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West Africa

The main details and photos of the trip are recorded on this page but please also click on the link to my

 For Wildlife Photos please click HERE

This was an overland trip organised by Guy Lankaster owner of the travel company, 'From here 2 Timbuktu'. Our journey through West Africa started in Bamako, the capital of Mali, before driving to Segou for three days to attend the The  Festival on the Niger. The next part of the trip was on a Pinasse, a long wooden motor boat for three nights.  We then visited Djenne to see the world’s largest mud structure, the Grand Mosque.  The Dogan Country enabled us to walk through some of the villages along the escarpment.  A days drive brought us to visit Timbuktu, spending a night with the Tureg tribe.  Gao was our last destination in Mali before crossing into Niger.  We drove East through several towns including Niamey where we obtained our Visas for Chad.  Driving through Chad meant driving across what was once Lake Chad before arriving in Bol where we able finally to see Lake Chad.  After further delays we reached the capital of Chad, N’Djemena. Crossing the border into Cameroon we visited Waza National Park while we waited for Guy to obtain his Cameroon Visa in Chad.  We finally left Waza and drove south through Cameroon.  We saw the beauty of the the Mandara Mountains despite the dusty haze brought in from the north. Once in N'Gaoundere we had the choice of continuing by road down to Yaounde or using the overnight train.  I chose the road option.  From Yaounde it was a fairly easy drive down to the coast at Limbe where the trip ended.



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Hope that you enjoy looking at these photos.  Rob


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February 3rd.

Left Heathrow flying with Royal Air Maroc to Bamako.

February 4th

Arrived in Bamako at 0200 and after a short rest drove to Segou

Attended Festival on the Niger.

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February 5th

Visited a craft center to see the how the Mud Cloth was produced and in the afternoon visited a village where they produced earthenware pots.  Attended Festival on the Niger.

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February 6th

In the afternoon we visited Segu Kora, the ancient city where at one time it was where the whole of West Africa was controlled.

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February 7th

Left Segu on the Panasse for our trip down the River Niger.  Camped on Sandbank after visiting the village of Babou Kora.

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February 8th

Another day on the river including a visit to a village which boasted to have the largest boat building facility in Mali.  The construction was entirely by hand.

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February 9th

Visit to the village of Koulenei before leaving the boat to drive to Djenne.

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February 10th

Town visit including seeing the Grand Mosque and visiting the home of our guide, Sorry.

We drove to Mopti after several punctures to stay in a good hotel.

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February 11th

Drove into the Dogon Country.  Walked down the escarpment to stay in the village of Banani.

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February 12th

Today we had our first (and as it happened our only) opportunity to make a real walk.  We walked over the escarpment to visit three of  the villages seeing some of the cliff dwellings.

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February 13th

A long drive over very rough roads brought us to the ferry across the River Niger to Timbuktu.  We road camels to our camp in the desert in the dark.  After Tureg entertainment and hard sell (unsuccessful ) of bracelets etc we had a meal and dancing before sleeping under the stars.

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February 14th

Off early.  We visited Timbuktu very quickly before waiting for the ferry and then the long drive to Gao.

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February 15th

A day in Gao waiting to get permission to leave for Niger.  Police wanted to provide an escort as they thought we were going to a festival in the north of the country. 

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February 16th

Finally managed to leave the town of Gao when they realized we wanted to go to Niger.

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Stayed in Naimey.

 February 17th

Visit to Chad embassy to obtain visas for Chad.  Collected them in the afternoon. Good meal in an Italian Reasturant. (the last good meal for some days)

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February 18th

Left early for Zinder but only managed to reach Maradi for the night.

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February 19th

Could not get cash from any ATM’s so left for Zinder late.

On arrival had difficulty getting hotel and because of late band ‘music’ finally slept at 0130

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February 20th

Finally reached Diffa after several mechanical faults.  Street food in evening.

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February 21st

Vehicle repairs took over six hours so left late for Nguimi.

Had to camp en-route in the desert.

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February 22nd

Took a while to obtain passport stamp in Nguimi before driving across the dried up Lake Chad to the Chad border post.  Late at night managed to get stuck in sand so had to camp in the desert.

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February 23rd

Continued our drive across the lake including a 2-3 hour delay in digging car out of the sand.  Finally reached Bol and cleared police check.  Camped out near a Soda Lake.

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February 24th

Continued our journey over poor road to reach a village, Ngouri, where on checking into the police point realized that one passport was lost.  This resulted in returning to Bol to search around the Soda Lake.  On the way one of the car batteries exploded and so limped back to Bol and had stay the night in a house.

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February 25th

Passport found in the morning so continued our journey and finally reached the capital of Chad – N’Djamena.

 February 26th

Day in town with visit to internet at Libyan hotel. 

February 27th

As the guide could not get Visa until after the weekend  the clients moved on into Cameroon with another African driver to stay just outside Waza.

 February 28th

A very pleasant Lodge accommodation was welcome as we waited for our guide to catch up.  We visited the National Park at Waza and saw Lions and 14 Giraffe in one location near a water hole.

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March 1st

Another day in Waza doing very little apart from tyre repair and avoiding the heat of the day.

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 March 2nd

Left Waza driving through the Mandara Mountains to arrive in Garoua.  En route we stopped to watch the dancing at a 'wake'.

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March 3rd

After some of the group had been to 'communicate' with a tame Hippo we drove down to N'Gaoundere.

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March 4th

While two of the group travelled overnight by train to Yaounde the rest drove down to Garoua Boulai near the Central African Republic and to Belabo for the night.

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March 5th

A mad dash this morning to meet the train in Yaounde, drive to Douala where we spent over two hours in a traffic jam, then down to Limbe arriving very late.

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March 6th

After an orientation tour of Limbe I was glad to have a lazy time.

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March 7th

Walked through the Botanical Gardens and made a visit to the Limbe Wildlife Centre.

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March 8th

Went for a walk in the foothills of Mt Etinde.  It was extremely hot and very, very humid!

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March 9th

I flew back to London from Douala via Casablanca.

For photos of wildlife seen in West Africa click HERE