Ｌｏｎｅ ｗａｙ ｕｐ Riding the west coast through Africa
While I was waiting a few months in Europe for the arrival of my motorbike, I did a lot of phone calls and found out, my bike has not been shipped to Europe as promised but was still standing in the warehouse of the shipping company in South Africa.
To avoid loosing the motorcycle and paying a high amount of tax to import the bike into South Africa, I finally decided to take care of the whole export thing myself and booked a flight down to Port Elizabeth again.
Click here to view the route in Google Earth or here to open the map in a new tab. Here you can download my GPS way points from the trip as *.xls document and here as a *.gpx file for further processing with Garmin MapSource.
With the support of various helpful forums and people, I managed to quickly identify the right contact Mrs. Rew Yolandi at the South African Customs: Tel +27- (0) 12 452 4782. After I told her about the motorcycle accident and the failed attempts of shipment, she gave me the permission to ride the bike out of South Africa on the expired Carnet de passage customs document.
Since time was short, I already applied for the visa for the Democratic Republic of the Congo DRC ex Zaire (8 days transit 39.- €) and for the Republic of Congo (15 days for 80.- €) in my home country. I also tried to get the 4 days Transitvisa for Angola at the embassy in Berlin since they don’t give out visa for tourists in Namibia.
Applying for visas for African countries is an issue in itself. After I sent my passport with the completed application, passport photo, stamped return envelope and check to the Congo Embassy in Berlin, the next day a lady in flawless German phoned me, promised quick processing and wished me a pleasant trip. Within three days I got my passport back with a visa and a receipt for the amount I had paid.
It also can be different. On the phone, an employee of the Angolan Embassy assured me in barely comprehensible German a 4 days transit visa for 60 € within one week. A week later I got my passport back. However, including the envelope and all my application documents plus a piece of paper that says"you need new passport".
After I had only reached the answering machine for about 20 times, the clerk finally answered the phone and informed me that my passport which was still valid for 8 years and had 10 free pages was to old.
Of course my passport did not look brand new anymore, since many stupid police man with their greasy fingers have had it in their hands but it was still valid so they had to accept it. I send my documents back to the embassy again. The next day my check was cashed. A few days later, a human voice answered the phone and asked for a copy of my Flight to South Africa, which I faxed immediately. Now everything semed OK and I was promised that I would get the visa soon. A few days later I got someone on the phone again.
Now my application letter was not filled out in capital letters so they wanted it to be filled out and faxed again. The next day they told me they did not receved my fax.
At the end after 6 weeks of waiting and phoning every day I pulled my passport back because my flight was leaving soon. They have not kept their promise to issue the visa within 2 weeks like it was written on their website and they also did not keep a lot of other things they have promised me. The only thing they kept was my money! It's unbelievable how deceitful the Angolan officials were.
To apply for the Angolan visa in South Africa again, I got an invitation letter.
My flight to South Africa went smoothly, apart from the fact that while I had to change planes in Cairo, an stupid official wanted to keep my 64 LED touch out of my hand luggage because it was made out of metal. He had no success. During the flight we even got metal utensils like knifes and forks. In Port Elizabeth, Steve picked me up from the airport and brought me to my Honda XL 600V Transalp. It was lying with flat tyres in a large warehouse, was covered all over with dust and was in an even worse condition than I had left it. With the help of Steve's car I managed to start the engine. The next day I bought a new battery and installed the new break cylinder, connected the cable to the new lamp mask, and installed a 30 liter jerrycan which I brought from Germany. Then I went to visit Megan & Rydall at their farm.
Megan and I had met on the Internet when I was looking for an independent person who was willing to find out whether my bike was still at the company who had promised to ship it back to Germany or not. Megan and her husband organized a braai and her brother told me about his trip with a Morris Minor along the east coast of Africa all the way up to England.
It was almost painful when I left them the next day, to travel the 800 km route to Cape Town in order to re-apply for my Angolan Visa. Just before I reached Cape Town, I slept like the year before at John's house, who was happy about my surprising visit. In Cape Town, I deposited my passport with two passport photos at a Visa Agency in"The Palm Center" and went to Camp Hill Alpha, where I spend the week doing some work while waiting for the issuance of my visa.
