This is the classic Atlantic route down the coast of Morocco, through Western Sahara and Mauritania, into Senegal and all the way to Dakar, the enigmatic destination of so many rallies. It's a 2153-km green route that's tarmac all the way except for a short 5km stretch at the Western Sahara/Mauritania border, so can be tackled in any vehicle.
You need to obtain a Mauritanian visa before starting, either in your home country or by visiting the Mauritanian embassy in Rabat. You should also be prepared with 20 or more ‘fiche’ slips.
Before travelling check the current status of the area on the
- Sahara Forum at Horizons Unlimited
and on the UK Foreign Office websites:
- Western Sahara
There may be problems entering Senegal with a vehicle that is more than five years old unless you have a carnet. Sometimes it is possible to circumvent this with a local pass-avant or transit permit. Check Horizons Unlimited sub-Saharan forum for the latest situation.
Part one: Morocco and Western Sahara
Still 400km away from the start of the route and the first sign to Dakhla in Western Sahara
First mention of Saint-Louis in Senegal
km0: the twin camel gate guardians of Tan Tan
km26: Villa Ocean on the seafront in El Ouatia
km40: currently a French 'camping car' park, the Oued Chbeka ‘Moroccan Riviera’ project is expected to ultimately house 270,000 European retirees with three nursing homes and hospital services via helicopter link to the Canary Islands. Wow!
km60: one of the more spectacular wrecks along the coast
km113: Gouffre d'Akhfenir, a large sea cave with a collapsed roof
km252: the piste at Sebjet Um Ed Deboaa leads you to the campsite below
km272: Camping Le Bedouin with the calcified waterfall in the foreground
km305: the Seguiat el-Hamra (the Red Canal) has been dammed to create a shallow lagoon
km312: the sand dunes of Erg Lakhbayta on the exit of Laayoune
km405: Martin from Newcastle on a Honda C90
km500: Boujdour's enormous gate guardians—massive giraffes with leaping swordfish and a giant ostrich
km505: leaving Boujdour—the first signpost to Dakar
km610: even when the road is uneventful, the coastline is normally interesting
km807: looking across the bay to the town of Dakhla on the peninsula
offroute: the peninsula of Dakhla is popular with overlanders
km820: two Germans from Hamburg on 50cc scooters towing a trailer
km861: Porto Rico is a fishermen’s bidonville (French: tin can town)
km868: er... keep to the road, do not stray, do not go for walkies
km1142: the twin towers on the Moroccan side of no-man's land
km1143: lorries on the piste in no-man's land
km1147: looking back at the twin towers of the Moroccan border