Photo - expedition across Sahara with the world's best travel photographer of 2020*, Vladimir Alexeyev: ancient cities, traditional cultures, marine parks, biggest sand dune and the world's longest train


November 30 - December 9, 2024
Tour Mauritania and Western Sahara

*according to the Royal Photographic Society (United Kingdom).
Eternity of desert and ancient cities, the beauty of Atlantics and golden sand dunes, the world's longest train and the Africa's biggest monolith, unique cultures of Imraguen fishermen and Sahrawi shepherds.

It's a beautiful journey across Mauritania and Western Sahara!
Dates: November 30 - December 9, 2024

Duration: 10 days / 9 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
— USD 2 550 subject to 12 participants, or
— USD 2 650 subject to 10 – 11 participants, or
— USD 2 990 subject to 9 participants or
— USD 3 090 subject to 7 – 8 participants, with single accommodation.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before June 30, 2024)

Everything is included (also full board, single accommodation) except for:
— international flight to Nouakchott roundtrip
— Mauritania visa (about 55 EUR x 2 times: on arrival in Mauritania by air and upon return to Mauritania overland from Western Sahara)
— Western Sahara visa, which is in fact visa Morocco (not needed for Russian citizens. For other nationalities, if needed, to be obtained in advance, before the trip)
— international medical insurance.

Estimated cost of international flight Moscow – Nouakchott – Moscow: USD 750 — 1400 (to be bought on your own. We consult you).
Estimated cost of international flight Istanbul – Nouakchott – Istanbul: USD 800 — 1000 (to be bought on your own. We consult you).

Single accommodation: provided by default (included into the price)

TRAVEL PROGRAM: tour to Mauritania and Western Sahara
Day 1. November 30, 2024. ARRIVAL IN NOUAKCHOTT

Day or evening arrival by air in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania.
Transfer to the hotel The Best Semiramis 4* or similar.
Free time and overnight in the hotel.

Meals included: no
Accommodation: hotel The Best Semiramis 4* or similar

* Recommended flight:
— with Turkish Airlines, departs from Moscow at 2:10 am on November 30, with 2 hours 25 minutes stopover in Istanbul, arrives in Nouakchott on December 2 at 13:00 on November 30 from Istanbul,
— with Air Maroc, departs from Moscow at 7:35 am on November 29, with 11 hours 55 minutes stopover in Casablanca, arrives in Nouakchott on November 30 at 1:40 am from Casablanca (extra night in the hotel is needed and to be paid),
— any other flight with arrival in Nouakchott any time on November 30 or in the night from November 30 to December 1.


At 7:00 in the morning, departure from the capital across the north desert of Adrar region with several stops for photography. Sahara is advancing to the south of continent as fast as 10 km a year, and the area to the east of Nouakchott is significantly buried under the sand.
Enjoy the landscapes on the way and observe lots of interesting little villages on the side of the road filled with different colors of our many different cultures due to the variety of ethnicities in the country. We have a quick lunch picnic under an acacia tree in the desert nearby the dunes.
Drive almost 500 km up to El Meddah and arriving at the final destination – Azouega, the tallest sand dune in the country. We set up the campsite, here you have the opportunity to enjoy shisha (the famous Arabic water pipe) around the campfire in a stunning desert nature.
This day is about 500 km and about 7 hours drive.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camping, traditional Mauritanian tents or in the open air under the stars


After a night under the stars, we drive some 120 km, crossing Adrar region, a beautiful mixture of landscapes between sand and stone, vegetation and water. Here we can see the whole country represented naturally from very harsh, dry but beautiful sand desert and canyons to oasis with running natural water sources. From nomad camps here and there to actual cities and villages, to the first old historical city of Mauritania, also recognized a UNESCO World Heritage site — Chinguetti.
For early lunch we stop at the oasis of Mhaireth. Here in the oasis we find a natural lagoon with the clean water. Those who are not afraid of the water flourishing (this time of the year), can swim.
We then make our way to Chinguetti to visit to its old town with the Grand mosque and libraries of ancient manuscripts – for sure the most beautiful and intriguing of all 4 ancient cities of Mauritania. Guided tour, during which librarian will give us a history lesson about the town and what it means to the country historically.
Hit the road to catch the sunset from the big dunes of Chinguetti.
Dinner and night at the guesthouse La Gueila or similar.
This day is about 120 km and about 3 hours drive.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: guesthouse La Gueila or similar


