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Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

Ohio
posts: 6
Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

I plan on traveling with a friend this Sept. & October to Mauritania. I am American, he was born in Mauritania. We are going back to visit his family. We plan on flying directly in/out of Nouakchott. Once in NKC we will be driving to the city of Rosso. Plan to stay about 12-14 days.

My main concern is my safety upon arrival. There are currently no travel warnings, but there are some US Gov. issued travel alerts....which are making me a little nervous. Looking for some feedback from any Americans that have traveled there recently.

I would GREATLY appreciate your feedback!! I feel safe traveling with a Mauritanian citizen, but still am a bit unsure of how I'll be treated by other locals.

Thanks.

Kiffa, Mauritania
posts: 1,120
reviews: 1
1. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

I've taken a few Americans to Mauritania over recent years and not had any problems.

There was a shooting incident on the road from Nouakchott East to Kiffa a year or so back but the road you will travel to Rosso is so well policed with endless stops that you will be fine.

Learn a few words of French. Mauritanians both Arab and Black are great people who will treat you fine. You do run the risk of being treated like a free banking system, keep your money under control and don't pay over the odd's.

Rosso is not a place I'd spend too much time, I avoid it completly!

Cross to St Louis, Senegal while you are there, it's not far.

Have fun...

Ohio
posts: 6
2. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

Thank you for your comments!! I really do appreciate them. We are visiting family relatives in Rosso, so we will be there about 10 days (traveling to some other places during our stay). Why should I avoid Rosso?

Kiffa, Mauritania
posts: 1,120
reviews: 1
3. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

I was just saying that it is 'I' who avoids Rosso as it takes ages to cross with a car on the ferry and the hassle is substantial. I drive across a barrier further down near St. Louis cutting off the main road as I enter Rosso so it's not a place I've spent much time (other than once when I was talked into the ferry crossing and regretted it).

On the Senegal side is Rosso Senegal and on the Mauritanian side your in Rosso Mauritania.

There was a bomb at the French Embassy in Nouakchott on I think the 9th Aug. so be a bit careful. I've seen and been watched by people with Bin Laden stickers on their mopeds up this way so keep your wits about you and be careful.

Some World class bird watching in this area. If you want a break in a great hotel try the Hôtel de la Poste in St Louis, there are plenty hotels here.

Ohio
posts: 6
4. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

I was feeling more at ease w/ making the trip, but now I'm feeling nervous again.

Kiffa, Mauritania
posts: 1,120
reviews: 1
5. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

I see your married to a Mauritanian. I'm sure he will look after you so there is no need to be nervous.

Mauritanians are great, friendly people and I'm sure you'll enjouy your visit. There are good hotels in Nouakchott that you might want to spend a night in before traveling south to Rosso.

I see you call Rosso a city. I'd suggest you downgrade the size to small town. I'm guessing there is a hotel but not looked in and would say you will be staying there for the 'people' and not the scenery.

Taxi's are available and may be better than a hire car if you plan to cross the border into Senegal. You'll need different insurance for Mauri and Senegal and I'm not sure they let hire cars cross.

Try and find a good local driver who lives in Rosso to run you about.

Have you been to Africa before and how long ago did your other half leave the country? Take hard wearing clothes that will survive a dusty place without falling apart or needing washing. Sand colours and other dark shades. Take a first aid kit take anti malari pills and get all jabs your doctor will advise you.

Buy loads of bottled water and if you have access to a freezer then freeze it and it will defrost throughout the day otherwise you'll be drinking hot water. Keep drinking and eating to keep your strength up.

Enjoy yourself...

Remember great people living in a very very difficult place.

Kiffa, Mauritania
posts: 1,120
reviews: 1
6. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

Try a search on Rosso. Here is one persons account on the Rosso Mauritania side:-

"The large blue metal gates were locked behind us once we entered the border post. The police approached us as did an English speaking "hustler" who was going to help us. The police took our passports, car registration, carnet, driver licenses, money for the ferry crossing (and other purposes), and disappeared into a building. We were told to wait in the car. The ferry across the Senegal River would leave at 1500hrs. which meant a several hour wait. There was no shade and our car thermometer indicated the outside temperature was 55°C. We met a Belgium overlander who told us some Holland overlanders had crossed at Rosso the day before and it had cost them 300 Euros.

We waited, drinking water and watching the children swim and play in the river, and large canoes ferrying people to and from Mauritania. Donkeys, goats and dogs wandered around the courtyard. Cripples and children begged. The place was oppressive with heat and flies. Hawkers walked between those waiting, selling water and toothpaste. Men knelt on prayer rugs and women comforted crying babies. I thought I was going to boil to death before I ever got onto the ferry. Finally after hours of enduring the searing heat I got back into the car and cooled off in the magnificent wonderful air conditioner of the car. I was not yet Africanized enough to endure the heat. Finally all our documents were returned and we drove onto the ferry for the ride across the Senegal River. It seemed too easy little did we know that the real Rosso problems would start on the Senegal side. We had no idea of what was waiting for us".

adventurouspirits.com/africa-2008/mauritania…

Ohio
posts: 6
7. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

Your comments have been extremely helpful. I have never been to Africa before. This will be my first trip. I do feel safe having a local w/ me, however, I want to blend in w/ the crowd, not stand out.

Yes, the trip to Rosso is about seeing family & friends, not the scenery. We will also be traveling to the village of Boeghe. Staying with family during the entire trip. A family member will be picking us up and driving us around during our stay.

I see you have great knowledge of Mauritania. I see you are in Kiffa. Are you originally from there?

Kiffa, Mauritania
posts: 1,120
reviews: 1
8. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

Hi again,

Sorry I'm not in Kiffa! I changed my location as a bit of a joke. Kiffa is a place I will not be returning to.

I would say Atar is worth a visit but a long way for you in the wrong direction. Not sure of the location of Boeghe. I can check my maps and see if I can find it.

I've been to Mauri many times and enjoy the country and the people. It's not the easiest place to visit for many reasons.

I might add you should maybe take some bag camping food like Wayfarer to supplement your diet. Depends how strong your ability to eat the local food is. Lots of goat and camel on the menu.

DEET is best for mozzi's. A good hat/cap, sandals and sun screen. If you can find an old Kodak instant camera that will go down well. I've often found the women in rural area's talk far more than the men. They are interesting and I'm sure you will be made very welcome.

Ohio
posts: 6
9. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

Yes, I'm good w/ the food. I've had many opportunities to experience it here in the US. Have had goat but have not tried Camel yet. Your advice on taking a few camping supplements did cross my mind. I may take some just in case.

Ok, so you aren't from Kiffa, and based on your response I'm guessing you won't be returning there! Where are you from? What nationality are you?

And I would also assume that your profile picture has a story behind it? :)

Kiffa, Mauritania
posts: 1,120
reviews: 1
10. Re: Traveling to Mauritania - Sept & October 2009

I’m from Scotland originally, born in Edinburgh. Lived in Africa for a few years and in the north of England for a while. I now reside and have for over 20 years in the south of the UK. London and for many years in the south east corner of England as close to France as I can get without making the move across the channel.

I spend most of my spar time in Gambia and on the Gambian forum on TA. Profile pic’s are me just messing about. I’m not a mad vicar or a gangster. lol... ;-)