately it is now closed to all but military personnel so I was turned away. Rosso it is then…
This will be a long post but bear with me, it involves a scam, an arrest and me being separated from my passport and bike by the Senegal river.
I left Steve early yesterday morning (thanks again for your hospitality) for the Senegal border and Rosso. Described by other travels in endearing terms such as the armpit of Africa and the most corrupt border in Africa. I have been dreading this day since early in my planning and on the ride down I felt like a lamb going to slaughter.
To get a Senegal visa the procedure is to pay online and then take a confirmation email to the border and deal with everything else there. Despite several unsuccessful attempts to do the online bit overnight I decided to go to the Senegal embassy in Nouakchott and do it there.
Problem 1 was that my satnav did not recognise the address, ok I will ask around. Problem 2 was I went straight to the busiest part of town and everyone and their dog was trying to run me down, beg from me or try to sell me something. I soon realised that red traffic lights mean stop off you feel like it, drive on the wrong side of the road through the junction of you do not feel like stopping.
Distance 560km, Western Sahara to Mauritania
Well I did these things:
1. Woke up in a tent on a warm sandy beach.
2. Rode my motorbike through the Sahara desert
3. Crossed the tropic of cancer
4. Exited Morocco and braved their customs
5. Crossed no mans land, a 3km stretch of wasteland between the borders littered with discarded vehicles and surrounded by land mines.
Last night somebody on the HUBB confirmed that the Mauritanian visa was available at the border. I have decided to go for it. If the information is right it saves me three days in Rabat, if the information is wrong I will have three days travel down there plus three days to travel back to Rabat plus another three days to travel down again. 9 days! I have heard from several sources so i think the risk is worth it. All this because of a puncture!
Distance: 110km, Start Kanitra, Morocco, End: Mohammedia, Morocco
Today started very well with the best cup of tea I have had since leaving the UK and a tasty pancake breakfast courtesy of Bob and Ellie. Thank you for giving me a good start to the day and for your donation to Street Child.