Expedition with Mzungu across Sahara: ancient cities, salt caravans, the world's longest train, Imraguen fishermen and Nemadi desert hunters


MAURITANIA + WESTERN SAHARA

December 2 - 14, 2022
Tour Mauritania and Western Sahara
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 Nemadi desert hunters. It's a big journey across Mauritania and Western Sahara!

This expedition goes through Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and up to Moroccan part of Western Sahara
SCHEDULE AND COST:
Dates: December 2 – 14, 2022

Duration: 13 days / 12 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
— EUR 2 390 subject to 10 – 12 participants, or
— EUR 2 490 subject to 9 participants or
— EUR 2 650 subject to 7 – 8 participants, based on double accommodation.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before July 2, 2022)

Everything is included, 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: EUR 800 — 1100 (to be bought on your own. We consult you).

Single supplement: EUR 480 (provided along the whole itinerary)





TRAVEL PROGRAM:


Day 1. December 2, 2022. ARRIVAL IN NOUAKCHOTT.

Evening arrival by air in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania.
Transfer to the hotel Le K or similar.
Free time and overnight in the hotel.

Meals included: no
Accommodation: hotel Le K or similar

* Recommended flights:
— with Turkish Airlines, arrives in Nouakchott on December 2 at 16:55 with flight TK-595 from Istanbul,
— with Air France, arrives in Nouakchott on December 2 at 22:15 with flight AF-749 from Paris,
— with Air Maroc, arrives in Nouakchott on December 3 at 1:45 am with flight AT-511 from Casablanca,
— any other flight with arrival in Nouakchott any time on December 2 or in the night from December 2 to 3.


Day 2. December 3, 2022. NOUAKCHOTT — KIFFA. 600 km, 9 h

At 7:30 in the morning, Departure from the capital in the direction of the old city of Oualata. Enjoy the landscapes on the way and have a quick lunch picnic under
an acacia tree in the desert.
Then continue to spend the night camping around the town of Kiffa.
Today, with picturesque breathtaking landscapes, we discover 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.
This day is about 600 km and about 9 hours drive.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents in camping


Day 3. December 4, 2022. KIFFA — NEMA — DESERT CAMP. 580 km, 9 h

After breakfast, at 7:30 AM we continue driving towards the old city of Oualata , stopping for pictures and a quick lunch break on the way.
Today the villages and style of construction you randomly see on the side of the road start changing because we are more into the land of Berber nomads, and the landscapes are different as well .
Spend night camping beyond the city of Nema in the middle of the desert.
Dinner will be served by our team .
This day is about 580 km and about 9 hours driving.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents in camping


Day 4. December 5, 2022. DESERT CAMP — OUALATA — NEMADI TRIBE. 270 km 8 h

After breakfast, at 7:30 AM drive to finally arrive to the old town of Oualata after about 2 hours drive. Visit of the old town and its beautiful mud architecture.
We discover all historical, architectural, and cultural side of the ancient city of Oualata, a guide tour thought the old town. A visit to the old French detention center from the early 1900s that is located 20 km away from Oualata, sitting on top of a mountain.
Then drive towards the camps of the Nemadi tribes, quick lunch break and continue to spend the night camping with the Nemadi, diner and night under traditional Mauritanian tents.
The Nemadi are small hunting tribe of eastern Mauritania. The name "Nemadi" means "master of dogs". Nemadi are unique hunters of Sahara who using the dogs.
This day is about 270 km and about 8 hours drive (due to the off roading)

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


Day 5. December 6, 2022. NEMADI TRIBE — ELEPHANT MOUNTAINS — DESERT CAMP. 250, 8 h

After breakfast, start driving towards the ancient city of Tichit, enjoy the breathtaking landscapes while you go and have your lunch picnic under an acacia tree.
Continue to spend the night camping after passing the famous elephant mountains, under the stars or /and under traditional mauritanien tents in the beautiful desert of the Taganet region.
This day is filled with discovery of many different breathtaking landscapes and also lots of life happenings that reflect nomadic lifestyle, like the chances to encounter of a nomad family moving with their cattle. We can stop and chat with them and get to know the reason why they still participate in transhumance. We will also explore the mountains naturally chaped like elephant that have served as a landmark for nomads for centuries.
This day is about 250 km and about 8 hours drive.

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


Day 6. December 7, 2022. DESERT CAMP — TICHIT. 265 km, 8,5 h

After breakfast continue driving across beautiful landscapes that keep changing as you go. On the way meet the salt traiding caravans. Lunch break under an acacia.
The discovery continues as we start yet a total different natural decor of landscapes an also realize that we are now in the middle of the Berber nomad tribal land. As we go deeper into the desert, the ethnicity becomes more and more uniquely nomadic. Berber are the only people who stand the harsh environment of this desert.
We reach and discover a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the 4 ancient cities of Mauritania called Tichit. A guided tour of Tichit: its library and dry stone architecture.
Night in Tichit in traditional Mauritanian tents.
This day is about 265 km and about 8,5 hours driving.

