Four wheel drive adventure in the Sahara Desert, Mauritania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Chinguetti, Mauritania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to Morocco on January 31st.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Welcome to Mauritania... country number 58

A great way to start off a new year is by visiting a new country! Mauritania is country number 58 for us. There will be a few more new countries to add to the list during 2023. It's going to be a great year!

We didn't arrive here until well after midnight, so we really haven't anything to show you yet. However, we do need to tell the story of how we got here!

We had a bit of a drive to do yesterday just to get to the airport. 

Yesterday's drive, 242 kms (150 miles).

But our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 9:30pm so we had lots of time.

We said goodbye to our host Joachim at 9:20am.
We had been aiming for 9:00am, so not bad!

Nobody on the road.

Scenery along the way.


Looks like there are no buses on this route, but there was a private car that stopped to drop off and pick up local passengers.



It's a really pretty landscape in this part of Morocco.

We went through several small towns.

Many rural people can't afford a car.


We went through this low lying area with what we think are eucalyptus trees.
And a brand new road surface!


It was 12:05pm by the time we pulled into the small city of Khouribga (pop 200,000) so that we could go into another Marjane superstore. I needed a new cable for my phone, and Ruth bought some lounging pants. And I recharged our Moroccan SIM card.

Hm. the clock seems to be missing some pieces.

From Khouribga, we got on the toll highway towards Casablanca. Fortunately, the airport is on the inland side, and there was no need to go into Casablanca at all. I've read that driving in the city itself is a real nightmare. The word "chaotic" is often used to describe it.

The landscape here is much more flat.

The toll highway is in great condition.

Again with hardly any traffic.

Max enjoyed the drive. It's not often he gets to use his cruise control!

Boys playing football (soccer).

Arrived at the airport. It was quite a bit busier than I expected. Found a parking spot, but moved two more times before it was a spot we thought was okay to leave Max at. I think it's secure enough, but I wanted a spot where nobody was likely to bump into him!

Then I went inside and found the customs office where I had to get the authorization to leave the country without the vehicle that I had temporarily imported a week and a half ago. It was actually a very simple procedure. The guy filled out a form with my passport and vehicle info, then stamped it, signed it, and handed it back to me. 

We were still pretty early and our check in desk didn't open until 6:30pm. We have no problem wasting time in airports though, and the airport WiFi worked well.

Besides, we had some company...

This little fellow was friendly.

He sat beside us pretty much the whole time.

At 6:30pm, we went and got our boarding passes and went through security.

When we went through passport control, the guy there kept the vehicle authorization form, and admitted us into the departure lounge.

There, we found the Pearl VIP lounge, but they only had sandwiches and soft drinks. No way were we wasting two of our free airport lounge passes on that. Obviously other patrons thought the same way because the place was totally empty.

Sunset from Casablanca airport.

Boarding was scheduled for 8:45pm, but that came and went without anything happening. Mauritania Airlines flights are well known to be delayed. We were at the correct gate, but there were no updates coming across the departures screen.

Then we noticed that there was a rescheduled flight on Arabian Airlines leaving from the same gate at the same time. Huh?

Eventually, about an hour later the Arabian Airlines flight started boarding, and we were rescheduled to another gate where boarding for our flight happened pretty much right away.

Boarding our Mauritania Airlines flight.

We go into these things with low expectations. That way you're not disappointed. But it was actually not bad. We had purposely not bought any airport food because it was (as is typical) ridiculously priced. So we were pleasantly surprised when a full meal was brought out on a two and a half hour flight!

Not great, but not bad.

Actually managed to get an hour nap on the plane, so that was good. Arrived at Nouakchott airport at 12:30am local time. Had to show our vaccination cards, but the guy couldn't read them because they are in Dutch! He asked "Covid?". We said "yes, Johnson and Johnson". And he said "okay", and we were on to the next desk.

Bought our visas at €55 each. Then on to immigration when the guy asked if we are tourists, and stamped us in for 30 days.

We were already an hour and a half late, but our driver was still waiting for us. We had a half hour drive to our hotel. Craziness, even at that hour of the day. Glad I'm not driving here!

Arrived to a guard sitting outside who unlocked the door, and woke up another guy who brought us to our room. The room is massive, as is the bathroom. The bathroom itself is probably twice the size of Max! 

Our room.

It was probably about 2:30am by the time we hit the sack.

This morning, we will meet up with three more of the group who arrived at various times last night. We need to go out and get some cash and find somewhere to have some lunch! It's an interesting place... lots of cultural anomalies that you won't find in many other parts of the world!

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Great deal on this Windshield Snow Cover.

And in Canada...

8 comments:

  1. I'm y'alls age and very good with geography, but truthfully, I don't know if I even knew there was a Mauritania. I'm really going to enjoy this one!! Safe travels!!

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    1. I would say that you are with the majority of people, I don't think I knew there was a country called Mauritania. Kevin says that he thinks he knew the name of the country and approximately where it was but that was all until he had read about Johnny's adventures here and that he now does this tour here, Since then we have learned a little more about the country and now that we are here we are going to learn a lot about the country and what we learn we will try to pass along to you and our other readers. This trip is definitely going to be a big adventures for us!

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  2. You know you're not in Canada any more when there are cats wandering around the airport.

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  3. I had never heard of Mauritania. Looking forward to your adventures there!

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    1. Up until about a year or so ago, neither had I! Kevin thinks that he had heard of it and had an idea of where it was located but other than that, he knew nothing of the country. We are certainly going to learn a lot about it now, which means so are you, lol. :-)

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  4. Cats are probably there to catch the mice in airport* pretty countryside drive

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    1. That is possible, although this was the only cat that we saw in the airport itself, there were quite a few out in the covered parking area though.

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