The experiences of the last two days had been the uneventful experiences of this adventure so far. And all the unpleasant experiences that happened in Mauritania. And this cut across the major cities in the country and their two major borders. The unpleasant experiences were not due to anything act of God or issues beyond my control but entirely the wickedness and cruel of men to me.
I have visited over 75 countries around the world, and I can categorically say that Mauritania is the worst of all the countries I have experienced.
The people here are unfriendly, they are mean, and all they think about when they see you as a foreigner is what that can grab, forcefully, deceitfully or cunningly from you.
I visited the two major cities in the country, Nouakchott & Nouadhibou, and also passed through the two most popular border crossings in the country and terrible experiences were all the same in all these places…
I later learnt that the country re-denominated its currency some months back by knocking off one zero from the exchange rate. An example, the euro used to change for 1euro = 400um. When they redenominated, it became 1euro = 40.
However, the whole country still fraudulently sells things to foreigners at the old rate, thereby charging you ten times more for purchases. And this cuts across all aspects of their economy in the patronised hotel, restaurant, fuel station and government agencies.
At the border, the immigration, Police, Custom and other security agency there will refuse to engage you but compel you to go through their touts, whom they use to defraud unsuspecting foreigners.
And this experience was not with the security agencies at the border alone. And it cuts across all aspects of the economy I interacted with. At a restaurant, hotel, or fuel station, it was all the same. And all through, I just kept wondering why everything is so expensive here.
This morning I rode from Nouakchott to Ross, a border station where I took the five-minute ferry crossing to St Louis in Senegal. When I got to Rosso, as usual, the immigration and customer ignored me completely and kept directing me to go and engage their tout.
A ferry crossing that was supposed to cost 40 euro, they wanted to collect 400 euro from me. I refused, and they were almost trying to threaten me with their guns, and when I said I was going back, they refused that I couldn’t leave with my bike since it had already entered their premises.
The Police, Immigration, and Customs all worked together as a cartel to extort and make life hell for foreigners. In the heat of all these problems I had no choice but to part with $300.
To me Mauritania is the worst shit-hole anyone can be and a place I never want to visit again. Even before the final episode of the day-light robbery,
I didn’t take any pictures during the whole 200km ride from the capital Nouakchott to Rosso, not because I didn’t want to take a shot, but because there was nothing worth capturing.
All you see are dead carcases of camels, goats, donkeys etc., littering the sides of the road as if that is the only place there is a desert.
All through over 1,400KM of riding through the Sahara in Morocco, I didn’t see any dead animal or their carcases, but under 600KM of desert in Mauritania, death is all you see littering their roads.
In all my write-ups, I usually don’t dwell on the negative sides of things am always on the positive because I believe that is what we should shine the light on.
But if I keep mute on these terrible experiences in Mauritania, it will be a disservice to humanity, and it may continue to happen to other people, and coupled with the fact that this whole scam is perpetrated in all aspects of the economy on foreigners.
However, the whole country still fraudulently sells things to foreigners at the old rate. They are charging you ten times more for purchases. This cuts across all aspects of their economy. I experienced it in the hotel, restaurants, fuels station and government agencies.
For me, Mauritania is not a country I ever want to visit again for anything. Honestly, in my opinion, it’s next to hell.