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Mauritania Iron Ore Train Tour (January 2023)

Mauritania Iron Ore Train Tour (January 2023)

Join me in January 2023 to ride the Mauritania Iron Ore Train!

After having it on my bucket list for years, in 2022 I finally got to hitchhike the iron ore train across the Sahara desert. You can see that video below.

The good news is that I’ll be going back with 20 people in January 2023, so COME JOIN ME!

Quick Details

Dates: January 25th – Feb 1st, 2023

Price: $2099 for 8 Days / 7 nights

How to book: a 10% non-refundable deposit of $210 is required to secure your spot. Just email me on business@lifeofjord.com or send me a message on Instagram @thelifeofjord

This is one of the coolest trips I’ve ever been on. The whole itinerary is amazing, not just the train experience but also everything leading up to it.

As soon as I got back and began posting the journey to my Instagram, I received messages asking how to join next year. Well the good news is that in partnership with my friend Johnny Ward (@onestep4ward) – we’re doing another trip next year!

Ready to book? Go here

What is the Ore Train in Mauritania!?

So first, I should say this is quite a hardcore experience. It’s uncomfortable, it’s filthy, it’s disorganized, there’s a chance the train never arrives, it’s in the middle of the Sahara desert, it’s hot during the day, and freezing during the night, it’s loud, and despite all that, no BECAUSE of all that, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

Long story short? The longest train in the world runs through Mauritania, through the depths of the Sahara desert. It goes to the iron ore mines in the centre of the Sahara, then returns, full of Iron Ore and runs all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, to the port town of Nouadhibou.

We will meet the train at the halfway point, literally climb onto one of the carriages, dig a little whole in the iron ore to rest in, and ride that baby 400km (250 miles) through the night, under the stars, until we reach the Atlantic some point the next morning.

That’s me! You sit atop the iron ore and try (and most likely fail) to get comfortable for the night

The Full Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival.

Arrive in Nouakchott anytime. I’ll be there at least 1 day early.

Group dinner to see old friends who have traveled with me before and new crazy people who like to spend their vacation time in places like Nouakchott! Alcohol is strictly illegal. But we may even find a little bar from our friends ‘in-the-know’. Sssssh.

DAY 2: Nouakchott tour

It’s our first full day in Mauritania’s capital. Culture shock. This is what travel is all about. We’ll check out the city, a museum, the administrative center.

Lunch on the beach and a visit to the local fish market, with thousands of colourful boats. One last dinner & sleep in civilization before we head off to the desert.

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DAY 3: Terjit Oasis

We hit the road today. 450km, so 5 or 6 hours inwards into the Sahara. We’ll reach one of Mauritania’s absolute gems, the Terjit Oasis. Palm groves, cooling water. Like something from a cartoon as a kid. Here we’ll bed down in our tented accommodation, have dinner under the stars and soak up just where we are in the world.

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DAY 4: Vallee Blance, Pass Tifoujar, Toungad and Mhairett Oasis and Azougui

An action-packed day. We start with hitting up the White Valley, via the epic Tifoujar mountain pass. Reaching the Oasis of Toungad, where we’ll stop for lunch. Before heading deeper into the Mhairett Oasis later in the afternoon.

Soon we’ll reach the Ancient Dynasty of Azougui where we can visit the ruins and chill in the Palm Groves. Then back to our tented accommodation for the night.

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DAY 5: Chinguetti (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

First, a little-known secret of Mauritania, the Rupestrian Paintings in Agrour Cave dating back THOUSANDS of years. Then we’ll move on to Fort Sangenne.

Up next is Islam’s 7th Holiest City, and a World Heritage Site, Chinguetti. We’ll visit the Medina, the Ancient City, followed by the ancient Mosque and library of the old city.

We’ll have sunset in the sand dunes of Chinguetti and sleep just outside the town itself.

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DAY 6: The Main Event.

What can I say? Today we make our way towards the depths of the Sahara, to Choum, and the train tracks that mark our pick-up spot.

After lunch, we’ll prepare ourselves. Lined up, and relaxing. Waiting for the noise of the train approaching. At this point, we’ll hustle. Get your bags ready, your calf muscles prepped. Once the train pulls in, we’ll be hopping up the carriage, 4 to a carriage, to claim our spot for the night. Digging holes in the corners to bed down in. Photo time, earphone time, goggle time. It’s a beautiful, winding, loud, and epic journey through the Sahara. I don’t want to say too much, you’ll experience it soon enough. Just epic.

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DAY 7: Arrival in Nouadhibou

Early arrival into the port town of Nouadhibou. Here we’ll have an early check-in to our hotel for a WELL EARNED shower. You’ll be filthy from the iron ore. I mean filthy!

