As we set off from Norway on the 15th of July we had everything ready for the perfect road trip. I had bought 12 popup tents, burners and kitchenware for cooking and I also brought boxes full of foods such as pasta, died soups and crackers, some which ended up lasting us through the whole trip. Already after a couple of weeks around half of the tents were destroyed and we ended up having to buy some new ones in Malaga before boarding the ferry that would take us to Africa, where we discovered another problem: that the gas valves were completely different from the ones used in Norway so we ended up replacing the whole cooking gear as well. Other than that we had a really good time both in Europe and Morocco, where we did not have a single day or rain, but quite some heat driving through the Sahara.
- that was all except one of the members- a 66 year old, semi handicapped, and slightly miserable woman who had expected to join a tour where everything was laid out for her. That was until we came to Gambia where she got a tooth ache which ended up becoming our relief as she decided to leave us to get the medical help she needed.
From Gambia onwards we were a cohesive group, which was also needed as the roads and conditions became much tougher where everyone had to contribute. For example by pushing the car whenever it was stuck in mud. This is also where some of us, around half of the Norwegians in the group were refused entry to the next country, Senegal and we had some interesting attempts at crossing the border illegally by motorbike before we finally got a visa from the Senegalese embassy and was allowed to cross legally. This was our welcome to the "real", or the Wild West Africa that people had signed up for.
When we got to Conakry, we found out that the roads onwards to Sierra Leone and Liberia had been destroyed and that it would not be possible for us to travel the route we had planned. We then decided to drive through the highlands of Guinea which proved to be an even more scenic route, with camping in green grassy fields and pristine waterfalls. One thing about swimming in freshwater in Sub Saharan africa though, is that there are worms swimming around that can get inside cuts and wounds. One of the members found one in her foot and had to leave us quite in a rush to get medical help back in Norway.
She was greatly missed the days after but the trip continued as planned, where we went chimpanzee tracking in Ivory Coast, visited beaches and finally Tom took one of the cars and continued even after the trip was finished into Togo and Benin.
Now you might think that you would never manage to come on a trip like this, but I have to tell you that West Africa is the toughest area of the World to travel and things like these might happen. If you ask the people who came along they will tell you about so many memorable moments I have chosen not to include in this post for the simple reason that there would not be enough space.
I hope I did not scare you off, but also hope it can work as a reminder that anything can happen on a road trip, but then again it is usually when thing don't go quite as planned that you have the most memorable experiences ;)
Have a look at the video that Aude from France made and decide for yourself if you think it would be fun- she is also joining the whole next trip and I hope to see you too there! :)