Moto-cross Africa  
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On The Road...Nouakchott

I'm now in Nouakchott in Mauritania. I am meeting some bikers in less than an hour so this is just a quick update...and my camera batteries are both dead after filming a lot yesterday so the next album willl have to wait for now.
 
After leaving Marrakech I spent about a week riding south, and through the 'distupted territory' of Western Sahara (although some military do occupy it I don't think there has been much action there since 1975).
 
I had had a few days of hard (long) riding, especially when there wasn't a 'campsite' where I thought there would be one so I did two days riding in one day. So I arrived in Dakhla, the last stop before Mauritania, knackered. I met up with Lut and Sari - two Belgians who I had met in Marrakech - who were getting up early the next day to drive the 400k's to the borders, and to cross into Nauadhibou in Mauritania.
 
So after grabbing some food and calling my sister to say Happy Birthday, I grabbed a bit of sleep and then rose when it was far too early to get riding. Daklha is surrounded by the sea and a lagoon, so riding out at the break of dawn with the place covered in a mist as wet as rain felt like I was riding on the moon.
 
I filled one of 'water' bags and my tanks with petrol and arrived at the first border at about 12. By 15.30 we had crossed both borders and the few kilometers of 'no-man's land' in between (including one topple in the soft sand as there is no road).
 
We were directed to Auberge Sahara and had a look at the shipwrecks before Lut invited me to join them a two ride/drive south, the 'traditional' overland route that takes you through the desert and through the nature reserve, along the beach. Until recently when the new road was laid, this was the only route. I was happy as I had wanted to do the offroad, but needed someone to help take some stuff otherwise I just couldn't carry enough fuel and water on the bike.
 
So after crashing in a room in the Auberge with an Aussie guy (cheers Jeff) we set off the next day with Sidi as our nomad guide ("Je suis un Nomad" - bit of a pillock as it turned out).
 
Having checked with Sidi that petrol was available on the way, 150km down the road he changed his mind. The 4x4 was fine as it was diesel, but I had a 2 hour mini-adventure when I ended up buying another 20 litres of petrol from jerry cans at the side of the road (for English pertol prices).
 
So with a total of 37 litres of petrol strapped around me, we rode across the relatively flat desert (as opposed to dunes) for about 200/250kms I'm not sure as my odometer and speedo has stopped working...I need to look at that. Then we camped under the stars on the beach.
 
The next day was about 5 hours of riding (at about 105km/h, aka flat out on my bike) through the desert to where the dunes block the path. At this point you find the ocean and ride along the beautiful empty beaches where the dunes of the Sahara melt into the sea. The timing has to be right, as the tide will trap you otherswise. Sidi got it wrong so we only did half of the beach before having a quick swim, more mint tea with unhealthy amounts of sugar, then bumping back along to the new road to Nouakchott.
 
SO I arrived here yesterday, knackered and with filthy clothes. Today I made my way to the Mali Embassy for my visa (all sorted) and bumped into two guys I'd met in the UK who are heading to South Africa too. They were very welcoming and said I could tag along (I am bored by myself apart from it not being ideal...story of what happened to Ryan to follow).
 
But I have since also bumped into an American who is also riding a slower and more offroad bike like mine as opposed to the heavier, faster bikes the others are on. So long story short, we are meeting at 6 to discuss plans. That's in 20 minutes now so got to go. Photos to follow sometime soon...
 

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