Mauritania Off The Beaten Path

  • Plenty of diesel and petrol. Pic by hpy36.
    Plenty of diesel and petrol. Pic by...
    by pfsmalo
  • Sandstorm close by the Gare du Nord.
    Sandstorm close by the Gare du Nord.
    by pfsmalo
  • First pothole!! 2 rims in one go!!!!!
    First pothole!! 2 rims in one go!!!!!
    by pfsmalo

Mauritania Off The Beaten Path

  • Nouakchott to El Ayoun - "Route de...

    Once again along this road, be ever mindful of animals crossing the road and also of the many potholes. I bent 3 wheel rims this trip!!!! Fortunately African workmanship knows how to deal with this.

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  • Gare du Nord - No, not the one in Paris.

    About 150 kms from Boulanoir, on the way to Nouakchott is the only real rest stop on this road. Called the "Gare du Nord" it is worth stopping, if only for a coffee, as there are still another 200 kms at least before NKTT. You can also fill your tank here.

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  • Nouakchott to El Ayoun - "Route de...

    This is the road to take if you're on the way to Mali. After the initial sand dunes after leaving Nouakchott there really is not much to see or do along this road. Restaurants and hotels of poor quality make this 800 kms to do as quickly as possible. This is translated as the road of hope but not for the animals lying dead along the roadside. Many...

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  • The Banc d'Arguin national park III

    From an ornithological point of view this is superb. Thousands and thousands of birds, depending of the time of day and the tides.

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  • The Banc d'Arguin national park II

    Iwik is the place to be if you want to go out in a boat for the day. You have to go to the village to reserve a "lanche", the local fishermen take it by turn to take the tourists out and it is strictly run by the association in the village. Cost is about 15000 Um (45/48 euros) for the day, and usually includes a fish lunch cooked on board. In some...

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  • The Banc d'Arguin national park.

    This is perhaps the only place that I went to in Mauritania where I would go back to with pleasure. It is possible to get out to Iwik without a 4x4 but is certainly not recommended. 30 km mainly on hard sand but certain passages warrant the 4 wheel drive or you might find yourself pushing quite a bit. It is also recommended to take a guide with you...

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  • Tidjikja -Chinquetti, meeting with a...

    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...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, more rocks again

    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....

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  • Tidjikja -Chinquetti, the 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...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, we manage to pass...

    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...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, crossing a very...

    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?...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, not only sand

    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.

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, start of our...

    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...

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  • Entering Mauritania from Mali

    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...

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  • Gueltat Zemmour ->To Layoune

    We got permission and headed to Gueltat Zemmour with army 4x4 on the front of us. Due to much sand also in this part (no road exists, or many parts are really in bad shape that is better to go into the sand), again my friends had to jump off the car and be transported on the army Toyota until Layoune.I hope this will help someone travelling to this...

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  • “Le Mure” -> Way to Gueltat Zemmour

    You get to the wall and you have to deliver your passport to the Moroccan authorities. You stay under Moroccan army custody maybe even for a few days. Don’t go out of the asphalt as it has lots of land mines. You have to wait maybe up to a few days to get the permission to go inside morocco with army convoy just for you until Layoune to get a stamp...

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  • Fortress on the border -> “Le Mure"...

    Fortress on the border with Western Sahara -> “Le Mure”NO Man’s LAND. BE careful be careful be careful. mines, pirates… old asphalt road broken by explosions at least 4 times until the “WALL”. 2 of the times was quite hard to pass. about 36kms.continues on next tip

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  • Bir Moghrein -> Fortress on the...

    Bir Moghrein -> Fortress on the border with Western Sahara (on Michelin Map it’s the star)We had to make 96km until a place known has "Le Mure" or "the wall" which consists of a thousand km wall separating Morocco from the land mines of the Western Sahara land, full of Front Polisario activist and many pirates that can appear and try to kidnap...

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  • In Bir Moghrein

    We got to the police check point on the town and stayed there until they stamped our passports out, and we knew that was going to be the beginning of our big adventure as there is no entry police control stop on the Mauritanian side and also on the Moroccan border. No man's land was coming.Right as you arrive in the village you have to make...

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  • Zouerat -> Bir Moghrein +-440km (part...

    So this picture is from the cafe or restaurant on top of the Rich Mountains. This is the only stop existing in the way. Lots of kms without a living soul but here, incredible...This is divided in different parts. right side for tea and business men like Saharawis and Polisario. Then goes for a small shop with some food water and and other goods,...

