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Old Friday 30th January 2009, 10:11   #1
dantheman
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Info wanted, S Morocco and Western Sahara

Hi, planning a birding trip to the region, as mentioned elsewhere. We're flying to Agadir on the 19th february for a week. We're actually planning on going down through Western Sahara and exploring some of the potential sites down there. We may even try to go into Mauretania (banc d'Auguin reserve), may post asking for info about that one seperately...

Have seen a couple of trip reports, (J Stratford, L Evans) the whole thing seems fine, the political/war situation has apparently settled right down, and the area has a lot of good birding potential.

Any further information/impressions/ sources of trip reports or birding info would be most welcome.

A couple of specific questions -

Apparently you have to inform the british embassy up in Rabat, but that's going the wrong way, so scrub that. Likely to be any probs at the border?

Fuel in Western Sahara - have read that unleaded petrol is hard to come by - anyone have any experience of this? Any idea of how much (ballpark figure) a jerrycan would cost (eg in Agadir/or down in Dhalkla?).

Land mines- under the impression these are all near the border with Mauretania. True??

Cricket Warbler - any source for calls/song to listen too/download on the internet?

That's all I can think of for now,

Thanks in advance, Dan


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Old Friday 30th January 2009, 12:17   #2
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Oh, another one...

Apparently there's a big supermarket on the south side of Agadir. Any idea of how long it's likely to stay open until in the evening?? As it would be great if we could stock up on provisions/water before heading south ...
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Old Friday 30th January 2009, 19:43   #3
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Western Sahara is super, friendly people and very relaxed. Big big distance between anywhere mind you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Apparently you have to inform the british embassy up in Rabat, but that's going the wrong way, so scrub that. Likely to be any probs at the border?
Which border? If you mean into Western Sahara, there isn't a border, as the Moroccans don't recognise it. Passports are checked at various points, if with a vehicle this can get logged, etc, but no problems. I have never, anywhere in the world, registered with the British Embassy and I did not even think about it here. With regard the border with Mauretania, I didn't cross it in the end, but my initial plan did include this. The visa was available at the border at that time and did not require any papers from the British Embassy, as best I know no papers are needed now.

Visa regulations to enter Mauritania are famous for changing frequently, especially as to where the visa is available. Websites/information sources frequently contradict each other, largely as the situation does change. However, regardless what you hear, visas are almost always available at the border with little hassle.

Check Lonely Planet thorn tree for latest information from people travelling now.

Sahara Overland reports as of january 2009:

14-day visas are now issued at the Morocco-Mori border again for 20 euros. Extensions for up to a month available in Nouakchott at N18 5.4' W15 58.2' for at least 5000 oogs and, I hear, also in Nouadhibou police station.

Single and multiple entry visas for 30 days are available in Rabat (not Casa) at:
6, Rue Thami Lamdawar
Rabat-Souissi
N3358.8' W0649.6'
Tel:00212-37656679 / 00212-7656678 /
Fx: 00212-37656680




Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Fuel in Western Sahara - have read that unleaded petrol is hard to come by - anyone have any experience of this? Any idea of how much (ballpark figure) a jerrycan would cost (eg in Agadir/or down in Dhalkla?).
Don't know, I was without car, but there are petrol stations at intervals every so often along the north-south road and stacks of vehicles (relatively) doing this route, everything from 'normal' cars through to vintage cars and up to your standard overlander tracks and 4x4s ...so I suppose fuel is not such an issue whilst in Western Sahara. Dakhla is a good sized town and I'd be a little surprised if fuel is hard to get.

However, I understand you are traveling with a rented car - I would check that your hire company permits the car to be taken into Western Sahara - if permission is needed and you don't have it, I'd guess you will not make it through the first road checkpoint.


If you crossed into Mauritanea, carrying fuel would become a necessary, but there is no way in the world your car rent company would permit their car to go into Mauritanea. So I guess you need not worry about this. Regular transport into the country can be arranged in Dhakhla to the border and beyond, a car is not really necessary.



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Land mines- under the impression these are all near the border with Mauretania. True??
Mined areas are in areas you are unlikely to go - unless you're planning major treks into the open desertlands east of Dakhla, etc. Did a lot of birding in heavily mined areas in Mozambique and although it is most unlikely to be of relevance in Western Sahara, if you are in an area you consider likely to have been mined, walk on established tracks, eg where cars have recently passed, failing that on camel tracks. Let the wife walk in front, a hundred metres should be sufficient.


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Apparently there's a big supermarket on the south side of Agadir. Any idea of how long it's likely to stay open until in the evening?? As it would be great if we could stock up on provisions/water before heading south ...
Hmm, can't really help here, but the towns in the south, especially Laayoune and Dakhla, were well-stocked, least to my standards.
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Old Friday 30th January 2009, 20:18   #4
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Incidently, if you only out there a week, you'd be pushing it a tad to get to Banc d'Auguin and back, allowing for birding at all sites in between. Might be worth concentrating just only the Western Sahara, plenty of kilometres there to keep you happy
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Old Friday 30th January 2009, 20:23   #5
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Quote:
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Incidently, if you only out there a week, you'd be pushing it a tad to get to Banc d'Auguin and back, allowing for birding at all sites in between. Might be worth concentrating just only the Western Sahara, plenty of kilometres there to keep you happy
Night driving.... Agree, we will have to see. Would also be nice to enjoy the birds in a semi-awake state. We are considering scrubbing S Morocco itself almost completely (we was at Oued souss/ Massa 2 years ago), it's tempting to go for it .... but 2 or even 3 weeks would be much better, next time maybe!
Of course we may not have the time to allow for public transport to get into Mauretania, and I guess taking the car across ourselves could be a risk too far, whether the hire car company knew it or not ....

Anyway, cheers Jos, excellent. Will check out that link. Trying to cover all eventualities as we know it's going to be 'fun' trying to achieve a lot in a limited time period. Being prepared and all that.....
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Last edited by dantheman : Friday 30th January 2009 at 20:34. Reason: extra
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Old Friday 30th January 2009, 20:30   #6
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
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Night driving....

Ah, the style I like.

Actually not bad to do the big desert legs by night - there is naff all to see during the day - flat desert for hundreds of kilometres, a bird every hour or so, usually a Hoopoe Lark, which you should see at Laayoune and Dhakla anyhow. Might get lucky at night, maybe some mammal or something might cross.


Just keep your fingers crossed they don't do one of their 'let's close the border for 24 hours' jokes



PS not my spelling of Dhaklha changes with every post, just getting you used to how it will be
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