I will call “Iron Oro Train” as Sahara Express as I think it is more suitable to call it as Sahara Express because I never know any other train which cross some part of Sahara. This is the only train runs some part of Sahara Desert and also cross most of the Mauritania from West to the North East. Actually, this train is mainly to carry the iron from iron mine to the harbour of Nouadhibou. It is not for passengers but because of luck of transport and road from Nouadhibou to directly East Mauritania people use it as transport. There are at least 3 trains run from Nouadhibou to Zoureat but only 1 of them has passenger wagon even though most of the people do not use passenger wagon because it is not worth to use it without proper sitting places. Not many people want to use the passenger wagon but instead they take one of the empty carriage wagon and to ride this wagon is for free of charge. Also if you want to ride passenger wagon it is not expensive it should be around £6. Anyway let me give you more information how to get this train. The train which stops for passenger usually between 2pm to 4pm. So to be for sure to take the train I went to train station which is outside of the city at the entrance of the city of Nouadhibou took a taxi from the city. As a foreigner the taxi driver will want expensive fare for the ride but 50 Mauritania Ouguiyas (£1.2) is enough that is what I pay. I would recommend always ask your hotel receptionist or if you eat in a restaurant or drink coffee ask the stuff about the price what locals pay so you will have exact idea how much it will cost you. I went to train station at 2pm so when I arrive, I asked the locals waiting for the train and they told me that the train would come between 6pm to 7pm so be ready to wait long hours. There was small kiosk at the train station to get something to eat but also take food and drinks with you as the train journey will be 12 hours.
So when the time was coming around 7pm the security guys told me that the train will be at 1am 🙂
I was not angry that the train will start to run late but rather I was happy as if I take the train late so I will see more landscape on the way when the sun will start to rise around 6.30am also be aware that as the train cross the desert it is cold and windy at night. I would suggest you take good sleeping bag and good outdoor dresses with you.
The train arrived at 00.40. It usually waits at the station around 15 minutes so you have enough time to get on the train.
The adventure train journey started at 1am I could not sleep much that night as it was cold and windy so This journey is only for adventurous people.
I put my alarm for 6am as the sun rise was around 6.30 and I wanted to see the first lights over Sahara Desert.
I slept a little bit that night and wake up at 6am and saw how the train cross the desert. Then amazing sunrise over Sahara Desert.
The landscape was amazing. I was lucky to see it. Also, I cant wait to see the 3rd biggest monobloc in the World. It is Ben Amera. more info here.
it is 60km before Chaum where you get off the train. I think one of the highlights of this epic journey is also to see the 3rd biggest Monoblock and also there were many more Monoblock rising on the desert.
Yes at the end after 12 hours train journey arrived to Chaum where I got off from the train. There are a few minibuses waiting people to transfer to Atar city. So dont worry about the transport.
I took the minibus and paid 200 Mauritania Ouguiyas (£5) it took 2 hours to arrive to Atar with very good roads. I was so tired and just get a room on the first hotel I see at the center.
Facts about the Iron Oro Train (Sahara Express)
[ ] Be ready at station at 2pm
[ ] The best way to have this journey is from Nouadhibou to Chaum. The reason is the carriage wagon goes empty.
[ ] The train journey usually takes 12 hours from Nouadhibou to Chaum
[ ] Take with you good sleeping bag, matt, polar dresses, food and drink
[ ] The train on the way stops at some stations to give way to the train coming on other directions. I think at least 3 trains runs at each direction maybe more.
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