If we have time after the train, we’ll pay a visit to the old mining district, have lunch on the Bay of Nouadhibou, and dinner & overnight in the hotel. And maybe another secret bar to celebrate. Watch this space!

DAY 8: That’s all folks. Hometime.

That’s the end of the line. For the intrepid, you’ll overland north to Western Sahara. For those with return flights from Nouakchott, we have a bus transfer back to the Capital City, it takes about 6 hours or so. Depending on your flight time, you can stay an extra night or leave the same day, we can help organise that stuff for you.

What about Traveling During COVID-19?

Personally, I think we have to learn to live with COVID, much like the flu. It’s time to try to grasp back some form of normalcy. Traveling to Mauritania during COVID doesn’t require vaccination (although personally I am double vaccinated already). It does require either proof of vaccination, or a PCR test, however.

What’s Included in the Mauritania Tour and What’s not?

INCLUDED:

  • All transport within the itinerary
  • Airport transfer upon arrival
  • All accommodation for the 7 nights (well 6 nights, plus a night on top of a pile of Iron Ore on a moving train!)
  • Breakfast each day
  • All meals outside the capital city
  • All activities and entrance fees
  • Local guides
  • A Western Guide throughout (me!)
  • Price based on per-person sharing (but don’t worry, you can come solo and I’ll pair you up, most people who travel with me come solo).
  • Travel Bragging rights for the rest of your life

NOT INCLUDED:

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Mauritania Tour Dates and Pricing

The dates are January 25th – Feb 1st 2023.

Please note: we drive back from Nouadihbou on the morning of Feb 1st, so we won’t reach Nouakchott until the afternoon. So only fly late that night, or the next day. We can arrange a hotel for that night if required.

The total cost is $2099USD.

  • 10% non-refundable deposit to secure your spot
  • Full payment due 60 days before Day 1. That means full payment is due before November 23rd 2022.

Ready to book? email me on business@lifeofjord.com for the deposit details. You can also message me on Instagram @thelifeofjord

FAQs about My Mauritania Tour

Is It Safe to Travel to Mauritania?

Perfectly safe. Islamaphobia is rife, but the people of Mauritania welcome foreigners with open arms. Big smiles, offers of local tea, wide-eyed smiles. For any of you guys who have been to places like Yemen before, expect the same kind of warmth. It’s beautiful.

That being said, many of the older generation in Mauritania have outdated views on women traveling alone and on LGBTQ issues. Everyone is welcome to travel with me, but we would keep our partner choices personal. One day the world will catch up, I’m sure.

Can Americans/Canadians/Irish etc Visit Mauritania?

Mauritania is open to every nationality. Previously UK citizens need to quarantine, but no longer. So now EVERYONE CAN COME!

Can Woman Travel to Mauritania?

100% yes. But much easier to travel with a tour group and guide (like us!)

What about getting a visa to Mauritania?

It used to be a nightmare when I first went. Now it’s available in the airport for 55 euro or $60USD. Yaaaay!

How Would I Get To Mauritania to Start the Trip?

You can fly directly into the Capital City, Nouakchott. Normally you fly via either Paris or Casablanca. Tunis and Istanbul are also possible. If you need help with flights, let me know, it’s pretty easy.

What about refunds if I can’t go?

The 10% deposit is non-refundable, and full payment is required 60 days before the trip starts (so mid-November). There will be no refunds of payments made after that date as we will need to pay local suppliers.

What if there is a problem with the Iron Ore Train?

The train runs everyday, but there are no tickets to hop on board. So there is always a chance that the train doesn’t come! This has never happened with my guy, but just to be aware if there is a problem with the train, it’s out of our control and we’ll take other transport to continue our trip. Rest assured, this should ‘t happen, don’t worry!

What is the accommodation/level of luxury like?

This is an adventure trip. Like real adventure. We’ll be staying in tented accommodation in the desert and basic guest houses in the city, and the night on the train is as basic as it gets! Wifi will be tough to come by, if at all available, and hot water would be a welcome surprise. Certainly don’t expect it. If you want adventure, you’re in the right place. If you’re after what G Adventures or Intrepid Travel like to call ‘Adventure Trips’ then this kind of trip isn’t quite for you. No shame in that 

2 thoughts on “Mauritania Iron Ore Train Tour (January 2023)”

  1. Hi, I saw your Tik Tok about the wine marathon in France. Please share the details on how to travel with you on that one?
    Phindi

    1. Unfortunately I’m not running that trip this year, but maybe again in the future.

      For this year it’s only the Mauritania iron ore train group trip.

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