Posted by: Diema Village Ventures | October 26, 2012

Short description: Driving overland to Mali

I thought you may be interested to know of the difficulties that face
us when we are driving overland to Mali…not easy at all..

The Journey from Kiffa to Aioun, the last region in Mauritania before
entering Mali, just has to be one of the worst journeys of the whole

Its approximately 215km from Kiffa to Aioun so you would think, 2
hours would be sufficient to make such a journey in normal fact it takes us minimum of 4 hours Why!

Its a journey which is very problematic, there are no good roads for
the time being, although the Mauritanian Government are trying to
build a new road surface, floods and heavy traffic continue to create
major obstacles.

Night or day its the same problem, no road only sand track or ancient
road with giant potholes in it, some up 14inches deep, enough to
destroy a tire and rim or even break an axle on your vehicle.
The heat is on and you are driving with windows open, 4×4 vehicles are
racing by leaving you to eat their dirt and sand which fills the air.
Many times people get out of their cars and trucks looking totally
different to how they did when they set of on their trial by land,
orange and red hair, with same coloured eyebrows and beard if they
have one..amazingly funny to see from a distance but not funny at all
if you are the one driving.

Wearing a turban helps keep the sand from getting into your ears nose
and throat, but that’s if you can stand the extra heat.

Then there are animals who love to keep you on your toes, or at least
your eyes ever alert, donkeys are some of the worst, they see a car
coming and walk into it or worse still, just stand in the centre of
the road so you have to stop.
Many donkeys and calves are killed by frustrated drivers travelling
too fast and unable to stop in time, not only killing the animal but
destroying their vehicle in many cases.

Apart from donkeys we have cows,sheep and goats, who walk on the roads
day and night becoming hazards to all.
There are trucks broken down anywhere and everywhere having suffered
burst tires and worse, unable to move from the centre of the
tracks..and with no back lights its easy to drive into the back of
Laws for vehicles in some African countries are non existent, trucks
with one sidelight in the night, may seem from a distant to be a
Its really no mean feat driving through Africa and especially on that
dreaded track from Kiffa to Aioun, who knows maybe next year the road
will be finished and we can get to our destination without obstacles
and major issues on the roads…Here’s hoping.


  1. I read today about the abduction of a European in Diema. Please write to tell me you’re safe. I also hope it wasn’t one of your colleagues, but I fear for the worst.

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