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First Border Crossing

Nouadhibou, Mauritania


In the last entry I mentioned that we should now be looking for transport to the Mauritanian border and then push on to the capital Nouakchott. Well this was the procedure of events from Dakhla onward. We walk around in Dakhla on the lookout for a hotel that organises trips to Nouakchott. 4 hotels tell us that it will cost us 600 Dirhams, about 60 Euro. And so we decide on Hotel Sahara, and the 1/3 deposit is on the table. 'Are you guys traveling to Mauritania?' an odd accent from around the corner. And so we met the 58 year old Portugese man. He told us that we were being ripped off. The deal going with him was: You pay petrol and if the cops catch you, I pay the petrol and you pay the fine. The risk element lay in the fact that 2 of us will be laying in the back of his Nissan Cargo van-converted-to-a-mini-caravan vehicle at all times. So we think about it and next morning we are off, deciding that saving 3/4 of the 'normal' price is worth the risk.

The first check point came only 6km from Dakhla. Iakovos and I are in the back. Passport check. Check the back of the van - and there lies the Greek and Belgian, stressing out. He calls us out and marches us to the police stop. I was really thinking this is the end of the lift and that we were going to be fined and sent back. But all is on our side and the police man whishes us a bon voyage! GREAT SUCCESS! And so starts the journey through the hot Sahara desert on a single lane highway crossing through the ever shifting dunes. This roads is only about 3 to 4 years old and the old roads was mostly covered in sand. A few years ago this must have been a deadly journey.

We reach the border crossing after a tiring drive. I was very interested to see whether the stories of these gruling border crossings were true or not. And it proved to be true. We arrived there at 16:00 with the knowledge that the Mauritanian border closes at 18:00. The Moroccan police keep us there for 2 1/2 hours and after bribes of cigarettes and money, they let us through. Then follows the 4 km Polisario held Western Sahara land under UN administration: an active minefield. We cross this and luckily they give us our last visas.

So an eventful first border crossing to say the least. But we made it and feel much more street smart now.



permalink written by  afrikawasbeer on October 15, 2009 from Nouadhibou, Mauritania
from the travel blog: Traveling Africa Overland
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jitte tog!
bly julle is daar verby!
nogals 'n avontuur die gegrenshoppery lyk my!
sterkte en wakker slaap!
xxx


permalink written by  Lorraine Fieuw on October 20, 2009

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'When I traveled to here and to there, I was tired of thee, O Road, but now when thou leadest me to everywhere I am wedded to thee in love.'

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