Sat April 01 2023  —  e-mail Manfred

Atar, from beach to desert.

Flag Mauritania

Thursday, December 08 2005

1 year, 4 month, 16 days

Atar, Mauritania

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 41,018km

Trekking 305km

Ferry 694km

Train 150km

Other cars 5.336km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > africa > mauritania > 20051208-atar

The ocean/the Atlantic.

Map: Journey St.louis, via beach and dunes to Atar.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

After toooooooooo long in Zebrabar (a month), we are happy to be back on the road and soon happy to be back on the beach.

We leave St.Louis and Senegal via Diama on 24th of November.

Cristian, the Swiss who we became friends with, and his Mitsubishi are with us.

We don't want speed, just relax, inhale the air of the ocean, spend the evenings watching the stars.

It takes us 4 days to get to Nouakchott (less then 300km).

Driving the beach has never been better.

Hasna and the LandRover on the beach
Hasna, the sand, the Landy, the sea.
Hasna on top of Land Rover
happy we are on the way.
ms and Hasna two vans and the ocean
We are on the beach in Mauritania. Some films on the beach.

ms and the 2 vans on the dune
Setting up camp.
2 vans at night
night falls.
Shipwreck and ms
A shipwreck, attracting attention.
ms and guitar, Landy with Austrian flag
Sometimes I even get my guitar out.
Camp fire.
You get used to a campfire, quickly.
Hasna and Cristrian looking at the days pictures.
Evaluating the days photography.

6x6 land Rover on beach, Mauritania.

back to top

After Nouakchott, north the beach again

Loading up with food and water and organising a visa for Mali (the old I took out in Rabat is about to expire) and insurance for Mauritania takes a day.

I even manage to put the Ile-Gorée page onto the Internet. Not an easy task considering the speed of the connection in the Netland, a CyberCafé, fancy, held in tech-colors and design.

We leave Nouakchott on the the evening of the 29th November.

As night falls we pass the usual 3 check points (police, military, customs), only smiling faces, no documents asked, no hassle. They wish a pleasant journey, seem to be happy you came to visit their beautiful country. I am moved, I want to descend the vehicle and embrace the guy for the pleasant chat.

They're in power and happily content about it. "The military is getting things straight. Not all at once, but some. Nothing has been straight in this country, faked documents, number plates, all fraudulent..." Alex, a Belge Muslim convert in Nouakchott. He runs the restaurant Bruxelle, is married to a Mauritanian.

There was a clampdown on alcohol 4 days before we arrived. Restaurants, serving beer, would loose their licence. So I am looking at a (maybe 3 weeks) period without (Angst).

Those in power are showing off with their intentions to put things right. Their popularity is soaring.

Apparently the overthrown president Maaouya Ould Taya, had intentions to skip the "Islamic" and replace it with "Democratic" from "Republic of Mauritania" (under US influence!?, he had also embraced the Iraq war). "2 weeks later he was gone." explains Alex. "Islamic" is the property that makes Mauritania.

But democratic is the way things will be in the future according to the new military government of Col. Ould Mohamed Vall. A path of presidential and parliamentary elections has been outlined and given a go-ahead by the EU, the Francophonie and even the US. A French embassy official tells me over a bottle of cold Bandol Rosé (Provence) and some French gateau de pomme.

We met them on Sunday on the beach while driving to Nouakchott. La vie est belle on the beach facing the Atlantic ocean.

After Nouakchott, the next day the beach is ours again.

Hub bearing repair
Repair starts in the afternoon.
Hub bearing repair
Morning: Wind changes.

But a hub bearing, rear left, starts making problems. In the sand and the wind we succeed changing it, but it takes a while. Moral is down.

The next day, after success. The sea is flat, the wind has calmed, the low tide even further away (wind has pushed it out). We drive north with 60-80km/h.

A flock of several hundreds of birds goes up in the air as we attempt to drive through them. Air is clear again, light is good, colours are warm. Sunset is red, comme il faut, how it should be.

Cristian on the beach.
Dutch challenge.
Dutch Challenge, Amsterdam - Banjul.
Cris and Hasna , tracks on the beach, flat sea
Tracks on the beach, the Dutch came through.
Birds go up as we drive through them
Like smoke in the air.
deep red sunset

Hasna is lucky catching fish. 6 on one day, 7 the other day. Even before, we have found fish, "Capitain", 3Kilo a piece. "When they're too heavy they come to the shore to die". Some, still move, must have come onto the beach just minutes ago. Fresh, of the most delicious fish, and we did not even have to catch it, let alone buy it.

