analog extreme


a travelling artists' residency

desert trek in mauritania, 18-27 february 2019


Digital detox for artists


In an age where online activities overshadow many other forms of human experience and interaction, you may have felt the need for occasional digital disconnection and for establishing a more direct, physical relationship with your environment. If travel is something else than chasing material for rapid digital interaction, will it change our experiences and our creative processes?


With this in mind, the Waaw Residency has set up the Analog Extreme programme, which is open to artists and creatives of all disciplines. Participation is limited to 10 people. The tour is arranged in collaboration with an experienced local tour operator.


A desert trek


Analog Extreme is a 10-day tour including a 6-day desert trek in the Adrar, one of the most beautiful areas in the Sahara. The landscape is varied – in one day, you will come across dunes and rocks, flat areas and hills. At the same time, it is minimalist – you may be able to draw a view in a few single lines. It is pleasing to the eye and the mind, and walking, even if at times challenging, will soon take on a meditative dimension. The desert is empty – you may trek for a full day without seeing other people than your trekking companions. The desert is huge, and you will feel small. For spoilt Westerners, it may at times be challenging: water, other than for drinking, is limited. The desert is silent – most of the time, you will not hear a bird, not even a cricket, just the wind and your footsteps. After dark, we gather around the camp fire, massaging our sore feet, watching the moon rise and the Milky Way appearing brighter than you have ever seen it before.


See photos here.


There will be approx. 6 hours of walking for 5 days. The trek also includes one day when you are free to explore the area around our camp, for fully taking in the environment, and documenting it, or engaging in other creative activity, should you wish.


For the desert trek, accommodation is arranged in simple Mauritanian traditional tents for 2-5 people. Camels will carry tents and baggage. In addition to your English-speaking residency hosts, you will be accompanied by a French-speaking Mauritanian guide, a cook and camel drivers. In the desert, the fare is simple and mostly vegetable-based, but you will not go hungry.


Go analog


Since the fundamental idea behind the Analog Extreme tour is to deconnect, we will all leave our phones in the capital Nouakchott. In fact, there is no phone network available in most parts of the desert anyway! Only the guide will keep a phone for urgencies. You may also consider using non-digital means of documenting what you see and hear – we will leave that decision to you.






























Programme overview


Day 1 - 18 February: Arrival in Nouakchott; overnight at hotel

Day 2 - 19 February: Transport by minibus to the Adrar region (8 hrs). Visit the old town of Chinguetti, overnight at simple hotel

Days 3-8 - 20-25 February: Desert trek Zarga - Mhaïret - Tergit

Day 9 - 26 February: Transport by minibus to Nouakchott; overnight at hotel.

Day 10 - 27 February: Nouakchott. Visit art centre, meet cultural activists. Departure.




The price per person is 600 euro. It comprises two hotel nights in Nouakchott, bus transport Nouakchott-Chinguetti and Tergit-Nouakchott, and the actual 6-day desert trek, which is all inclusive. You need to calculate with the cost for the international flight to Nouakchott, meals on days 1 and 10 as well as in the evening of day 9. Single-room hotel supplement is 35 euro; if you don't want to share a tent in the desert you may consider bringing your own one.


For reaching Nouakchott by air, please check offers by Air France, Royal Air Maroc and Turkish Airlines.


One option is to fly to Dakar in Senegal by 16 February, from where we would be happy to arrange shared transport for you via Saint-Louis. This would cost you approx. 300 euro return, incl. overnight accommodation in a hotel near Dakar airport (16 February) and two nights at a B&B in Saint-Louis (17 and 27 February).


Citizens of most countries need a visa to Mauritania. A single-entry tourist visa will cost you €55 at the airport or at the Senegalese border.

Deadline and selection


We would like to have your registration by 20 July 2018. Please send us an email at info{at] with your contact information, date of birth, profession/present occupation and a description in a few lines why you would like to join us for the Analog Extreme tour. If you know already whether you want to fly in at Nouakchott or Dakar, please let us know. (You can leave the decision until later.)


The selection will be made in early August, after which we will ask for confirmation in the form of a €200 down payment and send out more detailed information.











The Analog Extreme programme is organised by Waaw, an artist residency based in Saint-Louis on the Senegalese coast, on the border between Senegal and Mauritania. Your residency hosts Jarmo Pikkujamsa and Staffan Martikainen are also experienced tour guides, having worked for Finnish agencies in Ethiopia, Mali and Senegal. We can't wait to show you Mauritania!

A new destination


The Mauritanian desert has been off the radar for tour operators for 10 years, but since 2017 is no longer classified as a ”red” zone by the French foreign ministry, and with charter flights from France, tourists are flocking to explore these unexploited areas. Security is not taken lightly in Mauritania; the eastern desert is covered by radar stations and our drive from Nouakchott to the Adrar desert region will be interrupted by at least 5 checkpoints.

Q: How physically fit will I have to be?

A: For five days during the trek, be prepared for 6 hours of walk, in sandy terrain and with some steep ascents. Temperatures may vary from 10-15 degrees C at night to 30 degrees in the afternoon. If in doubt, please consult your doctor.

Desert and Sea: combining Mauritania and Senegal, 16 February-31 March


You can combine the Analog Extreme with a regular one-month residency at Waaw, seeing the best of two countries, and allowing your impressions time to transform into creation. In this case, you book your flight to Dakar in Senegal. Please see the Waaw residency page for more information on regular residency stays, including pricing.