Kite flying amongst the mines

Dakhla Travel Blog

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Wild camels wandering along the roadside

Needing urgent spare parts we decided to leave the bikes at motel barabas 80 km before the mauritanian border and hitch up to dakhla. It's nice so we've decided to rest up for a while before taking on the dessert again. The trip has changed character a bit. There are new rules to follow, it's much more adventurous and my guiltfeelings of having left my job seem finally to have vanished. It's a more raw journey down here, but i have come to love it! 

Down here the dessert sets the rules; Often there's 130 km or more between shops. The endless remote stretches inbetween, dictate precise planning of supplies and distances to be ridden. Our longest day is 160km. Days are long as we get up around 6 and don't camp up again til darkness falls.

endless distances
Most of the time we can see the sea on the left but at times the flatness of the dessert takes away all points of orientation and it is easy to lose track of whether we are going north or south. Luckily there's only one long road to follow...

Camping has become more tricky. As usual moroccans have a strange ability to be found in the oddest places. Every so often when wer'e in the middle of endless sand and rocks a dude will suddenly appear sitting on a rock, walking along or napping on the roadside. Some seem to be wanderers on endless missions and others look like thev'e just left the office. And then there's a few dodgy looking military types. So although everybody is very friendly, being hidden is still a priority. 

Then there's the matter of scorpions.

Daren listening to the footbal
We have always taken care but i didn't really think we'd see them until one morning a large black one had taken shelter under Julians tent. App 5 cm if you rolled out its tail with a stick. They like being in and under stuff.  Daren encountered small green ones under a rock. So now bags are not left on the floor and barely anything is ouside the tent at night.

Finally, the disputed area buisness has resulted in many landmines. The military have apparently cleared each side of the road  but still; We only use tracks when we leave the road and the imaginary bathrooms of the dessert have moved uncomfortably close to the camp or the road. bye bye dignity....

All this has not been a problem. There's just a few more rules to follow. Everybody here knows the dessert is a challenging place and people look out for us.

Just riding along
 

But then we meet Svend, our new german friend, who questioned our caution somewhat. More than seing the dessert as a challenge, his journey appeares to be a spiritual matter and he appears to have a firm belief in everything good in the world; A bikelight brighter than a carlight made secret camping an impossible mission and anything could wander in and out of a gaping hole in his shoe. We seemed paranoid to him and he seemed careless to us...

But having been on the road for 11 months Svend was not a novice -at least to europe- and his belief was a conscious choice that had let him meet many kind people on his long journey. His luggage prooved to be a magic box containing everything you may ever need and never need including a washing machine, a shower and a kite; On our first night together he rescued what would have been a dire meal by, inspite of being a vegetarian, producing a tin of massive german saussages from his luggage.

Children in Dakhla

All the goods were transported on a trailor and in an endless amout of paniers making it hard for him to follow our speed. Inevitably we got lost from eachother inbetween a military base, endless flatness and the falling darkness. Believing in the good of the people he had decided to look at the militry base through his binoculars. Racing along trying to catch up with us in the falling darkness, he missed the parasol we had left out as a sign for him. We found him the next day 60 km ahead just finishing flying his kite in between the minefields. In a rage over having lost us he beat our record and rode 216 km!

Now he is on his way to Naukchott, the capital of Mauritania. Were hoping to catch up again somewhere along the way.

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 We are again seperated from our bikes: Needing urgent spare parts we decided to leave the bikes at motel barabas 80 km before the mauritanian border and hitch up to dakhla. It's nice so we've decided to rest up for a while before taking on the dessert again. The trip has changed character a bit. There are new rules to follow, it's much more adventurous and my guiltfeelings of having left my job seem finally to have vanished. It's a more raw journey down here, but i have come to love it!

Down here the dessert sets the rules; Often there's 130 km or more between shops. The endless remote stretches inbetween, dictate precise planning of supplies and distances to be ridden. Our longest day is 160km. Days are long as we get up around 6 and don't camp up again til darkness falls. Most of the time we can see the sea on the left but at times the flatness of the dessert takes away all points of orientation and it is easy to lose track of whether we are going north or south. Luckily there's only one long road to follow...

Camping has become more tricky. As usual moroccans have a strange ability to be found in the oddest places. Every so often when wer'e in the middle of endless sand and rocks a dude will suddenly appear sitting on a rock, walking along or napping on the roadside. Some seem to be wanderers on endless missions and others look like thev'e just left the office. And then there's a few dodgy looking military types. So although everybody is very friendly, being hidden is still a priority. 

Then there's the matter of scorpions. We have always taken care but i didn't really think we'd see them until one morning a large black one had taken shelter under Julians tent. App 5 cm if you rolled out its tail with a stick. They like being in and under stuff.  Daren encountered small green ones under a rock. So now bags are not left on the floor and barely anything is ouside the tent at night.

Finally, the disputed area buisness has resulted in many landmines. The military have apparently cleared each side of the road  but still; We only use tracks when we leave the road and the imaginary bathrooms of the dessert have moved uncomfortably close to the camp or the road. bye bye dignity....

All this has not been a problem. There's just a few more rules to follow. Everybody here knows the dessert is a challenging place and people look out for us. 

But then we meet Svend, our new german friend, who questioned our caution somewhat. More than seing the dessert as a challenge, his journey appeares to be a spiritual matter and he appears to have a firm belief in everything good in the world; A bikelight brighter than a carlight made secret camping an impossible mission and anything could wander in and out of a gaping hole in his shoe. We seemed paranoid to him and he seemed careless to us...

But having been on the road for 11 months Svend was not a novice -at least to europe- and his belief was a conscious choice that had let him meet many kind people on his long journey. His luggage prooved to be a magic box containing everything you may ever need and never need including a washing machine, a shower and a kite; On our first night together he rescued what would have been a dire meal by, inspite of being a vegetarian, producing a tin of massive german saussages from his luggage.

All the goods were transported on a trailor and in an endless amout of paniers making it hard for him to follow our speed. Inevitably we got lost from eachother inbetween a military base, endless flatness and the falling darkness. Believing in the good of the people he had decided to look at the militry base through his binoculars. Racing along trying to catch up with us in the falling darkness, he missed the parasol we had left out as a sign for him. We found him the next day 60 km ahead just finishing flying his kite in between the minefields. In a rage over having lost us he beat our record and rode 216 km!

Now he is on his way to Naukchott, the capital of Mauritania. Were hoping to catch up again somewhere along the way.

Wild camels wandering along the ro…
Wild camels wandering along the r…
endless distances
endless distances
Daren listening to the footbal
Daren listening to the footbal
Just riding along
Just riding along
Children in Dakhla
Children in Dakhla
Dakhla
photo by: roadtrampz