Tom Possod is a RISER Ambassador and has decided to travel through Africa with his motorcycle. His tour started in Vienna and his goal was to make and discover beautiful trips in Africa. This is the last part of his journey and takes him back to his home in Austria after more than 14,000 kilometres in Africa.
After two days we leave the touristic Saly and make our way to the last accommodation near the airport before Renate’s journey home. The farewell is abrupt because according to the police my motorcycle is parked wrong at the airport and I am immediately threatened with imprisonment. Short negotiations, short farewell and back to the accommodation. I change my motorcycle set up again to
Along the sea, it goes now to the Lac Rose, approx. 45 kilometres. Due to the high salt content, it is perfect to be floating in this lake, but since it is so windy, I decide to eat something instead and watch the workers mining the salt. It is just noon so I get on my bike and ride on. It goes along the lake – finally a longer stage offroad. It continues quickly on gravel roads that sometimes have a surprise for me. For example passages with deep sand. Then the front wheel starts to work and you need intuition as well as trust and then you can drive through quite quickly. The snow-white gravel changes suddenly to red. Really impressive. After a
This time the wind is cooling because the sun is setting. I look for a place to sleep in the next village. There I spend the evening relaxed with a beer and use the opportunity that I have Internet again so that I download the suitable offline map material on RISER, because this time I want to use my Austrian mobile phone to track and I do not know when I have Internet again. So I go to bed and recharge my batteries.
I start early and have breakfast somewhere on the side of the road. A baguette filled with beans, egg and some unknown things. If you’re not careful, you get the usual seasoning and burn your tongue and lips at breakfast. Baguette and coffee (instead of water one takes here a kind of tea) come to a maximum of 1,50 €, sometimes also by half – it is quite possible that the 1,50 € are a tourist price, but it should be fine with me. I continue through the dune field. The last kilometres again along the beach and on gravel.
The Zebrabar is a large resort with a few clean cabins that you can rent or just find a place for yourself. I arrive around noon, have a drink and set up my tent in the shade. Except me there is not much going on. Soon I get to know other tourists and we spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at the campfire together. I will spend the next few days here for a little vacation and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere before I go on again.
On my further way, I make a stop in Saint Luis before I leave Senegal with melancholy. I have certainly seen too little of the country and have certainly missed many attractions. But I met so many people and the rest of the country I watch from home on Google Maps 😜. It doesn’t matter if they were local or other travelers. All of them have been warm-hearted and good people so far. I would have stayed a few more days but I have to go on. The Ramadan has started meanwhile and I take an offroad route to the border crossing about 25 kilometres away. When I arrive at the border, I am a bit insecure. Nobody there. Everything empty. Extinct. I enter the first building. 2 border guards lie on the ground and do not move. Shot? With a reluctant “Sorry” I wake them up. The officer takes my passport, looks in for a moment and gives it back to me without rising. OK. That could be easy today. The part in Senegal is going fast so far.
Also on the Mauritanian side I am the only one who crosses the border. That’s also how it looks on the road. The 60 kilometres offroad I don’t meet a single vehicle. The villages are empty, the small shops closed. Mauritanians are very religious and really take Ramadan seriously. So I drive over 100 kilometres until I finally find a small shop where I can buy water. The roads – if there are any – are bad here and there are always huge potholes. At some point I overlook one and get shaken up. This time it’s still fine, but unfortunately the attention leaves me again shortly after and the pothole does all the work. Pothole = 1; Tom = 0 ; my first accident in Africa.
When you have to lift a full packed motorcycle at 40 degrees, you sweat the last drop of liquid out of you. Afterwards I drive to Nouakchott to refuel my motorbike and me with petrol and water. The traffic is crazy here. Everything stands. At some point, I escape the traffic jam and make it back towards the sea to a camping site. And now it means good night time for me.
The next morning, I start early. I leave for the Mauritanian border. There everything goes fast and I drive through this terrible no man’s land again. Hundreds of car wrecks are here and the road becomes again and again a sandy road or there are stone piles on it. Finally the Moroccan border post. It takes a “little” longer again, because there are technical problems and I am constantly sent back and forth. After 3 hours I finally made it and so my next stage for this day is done, because I didn’t expect that all this would take sooo long again. So off to the next town and there to a mechanic, because I noticed during the trip that my luggage carrier is not so tight anymore. Mechanic check and off on accommodation search. I find a accommodation and shorty after me a new Suzuki with a lot of luggage arrives. So I already know how the rest of the afternoon/evening will go. I swap ideas with my like-minded colleague from Denmark (Kristian) for the rest of the day. Everyone often says this, but the world is really small. It turns out that Kristian co-organizes the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Denmark and we know each other’s friends. And then we arranged our next meeting. In September he comes to visit me in Austria 😂.
After breakfast we talk to the UN soldiers who also stayed here. They are “Observers” and will meet Kristian later in no man’s land.
By the way, Morocco had a breakdown of the internet that day and Kristian had to wait until 17:00 to get to the other side. (He wrote me that later)
I’m fighting my way through the wind! It is exhausting. It is hot. One of those days where you ask yourself “why do I do that?” 🤨 But continue towards Boujdour. When I arrive it is already dark again and the fuel is still enough for about 10 kilometers. Into the extinct city. The hotel wants €15. A little expensive but ok. But the hotel manager is great. He stows away my motorcycle and when we are finished I am invited to dinner by him. These are the good sides of Ramadan.
About 21:30 praying and eating is over and suddenly there is full life in the city. I go for a little walk and then return to the nearby cafe of the hotel. The manager comes over. He is studying English. We talk about God, Allah and the world. A really interesting and good conversation. But then I finally have to go to bed. I got the best room and don’t want to know what the worse looks like. But it is clean and the shower in the corridor belongs to me alone.
