vrijdag 10 januari 2014


Driving into Guinea prooved more difficult than I imagined. At the main border the gerdarmerie immediately wanted money for a stamp. I refused, and while the guy shouted to the others 'if he doesn't pay, he doesn't come in', I went to see the customs for the laisser-passez. There a second surprise awaited me, as they believed I was going to sell my car in Guinea, they wanted me to put up a bond, which I would receive back when leaving the country. So how much would this be I asked: 1000 euro! I thanked him and made my way back into Mali, being lucky to have a mutiple entry visa.
For a moment I realy thought of just going back to Bamako and call this whole trip off, but then I noticed a small border post on the map, very close to the main one, it would invalve 150 km offroad and I thought it was worth a chance. That night I slept in the bush in Mali and the next day it took me another 6 hours to get to the small border over very bad piste, and I was amazed how well the van holds up on this kind of road. Within 1,5 hours I crossed the border with a free laisser-passer and without paying any officials, result. This piste followed the Niger river and by the evening I came upon one of the most scenic camping spots I ever been on. Right on the banks of the river, with an 180° view of the river's birdlife and with the rumble of the nearby village just hearable as the wind carried it towards me. I stayed for 2 days while Syncro discovered the surroundings.
The next day I drove to Kan Kan, hoping to get some money out of an ATM and find some fuel. Both were utterly impossible. So I changed some money on the black market and calculated I had enough fuel for another days drive. The town reminded me very much of the hot cities in central Africa with their crowded markets and street food on every corner. I quite like Guinea, and am glad to have gotten in, I was even more pleased when I found some very good menthol sigarettes for 0,15 euro per packet.
Because of the gasoline shortage, I decided to go straight towards Conakry, thinking there must be fuel on the main road towards the capital, right? No, not only was the road in very bad condition from Kouroussa up to Mamou, even in Mamou no fuelstation had any gasoline. 20 liters were bought on the black market and only in Kindia I found a working gas station.

I had to get to Conakry to get my Sierra Leone visa, and I knew it wasn't a pleasant city, but my God, this is one of the worst ones so far. First the road was under construction (by the Chinese of course), and the congestion starts 30 km out of the centre. Then I'm pulled of the road at a checkpoint and were the checkpoint have been very friendly so far, now this one 'boss' finds something wrong. It's the dog. Where is the dog passport? I tried reasoning but he insisted he would drive with me to the 'direction generale' of customs in town to sort it out. Somewhere along this drive I manage to bribe him and get him out of the car. Syncro owes me now one watch and 9 euro's. By then it's late afternoon, over 40 degrees, and I am completely stuck in traffic. For 1,5 hours I see the GPS is stuck on 'destination: 11km', then the traffic free's up but at every crossroads with police I'm pulled off the road so they can check all the papers while demanding some gifts. I decide to camp at a Total gas station, near the Sierra Leone embassy and that is where I am now. It's a lovely place as you can see on the pictures, there's burning garbage, pigs, flies and muskietos, luckily the people are friendly and helpfull.

3 opmerkingen:

  1. ik volg uw avonturen op google maps. :-)

  2. Ha Tony,

    IK had laats nog op je round africa site gekeken voor je nieuwe avonturen, maar vind ze nu via FB. Super, ben zo jaloers!!! ik zit na een half jaar terug te zijn al weer kompleet in de sleur. :-( Wauw wat is africa mooi. Heel veel succes! Angelique en Joep.

  3. The picture with the pigs - that could be india too ;-)

    Thank you for let us readers travel with you - it is an amazing read!

    Hope you still have some watches - that you can take the dog with you ;-)

    Safe travels!

    Greetings from zurich, switzerland :-)