Mauritania

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Nouakchott • Route de l'espoir • Nouadhibou • Banc d'Arguin • Oualata • Ouadane • Chinguetti • Chinguetti-Tidjikja • Moudjeria • Rachid • Tidjikja • Taoujafet

Mauritania is quite a shock, even after the privations of Western Sahara.  The border guards spend all day in cardboard shacks and the police have no transport, nor even shoes for that matter. However, once you adjust your expectations it is quite a pleasant place.  The hustling is less aggressive than in the big Moroccan cities and it is really no big deal to give gendarmes a lift to their next posting.  Bribes are confined to "cadeaux", which are usually no more than a couple of biros, a packet of cigarettes (bought locally for 0.40) or an old shirt or towel.  Why should I begrudge them my cast-offs when I have so much and they so little?  I pity their resignation to the "Will of Allah", which actually means an acceptance of the status quo and a complete lack of initiative to want change anything for the better...witness their attitude to road safety!

It is also contains some of the most spectacular landscapes and astonishing architecture, remnants of disappearing civilisations.  Oualata may be one of the world's more remote UNESCO sites, but it is well worth the considerable effort needed to get there and actually delivers what Tombouctou promises but fails to.

Nouakchott (13).jpg (64014 bytes) Nouakchott-Kiffa (39).jpg (29922 bytes)
Nouakchott Nouadhibou Road of Hope

Banc d'Arguin

Oualata (38).jpg (27576 bytes)
Chinguetti Oualata Ouadane Rachid
Moudjeria Tidjikja Desert Taoujafet

 

 

 

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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2013