After early breakfast, we take early morning walk in the historical city of Chinguetti, which is being buried under the sands of Sahara year after year. We may meet some local people to take atmosphere pictures and buy some authentic souvenirs.
Then we drive towards the famous monolith of Ben Amira, the biggest in Africa. On the way stop to visit the archeological site of Almoravid in the village of Azougui. Then discover the famous canyon of Amogjar nearby.
Lunch break at the monolith. Visit of the sculptures at the monolith.
Continue back to Choume to get on the train in the direction of Nouadhibou. This is the worlds' longest train, 3 kilometers (!) long, consists of 300 coaches and is full of ore. We gonna take a ride right on top of the ore, which is quite an adventurous experience. Take warm clothes and get ready for not convenient but funny night. It will take us some 14-16 hours before we reach on the morning the next station of Nouadhibou and will be dropped off. Probably this experience will be appropriate not for everyone. Those who don't want to go by train, do not travel to Choume and, instead, go with the drivers to Boulenouar (long evening and night driving, some 200 km more, 4 hrs) in order to set up the camp and spend the night somewhere close to Boulenouar. They will meet the others the next morning at the train station in Nouadhibou.
This day is about 340 km and some 8 hours drive. Those who do not ride by the train, will further drive off-road some 200 km more, 4 hrs late in the evening).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: in the coach of cargo ore train or in the traditional Mauritanian tent


Step down from the train in Nouadibou and meet the crew and the others who spent the night in tent before the train station of Boulenouar.
Those who spent the last night in tents, wake up very early in the morning, before sunrise (the exact time will be forecasted based on the actual schedule and actual departure from Choume a day before) and drive directly to the Boulenouar train station in order to have chance to board the train and ride on the ore for some 50 km, if it stops here. The train stops here quite often, but it is not for sure. For those who want to ride the world's longest train FOR SURE, the only guarantee is to board it in Choume for all night riding.
After breakfast in Nouadhibou, continue and cross the border with Western Sahara. Sometime it will take quite some time, not really fast.
Apart from our guide, the drivers will wait at the border and we will organize transport from the other side to discover Western Sahara.
Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Western Sahara on our way. We drive through the Western Sahara which belongs to Morocco. Arrive in Dakhla on the shore of Atlantic Ocean.
Dinner and night at the hotel.
This day is about 450 km and about 10 hours driving and border crossing.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: hotel Mansoure or similar

Day 6. December 5, 2024. DAKHLA — SAHRAWI PEOPLE CAMP – DAKHLA

After breakfast we go for the city tour around Dakhla, visit to the Grand Mosque, Mosque Assona, curious Church of Our Lady of Carmen and nice square around it. It is completely different world, looking more like a resort on the Atlantic coast.
Drive to the desert to meet and explore the lifestyle of Sahrawi semi-nomadic people. Even if they live on the land that Morocco proclaimed a part of the country, most of real Sahrawi dream of independence and their own Sahrawi Republic. The short tripe in between Moroccan Western Sahara and Mauritania is actually belongs to Sahrawi and considered by them as a Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, or SADR (not recognized by UN). If the political situation in SADR allows us, we can visit this territory, but the last years the relationships in between of Morocco and Sahrawi are very tense.
Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Western Sahara, visit to the Sahraoui nomads and talk to them in their traditional akal dwellings. Lunch and tea and chat with them.
Drive back to Dakhla, dinner and night at our hotel.
This day is about 150 km and about 2-3 hours driving.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: hotel Mansoure or similar


In the morning visit Dakhla's artisanal market with handicrafts. Then continue back towards the border with Mauritania. Western Sahara is all about the landscapes and also the people on the way to Dakhla and back. We stop for a photo on a white sand dunes.
Continue to cross the border with Mauritania in the late afternoon.
Transfer to Nouadhibou, dinner and night at the hotel.
This day is about 480 km and about 10 hours driving and border crossing.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: apart hotel Valencia or hotel Aljazira or similar


After breakfast, short visit of Nouadhibou. Then drive in the direction of the National park of Banc D'Arguin (UNESCO world heritage site since 1989) for about 2,5 hours, to reach the first site of the park called Cap Tafarit. Lunch in Tafarit under traditional Mauritanian tents. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the beautiful beach of Tafarit.
Leisure at the Atlantic ocean. Dinner and night in the camping of Tafarit.
This day is about 270 km and about 3-4 hours drive.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camping, traditional Mauritanian tents