So life is sweet and cheap while on the beach. Tiéboudienne (Senegalese rice, vegetables and fish), or "poisson grillé".

Discussing la peche
discussing: how to?
Pirogue at Sunset
Pirogue leaves us.
Cleaning fish
cleaning takes only minutes.
Lucky, catch of the day
Catch of the day, 7.

back to top

Hasna's first try ever on a snow board.

Can't give it a pass, has to try everything...

First try on snowboard in the dunes
First try on snowboard in the dunes
1st try.
First try on snowboard in the dunes
First try on snowboard in the dunes
on a snow board..
First try on snowboard in the dunes
not even on snow.
First try on snowboard in the dunes
but on sand.

back to top

Last night near the beach

A dune full of shells
Last night/evening.
A dune full of shells
on a dune full of shells.
ms and Hasna on a dune full of shells
near the beach/ocean...

Cris taking last pictures of his Mitsubishi bus in front of the flat sea
Cris knows that too....

Tomorrow we leave the sea,

the ocean, the Atlantic.

For the desert/then Mali.

Many month ahead without the cool breeze.

The natural humidity, the fresh fish, the swim.

The easy driving....

Land Rover on dune of mussels
Cristian captures these moments?
Photographer on the edge of the desert.
Photographer on the edge of the desert?
Hasna, dance in front of setting sun
Sunset dance.

back to top

Desert first days.

Photographer in the desert.
Hasna another Photographer.

5th of December 2005.

From the Atlantic ocean we go east. Deliberately we choose where.

There must be some passage. The unknown, untouched parts is what we are interested in.

And we accomplish an amazing journey, drive tracks that where not taken before.

But some work needs to be done occationally.

Land Rover bogged down.
Deep sand and top heavy Land Rover.
with shovels and jack.
You cannot do that in summer.
Free again.
Does not take 20 minutes.

Going for it, in the desert.
2 vans/the start.
Hasna on a dune. Alone in the sand.
Hasna, not sure about our undertaking.
Our path in the dunes.
the path we take, not taken before. See Film.
Mitsubishi goes down a steep dune.
but double.
Hasna, happy or not,
Hasna, happy or not?.
ms-desert. Adrenalin.
Content, with all the adrenalin.

6x6 Land Rover goes down a high dune, Mauritania.

The evening Hasna is baking bread for the morning.
Boys, you wanna have bread in the morn'?
Sahara untouched.
The morning. Sahara untouched.
Hasna on a dune
Baby ...

Another sunset in the desert, Land, Hasna, Cris infron of setting sun.
Another sunset in the desert.
Another morning, 2 vans and ms
Another morning.
Another morning, different camp, ms.
Different Camp.
The photographer again, ms.

back to top

Disaster strikes - not really.

We managed incredible things with our vehicles. Cross the desert from west to east. Past Akjoujt we enter the sand again. All too confident.

Just when you think you have seen it all, when you don't take the risk serious any more, then it happens.

Cris later recalls: "I bogged down in deep sand myself, was about to get the sand ladders out, thinking 'What will they think that I got stuck again?'. But then, when I looked up I said to myself, 'What have they done?'".

Nothing really has happened. The Landy went down very slowly. In the back all stuff was thrown about (like the fridge/that came loose) and it took a while till everything was calm.

But noone hurt. 3 hours later the Landy was back on its wheels.

on the side
on the side.
on the side
unloading roof.
unload everything
unload all.
Cris has a plan
Cris has a plan.
With jack and shovel
With jack and shovel.
tyres and sand to support.
Tyres and sand as support.
and pull
And pull.
and pull
Equipment works.
back on 6 wheels
Back on 6 wheels.
A lot of stuff.
A lot of stuff.
It seems alright.
It stands, we talk. There is a film.
Checking the engine
Check the engine, Cris smiles.
it works
It works.
All there, not even the mirror broken.
Not even the mirror broken.
Relaod everything, put the bash on and we go.
Put the bash on and we go..

We talk.

back to top

Final pics, before Atar.

After the adventure. We reach Atar.

Evening the 8th of December.

In the Camping Bab Sahara, I manage to get my hands onto two bottles of red and start working on the page.

Hasna and Land Rover, sandy pists
Long hair she has got.
ms and 2 vans, Cris looking out his Mitsubishi
Heading to Atar. There is work to do/a story to be told. > journey > africa > mauritania > 20051208-atar

back to top