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  • Zouerat -> Bir Moghrein +-440km (part...

    Half the way you pass the Rich Mountains, where on top you have a small café that usually have some Polisario taking some tea, painting new car plates with new numbers. No I think this is where the problem can be for many people. This is one of the dangers, as many people know that many old Polisario fighters from the old times are very nice and...

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  • Zouerat -> Bir Moghrein +-440km (part...

    I was coming by a small car and my friends which had to switch to a Toyota pick up truck due to the extreme weight on our small car, too much weight for the desert tracks that connected Zouerat to Bir Moghrein, making the total of 440km of tracks. After two days of discussion in Zouerat trying to head north to Morocco, finally we got a option....

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  • Choum -> Zouerat +-250km (part 2)

    The other solution is to go inside the dunes after the small village of Touajil. The local transportation pick up trucks don’t do this way cos they usually have too much weight and can get easily stuck in sand. This was the way my small city car went to. Moulay Sharif drove it and we actually passed one 4x4 stuck in sand, that when we passes they...

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  • Choum -> Zouerat +-250km (part 1)

    Choum -> Touajil -> Fderik -> Zouerat +-250kmThis is a very rough journey. Usually local 4x4 make the shortest and fast way through the train tracks where they hit their tyres against the protective objects that exist on the tracks preventing vehicles to drive there. They still do it and get their tyres flat of course. if you are careful...

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  • BEST HELP IN CHOUM Moulay Shariff...

    If it wasn’t for this guy we wouldn’t make it to Morocco on this part of Tiris-Zemmour. He drove a small Opel Corsa through 9km of dunes after Touajil, help us to get local pick up trucks to my friends and to all our baggage with local price payment (4-6 euros for the whole day of journey looks like it was local price to me). He got us some people...

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  • BEST HELP IN CHOUM Moulay Shariff...

    This is a very nice person. He helped us all the way to the border with Western Sahara. Of course nothing on this trip to Mauritania end up going as planed, also with him hehehe, but for sure you can trust him and he will try to do what is necessary to pass you all the tracks to the border. We paid him. I am not going to tell how much because it’s...

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  • Atar -> Choum +-120km (part3)

    Train between Choum and Nouadhibou went off as we were asked a lot of money and had to wait 4 more days until it wrould arrive. For what I understood, if I would pay about 100 euros, they would possibly put it the on the train the day after, but they asked for about 70 euros for a 4 days maybe a week waiting in Choum, plus money for passengers....

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  • Atar -> Choum +-120km (part 2)

    We got stuck in the sand and after a couple of hours of digging we got some paid help from local people that after asking for money gave us a help from their very old 4x4 Toyota. As soon as we got to Choum, our deal went off and they stay asking for 3 times more the money and threatened with police and violence. If this happens insist also with...

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  • Atar -> Choum +-120km (part 1)

    *Asphalt about 20km after AtarOrange sand on the end of the asphalt road for about 100m. Very tough sand. Good for 4x4 tough. be prepared for many rocks under the sand. Be careful for some locals that might be prepared to help you for a bit of money and maybe even want to drive your car and pass the sand: maybe run away with the car, maybe break it...

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  • How to get to Bir Moghrein? (part 2)

    This is all very complicated and we shouldn’t forget about some people that say that Algeria only gives force to Polisario because they want a piece of the Atlantic… Algeria want Atlantic… I don’t want to be turning this text to any political statement, but I’m trying to follow my logic from stuff I hear and see on the road, after visiting...

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  • How to get to Bir Moghrein? (part 1)

    Bir Moghrein is a lost village somewhere in the North of Mauritania. Its was an old military Spanish post and still a fortress can be seen exactly on the virtual border with Mauritania and the unprotected area of the Moroccan Western Sahara.Here I hope I will instruct in all someone needs to know about how to get to Bir Moghrein and possibly make...

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  • 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...

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  • Desert skies

    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,...

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  • Lost in the desert, but not alone

    The railway with its KM signs was our orientationpoint and life-line. They told us it was easy enough to find our way without a guide, just by following the most fresh tracks in the often soft sands. Most of the time we saw the KM signs of the railway very clearly. Sometimes the most fresh tracks , we followed were a few KMs away from the railroad...

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  • Ben Amira, monolith

    North of the railway Choum-Nouadhibou are two enormous monoliths of black granite. From far you can see these enormous mountains. One of both is called the monolith of Aicha, according to a local legend.Near Ben Amira are archaeological rock paintings. Except these prehistorical art you can find here also contemporary art. There are sculptures in...

