This morning, we left the well-deserved four star hotel in Kinitra, Morocco and headed off on the 15 mile journey to the Mauritania Embassy so we could apply for our visa’. On arrival, it was evident all would not go to plan as there were already approx. 100 people crowded around and in the small office which had no windows. There was no organisation or queuing and the crowd of applicants soon began to fight and argue with each other as to who was next in line. The Mauritania Embassy is renowned for being busy and considering they hold the overland key to West Africa, this came as no surprise.
As I have become a custom to some West Africa visa applications I tried to source a fixer within the crowd who could help process our applications more quickly. Once the applicants could see a money making opportunity they all wanted to help and with Dai’s advice we held back. I queued for most of the morning that was until 1100 where I and some others were pushed out of the office and the door slammed behind us. The embassy had closed until the following day. This was a huge blow as it could potentially put us back a week if we dont submit our applications before Thursday.
Dai suggested we applied for our Mali visas in the mean time because the embassy was next door and would mean the day could still prove to be a result. The Mali Embassy was worryingly empty and actually appeared closed, however to our surprise, within two hours we had obtained our Mali visas.
Word has it amongst other travellers at the Mauritania Embassy that Mali is a no go area at the moment as an Al Qaeda group have taken other the Northern and Central Territories and may be attempting a coop in the South which would mean complete control. This news is of great concern but nothing we wasn’t aware of. I actually heard this news some months ago and suspect it’s just still lingering.
That evening after searching for a local campsite we finally found one down on the West Coast just outside Rabat. It’s the best Moroccan campsite I have stayed at though I came out of the shower more dirty than I entered.
We have decided to set camp for two to three nights and attempt another stressful visit to the Mauritanian Embassy where we may or may not be successful. If successful, we should have our visas by Thursday afternoon (in two days’ time). If not, then the trip is in jeopardy as this already puts me two days behind schedule.
This evening the Mosquitos have begun to bite so I think it’s time to begin the course of anti malaria tablets – should have brought the net!
Now I sleep to the tunes of yapping dogs and buzzing mosquitos as the sea mist lies low across the campsite.