Daklha exodus at last!!!

Nouadhibou Travel Blog

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Getting close to the border

By the time we got up lots of people had left the camp site for the border some 350km south.  Once the Shetlanders left in the Landrover we were the last, not worrying because we could travel fairly quickly.  I was in front and thought we could would fuel up at one of the two stations 60km down the road, the first one had none and the other was closed, I tried the pump just to make sure.  So this meant doubling back for petrol at Daklha, we both had the fuel to return so it wasn’t that bad.  Riding back down the road I was sure this is the last time, 5th time on this part of the road.

The ride south was a bit quicker than our usual relaxed pace doing about 100km/h and once I saw the border and the straight road down in with lots of the red Moroccan flags I felt now I’m entering the real Africa (2-45pm).

waiting in no mans land.......
 With the Moroccan paper work sorted with the usual bored officials and my smiley face looking at them we headed off into no mans land.  This is about a 2km stretch of open ground, sand, rocks and dust, oh and did I mention don’t stray to far of the various tracks because the area has been landmined somewhere!  (but you would have to be a right ejjit to wander far enough to find them, or French heehee).  Some people had set up camp in this area, cars, vans and trucks that looked as if they were about to fall over on the rough ground or suspension break at any moment, now these guys pack another two thirds the height on the roof bursting to break free!! 

There was the usual currency changers, guys offering rescue services and guides offering to take us the best route though this unmarked free for all.  The first changers came over, settled on a price for the Dirhims I had left and to which he gave me 8000 Ougles but his calculator told me 4200 Ougles when I checked?  And changed a 20Euro because I never trust these guys and the 8000 Ougles was making me think I’ve just been ripped off with an old currency or fakes, these guys never make mistakes but wanted to cross with some local money in our pocket.  Off I went on what I thought was the best route and the bike snaked as I went through a patch of soft sand and I gassed it through.  Nige coming behind didn’t make it and got pinned by the frame of the jerry can bolted to the front of his pannier (I was warned about not putting stuff to the front of your pannier as it’s the perfect way to break an ankle when you put your foot out to dab the bike up).  I’d no idea he was pinned under and thought I could hear shouting but once I saw his hand waving I knew he was in trouble.  I parked up on the hard ground and ran back and by the time I got there a few locals passing had helped and were checking out his leg, all fine he was back on the bike again.  Once at the other side there was a long queue with the rest of our friends further up.  It was a very slow process and some queue jumping was going on with people shouting (including me) and others seeing a chance to go for it.  The queue in the morning we were told was half a mile.

First stop was the police building standing alone with strict guards, next was immigration which ended up being a single guy wearing army olive green writing in a big ledger each persons details the other side of a glass window, with lots of people trying to hand in their passports.  There seemed to be no order to whose was next but don’t piss him off or yours will stay at the bottom.  I heard the insurance was closing so I set off looking for it, all I could see was very old wooden shacks and lots of fixers asking if I needed money changed or very willing to help me, for a fee of course that would come later!  Brushing them off I bounced around the shacks and a few people told me it was closed, taking the average answer of these few meant no insurance tonight, it was getting dark.  Nige had our completed passports and we rode to the wooden shacks looking for customs.  To my surprise a young uniformed guy said “motos?”, “ ahh wee” I said with a smile then told us we could go, great! Paper work and passports packed away, jackets on, water pack on, ear plugs in, helmat on, gloves on, bike started, big smile, then a guy came running over waving a piece of paper we didn’t fill in.  All off again to our disgust, got the paper work and filled it in using the head torch as best we could as we couldn’t understand it all.  Handed it in and got clobbered for a 20Euro fee, tried to hand him 20 for the two bikes but this was no good, it was late so what could we do?  I reckon they played sociological games telling us we could go just to piss us off and we would pay.  I had the parting shot though and told him “poug na hone” shacking his hand firmly with a big smile (told him to kiss my back side in Irish, about all I know), well it made me feel better and made Nige smile.

The unavoidable hour ride in the dark into Nouadhibou (doup~doouby~bedouby!) through the various check points was smooth.  We had left ourselves to many kms to cover before crossing the border and the slow crossing made me think we need to be crossing in the mornings, better planning is required.  The guards seem to like bikers and let them pass.  My up graded HID lights was well worth the money/effort and I kept the full beam on not to too much annoyance of the other drivers, spots were pointing low and high beam was pointing to the hard shoulder as we were driving on the left side on a UK bike.  I did get a surprise just before town when a camel thought about crossing the road so with a blast of my 20amp air horn I sent it skipping back off the road.  By chance I saw Mick walking along the road and once again and the usual suspects were all together again, including the Dutch couple.  Our room was small, mattress on the floor but Nige said I snored my head off.  Oh, turned out my luck was in and the 8000 Ougles was real.

