Day 38: 500 km of desert

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Sun 12 Dec 2010 21:21
Day 38: Sunday 12 December 2010. Camping des Nomades, Nouakchott, Mauritania. N18 05.346 W015 58.694. Distance driven 494 km. Total distance 7.222 km
As we drove out of Nouadhibou at 0830 it was no better than last night! Rusty cars everywhere, goats fighting in the street and still blowing sand. 
The road 500 km  to Nouakchott is only 3 years old and avoids driving down the beach as one had to before. The new road is pretty straight and mainly in good condition and goes through varying desert scenery.  There is only one gas station the whole way and only a few huts - no village of any significance. As one nears Nouakchott it becomes dual carriageway - heavens knows why! We drove the whole way in company with Thomas in his camper and kept close together, not letting any vehicles get in between us.
Today was a 9 fiche day.  What happens to all these pieces of paper? We are running short and must make some more copies tomorrow.
The main thing is that we are safely in the capital and have not been kidnapped en route as happened to a group of Spanish and French tourists a year ago on this road.
When we got to this small camp site in the middle of town we found that the Oasis overlanders tour had arrived in their truck.  This is a group of 24 who are travelling from London to Cape Town, then to Egypt in 40 weeks. By the time we had squeezed our Land Rover and Thomas' camper into the site it was pretty full.  Then along came the Germans, Michael and Andrea in their truck and squeezed in as well to make up the party! It is pretty tight but a convivial bunch.   We'll stay here until Tuesday and try to get our Burkina Faso visas here tomorrow and see if we can get the liability insurance for the ECOWAS countries.  This will cover us all the way through from Senegal to Gabon and maybe Congo.