In Cape Town I looked for a new Mitas E07 rear tire. I've already tried many different tires and the Mitas has been the longest lasting so far. After finding the Importeur for Mitas in Southafrica the company Rockgarden, Tramways Village, 89 Main Rd, Diep River 0861250300. made me a good offer, served coffee and toast Muffin and helped me while I changed my chain set. Thanks again for that.
In Cape Town I had to wait three weeks for the stupid Angolan visa. It was a nightmare. I even engaged a visa agency and bought a invitation letter but it did not help. When I was almost desperate and spent 8 hours at the embassy, I finally got the the fucking stamp for € 166 all together.
The next day I set off towards the Namibian Kalahari desert. I had to rush to reach the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congo Republic, before their three months visa would expire again (out of expiring date 1 make 19).
Exit and entry from Namibia to Angola two days later was easy even the Angolan officials wanted to see my invitation letter which I did not have. No one realized that my carnet de Passage customs document had expired long time ago. It was easily stamped on both sides so I did not need my faked extension letter.
Right on the border there was a gas station witch did not accept U.S. dollars or South African Rand only Kwacha (R100 = 1200 kwacha) or Namibian Dollars. I filled the tank and a few miles later. I found a nice place to camp wild GPS S17°20'45,4" E015°51'58,9".
The next day I stopped at the first tank wrecks to take fotos GPS S16°54'32,4" E015°31'24,2". The night I spend behind Lubango at the property of a very friendly family GPS S14°30'00,9" E014°02'49,3".
The road to Huambo which on the map looked like a big highway was very bad. So bad that many different lines had formed to bypass the largest potholes. There even were very small paths for mopeds only without potholes. However, they sometimes were so narrow that I tore off my right side cases on a tree trunk hidden in the bushes.
I fixed it with belts. In Huambo, I found a friendly mechanic from South Africa who repaired the damage for 8 Dollars and let me camp in his garage: GPS S12°23'57,9" E015°38'33,9". At roadblocks, as a tourist I was always friendly waved through.
On an asphalt road with heavy traffic, I went around Luanda. Fuel was only found with great difficulty here. There were many gas stations however they had no fuel, only diesel. When I finally found fuel I filled up my jerrycan with 20 liters, which made the journey on the extremely bumpy road to Ambritz the next day even more difficult. I reached Tomboco after several difficult slopes and soft sand sections at the end of my strength. A Chinese Ingeneer gave me one liter of cold drinking water. I have hardly been so happy about a gift before.
From here, a wide road went to M 'Banza Congo past some rain forest sections, who have not been cut down yet. To the border crossing, I followed a small track road again. It was not easy to reach the border before it closed in the evening with all the Fech Fech and sand covered sections.
The departure went smoothly and without delay. Since the offices on the Congo side was already closed, a police officer grabbed my passport and told me to follow him to the Immigration Officer. I had trouble following him in the darkness on the unknown track through the maze of people. The fat immigration officer turned out to be very unfriendly and refused my entry.
I should come back the next day at 7 o'clock. Until then he would keep my passport. No!!! I insisted to get my passport back and returned to the border, where I could camp undisturbed on the Angolan side. The next day at 7 o'clock there was nobody at the border. I had to wait until shortly before 10 until the Immigration Officer appeared and finally stamped my passport. He did not realize I had changed the expiring date of the visa from the 1 to the 19, because I was late.
Then I followed a nice winding tar road all the way to Kinshasa. Kinshasa turned out to be the worst city I have ever visited. Nearly everywhere people were running around and the traffic was totally blocked. As I finally reached the port GPS S04°17'50,1" E015°19'11,5", a big crowd of people ran towards me to"help" me or just asked for money.
The enormous market place was filled with at least 1000 people and hundreds of small houses and in between the immigration offices, the customs and the ferry ticket office were well hidden.
A guy with a official Port Jacked showed me, where the different offices were located and helped me to get a ferry ticket (20US$). I was asked again and again for money. When I told them I only have my credit card, I got all the stamps for free. They did not have computers to read it ;)
After all, I had to wait in the heat until the ferry was offloaded. My helper's recommendation was to “Give him some money” but the employees of the ferry let me go on board even without. As I was the only white person within about one million of blacks they did not want to risk trouble because everybody was watching me.
When I finally bordered the ferry, the space around my motorcycle and me got filled with crates and cardboard boxes and them "can't go anywhere without them" chickens (alive), until there was no square meter of free space left.
