The border crossing from Mauritania to Senegal should be one of the worst borders in West Africa. We had the border crossing Rosso or Diama to choose from and after some reading on the world wide web we decided to go for Diama as it should be calmer then the Rosso border. Our previous border crossings was anything but calm. Me getting hit by cars two times at the border to Morocco. Our passports almost blew away in the strong desert wind crossing the border to Mauritania, a procedure that took us tree hours. Calm was what we were after now.
Finally reaching the border it was not what we expected. There was just no people to be seen. No long lines of folks waiting to cross. After biking the sandy roads in a nature reserve on our way to the border without a single car in sight we had almost started to dream about an easy crossing but didn’t dare to hope. Step one was pass control. Since the numerous gendarmerie posts along the way have eaten up all our passport copies we had no copy left to give them which mean we had to wait. They were having lunch. All of them at the same time. We waited for maybe 15 minutes and then someone looked at our passport for 10 seconds and directing us to the next building, the police. No line there either. They took our passport and went into another room for a while and we got them back with stamps declaring we had left the country.
We paddle over the bridge, which is a history in itself. Full of goods people seem to left there because they were declined to take them with them over the border. Everything from piles of fishing nets, new sofas to bags of who knows what. On the other side we had to pay a fee for using the bridge before they let us over. We payed 10 euro and when asking for a recite the guy writing them was praying and no one else of the tree workers knew how to do that. We tried to complain, claiming our recite but they got really angry and said they were nice letting us pay for only one person instead of two since we were on bicycles. That explanation was just bullshit and so is corruption and we don’t like to contribute to that. But we already had spent enough time in the burning sun that day and decided not to argue anymore and continue. After convincing them we wouldn’t make a big deal out of it they open the gate for us.
Finally over on the Senegal side. It was time to get our Visas. Also really smooth, we didn’t pay anything to anyone, there was no line just the two of us and it went super quick. We got photographed, they took our fingerprints (I scared them when I took of my bandage with my hurt finger) and that was it. A guy with civil clothes and headphones in his ear from his phone approached us saying we should take this way, pointing us in one direction. We stated that we are going this way, but thank you anyway. After a discussion we realized he was with the custom services and he wanted to search our panniers. We unpacked almost everything while the man asked what everything was. And I mean everything. “What is this?” “It´s a case for my glasses…” “And this?” “A flashlight…” “This?” “binocular”. If we would have had something with us we weren’t suppose to have we could just have said it was something else because this guy had no clue. He seemed happy with us showing all our stuff even though he was looking in the binocular more then in our panniers after showing him that. Luckily he didn’t figure out how to use it and we got to keep it. All this took us exactly an hour. Way smoother and faster then we expected.
We celebrated by biking to St Louis, checked into a hotel and drank beer.
Per spent the next three days in the bathroom. A great reminder of the meal he shared with the military the day before. Read the post about what lead up to a meal invitation here.