Refill the gas and go to Tan-Tan. The track is not exciting.
I leave Tan-Tan early in the morning. When I come to the famous roundabout with the camels, they are busy taking pictures. The guys from “Dust & Diesel” are on their way to Dakar. The Germans have been driving this rally for a few years now and are now very well known in the scene. It doesn’t take long and it gets hot. All I have left on are my Kevlar jacket and a shirt. The heat is crazy. I stop and recover in the only shadow for 50
It is now 43 degrees again and the sweat is pouring down my body. I refuel quickly and head for a nearby oasis (Fam El Hisn). I find accommodation for 15 € a night and decide to stay for three nights. The room is chilled and here I can relax.
Now I have to go again. Mountains, valleys and oases alternate. The heat is extreme again. But after a few days break it’s good to sit on the bike again. I am on the road the whole day. Here in the country it is difficult to get supplies. There are neither markets nor have the small shops at the roadside opened. Even at the gas stations all shops are closed. I need a lot of water and when the water in the plastic bottle gets warm, it tastes horrible. But it doesn’t matter, you really have to take care to drink enough water. In the evening I find a nice place with bungalows, swimming pool and restaurant (Lakhnafif). I stay.
A little time leap. Meanwhile, I had
- Offline Maps: ✅
- Adventure Navigator with A-B Navigation (first to Azrou): ✅
And now I am back on the road.
Unfortunately, I forgot to withdraw enough money in the last town and hope to find an ATM yet. Unfortunately no luck. I check my amount of money, 10 €. So refuel OR eat. I haven’t eaten anything all day and so I drive to the next restaurant. I ask them if they still have something to eat because it is not unusual that they have nothing to eat at this time because all people eat at the same time, and this time is just over. Food is out as feared but I’m asked to come behind the store. They cook food for me and when I wanted to pay at the end, they refused to take something. It is crazy. Life in the country is really different. They really could have demanded anything in my emergency situation, and I wouldn’t have blamed them. They also live from their small and modest “restaurant” and there are certainly hardly any guests coming here and certainly no tourists. And then they invite me. Wonderful! I am grateful and overwhelmed from the bottom of my heart and drive to the gas station with a broad smile and a little bad conscience. I would have loved to give them something for it, but they refused everything except a hug and a thank you. It’s already very late and I decide to camp somewhere wild in the mountains this night and drive back a little bit because I passed a lake. So off I go, and shortly I arrived at
Yesterday I didn’t see it anymore, because it was already completely dark, but today I see the view that offers itself to me. A breathtaking view over the valley. Only
Suddenly gravel again… Water crossings. How awesome. And no traffic and definitely no tourists. I drive many altitude meters. It really goes all the whole day this way. The last hour before sunset is always the most beautiful. The world seems to be immersed in a pot of paint. The colours are enormous. While at noon everything seems a little monotonous, the magnificence at sunset is indescribable. I drive into the city and finally get cash again. I go to a restaurant to eat something and then off to the campsite.
The night was pleasant and not so hot anymore, the morning sun warmed up and didn’t make me sweat. I particularly like it that way. It goes on – logically without breakfast. I drive up the mountain again, always with the sea in my view. I drive to a gas station and then it comes over me: It is the last time that I have to fill up on this continent on this journey. It has completely caught me. On the one hand I’m looking forward to Renate, to my bed, to the shower, to the green garden, to the food, to the beer… but just as great as this joy is, is the sudden onset of melancholy. Everything that sometimes annoyed me – searching for sleeping places, gas stations, food – all that disappeared in a millisecond. Filling up the tank felt like it took an eternity and I overlooked the fact that the tank was already full. But all that doesn’t matter anymore. I am torn back and forth. I clear my head by racing through the curves. Slowing down late, accelerating early and sliding out of the curve. I immediately found the fun again. It doesn’t take long until Tangier is in sight. It is early afternoon. The city is asleep. Sure. Everything sleeps in the afternoon in Ramadan. Now I am in Tangier and enjoy the last days. I check over Booking.com another accommodation and have not regretted my choice. In the hotel I notice that almost every picture shows one and the same person. So I ask. The famous writer Paul Frederick Bowles lived in this hotel. Born in 1910, the US-American writer and musician first travelled to Tangier in 1931, where he settled in 1947 and died in 1999. He was one of the most important US-American authors of the 2nd half of the 20th century (Wikipedia). He works with Tennessee Williams, Bernardo Bertoluci and many others I don’t know 😉. And probably I’m writing these lines on the table where “Sky over the Desert” was also written. Let’s say at least 😅 (the chances are 1:5).
The day of farewell has come and the last days in Tangier have passed. The ferry port in Tangier is 50 kilomet
I have 3 nights on the ferry ahead of me and I celebrate the farewell with Swiss people I met on the ferry parking lot with beer and watching the loading process.
The days on the ferry are boring and my tires are now completely smooth and the profile is barely visible. So I contact my Italian friend (Kurt), who already helped me out of trouble on my way to Africa. All this happens during my stay in Barcelona because when I finally arrive in Genoa, I receive the message from Kurt on Whatsapp “he (the retailer) doesn’t have your dream tyre, but has some in stock in this dimension and thinks **there will be something**”. Nope – this doesn’t work for me that way. I already had that in Dakar and was really angry. The Metzeler went off too fast and doesn’t fit
After 100 kilometres I stop to look at the tire. Ok – still okay. Another 100 kilometres the same game. Filling the tank up again, shock about the now 1.69, again tires check. The tachometer constantly shows about 130 km/h.