The Sahara Desert

Our Ride Through Western Sahara and Mauritania

What can I tell you, dear reader, about the Sahara Desert without writing a book?.....................................................................................It is as stunning in its beauty as it is magnificent in its diversity of landscape. It is an extremely hostile environment with a truly hospitable, kind, curious, and resilient people living there.

Are there bad people living in the Sahara? Well of course there are~!!! In fact there are some very, very bad people living there….but there are very bad people living in any place you want to name…including every city in America. But does that keep you from living there?? Of course not~!!!

As I type this on my laptop we are sitting in our tent in a campground in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Before coming here we were repeatedly warned that the people in Mauritania were a bad bunch….but we found the opposite to be true. They are very friendly and we have been approached several times in the two days we have been here (so far) and were warmly and sincerely told, “You are welcome in Mauritania”. A great many people have come up to us and started conversations that have lasted for over an hour….most of it through sign language and stumbling through language barriers. We do not speak any language that they speak except for a very few words of French and some Spanish that Lana speaks. But there is one language that everyone in the world does understand……….and that is a smile.

When we stopped here I left Lana with the bikes and went to buy some food and water for our ride into more of the Sahara. When I returned a few minutes later a small crowd of curious Mauritanians had gathered all around our bikes to talk to us and look at our bikes. A very friendly lot they were.

The Sahara Desert is much bigger than you might realize….in fact it is much larger in size than the entire continental United States. First take a look at the size of the Sahara Desert below. It is the sand colored area:

We rode through the Sahara Desert from the eastern side of Morocco, south to Dakar Senegal. (Look closely at the map above and you will find Morocco on the north west coast where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Dakar on the west coast right where the Sahara stops.

Now take a look at this scale size map of Africa and you will get an idea of how far that is and how big Africa is:

If there is one thing that we have discovered from talking to many people in our travels and receiving emails from our readers thus far it is this: The biggest reason that people will not visit a foreign country is fear…fear of the unknown. Most people in the world do not want to go beyond their comfort zone. They are comfortable in their relatively small, known environment, but are afraid to venture forth into an unknown environment…..especially if it involves crossing a border into another country. Do NOT be like that. Do NOT be like everyone else.….Instead, go forth and explore the world while you leave a positive impact in your wake. In fact we are called by GOD to do that….it is called The Great Commission. I challenge you to look that up~!!! Mark 16: 15-16 and Mathew 28:18-20. And read this very interesting take on it: https://www.onfaith.co/discussion/10-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-the-great-commission

Feel free to post a comment below or drop us an email at travessillaexpedition@gmail.com . I will answer all of your emails…but it might take some time. Internet connections are getting fewer, slower, and further between….so please be patient. We really look forward to hearing from you.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words……….so here are several thousand words. May GOD Bless you and yours indeed~!!!

We crossed the Tropic of Cancer. The following is from Wikipedia: The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern Tropic is 23°26′13.5″ (or 23.43707°) north of the Equator. It is the most northerly circle of latitude on the Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs on the June solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent.

Camels beside the road. We saw hundreds of camels in the Sahara Desert....although technically these are not camels they are dromedaries which have one hump and camels have two humps.

Here is the track they leave

Randy about half way to the top of a large sand dune

A sink hole next to the ocean. You can walk all the way around it

The Sahara runs right up to the Atlantic Ocean

Lana nearing the top of a large sand dune

A lot of the paved road was like this. Our youngest daughter said: "Some countries drive on the left side of the road and some drive on the right side. We drive on whats left."

And then there was no pavement

Looking for a a place to camp

A reminder of how harsh the Sahara can be

The view from the top of a large sand dune

Lana at about half way to the top of a large sand dune. (How would you like to try your new tires out here Captain??!!)

You can find sea shells in the sand dunes~!!!

We met this guy at a camp ground in Agadir, Morocco. He is from Spain. His plan is to ride this little scooter across the Sahara to Senegal. It holds two liters of gas, it had no compression to speak of and the tires were badly weather checked. I pray that he makes it.

The used clothing business is huge in Africa

An 8x8 adventure truck. The owner (not KTM) said it will burn up to 200 liters of fuel an hour in soft sand~!!!

A 6x6 adventure truck. These are both converted ex-military rigs. They mounted (and converted) a CONEX for the living quarters. You can see the container locks in the front and back lower corners

Lana is grocery shopping. The guy with his back to the camera insisted on guarding our bikes...even though I was standing there. If anyone got close to them he would start yelling at them. I think he had a bit of a mental problem...but he did a good job. I gave him a tip and he was thrilled.

More grocery shopping

A small village we rode through with some other ADV riders we met and traveled with for several days. It is unfortunate that we were going to different countries...they were great to travel with~!! Thank you~!!!!

Gassing up in the (Mauritania) Sahara Desert with 10 liters of fuel we brought along. We pour it through a filter that takes out all of the water and contaminants. Gas is very hard to find in Mauritania. We could have made it on the 10 gallon (37 liter) tanks the bikes are equipped with....but I would rather have too much gas than not enough.

Here is a little girl that was sick and had a fever that we were able to help

We had a dinner guest at our camp one evening. She brought a big appetite. She is old enough to feed herself but she spilled more of the rice noodles than she got in her mouth so Lana and I took turns helping her out a little bit.

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