Arriving at the Mauritania-Morocco border at 0815, there were about 40 lorries queued with an equal number of cars and vans. Lots of liter buried in the sand.
I crept to the front of the queue by the main gates.
A van was manouvering behind me and swiped my bike at a slow pace, which sent my bike to the ground. I saw the van was about to collide, but couldn't stop the driver in time. The driver helped pick it up and apologised. It was about 0900 and the policeman at the gate saw this and ushered me through the gates before the other vehicles!
Moroccan police checked my douane and passport. They then asked to see inside my panniers and top box and usedd a sniffer dog. A few more checks, a stamp and in my passport, and then I was allowed to leave Morocco.
There is no mans land between Morocco and Mauritania. Some of it is tarmac and the rest is not. Straying of the driven tracks is very unwise as it's a live minefield. Many cross this route daily and are fine; however straying off has caused harm in the past.
Arriving at the Mauritanian border, they checked my passport. I then changed money into the local currency. The visa office was locked and there was one guy queuing. Nearly two hours later, they visa person arrives with brand new coffee machine in hand to 15 people queuing for a visa. Half hour later I had my visa. I managed to snap photos of stickers plastered on visa office wall of other tours, rallys, overlanders etc.
Driving into Nouadhibou, there are occasionally abandoned cars that have been stripped down to the shell. This one was either corroded or burnt!
I acquired more cash at a better rate from an ATM, a SIM card, food, and water. There is a goat farm a few miles before the city and one street corner in the city, there was a small group of goats hanging around.
A man started talking to me from his car as I entered a shop. He asked about my bike and shows me videos of him on his quad bike and KTM dirt bike!
Mauritanian police are slightly different from Moroccan in that they ask for the fiche much quicker with less questions. I rode through one checkpoint and realised only when I saw the policeman jump out of his seat! I turned round and apologised. He was smiling -- phew!
I saw the iron ore train train running on the country's single railway line. The wind was blowing dust from the exposed coal into the air leaving a black trail in the air. The train was huge, and I've read it can be a few kilometers long.
© 2018-2020 Stephen Matthews, Biking Over Yonder