Day 144: Er, Why Are You Here?

24.05.09:

I stayed in Auberge Du Sahara camping in Dahkla and would thoroughly recommend it. It only cost about a fiver and they even made me dinner. In the morning, twas another bit of shared taxi malarkey to the border. There I met Michel, a French guy heading to Dakar in his van. He took me the killer 3km over no-mans land, and there we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The Mauritanian Border
The Mauritanian Border

We had arrived at the border around 11am. By 4pm we had finally got our passports stamped into Maur-f-ing-tania. Seriously. Was the border very busy? Was it hell. I’ve seen more people at a pro-paedophile rally in a sink estate in Croydon.

There is an old Moroccan proverb, A guest is a gift from God.

I think there’s also a Mauritanian proverb. A guest is about as wanted as blood in your stool.

Can I recommend you NEVER go to Mauritania? Seriously. 0/10.

The worst of it is, Michel didn’t have a visa.

THEY CHANGED THE RULES AGAIN.

You can now GET A VISA ON THE GOD-DAMN BORDER!!!!!!!

I screamed, but the desert didn’t seem to care.

But every cloud and all that jazz, I did get to see the Iron Ore train made famous by Michael Palin in ‘Sahara’…

The Iron Ore Train - Mauritania
The Iron Ore Train

…which was pretty cool.  It’s over 4km long, making it the longest train in the world!!

Iron Ore Train
Thomas And The Fat Controller

Michel took me as far as the bus ‘station’ (the side of the road) and I got on the coach to Nouakchott, the capital of this inhospitable land. The road was good and the desert scenery was nice.

Desert Road
Desert Road

That night, I stayed in a really good camp site/youth hostel on the edge of town and in the morning headed over to get a ‘sept place‘ (a shared taxi) for the border with Senegal.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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