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You think you've got problems? Try getting across the Sahara Desert sometime!

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Crossing the world's largest desert by plane; not very glamorous
The train grinds slowly along the Mauritanian border with Morocco, hauling iron ore and a few raggedy travelers through this part of the Sahara, riddled with land mines. "Stay close," our guide warns us. By the light of the moon, we toss our packs (laptops and all) and then jump off the slow moving train into the cool desert night. For the next four hours, we follow our guide through the vast expanse of the Sahara. Not too close, though. If he missteps, I might be sprayed with shrapnel from a landmine. Finally, exhausted but alive, we reach the first border post on the Moroccan side.

The Sahara, the biggest desert in the world
My daydream of crossing the Sahara Desert is so vivid as I sit her in my comfortable hotel in Dakar, Senegal. The brave few who have made this crossing write many colorful stories about their adventures. There are tales that the guards at the Moroccan border will hold you for a few days, take a bribe, stamp your passport and then maybe, just maybe, they will let you join the next caravan northward. First, you have to hope that the caravan is not already full! Then you've got some bigger problems. If you find room on a caravan you can look forward to several more days of driving through the relentless Saharan sun, and temperatures that reach 50 degrees centigrade (120 F). It is illegal and dangerous, of course, but with a good guide and lots of money for bribes, it can be done

What about other ways across the desert? We already looked into the Mali to Algeria option and decided that Algeria is too dangerous. Libya, Chad and the Sudan don't really seem like safe options either. Supposedly, it's only 52 days from Timbuktu to Zagora, Morocco, through the desert by camel. Uh, when are we supposed to be in Egypt?

After much investigation, we did what any sane minded traveler would do. We "flew the friendly skies!" Next stop: Casablanca, Morocco! Catch us there soon!


p.s. - Please e-mail me at


Team - Farewell to Mali: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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