Fortunately, I met a friendly man on the ferry who was able to speak English. He helped me on the other side as a translator to get all the necessary stamps. My self-extended visa was accepted and I followed my new friend to the house of his brother in Brazzaville, where I was allowed to camp in his yard and got a bucket with water to wash myself.
In the morning at 5 o'clock the big noise of the Islamic megaphones woke me up. We drove to the Embassy of Gabon GPS S04°16'06,4" E015°16'38,8" where I got my visa within 4 hours for 35.000 CFA. The currency CFA is valid not only in the Congo Brazzaville but also in Gabon and Cameroon.
At the Cameroon Embassy GPS S04°16'10,0" E015°16'32,2" they told me to come back to pick up my passport with the visa after the weekend an Monday at 9 o'clock. As I did so, the sleepy receipt lady let me wait until 2 o'clock pm, before finally I asked her colleague Mrs. Salamata Tel 6359446 for help. She simply took the finished passport with the visa for 80. - Euro out of the secretarys draw.
My attempt to also get the visa for Nigeria failed. After waiting 45 minutes at the embassy, the consular shouted to me as I was from Germany I would have to apply for my visa there.
The way toward Dolisie was extremely hard and hot. Until Kinkala the road was tar. Then some soft sand passages followed, till my machine got stuck and had to be completely unloaded in order to get it going again.
240 km ahead of Dolisie, I found a pump for drinking water GPS S04°08'30,5" E012°54'36,5". Here, a friendly family invited me to staying overnight and even cooked for me GPS S04°17'33,3" E014°32'36,0".
After it had violently rained at night, the next day I drove through lots of sandy parts and Fech Fech to Madingou, where I found a gas station which I did not had expected and therefore carried too much heavy petrol. Here, I also met a man from Spain who wanted to cross Africa on his bicycle.
Later on, some friendly locals in Madingou advised me not to follow the sandy N1, but rather to take a much nicer and easier road 3km south to GPS S04°12'07,5" E013°31'49,8" and then to ride from Nkay to Loudima. This small way indeed was very beautiful and led past a lot of nice little villages with friendly people. The last piece of the way along a large plantation was even asphalted. With a car, the distance is not doable, because shortly before Loudima I had to cross a river using a narrow railway bridge. I did not see rebels on the entire distance. Nobody begged at me.
A jeep full of young people advised me later on to travel from Loudima GPS S04°07'08,7" E013°02'45,2" past Kitaka and Mom Bilon, where I found a pump with drinking again and was allowed to stay overnight before I went on to Dolisie.
In the morning, I expected the most difficult part of my journey, since the road on the map appeared so narrow. When I arrived at Dolisie to refuel and to buy a mosquito net after the zipper of my tent had gone, I found a new Chinese produced motorway which went towards Point Noire.
The road towards Kibangou turned out to be a wide Gravelroad in very good condition, so I could travel fast while again and again, big trucks loaded with rain forest wood passed me. After Nyanga the road became more narrowly, but, however, stayed in good condition. I passed many villages who had drinking water pumps made by German companies GPS S03°14'08,1" E012°07'39,0".
Shortly before sunset, I left the Rep. Congo and entered Gabon with no problems at all. My carnet was not needed. Behind the border post, I camped wildly and save GPS S02°36'10,8" E011°34'14,1". The road kept in good condition and was even better then on the Congo side.
It was hard not to laugh because the policeman at the border post has his black face covered with white toothpaste as I went through.
In Ndende I found the first gas station, in Mouila the second and in Fougamou they sold petrol as well. The road was not yet asphalted but still fine. The Chinese people were busy working here as well.
In Lambarene an asphalt route started. There was also a fast Internetcafè from which I could talk to my loving girlfriend. It was great fun to follow the curves of the good road through the beautiful tropical landscape. Friendly people waved to me again and again and I stopped for lots of photo breaks. Gabon is really a nice tourist country, with beautiful vegetation. The people were happy with their lives and very friendly.
In the evening, I was allowed to pitch my tent in a small village where I got bananas as a welcome gift and Püree de Tüberkül made out of Maniok for dinner S00°26'58,0" E010°17'59,6". I stayed a few days and visited the internetcafè to skype with love of my life.
