Your Pinay travel blogger is back at his best and is more adventurous than ever! Check out my last unique adventure in Mauritania!
Scrolling through my Facebook group (Every Passport Stamps Group), I met these amazing people with the same goals as me. All people from different parts of the world, we decided to meet and share the same thing we are all passionate about-travel! But this is not just your typical trip, because we have chosen this African country to try what I think is impossible.
Everyone, to my 145th country, Mauritania!
It feels great to do what I love again. I almost gave up this dream last year, but hey, nothing can stop me now!I am traveling in business class sponsored by the following organizations Turkish Airlines (Thanks to Mr. Serhan). Thanks to this comfortable flight, I still have the crazy energy to start the adventure in Mauritania.
Currently, Mauritania has very few COVID cases. You only need to perform a 72-hour PCR valid test to enter. As for Filipinos, we can easily get a visa on arrival for 55 Euros. In addition to the passport and itinerary, we only need the passport and itinerary. PCR test.
The Adventures of Mauritania: where it all started
We started the tour from Nouakchott and then drove 5 hours to Terjit, an oasis or a place where water can be found in the center of Mauritania Sahara Desert.
We especially like swimming in the natural pool, which is great for me because I have no chance to take a bath for 2 days. Ha ha!
At night, I can sleep like a baby in a local tent in the desert, where you can really see the magnificent view of the Sahara Desert in Mauritania.
The first day of our trip is really worth remembering, because we all shared our stories on the road, laughed, and took great photos together.
As the sun slowly rose, we woke up on a beautiful morning and enjoyed a delicious breakfast before heading to our next destination, Chinguetti.
It’s another full day’s drive. When we headed to Chinguetti, we left Terjit very early. We stopped at Attar, a small town in northwestern Mauritania. This small town is the gateway and capital of the Adrar region, where you can see a small airport, museum and a historic mosque built in 1674!
In the afternoon we arrived at Chinguetti, it was very hot! Glad I brought sunscreen! This is essential haha! Chinguetti is a jewel of Berber culture and a UNESCO site. This ancient African town was once a stopover for Saharan traders and pilgrims. It is also an important learning center, thanks to its Desert Library, which is filled with texts dating back to the Middle Ages. Wow!
Just some interesting facts about this small town. Did you know that Chinguetti is also one of the seven holy cities of Islam? This is an important gathering point for the caravans of devotees on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Here, you can see many children wandering around and women selling souvenirs.
When night fell, we spent the second night in Chinguetti and stayed in one of the hotels called L’EDEN. This hotel has been in business since 2005 and is still highly recommended by local tour guides.
Valdane self-driving tour
Vadane is one of them UNESCO World Heritage In Mauritania!
Since 1996, the ancient ksour (fortress village) of Vadane has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first thing you will notice is the piles of stones and rubble! Unlike Chinguetti, you can still see and feel many things from the ruins of Ouadane.
Near Vadane, we also visited the Eye of the Sahara, also known as The Richat Structure. This place looks great from above.
You would think that this might be due to an asteroid impact (or hidden information from aliens) because of its shape and size. However, this is a geological dome that has been severely eroded. This is one of the most unusual sights in the world! This is something you must see!
We watched the local folk dance and ended our third night. In addition, the locals prepared a surprise party for us!
I slept outside for 3 nights. Although we have private rooms, it is great to watch the stars and the full moon, listen to the birds, and feel the fresh breeze!
The real deal-take an iron ore train in Choum!
Checklist: Take the iron ore train, the longest freight train in the world!
I still can’t believe that I finally have the opportunity to experience this unique experience in Mauritania.
In addition to historic towns, the country also has the longest and heaviest train in the world. The desert train in Mauritania is 2 kilometers long and consists of 200 carriages. There are no conductors, no tickets, no CR, no rooms, no charging stations, no fixed schedule-it’s hard to imagine, right? Well, it’s really challenging! So a quick tip, this activity is best for people who like adventure.
As my travel bloggers and friends warned, riding can be very tiring. So I really prepared myself, because I couldn’t change my mind on the train; unlike the MRT, there are many stations. Even if they stop, I don’t like being left in the middle of the Sahara Desert! you? Ha ha!
Riding the iron ore train for 12 hours feels like I am floating! In addition, this trip is also one of the dirtiest trips I have ever done because of dust. This is why we wear goggles and wrap our faces to protect ourselves from a lot of dust.
Therefore, if you are looking for a thrilling, exhilarating and once-in-a-lifetime experience, then you should take the iron ore train!
It’s a simple fact again, ha ha. Did you know that this train can transport 17,000 tons of iron ore, enough to build the Eiffel Tower? Not only that, in addition to iron ore, it also carries other goods, goats, camels and people. Locals use it as a means of transportation, and for foreign tourists, iron ore tours are an adventure of a lifetime.
A long sleepless night full of singing, laughter, and stories awaits your journey. It’s very uncomfortable (no CR, no dining car, no charging area, hot and dirty), but it is one of the most incredible things I have done so far!
Banc D’Arguin National Park: where the desert meets the sea
After the 12-hour iron ore train ride, we immediately headed to Bank Dakin National Park. For a dusty trip, one shower is not enough; so we swim and let the Atlantic Ocean do its magic. Swimming, relaxation, repetition-these are our mantras.
In addition, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean is so healing, it feels like it will automatically heal the stress our body is under when riding an iron ore train. After the adventure, this is really the best thing!
This park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. It is a sharp contrast between the harsh desert and the rich marine life. Banc D’Arguin National Park is home to seals, dolphins and whales. It is also one of the most important habitats for migratory birds, especially fish-eating birds! We tried to catch a fish, but it was too difficult! Ha ha.
Back to the capital, Nouakchott
On the last day of our trip, we visited the capital city of Nouakchott and received a free PCR test. Then we had lunch at Terjit Vacances restaurant located on the beautiful beach, where I ate fresh dorado fish for lunch.
The group (thanks to Shaun and Dan) surprised my soul sister Zulekha Huseni for her birthday celebration. I missed the market and the port of Peche because I had to catch some sleep and emails.
I will complete my goal of visiting each country next year (when I am 33 or 34 years old), and then I vowed to return to Mauritania again in 2023. Definitely a must-visit country!
All these experiences are possible because Time4 Mauritania, Our travel agency arranged our trip! With their wonderful itinerary, you will definitely experience an exciting adventure in Mauritania!
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