Day 37. Wednesday, 25th January. From Terjit via Atar to a desert camp not far from Chinguetti

The plan was to visit the White Valley. As we weren’t sure where to find it we were going to follow our fellow campers, a tour group who were staying at Camp Jemal in Terjit.

Camp Jemal

The previous evening we had been talking to the young Mauritanian guy who owned the tour company. He advised the group would be leaving between 8 and 8.30. The 5 Hilux utility vehicles which were transporting the group, duly turned up on time. The group were eventually ready to go at 1030. 

We then realised we hadn’t paid for our dinner the previous evening and camping fees, but couldn’t find the camp owner to pay him. By the time we were ready the group were long gone.

We set off to see if we could catch them up and saw them on a viewing point high up on a ridge. 

We waited for them to come back to the road. They, however, went off another way and we lost them again.

We set off in the direction we thought they had gone. We had been advised we should look for a piste (a track in the sand) past the second mountain. Not surprisingly we failed to find it and gave up. 

We carried on thinking we were heading to Atar. The Sat-Nav started going mental and however far we went, told is we were 13 kms from Atar. We had no wifi signal so Google Maps wouldn’t work and I hadn’t downloaded the Mauritania map on MapsMe, so we were a bit confused. Especially as the paper map showed no other tarmac roads, other than the road to Atar and we were on a good tarmac road.

We stopped to give a gentleman in flowing robes and turban a lift on the step beside Dennis’s door. He held on for grim death looking terrified. Not surprisingly he didn’t want to go far.

Adam caught us up and said he thought we were going the wrong way and we’re heading away from Atar, not towards it. We turned around and retraced our steps and eventually found ourselves in Atar.

Bread seller in Atar

We had been advised camping Inimi was a good place to stop. The owner was very welcoming. There were a number of other overlanders staying there. We got into conversation with 2 French couples. There are a lot of French here. Apparently now adventures in Libya are out of bounds, the French are coming to Mauritania. As it was early we decided we wouldn’t stay at Camp Imini. Adam and Dennis prefer to camp in the wild anyway. 

We set off towards our next stop, Chinguetti. As soon as we left Atar the tarmac road ended and the road became gravel. Not too bad at first. We came to an area of stunning mountain scenery where the road to climb the mountain became tarmac again. Huge boulders cling perilously to the fractured mountain side. Some have already crashed down onto the road. We stopped for some photos near the top. 

Adam catching up

From now until we pulled off and proceeded out into the desert to find a camp, the road was appalling. Really severe corrugations. I can’t believe a 22 year old vehicle like a Poki won’t be shaken to pieces by this. Especially as Dennis drives fast over the ruts. Apparently it is less damaging and smoother to skim over the surface fast. It’s a bit scary at first, but I know Dennis knows what he is doing. He’s driven on this type of surface a lot in Australia. 

A smooth section!!

We camp about 20ks from Chinguetti. 

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