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By the time we got up lots of people had left the camp site for the border some 350km south.  Once the Shetlanders left in the Landrover we were the last, not worrying because we could travel fairly quickly.  I was in front and thought we could would fuel up at one of the two stations 60km down the road, the first one had none and the other was closed, I tried the pump just to make sure.  So this meant doubling back for petrol at Daklha, we both had the fuel to return so it wasn’t that bad.  Riding back down the road I was sure this is the last time, 5th time on this part of the road.

 

The ride south was a bit quicker than our usual relaxed pace doing about 100km/h and once I saw the border and the straight road down in with lots of the red Moroccan flags I felt now I’m entering the real Africa (2.45pm).  With the Moroccan paper work sorted with the usual bored officials and my smiley face looking at them we headed off into no mans land.  This is about a 2km stretch of open ground, sand, rocks and dust, oh and did I mention don’t stray to far of the various tracks because the area has been landmined somewhere!  (but you would have to be a right ejjit to wander far enough to find them, or French heehee).  Some people had set up camp in this area, cars, vans and trucks that looked as if they were about to fall over on the rough ground or suspension break at any moment, now these guys pack another two thirds the height on the roof bursting to break free!! 

There was the usual currency changers, guys offering rescue services and guides offering to take us the best route though this unmarked free for all.  The first changers came over, settled on a price for the Dirhims I had left and to which he gave me 8000 Ougles but his calculator told me 4200 Ougles when I checked?  And changed a 20Euro because I never trust these guys and the 8000 Ougles was making me think I’ve just been ripped off with an old currency or fakes, these guys never make mistakes but wanted to cross with some local money in our pocket.  Off I went on what I thought was the best route and the bike snaked as I went through a patch of soft sand and I gassed it through.  Nige coming behind didn’t make it and got pinned by the frame of the jerry can bolted to the front of his pannier (I was warned about not putting stuff to the front of your pannier as it’s the perfect way to break an ankle when you put your foot out to dab the bike up).  I’d no idea he was pinned under and thought I could hear shouting but once I saw his hand waving I knew he was in trouble.  I parked up on the hard ground and ran back and by the time I got there a few locals passing had helped and were checking out his leg, all fine he was back on the bike again.  Once at the other side there was a long queue with the rest of our friends further up.  It was a very slow process and some queue jumping was going on with people shouting (including me) and others seeing a chance to go for it.  The queue in the morning we were told was half a mile.

First stop was the police building standing alone with strict guards, next was immigration which ended up being a single guy wearing army olive green writing in a big ledger each persons details the other side of a glass window, with lots of people trying to hand in their passports.  There seemed to be no order to whose was next but don’t piss him off or yours will stay at the bottom.  I heard the insurance was closing so I set off looking for it, all I could see was very old wooden shacks and lots of fixers asking if I needed money changed or very willing to help me, for a fee of course that would come later!  Brushing them off I bounced around the shacks and a few people told me it was closed, taking the average answer of these few meant no insurance tonight, it was getting dark.  Nige had our completed passports and we rode to the wooden shacks looking for customs.  To my surprise a young uniformed guy said “motos?”, “ ahh wee” I said with a smile then told us we could go, great! Paper work and passports packed away, jackets on, water pack on, ear plugs in, helmat on, gloves on, bike started, big smile, then a guy came running over waving a piece of paper we didn’t fill in.  All off again to our disgust, got the paper work and filled it in using the head torch as best we could as we couldn’t understand it all.  Handed it in and got clobbered for a 20Euro fee, tried to hand him 20 for the two bikes but this was no good, it was late so what could we do?  I reckon they played sociological games telling us we could go just to piss us off and we would pay.  I had the parting shot though and told him “poug na hone” shacking his hand firmly with a big smile (told him to kiss my back side in Irish, about all I know), well it made me feel better and made Nige smile.

The unavoidable hour ride in the dark into Nouadhibou (doup~doouby~bedouby!) through the various check points was smooth.  We had left ourselves to many kms to cover before crossing the border and the slow crossing made me think we need to be crossing in the mornings, better planning is required.  The guards seem to like bikers and let them pass.  My up graded HID lights was well worth the money/effort and I kept the full beam on not to too much annoyance of the other drivers, spots were pointing low and high beam was pointing to the hard shoulder as we were driving on the left side on a UK bike.  I did get a surprise just before town when a camel thought about crossing the road so with a blast of my 20amp air horn I sent it skipping back off the road.  By chance I saw Mick walking along the road and once again and the usual suspects were all together again, including the Dutch couple.  Our room was small, mattress on the floor but Nige said I snored my head off.  Oh, turned out my luck was in and the 8000 Ougles was real.

