My plan is to edit comics for a while, and then in 2007 to take an overland trip from London to Cape Town via West Africa. I'll post daily updates on NoHurryInAfrica.com, same as I did for MariesWorldTour.com.
I have my Lonely Planet West Africa and a map in front of me. The UK to Spain part is no biggie. National Express or Megabus will take me down to Portsmouth, where I'll catch the ferry that goes to Bilbao, then I'll proceed south by bus/train to the ferry to Morocco.
Morocco is well-traveled and should go smoothly, unless one counts touts as an issue. I have no idea (yet) how to transit Western Sahara, so I'm skipping that for the moment.
That takes me to the desert country of Mauritania. I'd enter at the southwestern tip of Western Sahara, at Nouadhibou. This is a peninsula that is split down the center. Half is Western Sahara and half is Mauritania.
Nouadhibou sounds nice enough, with decent hotels and restaurants. From there, there are two interesting options for transport.
Option #1 is an iron ore train. It takes 12 hours to get to Choum, where Toyota pickups wait to take passengers to Atar. (What is Atar? I don't know yet. I'll get to that.) I read that the men on this train can be really fresh. That sounds creepy. I wonder--if I started far enough in advance--if I could score a first-class ticket. Though it's also possible that they would just respect me and ask how many children I have. There are some advantages to traveling at 40 instead of at age 25.
Option #2 is bush taxi (pickup or Land Rover) to the capital, Nouakchott. This is interesting because it can only be done at low tide! "Takes 15 to 20 hours depending on the tides."
Ah, I see. Option #1 it is. Atar is en route to Chinguetti, a top attraction in Mauritania. If I went by tidal route, I'd miss this ancient caravan city, one of the holiest cities in Islam.
I'm starting Arabic lessons on Saturday, and I can muddle through in French. I wonder if I can learn how to say "That is too much. I could buy my own camel for that" in Arabic.