TRANS SAHARIAN OVERLAND TRIP IN JUNE-JULY 2019

Trans Saharian overland trip of 22 days duration in June -July 2019 from Marrakech to Banjul in which we will travel through Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
  • Price: € 1,150 + € 500 local payment (flights not included)
  • Departure: Marrakech (Morocco) June 29, 2019
  • Arrival: Banjul (Gambia) July 20, 2019
  • Duration: 22 days
  • Group: 4/7 pax
  • Transport: Mitsubishi L300 / Iron train in Mauritania
  • Accommodation: 80% camping 20% ​​basic hotels or camps

 

 

 

Trans Saharian overland trip from Morocco to the Gambia

 

One of the classic road trips on the African continent

On this Trans Saharian overland trip through the western coast of North Africa we will travel through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and end the expedition relaxing on the beaches of The Gambia. In Mauritania we will take the longest train in the world, in an exceptional adventure into the interior of the Sahara Desert that will take us to discover some of the most attractive places in Mauritania.

Dakhla, Western Sahara

Established by the Spanish in 1844 and formerly called Villa Cisneros, Dakhla is located just north of the Tropic of Cancer on a sand peninsula that extends 40 km from the main coast. It is a very lonely journey of 500 km from Laayoune to Dakhla (more than 1000 km from Agadir) through the infinite desert.

The iron train of Mauritania, the longest train in the world

The bay of Dakhla is a very special place of natural beauty, with its white sand dunes by the sea and its waters full of colorful kites of the kite surfers.

With almost 2.5 km of train length, the iron trains of Mauritania are among the longest in the world.

The distance goes between Zouerat, the largest city in the north of the country, known for its iron mining industry, and the port city of Nouadhibou in the west, with a total distance of 652 km.

The trip, which runs through the heart of the Sahara Desert can last up to 16 hours if the train is empty or up to 20 hours if the wagons are full.

The high daytime temperatures and the very low at nighttime complicate the trip, as does the dust produced by the more than 200 train cars, each with 84 tons of iron.

Chinguetti, Mauritania

Chinguetti, one of the most attractive ancient caravan cities of the Sahara. We will visit the Le Ksar (Old City) walking through its sandy streets, we will approach to contemplate the 16th century stone mosque (there is no entrance for non-Muslims). And we can also visit one of the five interesting ancient libraries, which house ancient Islamic manuscripts.

Ouadane, Mauritania

We will make a 4x4 excursion to get to Ouadane.

Like Chinguetti, Oualata and Tichilt, Ouadane were founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, and were originally built to serve the important commercial caravan routes that began to cross the Sahara.

They include outstanding examples of settlements and were synonymous with cultural, social and economic life for many centuries. These shopping and religious centers became the home of Islamic culture.

Developed between the 12th and 16th centuries, the cities constitute a series of stages along the Tran-Saharan trade route with a well-preserved urban structure, and houses with densely populated courtyards in narrow streets around a mosque with a square minaret.

They are witnesses of a traditional lifestyle, centered on the nomadic culture of the populations of Western Sahara. Medieval cities preserve a specific protected urban morphology with narrow and winding lanes, houses built around central courtyards and an original decorative stone architecture. They also illustrate outstanding examples of the adaptation of urban life to the extreme climatic conditions of the desert, both in terms of construction methods and occupation of space and agricultural practices.

Oasis of Terjit, Mauritania

Located in the shadow of a geological fault in a deep canyon, the oasis of Terjit emerges as a paradise of vegetation in the middle of the desert, with fresh and drinkable water that emanates continuously from the rocks.

Saint Louis, Senegal

The city of Saint Louis in the north of Senegal (UNESCO) with its beautiful colorful colonial buildings, its relaxed atmosphere, a very attractive cultural offer and its magnificent natural surroundings make Saint Louis one of those places you will not want to leave.

It is the oldest city on the west African coast and was the capital of French West Africa until 1902 and the capital of Senegal and Mauritania until 1957.


You can see more about our last trans-Saharan route by clicking on the following link:

Overland Trip from Morocco to Senegal (Marrakech-Dakar)

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1 Marrakech

  • Meeting at the hotel in Marrakech.
  • Free day to explore the souks and squares of Marrakech.
  • Accommodation in Riad of the medina.

Day 2 Marrakech – Mirleft (375 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 5 hours
  • Free afternoon to visit Mirleft, a pleasant fishing village
  • Camping Erkounte Park of Mirleft.

Day 3 Mirleft – Beduin Camp (511 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 9 hours
  • We will get up early in the morning to try to reach the Roi Bedouin camp at noon.
  • From this camp you can see the whole of the sebkha Oum Dba, with a close-up view of Mount Gara, a curious top like the shape of a table that is in the heart of the depression and in the background we can guess the great white extension of the Salt lake and its sandy cliffs.
  • Camping night in Roi Bedouin

Day 4 Beduin Camp – Dakhla Bay (550 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 9 hours
  • Night in haima on the beach.

