Mauritania, Trans African Overlanding

One Night on Top of the World’s Longest Train


Riding the World’s longest train was somethinng I had wanted to do ever since watching Palins Travels. What he did though was to go in one of the passenger carts, but I wanted to get the full experience of riding for free on top of the over 2 kilometers of iron ore carts.
We had arrived in Choum early in the morning, having to wait by the rail tracks until the train finally arrived at 7pm. Then we had five minutes to climb on top and help the people from the neighbor cart get some goats and a donkey on the train as well. The sun was already starting to set and we had a beautiful first hour riding slowly west on the 400km train ride that would take us to the coastal town of Nouadibou.

Having a scarf wrapped tightly around my mouth and sunglasses to protect my eyes from dust and bits of iron ore that was flying through the air I felt really great standing up and watching the train go by small houses and the World’s second biggest Monolith after Uluru in Australia. As it got darker and the train picked up speed it got freezing and I had to withdraw into my sleeping bag and get some rest. After twelve hours on the train we all were shaking cold and completely covered in brown iron ore dust. We had made it through the night and although we all thought that this was one of the coolest things we had done in our lives we all agreed that we would never want to do it again.