18th June 2014

Team Lipstick had an early start at 8am as the task was to get as close to Mauretania as possible. Driving through the Western Sahara becomes a little bit monotones after a while as the landscape stays the same for many kilometres – sand –sand and more sand…. Sand and Rocks… main ingredients of the Sahara

Sand and Rocks - main ingredients of the Sahara

Sand and Rocks – main ingredients of the Sahara

The Western Sahara is under Moroccan administration so no special borders had to be passed between the two jurisdictions and Lipstick took the N1 ( and only ) road along the Atlantic coastline via Laayoune , Boujidor , Tamayye crossing the Tropic of Cancer just south of Dakhla after some 620 km.

 

Tamayye crossing the Tropic of Cancer just south of Dakhla

Tamayye crossing the Tropic of Cancer just south of Dakhla

 

There were some really beautiful spots along the Atlantic coastline and the synergy between the Atlantic Ocean and the sandy Western Sahara made most beautiful landscapes never experienced before.

Where dry meets wet….

Where dry meets wet….

Lipstick should be heading South NOT West…

 

Lipstick should be heading South NOT West

Lipstick should be heading South NOT West

Having crossed the Tropic of Cancer and with some spare time on hand – Team Lipstick decided to get all the way through to Mauretania. From other travellers on the internet it was known that the border is rather congested in the morning so Team Lipstick decided to try the late afternoon hours for crossing into Mauretania.

most morocco towns have big statues at their entrance

most morocco towns have big statues at their entrance

Shortly before 5pm the border was reached close to Al-Gargara and team Lipstick braced itself for the border officials on the Moroccan side.

1)      Police officer comes to car and checks the passports

2)      A “fixer” offers his help in taking Team Lipstick through the various procedures

3)      Lipstick and the Fixer go to the Customs office – here the car papers get checked

4)      After the customs office the team needs to go passport control  for clearance to proceed to the final custom clearance office

Here Willy loaded with Carnet de passage goes into office 1 where the papers are checked and from where he is guided to office 2 .

The officer there tells Willy to stay at the car until he will be called

5)      Having stayed in the car for some 20 minutes Willy’s patience is getting close to empty so he approaches another custom official who went back with him to office 2

6)      Now the officer at office 2 happily hammers his stamp onto the exit form for the car and team Lipstick can now proceed to clear customs and drive through boom 1

7)      A final passport control before boom number 2 and a mere 90 minutes later Lipstick passed the final border line towards Norman’s Land

The final question to the last controlling officer was to find out how far the Mauretania Border post would be positioned “About 4km straight ahead “was the precise answer…

Straight ahead in this part of the world means NO ROAD, hundreds of sand tracks, dozens of car wrecks laying scattered in all directions and NO view of any border control building?

Team Lipstick went as straight ahead as possible – nor roads just sand and rocks passing many many car wrecks. There was No building insight at first but after about 10 minutes they saw some Cell Towers on the horizons and some buildings appearing.

Another car was spotted driving about 500m to the left of Lipstick heading also towards these structures on the horizon. Lipstick now left all visible tracks and really went cross country to chase after the other car whose driver might be better in the know about correct directions.

30 minutes later and over rock and sand Lipstick arrived at the Mauretania Border Control and almost similar procedures like experienced before on the Moroccan side took place.

Yes again a “fixer” and again about 6 offices with the show of the hammering stamp and finally something new in that we now also have to visit an insurance bureau to make sure that our car is insured whilst driving through Mauretania.

Almost to the minute 3 hours later the border became history and team Lipstick went ahead inside Mauretania to the chosen destination of Nouadhibou

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