TOMS MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE TO AFRICA: Part 2 – Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal.

Tom Possod is a RISER Ambassador and has decided to travel through Africa on his bike. His tour starts in Vienna and his goal is to meet women whose passion is motorcycling (#WhoRidesTheWorld) and to find beautiful trips in Africa. In this blog post you can learn more about his days in Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal.

Today I’ m off to Western Sahara. The villages become less and the desert (stone desert) more. At the beginning, my route runs in a pure straight line through the surroundings but after a few kilometers the route gets more and more curvier. Yeah! My destination today is Tan-Tan. Only the trucks on the road make certain sections a bit tedious, but I make good progress. Slowly the police checks start to become more and despite the fact that I am well prepared every check takes a little too long for me. A tip: Copy your own information often and carry it with you as small pieces of paper so that you can simply hand it in at the police checkpoint and it is easier to copy it for them.

I finally arrive in Tan-Tan but unfortunately there is no free camping site. So I continue to the sea, about 25 kilometres. From a distance I see a cyclist. Not a local but a traveller. I shoot past. But then I worry about the guy, because the trucks don’t care here. Especially not for cyclists. After about one kilometre I turn around. When I come back I notice that the cyclist is a woman. Mel from Quebec on her tour around Africa by bicycle. Wow! Then I first notice this kilometre-long ascent. We decide that I go ahead and check out a camping site and then come back and give her escort. Said and done. Mel manages the ascent and we check in together. We set up our tents sheltered from the wind, get something to eat and sit by the sea. I learn that her stage today was 128 kilometres long. Without a motor between the legs and packed this was certainly no easy task with the wind. Definitely my female rider of the week, even if her bike is not motorized.

The next morning I cross the border to Mauritania. The landscape between the border crossings is characterized as a car cemetery and the road is difficult to see. To the left and right of the road there are supposed to be mines and so that my panorama becomes even better, there is also a sandstorm. It reminds me very much of a film by Tarantino or the film Mad Max. Sometimes the sand gets deep and luckily my bike is relatively light and I get on. But another group of motorcyclists is unlucky and one of the riders gets stuck. Of course I stop and help the group of motorcyclists, who told me that they come from the Czech Republic, to dig up the bike. Finally we come to the border gate and now we have to wait again.

The wind is getting stronger and stronger and I’m not sure if I should start the 500 kilometre stage to Nouakchott that day. People tell me that the weather is not supposed to improve much today, so I decide to make a stop in the city of Nouadhibou. Not my desired destination and after having to drive to several different places for cash withdrawals and refuelling, I try to find a camping site a little outside of Nouadhibou. The storm got worse and after a short negotiation I was able to arrange a place to sleep in the restaurant (windstill!) at the campsite. And then the place becomes a place of pilgrimage. Austrians, Belgians, Spaniards and French are all looking for accommodation here and from the afternoon on we spend some funny hours here until we get back in our beds to be able to leave early the next day.

Today my second half arrives from Austria and I don’t mean my second motorcycle, but my girlfriend Renate ;). The first plan is to go to Fadiouth (Senegal). Since we both love adventures, we have almost nothing booked in advance and just want to see how far we can get during the day and stay where we like it. And so it happens that one day we find ourselves in Foundiougne. During the day it is 41 degrees and not even the driving wind can cool us down. This means that we have to cover the distances early, otherwise the motorcycle outfit will become a private body swimming pool. The communication is difficult here, because neither Renate nor I can speak French and English is not very common here. But the people are very friendly and we still manage to order food from street kitchens and get tips from the locals. After we have explored and experienced the river delta we continue towards Niokolo National Park. The heat becomes unbearable and if you sit at the motorcycle it seems that the wind blows directly from a hairdryer with full strength. We arrive at the hottest place of Senegal, Tambacounda.

After a night in a hotel with air conditioning our tour starts at 7:00 in the morning. Unbelievable, already at this time it is hot. But anyway, today we have a 380 kilometre stage to Casamance ahead of us. Basically we are moving fast here, if it weren’t for these speedbrakers. In every village at least 2. Sometimes they are indicated longer in advance, sometimes only directly marked and rarely not at all. The “not at all” are the ones that cause me the most trouble. If you drive alone it is not bad. Get up, relieve the front wheel and above it. For two, it’s less fun. At least for the one who gets the punch in the back unprepared. And also for the luggage. Compared to the other travellers, we have really little with us, but the basic equipment for two on a light motorcycle is still a lot. But you learn a lot on such trips and I have that too. The helmet is cool – but if you ride through the sandstorm for several days, the skin peels off your nose because of the sand. Sure, you usually have the fabric over it – but from time to time it slides down and then it happens. Nose open! But before we arrive we go through a changing landscape. The first big monkeys in the wild. Almost a little frightening how they sit and look at you. But a cool feeling to drive through this fabulous animal world. And finally we arrive at our accommodation. A wonderful view over Casamance. I think we’ll stay here for a few days.

This was the second part of Tom’s journey. A little preview of his next blog post can be found here:

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