Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week Three:

What day will I arrive in Senegal? Who knows? I'm going to finish my entire trans-Africa plan before I decide which option to choose in Mauritania. I'm starting with Option A, and then I'll add the corresponding number of days if I go with one of the other options.

I know it doesn't seem like I'm staying anywhere long. That's because I'm first trying to sort out the bare minimum I could comfortably get by with. Then I'll go back and expand the trip to fill whatever time is left.

March 12: Early trip from Nouakchott to the notoriously irritating Rosso border post. The ride down there is 3.5 hours (204 km) in a shared taxi. The border is crossed by boat or ferry, and there are a number of unexpected fees suddenly added on, as well as helpful "guides" eager to be employed. Sounds likes a hassle, and the Lonely Planet's memorable line about Rosso is "The town is full of hustlers and garbage." There's the lower-key Diama border not far away, but it is isn't clear that I can get there on public transport. After crossing through the hell-border, I get into another share taxi on the Senegalese side and head to Saint Louis, which is 106 km and two hours away. My goal for this day might be this campground, Zebrabar, or I might stay in town, like at this or this.

March 13: All day in Saint Louis, which will probably include an excursion into the national park.

March 14: Saint Louis to Dakar, 4 hours.

March 15: Sightseeing. Ile de Goree.

March 16: Dakar to The Gambia. Six hours. Overnight in a posh resort on the coast.

March 17: Sleep at that posh resort.

March 18: Maybe I'll take a day trip to Banjul and the Roots island and sleep more at that posh resort.

March 19: I'll go along the north road, which was re-paved a few years ago, from Banjul to the Wassu rocks, 20 km northwest o of Georgetown. Mini-Stonehenge. Then to Georgetown. The distance is 300 km, but most of the information I've found is for how long the ride took when the road was a mess.

March 20: Numbers get a little vague here in my guidebooks. I'll need to get out of The Gambia and into Senegal, which shouldn't take too long. From there, it's 200 km to Tambacounda, and three hours from there to the border of Mali at Kidira. From Kidira, I go to Kayes, and from there to Bamako.

Of course, nothing is telling me how long these legs take, so I'm going to estimate arrival in Bamako, at the Sleeping Camel, at March 22.

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