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  • Choum-Nouadhibou, desert track

    In the north of Mauritania we didn´t take the train, but drove with our own cars the track of 400 KM from Choum to Nouadhibou, just south of the railway. The railway with its KM signs was our orientationpoint and life-line. Sometimes we could see the signs very clearly, but sometimes the most fresh tracks, we followed were a few KMs away from the...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, art of nature

    The second day of our desertcrossing from Tidjikja to Chinquetti we didn't only see flat plains, but after a few hours we passed also wadis, black lava fields and beautifully scaped sanddunes. Just at the moment you could get the feeling that the desert can also be very boring, the landscape changes again.Especially the sanddunes have very...

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  • Tidjikja -Chinquetti, flat, flat, flat

    The second day of our desertcrossing from Tidjikja to Chinquetti we had to cross a very flat plain. Because the gravel surface was solid we could drive rather fast.While we were driving at this plain we didn't see anything in all directions. We saw only the very flat plain and our two cars. It gave us the feeling to be alone on this world. Where...

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  • Tidjikja-Chinquetti, Baba looking for...

    After some time we reached a small solid part between the sanddunes, where we could stop for a while and come out of the car. It was great to walk and look around a bit in this barren landscape.In the meantime Baba, our guide, climbed the sanddunes to find out, how we could continue our crossing of the sanddunes at the best way. By the blowing of...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, en route again

    After Baba, our guide, found out, which way we could go best, we continued again our route through the soft sands and sanddunes. It was very exciting to drive in the middle of these sanddunes without seeing any beginning or end in any directions. Now we were in the middle of this amazing sandy landscape, the stress was gone. We had the feeling,...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, Paris-Dakar...

    After we had conquered all the sanddunes, we crossed easy sandy plains, further heading north. In this area we could drive rather fast.We drove for hours without seeing any car or person. Suddenly in the middle of nowhere we saw the remains of a car of the Paris-Dakar Rally. So now we were sure, that we were at one of the routes of the rally !We...

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  • Tidjikja -Chinquetti, following the...

    After we had seen the remains of the car of the Paris-Dakar Rally and some camels, we were en route again. We were driving in a lovely ondulating solid sandy landscape with some scattered grass and lonely trees. Except our tracks the landscape was unspoilt. And our tracks should disappear also within a few days by the blowing wind. As it was...

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  • Tidjikja - Chinquetti, driving in the...

    Driving in the sanddunes ! It was spectacular ! Sanddunes at all sides ! The driving in these sanddunes was very exciting and breathtaking. We were speachless, the only thing we did, was yelling ''wow, oooh and aah''.We were in the second car and had to follow the track of the first. Baba our guide sat in the first car to show us the best way. We...

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  • Tidjikja-Chinquetti, 4WD or walking

    We did the desert crossing between Tidjikja and Chinquetti-Atar with two 4 WDs. The first time I heard of this wonderful desert region in Mauritania, was when I heard of the possibilty of crossing this area by feet. I talked with the Dutch organisation HTreizen, which organised this crossing.It sounded like a fascinating desert trek, walking...

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  • Tidjikja-Chinquetti, black rocks and...

    The wadi north of Rachid was very scenic, not only because of the many palmtrees, but also because the deep black boulders and rocks. I really enjoyed the rough beauty of this area.We were happy with Baba, our perfect guide. It's impossible and dangerous to drive this 350 KM long route between Tidjikja and Chinquetti without a good guide. It is...

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Mauritania Hotels

  • Hotel Emira

    Avenue de Nouadhibou 2e carrefour, BP 3176, Nouakchott, BP 3176, Mauritania

    Good for: Business

  • Hotel Ikrama

    Cite de la Concorde (sebkha), Nouakchott, Mauritania

    Satisfaction: Terrible

    Good for: Couples

  • Al Khaima Appart-hotel

    10 Rue Mamadou Konate, Nouakchott, 5219, Mauritania

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

Top Mauritania Hotels

Nouakchott Hotels
38 Reviews - 103 Photos
Nouadhibou Hotels
89 Reviews - 150 Photos
Chinguetti Hotels
26 Reviews - 64 Photos
Bir Moghrein Hotels
41 Reviews - 79 Photos
Atar Hotels
40 Reviews - 66 Photos
Akjoujt Hotels
16 Reviews - 27 Photos

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Mauritania Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Mauritania off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Mauritania sightseeing.
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