Dakar Challenge – Tan-Tan to Hotel Barbas via Boujdour

So, after a nice night in Tan-Tan, we were heading south right into the Western Sahara.

Our goal before crossing the border into Mauritania was to get to the Hotel Barbas, generally the only decent hotel within sensible driving distance of the border crossing at Guerguerat, but we weren’t quite far enough south yet to make it in one day – hence we needed somewhere to stay for one more night on the way.

As such, we randomly picked a place called Boujdour on the main road thinking that it would totally have a hotel, right?! More on this later.

Now we were back together, we topped up our fuel and headed down the Avenue Hassan II yet again, with it looking properly like desert all around us.

We’d drive in convoy and talk over the radio to plan overtaking the very slow and erratic trucks pootling down the road, which was great fun.

We stopped on the way near some wild camels, which is not something you really expect to see and had a bit of an off-road break and a sandwich.

From there, we headed further south towards Boujdour.

When we arrived there, we realised that our assumption about hotels was a bit optimistic, and after half an hour driving around (and waving to lots of local kids) we managed to spot basically the only hotel in the town.

This turned out to be probably one of the worst hotels I’ve stayed in, to the point where the communal toilets were blocked and we took our own sleeping bags in to the rooms to avoid the sheets.

Having said that, the cafe next door was absolutely lovely, and the owner I think was a bit stunned by the arrival of 18 loud europeans and was really friendly. The food was good too.

After an interrupted nights sleep, for me caused by the lighthouse on the headland shining right into my eyes every 20 seconds, we had a caffeine and pastry based breakfast and headed off again.

It was a pretty easy drive to the Hotel Barbas, what is basically an oasis of sanity in endless desert. It’s actually really rather nice hotel in the middle of nowhere, and we took it as an opportunity to relax and take stock after the ‘hotel’ the previous night.

We knew that we’d have an interesting day tomorrow heading towards the border.


  • Don’t stay in Boujdour, but do have lunch
  • Keep an eye out for petrol stations, they are few and far between in this area, and even then not all of them actually have fuel…


Jason Gilbert Written by:

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