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Safety levels Morocco to Senegal, part of our RTW journey

skottandshawna

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Armchair Traveler
 
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Joined: August 9th, 2010

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Tags: Mauritania, safety, travel, africa, warnings
  • Added on: May 5th, 2011
Hey all,

Okay, so my wife and I are hoping to travel overland Morocco - Mauritania - Senegal - Mali - Burkina Faso - Ghana...through our research of the first leg of the journey we are seeing warnings like:

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=180000

and

http://wikitravel.org/en/Mauritania see the safety section...

So, when you see warnings like this, how does it affect your itinerary? Do you see these warnings as over cautious, or are they fairly accurate.

I tend to believe that these warnings are sometimes over cautious, but I don't want this to come to bite me in the ass....I am not cool with my RTW journey being interrupted by a kidnapping. My wife takes these warnings a bit more seriously, and perhaps she is right....

I understand there is always some risk with travel, but it isn't worth it to either of us to risk our lives just to say we have "done it".

So what do you know about travel through Mauritania? Have you personally done it? Do these warnings give you cause for concern?

Thank you so much for your help,

S&S
http://www.getupandglobe.com

2wanderers

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Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: May 5th, 2011
It would certainly be enough to make me rethink a trip through Mauritania.

In general, when faced with travel warnings, I look for personal experiences of travelers. (And recent travelers: I could give you a glowing report of Syria, but I'm not sure that makes it a good idea to visit right now.)

If people who are traveling through the region report the main road is well-guarded and unlikely to be a problem, I tend to take their word over a government warning.

The specifics of the Mauritania warnings suggest to me that there are real problems and lawlessness along major through-routes. That's enough that I'd be rethinking a trip to one that doesn't require passing through.

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: May 5th, 2011
I've seen a lot of traveller warnings, and most are vague at best.

This appears to be a very detailed laundry list of a country with a serious security issue.

I would investigate much more closely before I made plans for this country.

Andromeda

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Joined: March 23rd, 2008

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  • Added on: May 6th, 2011
I agree with others in that recent travelers are often the best source of information. I'd recommend posting this in the Africa branch and checking out the Mauritania branch on Thorn Tree to see what sort of info you can get.

That said, if you're dead set on heading there while we tend to shy away as independent travelers often a tour can be a good way to get safety in numbers in dodgy areas (or at least figure out what the current travel conditions are by reading the itinerary alone etc). I don't usually join them, but it can sometimes be the best way to find a group of people to travel through a questionable area with you.

Wildcat1982

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Joined: September 11th, 2008

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  • Added on: May 6th, 2011
I am a long term volunteer who's lived in senegal nearly two years. I've been wondering the same question myself as I wanted to go to Morocco via Mauritania after my service. Based on online research and speaking with volunteers who used to live in Mauritania, I don't think the risk is worth the trip for me (single girl, physically not able to blend-in with the locals in Western Sahara or RIM). I also wanted to do this mainly for the journey; I was never too keen on tourism in Mauritania so I decided it's just not worth it...especially since I'd be spending most of the trip in a hot, sweaty, beat up car. I'm just going to fly.

I think with the recent news events Mauritania might become even more inhospitable in the upcoming year. Due to a recent incident with "al-queda" vandals at the Mali/Mauritania/ Senegal border, all of our volunteers who lived in the north of Senegal has been evacuated/relocated.

That being said, a Senegal volunteer recently completed the journey with success and hundreds of western tourists (mainly French/European) cross into Mauritania daily with no problems.

That's my two cents. Hope this helps.
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halfnine

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Joined: December 5th, 2005
Location: London or Chicago

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  • Added on: May 6th, 2011
I can't speak for Mauritania but generally I look and see what the tour groups and independent travelers are doing. If tour groups are going then generally there is a safe way for me to travel independently as well. When tour groups stop going to locations then it is certainly an area for concern and further review. Similar thought on independent travelers. If independent travelers have been going who have similar opinions to me (just have to search their previous posts and see whether your previous travel experiences line up or not) that's also a positive affirmation. Finally, I find it best to completely ignore expat advice when it comes to safety as I find it varies too wildly to be of any consistent use.



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