Jan 01 2013

Into Senegal we go

New Year’s Day 2013

Public holiday pretty much everywhere … so we thought it was a good day to travel!  And surely leaving Mauritania should be quicker than the 10.5 hours it took to enter.

Nouakchott at 0730 on the-morning-after-the-night-before is deathly quiet … with small signs of a city coming to life.  Even with the relative quiet, it still took us 45 minutes until we had passed the final police checkpoint (yes, still more) and were properly out of the sprawling city.

It was a relatively long day ahead of us – just over 300km including a border crossing.  We had decided against the infamous Rosso crossing in favour of Diama Dam.  Importantly, we had a set of waypoints to follow … As we ventured southwards out of Nouakchott, the roads deteriorated, and at times the viable tarmac was only wide enough for one car to pass, with large potholes.  Good thing (again) that it was a quiet day.

We reached the final police checkpoint and were directed to a road off to the right to reach Diama Dam.  Friends of ours had got lost on this road, but others we have met didn’t have a problem.  (See border crossing information).  Instead, we continued another 10km and turned into a small national park to start our dirt track route of 70km to the border.

It was very beautiful – winding through the small national park and tiny villages – but a bit slow going.  For me, it was starting to look like Africa: Acacia trees and small bushes reminded me so much of travelling in southern Africa.  We even saw a warthog!  The second half of the route ran adjacent to the Djoudj National Park in Senegal with lots of lakes and rivers.  The birds we saw were amazing – we kept stopping to look, and then reminding ourselves we had a border to cross.  Aaarrrggghhh – we had to keep moving.  Never mind, Djoudj National Park was added to our Senegal itinerary.

We arrived at the border at 1300 – and sighed a huge sigh of relief: we were the first in the queue.  We entered the Mauritanian post straight away, and completed all formalities (including insurance) within 1.5 hours.

A welcome benefit for travelling on a public holiday.

All that was left for the day was the 50km or so down to Zebrabar.

And an ice cold beer.


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  1. Medalle François

    Bonjour a vous deux

    tous mes veux pour cette nouvelle année

    très bon voyage


  2. tuggy

    excellent 1.5 hours…not bad…… enjoy……tug,erica

  3. Vic

    Loving the posts, guys. Have a great New Year.

  4. Vibeke

    Happy New Year! Godt Nyttår!
    Jeg følger med… :-)

  5. Oddvar Olaussen

    Følger spent med og venter på neste “brev”. Elsker selv å reise og får ikke mindre lyst til en tur når jeg følger deres skildringer. Håper dere fortsetter å skrive noen ord etterhvert som dere tråkler dere sørover.

    Exciting story and I am looking forward to your next posting. Love to travel myself and I feel the itch when reading your blog. Please keep on writing!

    1. Viking Explorer

      Tusen takk for hyggelig hilsen. Har nettopp oppdatert bloggen, og vil fortsette saa sant vi har internett.

  6. trevor

    hey. am in Atar……. so u are further ahead than me now….. Rabat embassy was easy. office opened at 7:30 am went there Jan 2. he sent locals away to fill in form better….. me and a canadian guy, he did not even look at the form. just told us to come back at 3. same day issued!!!!!!

    i took the train to Choum. well actually i missed the stop and went to Zouerat.LOL……. how is senegal? better than mauritania?

    please email me!!

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