By the time we got up lots of people had left the camp site for the border some 350km south.  Once the Shetlanders left in the Landrover we were the last, not worrying because we could travel fairly quickly.  I was in front and thought we could would fuel up at one of the two stations 60km down the road, the first one had none and the other was closed, I tried the pump just to make sure.  So this meant doubling back for petrol at Daklha, we both had the fuel to return so it wasn’t that bad.  Riding back down the road I was sure this is the last time, 5th time on this part of the road.

 

The ride south was a bit quicker than our usual relaxed pace doing about 100km/h and once I saw the border and the straight road down in with lots of the red Moroccan flags I felt now I’m entering the real Africa (2.45pm).  With the Moroccan paper work sorted with the usual bored officials and my smiley face looking at them we headed off into no mans land.  This is about a 2km stretch of open ground, sand, rocks and dust, oh and did I mention don’t stray to far of the various tracks because the area has been landmined somewhere!  (but you would have to be a right ejjit to wander far enough to find them, or French heehee).  Some people had set up camp in this area, cars, vans and trucks that looked as if they were about to fall over on the rough ground or suspension break at any moment, now these guys pack another two thirds the height on the roof bursting to break free!! 

 

There was the usual currency changers, guys offering rescue services and guides offering to take us the best route though this unmarked free for all.  The first changers came over, settled on a price for the Dirhims I had left and to which he gave me 8000 Ougles but his calculator told me 4200 Ougles when I checked?  And changed a 20Euro because I never trust these guys and the 8000 Ougles was making me think I’ve just been ripped off with an old currency or fakes, these guys never make mistakes but wanted to cross with some local money in our pocket.  Off I went on what I thought was the best route and the bike snaked as I went through a patch of soft sand and I gassed it through.  Nige coming behind didn’t make it and got pinned by the frame of the jerry can bolted to the front of his pannier (I was warned about not putting stuff to the front of your pannier as it’s the perfect way to break an ankle when you put your foot out to dab the bike up).  I’d no idea he was pinned under and thought I could hear shouting but once I saw his hand waving I knew he was in trouble.  I parked up on the hard ground and ran back and by the time I got there a few locals passing had helped and were checking out his leg, all fine he was back on the bike again.  Once at the other side there was a long queue with the rest of our friends further up.  It was a very slow process and some queue jumping was going on with people shouting (including me) and others seeing a chance to go for it.  The queue in the morning we were told was half a mile.

 

First stop was the police building standing alone with strict guards, next was immigration which ended up being a single guy wearing army olive green writing in a big ledger each persons details the other side of a glass window, with lots of people trying to hand in their passports.  There seemed to be no order to whose was next but don’t piss him off or yours will stay at the bottom.  I heard the insurance was closing so I set off looking for it, all I could see was very old wooden shacks and lots of fixers asking if I needed money changed or very willing to help me, for a fee of course that would come later!  Brushing them off I bounced around the shacks and a few people told me it was closed, taking the average answer of these few meant no insurance tonight, it was getting dark.  Nige had our completed passports and we rode to the wooden shacks looking for customs.  To my surprise a young uniformed guy said “motos?”, “ ahh wee” I said with a smile then told us we could go, great! Paper work and passports packed away, jackets on, water pack on, ear plugs in, helmat on, gloves on, bike started, big smile, then a guy came running over waving a piece of paper we didn’t fill in.  All off again to our disgust, got the paper work and filled it in using the head torch as best we could as we couldn’t understand it all.  Handed it in and got clobbered for a 20Euro fee, tried to hand him 20 for the two bikes but this was no good, it was late so what could we do?  I reckon they played sociological games telling us we could go just to piss us off and we would pay.  I had the parting shot though and told him “poug na hone” shacking his hand firmly with a big smile (told him to kiss my back side in Irish, about all I know), well it made me feel better and made Nige smile.

The unavoidable hour ride in the dark into Nouadhibou (doup~doouby~bedouby!) through the various check points was smooth.  We had left ourselves to many kms to cover before crossing the border and the slow crossing made me think we need to be crossing in the mornings, better planning is required.  The guards seem to like bikers and let them pass.  My up graded HID lights was well worth the money/effort and I kept the full beam on not to too much annoyance of the other drivers, spots were pointing low and high beam was pointing to the hard shoulder as we were driving on the left side on a UK bike.  I did get a surprise just before town when a camel thought about crossing the road so with a blast of my 20amp air horn I sent it skipping back off the road.  By chance I saw Mick walking along the road and once again and the usual suspects were all together again, including the Dutch couple.  Our room was small, mattress on the floor but Nige said I snored my head off.  Oh, turned out my luck was in and the 8000 Ougles was real.

