International travel companions

It was quite late when we arrived in Nouakchott that evening. The final stretch of roads leading into the city had been littered with potholes and since one of our main headlights doesn't work well, working spotting them was difficult. Because of this we were super exhausted when we got to the campsite we would be staying at. 

Terjit Vacances is a lovely campsite by the ocean run by a Mauritanian who had studied engineering in the U.S. He spoke perfect English and was extremely helpful. He even took time off to help us find spare parts for our car in town the next day. 

Spending some time in the city in daylight we quickly saw a huge difference in infrastructure from that of Morocco. Mauritania with its population of only 3,5 million is far from as developed as Morocco, with most roads on the city being only made from sand.

Later in the evening, we went to the local fish market where we bought some fish that the onsite restaurant at Terjit Vacances gladly prepared for us - it was delicious! Excitingly, at the campsite, we met a Dutch couple who were driving down to Gambia to donate a whole ambulance. We started talking and agreed to drive to Senegal together the next day. 

The next morning, after having spent two nights at the campsite in Nouakchott, we drove towards the Senegalese border with our new friends from last night. The roads southbound were much worse than those we drove in from, huge potholes and a road that was under construction meant that we were never able to maintain an adequate speed. This slowed us down and we didn't reach the border crossing to Diama before dusk. Just before the border, in the national park that precedes it, we met yet another pair of European overlanders. These two British guys had been biking from northern Spain all the way down there, a journey that had taken them almost four months. Now ours didn't feel so bad anymore.

At the border crossing, we were held back by a sleazy and corrupt Mauritanian police officer who demanded €10 in order for the car to leave the country. Since we had already paid this exit fee to another police officer we refused and waited until he got sick of us and stamped the passports. 

When we finally entered into Senegal it had gotten dark. This combined with the fact that the Dutch couple couldn't get their car through that day because of some trouble with the paperwork, we decided to stay the night right there at the border. This turned out rather well, we were invited to taste the leftovers of the border guards supper, though it actually tasted more like a dessert. We made camp on the perimeter and ate some proper food before going to sleep outside of the immigration office.