It was not easy to say good bye later on. Just before Mitzic the first policemen controlled my self-made insurance document. He accepted my official looking, faked certificate with barcode and I continued to follow the nice winding road over hills and past numerous car wrecks. Because insurance companies are always find a reason not to pay, I dont think its worth buying them.
In Nkalabona I slept at the friendly people's home who had offered me bananas for free as I went by N01°12'05,1" E011°42'20,3".
The entry to Cameroon was totally relaxed. No insurance, no carnet de Passage and no crowding people, only some friendly officials. I drove close to Yaunde and stayed during the night with pouring rain under the roof of a friendly local family GPS N03°53'23.6" E011°30'51.7".
The next day, I went to the Nigerian Embassy in Yaunde to apply for my visa again GPS N03°53'23.6" E011°30'51.7".
When I arrived, the portiere told me all the Employees had gone to Douala to celebrate the 50th birthday of Nigeria. The secretary of the embassy was very friendly, called Douala and promised me that I could get my visa there on the next day. Officially, also this consulate was closed for one week.
First, however, I went to the consulate of Burkina Faso and applied for a visa touristic de entente. After some telephone calls the lady told me they could not issue me the visa which would be valid for Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso, but instead the friendly lady offered me the expensive visa for Burkina Faso for free. The normal price is 100 Dollar. Thank you :)
With the visa for Burkina Faso, I rode 200 rainy kilometers to Douala. Because I did not have any GPS coordinates of the embassy GPS N04°02'31.5" E009°41'23.4", I asked for the Aqua park hotel which was close by.
Here, the secretary was extremely unfriendly. Instead of phoning the immigration Officer she kept reading her newspaper for about 30 minutes, while I was waiting. Only when I grabbed the telephone myself, she finally told her boss I was waiting for him. Then she put her head on the table began to sleep. Fuck Great People great nation. After I had been waiting 4 hours, finally the responsible Officer came and told me I could get the visa in 48 hours but not today. In addition, I needed an invitation letter from someone in Nigeria.
It took me a lot of patience to finally get a 7 days valid transit visa for 80 euros. A normal transit visa for the same price would only have been valid for 3 days, which is not enough to cross Nigeria on the overland route. They let me wait for more hours before I got my passport back. Instead if saying thank you I rather liked to kill the secretary and the unfriendly consul.
In order to avoid the bad road from Douala to Mamfe, I travelled through hilly landscape and numerous banana plantations and many small villages past Barmenda. Overnight I stayed in the king palace N05°09'15.2" E010°09'22.9". Instead of a friendly bla bla the king of the Westprovince wanted only to see my passport.
Instead a tar road like the Michelin map indicated, the road from Bamenda to Mamfe was not asphalted but the most difficult road I have travelled so far. I had to ride over large stones and through extremely muddy sections because it was rain season right now.
Several times my machine got stuck in deeply soft mud sections and it was very hard to get her out of that again. Also here Chinese workers were busy building a road. According to my estimations they however still need at least 10 years to complete this huge project.
From Mamfe a narrow, relatively straight loam route with some extremely muddy sections led to Ekok. In a particularly difficult place behind a bridge, people were already waiting for tourists and pushed me through. It was worth the money.
Because dark clouds on the horizon came up, I drove the entire distance in one day. It had not rained from Mamfe to Ekok the last days so the path was dry. With break-down of the darkness I reached the border and entered the little house in order to get my passport stamped, when a heavy rainstorm started.
I was permitted to camp under the roof of a waiting hall at the border, before early the next day I entered Nigeria with no problems. It was possible to change money at the border. For 5000 CHF I got 1400 Nira.
The road from Ekok to Abakaliki again was rather muddy but better then the road the day before had been. In Ikom were the first gas stations and banks.
When I reduced my speed because of numerous deep holes in the road, five people jumped towards me and tried to stop my motorcycle and to pull me off to rob me. I was attaced and in life danger. As I hit the accelerator, some hands grabbed my jacket and one of the men tried to hold my bike with no success. My 50 HP engine was stronger then he was, but I nearly crashed as he suddenly fell to the ground and let go.
The “motorway” to Onitsha was terribly full of potholes and crowded with lots of overloaded Mitsubishi L300 minibus taxis from Europe in terrible conditions, who were overtaking me or came towards me with maximum speed on my trace with no reaction of my headlight or my hooting. I was chased of the road and into the bushes several times. At numerous heavily armed police controls, I was always friendly waved through.
