Mauritania Stories and Tips

Mauritanian Border

While traveling to Nouakchott, Maritania from Dakar, Senegal by car, I did not know what to expect.

First of all, we took a car that looked like a Hearst. I was the only female in the car. I was outnumbered 6 to 1. However, I did feel safe since I was traveling with my husband. I thought we drove forever. I was beginning to think that was the never ending road. It was so hot. There were bits and pieces of the road that were not finished. Then I saw lots of stray donkeys and goats—which I never thought I would see a stray donkey before.

Once we got to the border, I started to freak out. I didn't understand what was going on. A bunch of guys came up and took our luggage. Then we were escorted into the jail. I was thinking the worst. It was even scarier because the jail had the cement walls kind of like in the old movies. That was where they were stamping our pass ports.

After our passports had been stamped, that same group of guys took us into the back of a shop where they seemed like they were arguing with my husband. I guess they were trying to exchange our money from Senegal money to Mauritanian money.

Well then to get across the river, normally you need to take a fairy boat. Since it was so late, we had to take these little row boats instead. The boat next to the one we were taking, a man had a cup scooping water out of the bottom of it. At this point I was more then freaking out. Not only that, but I have a fear of boats.

As soon as, we got across the river, two Maurtanian officials came down to greet us. I was thinking oh my, what did I get myself into, I'm never going to see America again!

While waiting for our pass ports to be stamped by Mauritania, they escorted us out the gate of the consulate. At least I thought that was a consulate. Anyways, one of the guards got me a chair to sit in. My husband walked away so he could talk on the phone. This young boy (he looked about 15) was looking me up and down. I thought, oh boy what was going to happen to me. So I looked at the guard and he could tell I was scared. He shooed the kid away and stood a little closer to me until my husband returned.

My husband found us a driver to take us to Nouakchott. It felt like forever before we made it there. The moon and the stars were so beautiful. I slept most of the way after that. I woke up at each police check point to a flashlight being shined in my face. I guess they were making sure I was who I was.

None the less, I survived that trip and can not wait for my return trip back to Mauritania.

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