A Travellerspoint blog

On the way through Western Sahara to Mauritania

In Marrakech I bought a bus ticket to Dakhla

-17 °C

Hoping to find a car in Dakhla to cross border with Mauritania, Dakhla is a city in Morocco's occupied territory of Western Sahara, about 2000 km south from Marrakech. There is no public transportation between Morocco and Mauritania, so the only choice is either find a car or fly by plane, I wanted to see Sahara and to see as much as possible in every country that i cross, so i went by land. I don't speak Arabic, neither I speak French, those are the 2 primary languages spoken in Western Sahara, there are no tourists thus no incenetive for locals to learn English.
I had no idea where to find a car ( In africa there are no signs, there are just people who knows stuff) so my plan was to go and ask till i find it.
Landscape slowly changes as you move away from Marrakech deeper into Sahara, mountains and vegetation give places to sea of sand, at some point you reach atlantic Ocean and you acctually pass Canary island by 80 km from shoreline.

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As you cross border with western sahara, expect 7 military outposts who will want to check your passport, on my way back i was suggested to make 7 copies of my passport to give it to control people so you will save your and everybody's else time on the bus, but it's not really necessary.
On a bus I saw a young couple and I approached them to try to find out the information about the car, and it turned out to be that they were going to cross Mauritania border the way i wanted to do it, they asked me where i'm going I said that I don't really know, somewhere to Africa, doesn't really matter where. So they said they will show me the place where to get a car, I got so lucky with this.
Then later on we just talked and they said since you are going somewhere don't know where why don't you come with us to Senegal, I said why not, let's go.
Later on that day I was invited to their house in Dakhla to spend a night, and their family there feed us great dinner.
(Imagine can you expect a hospitality like that for a total stranger that you knew for 5 hours on a bus in Europe ? I've been to most countries in Europe and haven't seen something like that before.)
On the way from Dakhla to Mauritanian border all you can see is sand, it's a desert :) and sometimes the coastline of Atlantic Ocean.

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Since you don't need any visa to enter Morroco there is no hassle involved leaving the country, they will put their stamps and let you go, but you will have to wait some 30 minutes till it all finished.
Between Morroco and Mauritania there is a 1.5 km strip called Noman's land, if you get to pass it, stay on the road, because the land 2 km to the left and to the right is all mined. Some tourists went BOOM just about 2km from the road, so don't do that.

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Posted by vanbest 13:21 Comments (0)

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