From time to time I found a gas station which accepted my US$ and gave me about 20 litres of petrol for only 10 dollar (1500 Nira).
In the evening, I travelled over the big bridge across the large Niger river and reached Asaba. At the end of my strength I searched for an possibility to sleep when a star on the horizon suddenly drew my attention. It showed me the way to the next Mercedes workshop. At the gate I told the stupid portiere I was an engineer from Germany and wanted to speak with a responsible person of the company immediately, in the hope that I was allowed to spend the night on this secure area. In Nigeria everyone needs some help.
Indeed, Peter from Germany was around, welcomed me and invited me to him and his wife in their villa, a small paradise of the peace in the middle the Nigerian chaos. Being able to take a shower and shave properly was like a cultural shock for me. I got clean clothers while all my things went into the washing machine.
Later on, Peter and Veronika invited me for dinner to the grand hotel. I felt as in the seventh sky and slept in a real bed as well as if I would have been in heaven.
For breakfast on the next day, Veronika offered delicious, self basked bread, cheese from Germany and hot coffee while in the Second Channel of German Television the world could see how brutal the German police reacted against demonstrators who were against the Stuttgart 21 project.
Later in the workshop of Mercedes, someone cleaned my machine so well that it looked better than I have ever seen it before. Then a mechanic changed the engine oil while another one repaired the broken side of my left aluminium box.
While Peter was in a meeting, I was allowed to use his computer to search for a way to Benin without having to ride through Africas largest and most dangerous city Lagos with estimated 15 million inhabitants. In addition, I got the opportunity to update this webpage… hello from Africa to everybody :)
I stayed one more night in Veronika's and Peter's little paradise before I started a hell trip through big traffic over the highway with lots of potholes from Benin town center to Ljebu Ode. Overloaded mini bus taxis were nearly kicking me off the road or came towards me on my line again with full speed. In addition several times tilted trucks blocked the lanes of the"highway" which had the effect that the whole traffic immediately used the lines of the vehicles coming towards us with no attention.
While I was searching for a gas station who accepted my US$ again, someone gave me 5 Liters of petrol for free. There were also friendly people in Nigeria. To take out money out of an ATM seemed to dangerous for me, because there were always lots of other people around watching me.
During sunset, shortly before Shagamu, I followed a very small path for the workers into a big plantation. When the path ended after some kilometers, it was so narrow that I could not even turn my machine anymore GPS N06°53'50.3" E006°30'51.2".
On the way to the border Badagri the next day, again a thick jeep of a smudgy functionary came towards me on my lane. I switched my high beam to signal him there are also other people on the world except him, but his answer was only two flashes of his his strong lights. I saved myself into the bushes beside the road again while the SUV frontally crashed into the car behind me with full speed.
At the Benin border they issued me a 48 hours visa for CFA 10.000 (15 Euro). Because the roads were OK, I managed to reach the beautiful beach Grand de Popo just before the border to Togo on the same day. Here I spent a relaxed day at the Camp Lionbar GPS N06°16'29.2" E001°48'33.83 with a Finnish couple who traveled through Africa by public transport and who told how many bribes they had to pay to get around Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast. Later on here started the Typhus and Ebola epidemie.
To get a 7 days valid visa at the border while entering Togo was no problem at all. One of the official even spoke German. He had learned it at school. With its friendly population, the beautiful green landscape, many available drinking water pumps and the relatively good main road, Togo turned out to be a nice traveling country such as Burkina Faso with lots of wild camping possibilities.
I entered Burkina Faso with no problems and went to a internetcafé in Ouagadougou. There someone recommended me to avoid the worst border of Africa between Rosso in Senegal and St. Louis in Mauritania with the complicate shipment and its corrupt officials. The alternative border crossing over the dam of Ndiago was presently closed due to strong rainfalls.
Since so far I had not read any positive things about travelling through Senegal with its begging policemen, I decided to travel from Mali directly up north and into Mauritania knowing that some tourists have had been kidnapped on this road before. I was really pleased when I met Eleonora and Fabio from Italy with their white Toyota Landcruiser on the beautiful, traffic-poor asphalt route from Bobo Diolas to Orodara. They had just traveled exactly the same route which I was planning to take and assured me it was tarmac all the way while my Michelin Map showed a large scored range which had worried me before. A heavy loaded bike like mine is just not readable in soft sand.