After breakfast, drive to the fishermen village of Iwik. Here we meet Imraguen people.
The Imraguen are an ethnic group of Mauritania and Western Sahara. They were estimated at around 5000 individuals in the 1970s. Imraguen have lived in fishing villages in the Banc d'Arguin National Park for thousands of years. The name Imraguen is a Berber word meaning «people who fish while walking on the sea». A few generations ago, the Imraguen used to whistle the dolphins to bring them near the shore and catch all the mullets that always followed the dolphins. The Imraguen people are the only ones authorized to fish in the Banc d'Arguin area, as long as they use their traditional fishing techniques.
Here we take a traditional Imraguen sail boat and accompanied by Imraguen people go to discover the islands where thousands of different migratory birds are collected, lunch will be provided by your team on board.
Enjoy a ride by long traditional boat with the fisherman, exchange with them on the boat, ask them to tell about how they used to use dolphins help to bring them fish into the net, before they got boats.
After lunch and having photographed of beautiful migratory birds, return to the land and spend the night back at our camp in Tafarit. The boat trip can appear really long and we can come back even after sunset, because these traditional boats are not equipped with a motor (completely forbidden in the National Park) and we are fully dependent on the wind.
This day is only 60 km and about 2 hours drive. And long boat trip.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camping, traditional Mauritanian tents


After breakfast, drive through the park and its beautiful desert and ocean landscapes to the village of Nouamgar (Mamghar), where hundreds of beautiful pink flamingos are collected.
Visit of Nouamgar and lunch break in Nouamgar. Drive following the beach to the meeting point between the sand dunes and the Atlantic Ocean, stop for a very nice picture.
Drive back to Nouakchott to get there just on time to visit the famous "Port de pech" and fish market, and then to our hotel The Best Semiramis 4* for shower and dinner (day use hotel).
Late transfer to the airport. After midnight return international flight home.
This day is about 300 km and 5 hours drive.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: day use hotel The Best Semiramis 4* or similar

* Recommended flight:
— with Air Maroc, departs from Nouakchott on December 10 at 2:40 am to Casablanca, stopover 15 hours 55 minutes in Casablanca, arrival in Moscow at 6:35 am om December 11,
— with Turkish Airlines, departs from Nouakchott on December 10 at 13:50 to Istanbul, stopover in Istanbul 2 hours 25 minutes, arrival on Moscow at 5:45 am on December 11 (extra night in the hotel needed and to be extra paid),
— any other flight with departure from Nouakchott not earlier than at 22:00 on December 9 or in the night from December 9 to 10.

Cost includes:
accommodation in hotels according to the program on SINGLE basis (or DBL basis for family couples),
accommodation in big Mauritanian tents with folding beds on SINGLE basis (or TWIN basis for family couples),
day use hotel for last day on TWIN/DBL basis,
camping equipment: big Mauritanian tents, folding beds, mattresses, bed sheets, toilet cabin, shower tent
Toyota Hilux 4WD with working A/C, fuel, experienced drivers, max 3 passengers in 1 car– for Mauritania part,
bus for the Western Sahara part
all airport transfers,
boats according to the program,
full board meals (3 times a day), except for 1st day dinner,
mineral water along the whole route,
all formalities and permits,
visit fees, contribution to local communities throughout the trip, all activities according to the program,
very experienced English speaking guide
Russian and English speaking team leader throughout the trip.

To be additionally (personally) paid:
— international flight to Nouakchott roundtrip
— Mauritania visa (about 55 EUR x 2 times: on arrival in Mauritania by air and upon return to Mauritania overland from Western Sahara)
— Western Sahara visa, which is in fact visa of Morocco (not needed for Russian citizens. For other nationalities, if needed, to be obtained in advance, before the trip)
— international medical insurance
— alcohol, soft drinks, souvenirs, personal items
— tips

To take with:
wear sets fitting weather conditions,
at least one or two warm sets
long sleeve wear set,
comfortable closed shoes and open shoes,
forehead torch,
big backpack for luggage,
small backpack for personal items and camera,
sleeping bag for warm weather,
mosquito net for sleeping place (is a must!),
repellents (is a must!),
sunblock set: cream, sunglasses, cap,
sandblock set: desert glasses, buff/mask (up to you)
personal hygiene items (soap, toilet paper, towel, wet tissues, hygiene lipstick, etc.),
personal medical kit (analgesics, sanitizers, rehydration, antiviral, antibiotics, your personal medicine),
no special COVID requirements (the requirement may change),
anti-malaria preventive pills (up to you to decide),
photo and video camera, tripod
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    Photographs used on this page:
    ©️ Nаtаshа Kirkеndоll

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