Happy New Year from Mali!

We wish you all the very best for the upcoming new year of 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Bamako in Mali, Domi & Zainab

Islamic Republic of Mauritania

In the last days we were driving through the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and also passed its capital, Nouakchott. Afterwards we headed east towards the towns of Aleg, Kiffa and Ayoun El-Atrouss. Endless police men stopped us, checking our passports as well as other documents and asking for bribe.

The condition of the road was getting miserable and gas very rare. We had to buy fuel at the so-called “marché noir” (black market) for a much higher price. Furthermore we’ve never seen so many dead animals on the side of the road. But it was wonderful to see all the camel herds along the way.

Most of the people in Mauritania are very poor. In general, it is important to us to only take pictures of people, when they are okay with it and when we feel it is appropiate. Our main focus while traveling is to discover the beauty of nature and to get to know the different “mentalities” and cultures of people, no matter if rich or poor.

QEK Junior in Mauritania

It was like a “Fata Morgana”, simply unreal! Today we spotted a “QEK Junior” camper, sitting in the Sahara Desert. Apparently an East German traveled to Africa, pulling his little home all the way to Mauritania and eventually just left it behind. This was probably the first “QEK Junior” camper we’ve seen, while traveling since 2009. But unfortunately this one is not on the road anymore. Rest in Peace!

Being Stuck in the Desert

The worst thing that can happen to someone who is traveling through the desert, is to be stuck. As we arrived at the border of Mauritania (coming from Western Sahara), about 35 vehicles were already in front of us, also waiting to cross the frontier. It took us long seven hours for the whole border crossing procedure.

Another nightmare of touring across a desert is to have a car brake down. On our way through the Sahara, a Mauritanian family had a blow-out in the middle of nowhere. Though they were carrying a spare tire, they had no proper tool to lift their car. So, we stopped and helped changing tires by using our jack.

The Great Sahara Desert

Today we entered Western Sahara (also known as Sahara Occidental), a territory occupied by Morocco. As the name implies we’re crossing the Sahara Desert on its western side. The Great Sahara Desert is the world’s hottest desert.

Furthermore the Sahara is almost as large as the entire United States. The road is leading us besides the Atlantic Ocean, passing numerous dune landscapes and gusty sandstorms are our biggest enemy while heading across this deserted region.

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Merry Christmas from Morocco!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and we hope that you all have wonderful holidays!

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From the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, Domi & Zainab

The Atlas Mountains

Since we left Rabat, we’ve driven across the Atlas Mountains of Morocco where Herbie had to climb up to 7,145 feet (2,178 m) while pulling our little camper. On our way we passed countless oasis as well as snow-capped hills, mountain lakes and rivers.

We also had the chance to feed free-living Barbary apes in the woods of the Atlas range. And as we went downhill again, we saw camel herds on the side of the road. Today we left the Atlas and reached Tiznit, right besides the Atlantic Ocean.

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Welcome to Africa!

Another long day ends! But tomorrow we’ll finally hit the road, leaving Rabat and start exploring the African continent. First we’ll be heading towards the Atlas Mountains.

Today we also went to the souk in old downtown, where Domi got his boots repaired. These were probably the first western boots the shoemaker ever had in his career.

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For just two Bucks Domi got new shoe soles. Afterwards we were strolling through the market, buying a bunch of dates and other stuff we’ll need back on the road.

We came to Morocco’s capital in order to get as many visas we can and we eventually got almost all of them. Only the Embassy of Nigeria refused all our applications.

And the Embassies of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Sudan were asking us to obtain the visas in Brazzaville, Congo, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It took more than two weeks achieving visas for eight countries we like to visit on our trip across Africa. Visa fees varied between 40 and 130 US-Dollar (30 and 100 Euro).

Although we had to go through all different kinds of consular red tape, we really enjoyed spending time in Rabat. But now we are also very pleased to move on.

For our camper we ultimately got the “new” tires, we ordered the day before yesterday. Morocco seems to be a kind of after market, because the tires are from 2006.

The Love Bug’s Got the Travel Bug and is eager to start exploring continent number six. Welcome aboard and thank you for following our adventure around the globe!

The Time is Running Out!

There are just three visas left, we weren’t able to get so far. Nigeria defeated our application three times and DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) as well as Sudan are waiting for a decision from their headquarters in Kinshasa and Khartoum. Anyway we’ll have to leave Rabat before Christmas in order to meet visa validities of upcoming countries like the following three:


Mali

Burkina Faso


Cameroon

GDR Nostalgia on Wheels!

On our little camper, “QEK Junior”, we still have original “Pneumant” tires made in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Unfortunately tomorrow we’ll change that.

The tire on the passenger side is totally worn out and has deep cracks, so Domi arranged an appointment with a local tire service station where we’ll get two new ones.

Instead of the original 155ers from 1985 we’ll get now 145ers by “Goodyear”. We’re speculating on less friction loss due slimmer tires. Maybe Herbie is a bit faster!

This tire change will be the first financial input on our GDR camper. We are really happy with the “QEK Junior”, because it is a almost maintenance-free vehicle.