Filled with new hope after this positive information I spent the weekend in the loam hut village of friendly local people, who had supplied us with oranges and drinking water, while we exchanged tourist information over the condition of various roads in the countries I have just been travelling through.
I said hallo to the village wish doctor and the neighbours and was allowed to take many photos. Everyone wanted to be photografed at least once. In the evening my host Konatel Moussa and I received delicious rice with peanut sauce and smoked fish, while women and children waited respectfully, until we had finished our meal. Women are doing most of the work here. I was not even allowed to carry my water bucket to the “shower” or to wash my clothers myself.
When I entered Mali I only received one receipt at the calm border for CFA 15000. To get the actual 3 months valid visa I had to go to the chaotic immigration Office GPS N12°37'58.4" W008°00'48.0" in Bamako. After I have asked several policemen who tried to regulate the traffic, one of them finally escorted me with his moped to the immigration Office. In the heavy traffic different stupid people drove onto me with their mofas several times - luckily without causing any damage on my aluminium cases only to their own bikes.
The policeman knew nearly each man at the immigration Office and managed that I could get my visa on the same day after only 3 hours of waiting. After I got my passport back, I brought it straightly to the Mauretanian embassy, where I applied for my last visa GPS N12°39'42.9 to” W007°57'58.1”.
With two hours delay I got my visa for Mauritania on the next day and started to travel on a perfect tar road through less green landscape past a few settlements north. The night I spent shortly before Nioro (ATM) with relay friendly native ones who did not understood what I said but still supplied me with nice finger food for small money GPS 15°09'50.6" W009°30'29.7". I found a drinking water pump at GPS N14°15'01.7" W008°08'34.3".
To Enter Mauritania the next day was totally uncomplicated. At the border, there was a money changer, I got a departure stamp and an entry stamp and told them I already have an insurance. Since the official who was in charge for the customs wanted 10 Euro to stamp my carnet I did not use his "service" end entered the country with a motorbike able to be sold there. Shortly after the border I found the first drinking water pump GPS 16°12'02.9" W009°33'23.1", where I filed up my empty supplies.
On the big, straight tar road towards Ayoun I expected nothing dangerous, however I kept my helmet on as a protection against the sun when I stopped for a foto break beside of the road. A while later I heard sliding tires and felt a strong acceleration of my machine which catapulted me into the air. I landed with the helmet first on the road, while a car rushed past.
From a silver, new Toyota Landcruiser 9 arabic man in traditional clothers jumped out and helped me to get up again. One of them spoke a little bit of English and turned out to be a Minister of the country who managed not to see me on this straight road through a wide area with nearly no vegetation at all. He called for the police while my German D2 mobile phone did not work when I tryed to send my present position home to Germany for safety reasons.
I collected my scattered medicines and tools who were lying all over the place. The police took my passport and my “insurance” and escorted us to the next town. The right of Mauretania is the islamic Sharia. 99% of the people are Moslems here. At the police station they called the shool for the friendly English teacher who came to translate for me. First, the Minister wanted me to pay the big damage on his car.
After a longer argumentation in Arabic between the police and all the others he offered to repair his car on his expenses and finally, after some cups of tea, he was also willing to pay for the repairing of my box. He gave me his hand and went off in a different car while I followed a mechanic in his car to his workshop after I got my documents back from the police.
Surprisingly the mechanic was able to bring the totally bent box back into its old shape. He even knew someone who could do aluminium welding and brought the box to this place. During sunset my luggage system was in functional condition again.
The broken stop light and the broken mini turn signal showed, how closely the car of the Minister drove past at the frame of my machine. One centimeter further right and the motorcycle would have only been a big piece of rubbish by now and without the very strong cases my leg surely would have been broken. My neck was hurting for a few more days but also was still all right. I have been very lucky again like so many times on this journey.
On the next morning I realised that on the 6 gas stations in the village they only sold Diesel for all the Mercedes 190D around, but did not had any petrol there. Hours went by until the police had finally organized 6 litres of petrol for me at a high price so I could drive the 200km pothole runway to Kiffa. There, finally, I could fill up petrol and a very friendly family who owned the restaurant where I had a break, allowed me to camp on their property and offered me a bucket with water “to shower” GPS N16°36'48.6” W011°23'50.3”.
