Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Four wheel drive adventure in the Sahara Desert

On the road Wednesday morning at 9:00am with five Toyota Hilux 4x4's for our group. 

We did five full hours of crazy desert four wheel driving! It was totally fun and I really enjoyed it. Some of the group rode in the back of the trucks if they chose to. 

We are getting caught up on posts when we had days without internet. You may have missed yesterday's post. You can check it out here...

(NOTE: There is still some kind of problem with the clarity of the photos. However if you click on the photo to make it full screen, you get the original quality. Then when you go back to the blog, it is good again. I don't have an explanation of why, but it works!)

Ruth and Marissa, heading out to do some four wheel driving!

Looking back at Terjit Oasis Valley.

Cathy and the view.

Headed into the desert.

We came across this huge overland vehicle from Germany.

This blog post could be an advertisement for Toyota.
These things go almost anywhere!

Another police check in the middle of nowhere.

A big shade tree.

Scenery along the way.

Racing on a flat straight stretch.

Wild camels.

This is a handsome fellow.

Lots of little tracks in the sand.
Amazing how some things manage to survive out here.

Stopped at a tourist trinket tent.

We are amazed that there is an actual tourist route out here in the Mauritanian Desert. Days in a row might go by without there being any tourists, but the tent exists anyhow.

Funny picture because at first glance I look like I only have one leg!

Marissa, Kevin, Thomas.

More scenery.

Our guide Alioune found us a nice spot in the shade to take a break.

Our other drivers.

Big rock face in the desert.

Kevin at White Valley.

White Valley.

Marissa, Aiden, Ronon, and Thomas.

Back for some more shade.

While we were in this spot, we met a single woman from Netherlands traveling alone in a four wheel drive vehicle with a rooftop tent all the way from Morocco to South Africa. She had a local guide with her. Totally amazing. It's one thing for a woman to travel alone in "western" countries, but to do something like this in Africa is mind boggling.

We came to quite a large village that was almost abandoned.

But Alioune says it is a busy place in the summer.

This would be busy with a full marketplace during summer.

All variety of abodes.

Even some fancier looking places!

Looking back at the village.

We got out here and they let a bunch of air our of the tires for better traction in the sand. It's a really soft section they had to go through, and we had to walk it while the vehicles went only with the driver.

Ronon and Aiden racing up a dune.

The rest of us had to go up there as well.

Ruth at the top.

Only one truck got stuck, but it didn't take him long to get going again.

Two different colors of sand.

Scenery along the way.

Back at our Terjit Oasis campsite after five hours of fun. They had lunch waiting for us, and what a great meal!

Fruit and salad and bread.

Some kind of crepe like things. And dates.

After lunch, they took us into the bustling town of Atar to load up on anything we need for our upcoming train ride.

Busy town of Atar, Mauritania.

Thomas and Cathy.
Thomas with his new mattress and blanket for the train.

The train ride is not comfortable, and it can be cold. 12 hours riding through the night in the Sahara. So you want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. You buy a cheap mattress, partly for comfort, but also to insulate yourself from sitting directly on the cold iron ore. And a blanket for warmth, although we think we have enough layers of clothing that we should be fine. 

And, you want to protect yourself from the toxic iron ore dust and the dust from the sand itself. So you wear what the locals wear... a headscarf...

Alioune showing Ronon how to tie his headscarf.

The finished product!
We will also be wearing Covid masks and eye protection such as ski or swim goggles.

A group of tourists in Atar always attracts some attention from the locals. Everybody friendly though. A group of curious teenage girls (in full covered attire) came up and one spoke some English. She allowed me to take a photo of her hands...

Then it was off to climb a hill in four wheel drive for the sunset.

It took a couple of tries for some of them to get to the top.

Our driver made it on the first attempt!

End of another great day!

Back at camp we had a great meal of whole roast chicken. It was fall apart tender.

Next up... a gorgeous Sahara oasis with swimming, 4,000 year old rock paintings, and the UNESCO site of Chinguetti.

Nice price drop on Samsung Galaxy Earbuds.

And in Canada...


  1. We need to see Ruth riding a camel.

    1. Both Kevin and I went camel riding when we were in Morocco back in 2017 and we may do that again with our daughter and grandchildren in March. Here is our blog post from that day.

  2. The problem with the blurry pictures seems to have been fixed :-)
    I think those flat trees are acacias.
    Those crepes were probably injera - they're usually made from teff which is gluten free but there could have been other flours mixed in.

    1. Blurry pictures still showing for me....

    2. We are glad that the pictures are showing up clear for you but they are still blurry for us.

      You are probably right on the name of those flattish looking trees.

      Yes, I think that is probably what the crepes looking dish was. The Ethiopian that we have with us on this trip and mentioned that as well and it is indeed gluten free. I did take the chance and ate one not knowing if regular flour may have been added but I seemed to do fine with it.

  3. Your adventure in the Sahara is absolutely fabulous! It brings back many memories although I was in the Algerian / Niger part of the Sahara, never seen the Mauritanian area. Thanks for the many pictures! However, you are partially right : pictures get better when I click on them but they remained blurred when I go back on the post.

    1. Hi there armande, sorry somehow I missed your comment. I am glad that we were able to bring back some good memories for you through our pictures. We hope to one day at least make it to Algeria, not sure about Niger but who knows what the future holds.

  4. I am curious about what the police are checking for.

    1. I was curious about this as well. Is there a problem in the area?

    2. The police checks are just regular checks to make sure that people's documents are good and that there is no drunk driving (yes, even though it is a "dry" country) and that there is no possible human trafficking or other illegal trafficking/smuggling going happening.

  5. It looks like you have a watercolor filter applied. But why when you click on it that it goes away is beyond me? Look at your blog settings. Great Travels!

    1. We do not have any kind of filter turned on. We think that it might be a possible problem with the internet here in Mauritania. We won't know for sure until we get back to Morocco to see if this still happens when we do a post from there. Everything was totally fine until we tried to post here in Mauritania and we haven't done anything to change the settings in Blogger.

  6. Another source for blurry image resolution, maybe:

    1. When Kevin does up our post on blogger and he uploads the pictures, they are clear as a bell but as soon as he hits publish then the post itself has the blurry pictures but if he goes back into Blogger the pictures are again totally fine, so we are really starting to think that it has something to do with the internet here in Mauritania. We will know for sure when we get back to Morocco and do a post from there, to see if the pictures are clear or not because it was all working fine until we tried posting here in Mauritania and Kevin as done nothing to change the settings in Blogger.

    2. Yes, hopefully it is just the internet there. They may be having to compress the photos so much to save bandwidth, so they appear blurry. Hopefully the problem will resolve when you leave the country with no extra work required on your end!

    3. Yes, that is very possible but if that is the case we will probably have to go back into those blog posts and reload all the pictures so that they will be clear. We will see what happens once we get back to Morocco.

  7. What a wonderful adventure. I love the camels! The photo of you two is wonderful.

    1. We are having such a great time so far!

      Seeing the camels out just wandering around is pretty cool. Apparently the camels are all owned by the nomadic people and they have brands on them but it is cheaper to let them wander around to feed themselves than if they kept them penned up, the only problem with that is that it can take them days to find their camels if they are out looking for them.

  8. Curious about the girls hands. Is it just paint? What an adventure. Enjoy traveling along.

    1. The girl's hands were henna tattooed and the design will eventually wash off. The women and girls of Pakistan, India, the Middle East and parts of Africa will tattoo their hands in celebration of special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.

      We are happy that you are enjoying our blog posts.


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