to Tidjikja in the Mauritanian Sahara, is around 400 km through the
desert along various types of piste. It takes most people
around four full days of driving, allowing time for sightseeing.
Alternatively you can go via Nouakchott on perfectly good roads, a
total of more than 1100 km in no more than two days if all you want
is to get from A to B...but where is the fun in that?
We were advised that we should not travel
alone as there were very few others on this route, so a breakdown
could end in tears. Of course, like most advice from guide
books, this is absolute rubbish; we met at least one other group of
vehicles every day, including one German vehicle all on its own.
As we were carrying (as advised) enough food and water for several
weeks, it would have been no great hardship to wait a day or so for
rescue. Another thing they forget to mention is that, although
you do drink a lot in the desert (upwards of 5 litres daily), this
does not apply if you spend the whole day sitting in an
Being a cautious soul, I took the advice
anyway and teamed up with two other vehicles, a Mauritanian Hilux
carrying a Hungarian couple and a dizzy Swiss girl and a hopelessly
underpowered, Belgian VW Synchro, with Mike (ex Belgian army and
equipped for every eventuality) and his current travelling
companion, an adventurous, elderly English lady who was backpacking
around Africa! As it turned out, we never needed their help
(although Mike's compressor was a marvellous timesaver) and they
only needed ours once or twice, but it was reassuring and certainly
more enjoyable to have their company.
Return to Sahara Itinerary 2008►