After so many negative things I have heard about kidnaping and tourist attakcs in Mauretania, I was surprised that most of the people in Mauritania were just as friendly as the people in Mali. Hardly anyone begged. Only a few women were masked in black clothers.
There were lots of roadblocks in almost every village. Wherever I was stopped, someone required for fish. Everyone wanted fish. Since I had not counted on such a large demand, I had left my fishing rod at home. Now I had to save my fish, what meant a copy of my passport.
I ignored the whistles of policeman who were lying in the shade under a tree beside the road or who were waving to me. simply waved back very friendly. Only twice the police followed me in their car. My question about the next petrol station prevented that I had to follow all the way back to the post. I ignored my full jerrycan. Water.
After a long trip on the straight road through big dunes, I found a gas station in Aleg again. Friendly customers changed some dollars for me to a better rate than the officials at the border.
The sunshine today was so hot and brightly that I had to use sun glasses. Only long sleeves and gloves in combination with the strongest sun milk on my wrist and face prevented me from getting sunburned. The road glowed and under me glowed my machine who luckily did not make any trouble. Again and again, I had to stop to drink water which I filled up at different roadblocks. The air was hot as if it would have come out of a hairdryer towards me.
After 600 Kilometers, I found a small restaurant in the capital of Mauritania Nouakchott, where I stopped for a break before I wanted to start the last 500km part to Marocco. Unfortunately all Internetcafés were closed, so that I could not send a life sign back to Germany. Is today Friday so thats why Muslims dont work? Yes…
When I left the city in order to look for a quiet place to staying overnight, I overhauled a jeep in which I recognized a European face with grey hair.
I set me beside him and asked with hand language whether I could sleep at his place for one nicht.
An upwards showing thumb gave cause of joy. At the next possibility Henrik stopped his car. He worked in Mauritania as a pilot for a swiss oil company and was with his colleagues on the way to the beach bar somewhat outside of the city, a secret place, where all European meet who worked in this area GPS N18°08'47.2" W016°01'42.6".
After a refreshing bath in the ocean waves I followed the team to a safe big house were they even had a very fast internet connection. This allowed me to backup all my fotos, talk to my friends and update this report again :) I got the invitation to stay one more day which I took with pleasure.
Greetings from Mauretania to all of my 200 Website Visitors per day :)
I really got worried when my bike started to consume more petrol then I had calculated for this 500km trip with no petrol station to fill up until Marokko.
When I was total exhausted because of this strong wind, I finally reached Marocco and was glad to find a big petrol station directly at the border Guerguarat.
I showed a 200 rand note from South Africa to one of the intrusive moneychangers and asked him for his course. He pulled out his pocket calculator and offered 9 Dirhams. I did not say anything but was surprised. 9 Dirham were a very bad course for euros who are worth 1:11 in a bank but it was still much more then I could expect for South African rand. He probably thought my 200 rand were Euros. I agreed, took the money and went on. It was a good feeling finally to be on the winners side again.
In Morocco, it was no more problem to get petrol or diesel. Even the boring desert landscape of the taxfree Westsahara steppe was interrupted every 200 kilometers by a gas station and a restaurant. The sea at which I drove along was approx. 20 meters below a natural rocky coast and was out of reach most of the times.
A small attraction on this 2 days and 1000 kilometers long, boring straight tar road was the rally Heroes Legend, who passed me with about 100 best equipped vehicles on their way from Paris to Dakar.
In Guelmim the boring steppe ended and the beautiful part of Morocco without fiscal privilege began.
Just before Tiznit, I had the feeling that my machine no longer went straight forward but somehow felt strange. As I reached the city, a loud, metallic noise out of the rear wheel stopped my trip. The right wheel bearing had fallen into parts. To my big luck this did happen only a few meter from the next garage and not in the middle of the desert. They even had spare bearings there so that I did not need to tough my reserve.
After short negotiation, the mechanic jacked my machine up, removed the rear wheel, welded two spots on the old baring to be able to hammer it out and placed two new bearings into my wheel.
The wheel bearing damage was repaired within the record time of only 30 minutes, then I could continue my journey till sundown with a great new feeling of driving. Like most of the trucks, I spent the night on a petrol station, where they had air pressure which I was allowed to use to clean the sandy air filter of my baby. Continue to next page.