By the time we got up lots of people had left the camp site for the border some 350km south.  Once the Shetlanders left in the Landrover we were the last, not worrying because we could travel fairly quickly.  I was in front and thought we could would fuel up at one of the two stations 60km down the road, the first one had none and the other was closed, I tried the pump just to make sure.  So this meant doubling back for petrol at Daklha, we both had the fuel to return so it wasn’t that bad.  Riding back down the road I was sure this is the last time, 5th time on this part of the road.

 

The ride south was a bit quicker than our usual relaxed pace doing about 100km/h and once I saw the border and the straight road down in with lots of the red Moroccan flags I felt now I’m entering the real Africa (2.45pm).  With the Moroccan paper work sorted with the usual bored officials and my smiley face looking at them we headed off into no mans land.  This is about a 2km stretch of open ground, sand, rocks and dust, oh and did I mention don’t stray to far of the various tracks because the area has been landmined somewhere!  (but you would have to be a right ejjit to wander far enough to find them, or French heehee).  Some people had set up camp in this area, cars, vans and trucks that looked as if they were about to fall over on the rough ground or suspension break at any moment, now these guys pack another two thirds the height on the roof bursting to break free!! 

 

There was the usual currency changers, guys offering rescue services and guides offering to take us the best route though this unmarked free for all.  The first changers came over, settled on a price for the Dirhims I had left and to which he gave me 8000 Ougles but his calculator told me 4200 Ougles when I checked?  And changed a 20Euro because I never trust these guys and the 8000 Ougles was making me think I’ve just been ripped off with an old currency or fakes, these guys never make mistakes but wanted to cross with some local money in our pocket.  Off I went on what I thought was the best route and the bike snaked as I went through a patch of soft sand and I gassed it through.  Nige coming behind didn’t make it and got pinned by the frame of the jerry can bolted to the front of his pannier (I was warned about not putting stuff to the front of your pannier as it’s the perfect way to break an ankle when you put your foot out to dab the bike up).  I’d no idea he was pinned under and thought I could hear shouting but once I saw his hand waving I knew he was in trouble.  I parked up on the hard ground and ran back and by the time I got there a few locals passing had helped and were checking out his leg, all fine he was back on the bike again.  Once at the other side there was a long queue with the rest of our friends further up.  It was a very slow process and some queue jumping was going on with people shouting (including me) and others seeing a chance to go for it.  The queue in the morning we were told was half a mile.

 

First stop was the police building standing alone with strict guards, next was immigration which ended up being a single guy wearing army olive green writing in a big ledger each persons details the other side of a glass window, with lots of people trying to hand in their passports.  There seemed to be no order to whose was next but don’t piss him off or yours will stay at the bottom.  I heard the insurance was closing so I set off looking for it, all I could see was very old wooden shacks and lots of fixers asking if I needed money changed or very willing to help me, for a fee of course that would come later!  Brushing them off I bounced around the shacks and a few people told me it was closed, taking the average answer of these few meant no insurance tonight, it was getting dark.  Nige had our completed passports and we rode to the wooden shacks looking for customs.  To my surprise a young uniformed guy said “motos?”, “ ahh wee” I said with a smile then told us we could go, great! Paper work and passports packed away, jackets on, water pack on, ear plugs in, helmat on, gloves on, bike started, big smile, then a guy came running over waving a piece of paper we didn’t fill in.  All off again to our disgust, got the paper work and filled it in using the head torch as best we could as we couldn’t understand it all.  Handed it in and got clobbered for a 20Euro fee, tried to hand him 20 for the two bikes but this was no good, it was late so what could we do?  I reckon they played sociological games telling us we could go just to piss us off and we would pay.  I had the parting shot though and told him “poug na hone” shacking his hand firmly with a big smile (told him to kiss my back side in Irish, about all I know), well it made me feel better and made Nige smile.

 

The unavoidable hour ride in the dark into Nouadhibou (doup~doouby~bedouby!) through the various check points was smooth.  We had left ourselves to many kms to cover before crossing the border and the slow crossing made me think we need to be crossing in the mornings, better planning is required.  The guards seem to like bikers and let them pass.  My up graded HID lights was well worth the money/effort and I kept the full beam on not to too much annoyance of the other drivers, spots were pointing low and high beam was pointing to the hard shoulder as we were driving on the left side on a UK bike.  I did get a surprise just before town when a camel thought about crossing the road so with a blast of my 20amp air horn I sent it skipping back off the road.  By chance I saw Mick walking along the road and once again and the usual suspects were all together again, including the Dutch couple.  Our room was small, mattress on the floor but Nige said I snored my head off.  Oh, turned out my luck was in and the 8000 Ougles was real.

Getting close to the border
Getting close to the border
waiting in no mans land.......
waiting in no mans land.......
Nouadhibou
photo by: johnyb66