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Being used to driving in Europe, our usual concerns are about how much traffic, accidents, road works and other impediments will block our progress.  When we read about Africa, we know it is going to be different, but have no idea how different.  With hindsight, it is not panic.  It really is not as bad as you might expect from all the horror stories, but then we did go in the dry season. 

The main roads are surprisingly good, with major hazards being suicidal animals and pedestrians with occasional interventions from other drivers, though not that often.  Hopefully the following pictures give you an idea of what it is like, or was like in December 2005, just after completion of the hardtop from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott.  They say that the last couple of kilometres of piste across No-man's-land will be completed next year, then it will be asphalt all the way from Europe to Nouakchott, and thence to Nema at the end of the Route d'espoir.

Still no way of avoiding some piste driving if you want to go to Mali.  Route with least distance on piste is from Ayoun to Nioro on asphalt, then 170 miles of currently appalling piste to Didiema, then asphalt to Bamako.  They were building a new road when we went so even this last bit might be asphalt by the time you go!

Western Sahara Western Sahara Western Sahara Maroc -RIM (No man's land)

Nouadhibou - Nouakchott


Route d'espoir

Route d'espoir

Route d'espoir Route d'espoir Route d'espoir Nema - Nampala (RIM to Mali)
Nema - Nampala (RIM to Mali) Nema - Nampala (RIM to Mali) Nampala, Mali Nampala, Mali
Léré, Mali Léré, Mali Léré, Mali Tombouctou, Mali
Tombouctou - Douentza, Mali Tombouctou - Douentza, Mali Tombouctou - Douentza, Mali Bandiagara, Mali
Bandiagara, Mali Djenne ferry Djema - Nioro, Mali Djema - Nioro, Mali

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© Jeremy Harrison 2005-2020