Leaving our desert camp we head for the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott. Since we crossed the border there has been little in the way of a township. Just huts, tents and tumbledown shacks. My impressions of Mauritania so far are not favourable. Apart from the filth and squalor, the guards we meet at check points are unfriendly.
It is quite off putting to be greeted by someone with a dark coloured scarf wrapped around there head and face and dark glasses. No expression visible but a sharp request to know your nationality. Such a contrast to Morocco where they were friendly and welcoming and we could usually share a joke with them. At least the guards/police have not asked us for a “present”. Adam has been repeatedly asked. I play dumb and pretend not to understand any French. It has worked so far!
The hot-mix road surface has been poured down onto an old, already broken surface. It just breaks up again and is severely pot holed. Not pleasant driving. It does improve and after a desert stop for lunch, where our only shelter is the awning on the side of Poki, we proceed to Nouakchott.
We approached Nouakchott via a duel carriageway flanked with palms and elaborate street lighting. This starts from a large conference centre some distance outside the city. I wonder if it was constructed to host some international conference and the road constructed to impress visitors?
Adam has recommended we stay at Auberge Triskell. He has visited previously and recommends it. We arrive and park outside the walls. Entering the entrance door we are met by an oasis of peace, calm and tranquility. Bougainvillea, palms and lots of Arabic style sofas and cushions under tent like shading.
The gates are opened to let us bring the Land Rovers inside. Quite an exercise in manouvering. There is not much space. We are shown around the facilities. We could sleep in a tent on the roof or a cabin. Or, we can stay in our vehicles and use the showers. We chose to do this. First task after setting up the Caranex has to be a shower and hair wash. I’ve lost count how many days it is since the last proper wash. I have to say it was absolute bliss.
During the evening we make some progress on catching up with the blog. We eat dinner at the Auberge. The French owner, Sebastian, cooks for us. Chicken in a mushroom sauce with rice and ratatouille and some French fries too.