Travelled back up north to meet up with Brett and Mary again, drove a long day, including a few hours in the dark, something of an experience in a very potholed tar road to Dabola, They turned up next day and we left the day after for Cote d’Ivoire.
Stayed at a catholic mission in Kankan – very very hot. Brett and Mary offloaded a charity box from a friend of theirs. Had our first puncture – a large bolt, then the fridge broke down – disaster. Left early next morning. This is where fun started, nobody has really been here for years going in our direction, so no maps or roads – there were some which locals used but as they crossed various borders including Mali, all a no go as far as we were concerned.
Hence the search for Tindila, the only fixed point we had about 100 kms away and that itself was still in the middle of unchartered territory We went along tracks which eventually just became bike tracks navigating by direction alone. Bush camped overnight but all very slow 100kms in 8hrs driving. Locals very enthusiastic I think we are the biggest excitement for some time. Some kids look amazed then horrified at the sight of us.
Border crossing not so friendly!!, followed by second puncture, roughly at same time , drove through before fixing.
Long very rough road huge potholes, rocks, washouts much banging rocking etc and very slow.
Emma had a premonition ( fantasy!!) about a hotel and one actually turned up in Boundali , run by a lovely lady (Madesline Assoh tel 00225 07398316 or 05768687) will add waypointsoon, nice rooms including a fan and very cold beers – heaven.
Emma was ill with bug in the night, so last 50kms on bad road were not much fun. Eventually reached a town, Odienne where bolshy guards messed us about, finally we were summoned to the central police station. The main man was fine and I think it was simply because his boys had been so hopeless that we were called in. On our way we had another encounter with stroppy checkpoint man who was not too bright – he got all excited because I insisted I was the driver but he saw Em getting out and insisted she was driving – until his guys pointed out it was right hand drive. Repeat performance over vehicle papers, he refused to look at the Carnet document insisting it was for customs only then after a lot of ranting,he finally looked at it and realised it was what he wanted all along . His guys were sniggering away behind his back. Everyone else has been very nice. After a few hundred miles of extremely rough roads the last stretch to Korhogo was perfect tarmac with no one on it – quite bizarre. C’est Afrique as they say.
Modern hotel here with pool no less, aircon and toilets – just as well. After emmas turn I then got the lurgy so currently resting near WC. Will sort out some repairs etc tomorrow then leave for Burkina Faso in search of Ghana visa, if not forthcoming we will go down through Togo & Benin which sound nice. Brett and Mary have gone on, they had visas and Mary was not keen on Cote’D’Ivoire. Will probably meet with them later, especially as we all have to tackle Congo and get Angola visas at some point. – big potential problem.
Internet here is very slow so no photos – 2 line e mails can take ages and several goes. But given much of the area has no electricity or roads its not surprising.
Went to sort out bits and pieces – roadside repair for tyre , they had great homemade devices for breaking bead on tyre, patched inside with my kit, and they were very happy (and jealous)when I produced electric pump . All good stuff and would put UK tryre fitters to shame with all their fancy kit. Then to” vindanage”, since morocco I noticed most big petrol stations have a carwash attached put also oil change service centre. I had all filters so seemed like a good chance to do service – a bit early but wisdom has it that’s the way given heat dust etc. Turned out to be absolute gem cost 40000CFA which is say £45, of which the oil was about 95%and took half an hour whilst I drank a cold coke – all I could manage in the heat other than to pass the mechanic a few bits. He checked all other fluids topped up diffs etc, all very carefully and quickly. given it costs about £400 in a local garage for the same thing and takes all day it seems to me to be a very good idea. Cleaned out the “voiture ” pending start again tomorrow. Found a nasty mush in fridge – wine box mixed with frankfurters and Laughing cow cheese plus extras all having stewed for a few days. its amazing what happens with the constant vibration/ banging about lids undo everything works loose, enamel and plating of cutlery is worn off – all in only a few weeks.We are still dropping stuff as its simply unused/useless. Everyone tells you this but I suppose its a process of personalisation that everyone has to do for themselves.
ps Emma woke up with large,but luckily dead(having been slept on) spider in her top, as she had more pressing things on her mind,ie a bug, she didn’t seem to complain too much !