Day 5 Dakhla Bay

  • Free day to enjoy one of the most impressive places on the route.
  • Possible optional activities such as kite surfing, 4×4 route to discover the surroundings, etc.
  • Night in haima (nomad tent) on the beach

Day 6 Dakhla Bay – Noadibu (480 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 11 hours
  • We will have to get up early to get to the outskirts of Noadibu late in the afternoon.
  • Cross the border Morocco – Mauritania
  • We will stay in a hostel located in a stunning bay and offers truly spectacular views.
  • Camping in Aubergue Dauphine

Days 7 to 15

  • The following days are fully flexible, days of adventure and improvisation. This is the prospective and exploring part of our trip

Day 7 Noadibu

  • Free day to visit Noadibu on your own, possibility to see: Cabo Blanco, the port or the markets.
  • We will get updated and book a place in the iron train. If we could not leave in the afternoon this day on the train, we would wait for the next day.
  • This train usually leaves a platform for the transport of vehicles. Sometimes it may be already booked. If there was no opportunity to board our vehicle, we would have to continue to Nouakchot and from there to Chinguetti.

Day 8 Iron train to Choum or Zourate

  • We will spend the night in the iron train. Possibly we’ll have to spend the night inside our vehicle. There is also the possibility of traveling outside, on top of the wagons. It is essential to wear glasses and a scarf to cover your head and face.
  • This is an epic journey, an incredible adventure through the Sahara, we warn you that it will be a very hard night.

Days 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, Atar – Chinguetti – Oudane – Oasis Tergit

  • For 6 days we will discover many of the most interesting places in Mauritania. Camping most nights in local camps
  • The itinerary of route is provisional and could be changed during the trip.

Day 15 Oasis of Terjit – Nouakchot (420 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 7 hoursWe will arrive in the capital of Mauritania, Nouakchot.Camping Aubergue Menata.

Day 16 Nouakchot – Diama (300 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 5 hours
  • We approach the border with Senegal through the Diawling National Park.
  • Camping in the Diawling National Park

Day 17 Diama – Saint Louis (35 km)

  • Border procedures Mauritania – Senegal
  • Free afternoon to visit the interesting city of Saint Louis
  • Hotel du Palais.

Day 18 Saint Louis – Faoye (295 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 6 hours.
  • We will arrive to the solidarity camp of Faoye, located in the Rural Community of Djilas, in the province of Fatick, Delta del Sine Saloum region, managed by the Serere ethnic group.
  • Cooperation project: Faoye is a quiet village on the banks of a saltwater lagoon inhabited by the Serere ethnic group. Its main resources are fishing and agriculture. It has a school and health center, but with very few resources in both cases. The village assistance project is mainly based on supporting agricultural development and carrying out health campaigns. Night in bungalow in solidary camp of Faoye

Day 19 Faoye – Sanyang in the Gambia (260 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 8 hours.
  • In the morning very early we will leave towards Gambia.
  • Border procedures.
  • We will take the ferry to cross the Gambia river. This can take several hours (6-8 hours) We will arrive in Sanyang in the evening.
  • Lodging in Kajamor Eco-lodge

Days 20 and 21 Sanyang

  • Free day to rest and enjoy the beach or a visit to the fishing port of Tanji.
  • Lodging in Kajamor Eco-lodge

Day 22 Sanyang

  • End of trip at 9:00 in the morning. No accommodation included for this night.
  • The route itinerary is provisional and could be modified on the ground.

IMAGES GALERIE

THIS TRIP INCLUDES

  • Trip driven and guided by Austerio Alonso, co-responsible for Kumakonda
  • Transport in Mitsubishi L300 passenger van and all expenses derived from the vehicle such as diesel, ferries, fees, permits, insurance, repairs, etc.
  • Accommodation during the trip. Most nights we will camp
  • Passage in the Mauritanian iron train.
  • Visit and local guides in Chinguetti and Ouadane
  • Excursion to Ouadane, possibly in 4x4 from Chinguetti
  • Entrance fees to the Diawling National Park
  • Gambia river ferry
  • Individual tent during the trip.
  • Meals at local restaurants during road trips.

THIS TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Mandatory travel insurance, we can provide it
  • Meals, breakfasts or dinners when we are housed or camped in places with some type of facility.
  • Drinks
  • Optional excursions
  • Taxis
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off service by local taxis
  • "Unofficial" personal expenses such as border procedures for border officials (around € 20) Camping sleeping mat

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