Nut Shot, or Nouakchott as the locals call it

Sit on an oven, in a bigger oven with a hair dryer blowing in your face and you get an idea of what riding conditions are like here.

We left Rabat after picking up our Mauritanian visas, although we still had to wait till after 2pm to collect them. We were hoping to push through to Agadir, however thanks to the late visa pickup, we could only make Marrakech. This wasn’t too bad as we had a walk around and enjoyed a nice (expensive) meal on the medina.

Back in Rabat my iPhone, which has all my tunes, decided now was the time for a full factory reset. I was livid. Fortunately Russ came to the rescue and he’s kindly lent me his iPhone. I’m now enjoying a choice selection of Psy-trance, Progressive House and 70’s Danish Disco.

We then rode the next 5 days through scenery that changed from dry to bone dry to effin bone dry, to stop-and-its-instant-death dry.

The border crossing between Morocco and Mauritania was quite an experience. The no-man’s-land is a few kilometres of rocks and sand with a dozen tracks leading off into the desert, to finally converge on the Mauritanian border post. Locals hover like vultures waiting for an “off” so they can pounce and demand cash for rescuing you. First trick is to ignore their guidance, they have a habit of leading you towards the soft stuff. Second trick is to take your time and suss out the route yourself. Both Russell and I had a little lie down in the sand, but we bailed each other out and escaped relatively unscathed.

So we’re in Nouakchott for a bit of a break, mainly to get our visas to Mali. We’re going to have a braai (barbecue) tonight with some other guests we’ve met at our awesome Auberge we’re staying at. Beers are especially hard to come by, but we do like a challenge. Afterwards, who knows, we might hit the town in search of a bit of 70’s Danish Disco.

We’ve met quite a few interesting people so far, so we thought we’d get a list going:

Macek from Poland on a Yamaha 660 Tenere. He’s travelling around Morocco with no fixed destination. He’s also packing two golf clubs and a few balls. He’s not going to let a little bike trip keep him from his hobbies.

Fabian, Joanna and their son from Germany. They’re camping in their RV outside Dakhla, windsurfing all day. Their hospitality was very much welcomed.

Alex and Eric from Brazil, on 2 Honda Transalps. Their plan is to travel from Paris to Cape Town in 42 days. They’ve had some problems en route and are already behind on schedule. They’re averaging around 900km’s a day when they are on the road. Good luck guys!

Camping chairs come in handy when you’re waiting for the embassies to open:

Junk

Just another night in Marrakech:
1

A very delicious tagine thanks to Riyadh Omar:
Tagine

That’s Macek the golfer at our first desert camp:
Macek

Shade is rare in this part of the world. Lunch on a garage forecourt here:
2

Our first “on the road” shot. We were a bit battered by the incessant side winds:
Road

The infinitely straight roads of the Western Sahara:
Straight

We were absolutely shattered after taking this shot. We had to drink about 2 litres of water and rest up for a while:
Isbsi

Who says you can’t have fun with roadside litter?
Fun

Our camp in the municipal car park about 30km outside Dakhla. Our camp is on the bottom left and the Germans are the RV to the right. This was a surprisingly popular windsurfing and kite boarding spot:
Runs

Russ flying past for the action shot:
Action

Topping up on cheap Moroccan fuel in Mauritania:
Fuel

More dunes and sand in Mauritania. And a lot hotter too:
Dunes

The roads in Mauritania are good. Their road engineers are experts in straights. Sand, mirages and roadside tyres are complimentary:
Straight road