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


Day 7. December 8, 2022. TICHIT — RACHID — CHINGUETTI. 400 km, 8 h

After breakfast continue in the direction of the old historical city of Chinguetti passing by the ancient ruins Rachid and visiting Rachid.
Continue through breathtaking landscapes, stop for the meeting nomads that we encounter en route.
Keep driving and finally reach Chinguetti passing by the oasis of Mherith.
Sunset from the big dunes of Chingeutti. Dinner and night at the geusthouse La Gueila or similar.
Today is full of discovery, as we cross Adrar region, a beautiful mixture of landscapes between sand and stone, vegetation and water. Here we can see
the whole country respresented naturally from very harsh, dry but beautiful sand desert and canions to oases 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 site — Chinguetti.
This day is about 400 km and about 8 hours drive (because about 300 km is on paved roads)

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


Day 8. December 9, 2022. CHINGUETTI — ALMORAVID — BEN AMIRA MONOLITH — CHOUME (THE WORLD'S LONGEST TRAIN). 340 km, 8 h

After breakfast visit of Chinguetti and its old town with libraries of ancient manuscripts. Guided tour, during which librarian will give us a history lesson about the town and what it means to the country historically.
Then discover the famous canion of Amogjar.
We drive towards the famous monolith of Ben Amira, the biggest in Africa. On the way stop in the city of Atar to refuel and then visit of the archeological site of Almoravid in the village of Azougui.
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, can go with the drivers to Nouadhibou and will spend the night camping somewhere close to Nouadhibou. 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.

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


Day 9. December 10, 2022. NOUADHIBOU — SAHRAWI ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC — DAKHLA (WESTERN SAHARA). 450 km, 10 h

Step down from the train and meet the crew. After breakfast on the side of the road, continue and cross the border with Western Sahara.
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, visit to the Sahraoui nomads that we see on our way.
We drive thru the so called Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) who consider themselves the independent country, and finally crossing to Moroccan part of Western Sahara and 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 10. December 11, 2022. DAKHLA — SAHRAWI ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC — NOUADHIBOU (MAURITANIA). 480 km, 10 h

In the morning visit of Dakhla and its artisanal market with handicrafts. Then continue back towards the border with Mauritania stopping at nomads on the way.
Western Sahara is all about the landscapes and also the people on the way to Dakhla and back. We stop for a meal or tea and chat with them.
Continue to cross the border with Mauritania in the late afternoon.
Transfer to Nouadhibou, dinner and night at the hotel Aljazira or similar.
This day is about 480 km and about 10 hours driving.

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


Day 11. December 12, 2022. NOUADHIBOU — BANC D'ARGUIN NATIONAL PARK — TAFARIT (IMRAGUEN FISHERMEN). 270 km, 3 h

After breakfast, visit of Nouadhibou and the remaining of the boat cemetery. 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 visiting to the Imraguen fisherman and exchanging with them about their lifestyle, or enjoy the beautiful beach of Tafarit.
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.
Dinner and night in the camping of Tafarit.
This day is about 270 km and about 3 hours drive.

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


Day 12. December 13, 2022. TAFARIT — IWIK VILLAGE — NATIONAL PARK BANC D'ARGUIN – TAFARIT. 60 km, 2 h

After breakfast, drive to the fishermen village of Iwik where a sail boat is waiting to take you 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.
This day is only 60 km and about 2 hours drive.

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


Day 13. December 14, 2022. TAFARIT — NOUAMGAR (NATIONAL PARK BANC D'ARGUIN) — NOUAKCHOTT. 300 km, 3 h

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 picture. Drive back to Nouakchott to get there just on time to visit the famous fish market, and then to our hotel Le K for shower and dinner.
Late transfer to the airport. Around midnight return international flight home.
This day is about 300 km.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: day use hotel Le K or similar

* Recommended flights:
— with Air France, departs from Nouakchott on December 14 at 23:45 with flight AF-748 to Paris,
— with Air Maroc, departs from Nouakchott on December 15 at 2:45 am with flight AT-510 to Casablanca,
— any other flight with departure from Nouakchott not earlier than at 22:00 on December 14 or in the night from December 14 to 15.

Cost includes:

  • accommodation in hotels according to the program on TWIN/DBL basis
  • accommodation in big Mauritanian tents on TWIN/DBL basis
  • day use hotel for last day on TWIN/DBL basis
  • camping equipment: big Mauritanian tents, mattresses, bed sheets, toilet cabin, shower tent
  • Toyota Hilux 4WD with A/C, fuel, experienced drivers, 3 passengers in 1 car max – 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 and Russian and English speaking team leader throughout the trip.


To be additionally (personally) paid:

  • international flight to Nouakchott roundtripMauritania 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
  • Alcohol, soft drinks, souvenirs, personal items
  • tips
  • single accommodation

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)
  • PCR COVID test result (to be verified as of the date of travel)
  • anti malaria preventive pills (up to you to decide)
  • photo and video camera, tripod
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1
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