donderdag 27 maart 2014

Looking back

Posted from back home:
The original idea was to sell the VW van in West Africa and fly back, but as I liked traveling in this van so much, I even liked it more than traveling by motorbike, I decided that I would drive it back to Belgium and keep it for future adventures. I basicly took the same way back through Guinee, Mali and Mauritania, and again had some troubles at the borders with corruption. It seems that regarding corruption, things have gotten really bad over the last couple of years, whereas previously you could just smile and dismiss their questions for money, now they insist you pay up and have no problem refusing you to enter the country. They even make the locals pay, as I've seem on the Gogui border in Mali. Paying 5000 Cfa, or 8 euro's to stamp your passport annoys the hell out of me, but just imagine what it means for a local, earning 2 euro's a day.  This, combined with the burocracy, made me decide that I was finished with Africa, or at least, for now. I still had to drive the 8000 km back home tough, and was glad it all went pretty smooth. I got blocked in Bamako for a week, as the Mauritanian embassy wouldn't issue a visa until we officialy changed our intinerary away from the route de l'espoir.
With Karl, last night in Diema, Mali.
Going up, the borders were a bit easier to cross, and I had a good time as I traveled with an Austrian biker up to Dakhla and with a French couple in a van up to Essaouira.
I had some side-road adventures as here taking the wrong road up to paradise valley and the Immouzer waterfalls, spending the night on an gnarly track high in the mountains.
What do you do when the road gets worse and worse, and you haven't seen a vehicle all day? You just keep going!
But overal I got home fairly quick in 5 weeks from Bamako without any problems.

I would like to end with posting some trip statistics for anyone planning a trip like this. And if you are not going to do  'real'  offroad and like to save money and have more comfort, I can honestly recommend buying an old van instead of a 4x4. This van was a 4x4, but you would be surprised how far off the beating track you can go with any 2x4. To go off the main road looking for a nice place for camping, you don't need a kitted out, expensive toyota or landrover.

  • Days on the road:                 141
  • Days slept in the van:          140
  • Theoretical money saved on hotel costs at 30/night: 4200 euro
  • Total distance:                      20000 km
  • Distance offroad:                 1000 km (that's including the very bad roads)
  • Repairs on the car:               2  (gearshift in Sierra Leone 10 euro, glowplugs in Spain 200 euro)
  • Flat tyres:                             0
  • Getting stuck:                       2 (both in soft sand in Morocco)
  • Bribes paid:                         5  (totaling 60 euro, way too much)
  • Days of rain:                        2
  • Cost of visa's:                      300 euro
  • Cost of fuel:                        1600 euro (estimate)
  • Total cash money spent:      6700 euro ( 1340/month)
  • Cost of the car :                   3500 euro   (TOTAL: that includes buying it, getting it roadlegal, building the interior and maintaining it during the trip)
  • Things I would do different next time:     take (even) more Belgian beer!

Last day camping in the desert and one of the times I got stuck.

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