This is travel diary for our 12 month trip from UK to South Africa via Europe and Western Africa. We started May 2010 and finished the May 2011. We covered 48,361km in our 4x4 Land Rover Defender 110, visited 30+ countries and performed a variety of photographic studies along the way. All content & photos are subject to Copyright. Please contact author for re-use rights.
180 Days…..The real Tropics, great food & amazing music!
Countries visited – Burkina Faso & Ghana
Miles travelled – 1704 miles
Sunny days – 27
Coolest night – 21’C
Warmest day – 40’C Koubri in Burkina Faso and the days have got more humid coming South to Ghana
Cheapest fuel – £0.51 Ghana
Slip slop repairs – 2 more…..Reef SA if you want slip slops road tested you better send them my way!!
Best food tasted – Burkina Faso: Fab doughnuts Ghana: Chicken Curry & Red Red (Deep-fried plantain with chilli sauce)
Best wild camp – Village corner under a tree on a junction at the “Rasta” Camp
Most useful things – Our spangly new solar panel to keep our fridge going when we stop for a few days
Least useful things – Our squashed beloved washing machine!
1) Getting an infected mosquito bite! Although Nick’s Boy Scout first aid “training” came in handy here (so did a packet of Ciprofloxicin)
2) One more traffic fine* in Ouagadougou for not stopping at an amber/red light….Nick!
3) Not being able to find anywhere in Ouaga to watch the deciding Grand Prix.
4) Nick driving over our roofrack ‘washing machine’ tub!!!* ^^
5) Realising what man is doing to the land in the tropics – not many hard woods left but also people “existing” on less than $1 a day – it’s a tough one.
6) Almost rolling the landy – Dassie decided to have a “sideways” moment but luckily Nick is such an amazing and gifted driver he managed to “wrestle” the car back into a straight line …. Phew!!
*Comment by Nick: Vicki paints Nick in a bad light here – its NOT all his fault!!
^^ Comment by Vicki: It is if you put the tub under the wheel arch, forget that you have done this and then reverse over it!!
1) Being invited to have some tea with villagers in a small village in Burkina Faso. Although the tea making was a long process, it was so worth the wait and the conversation.
2) Free camping at the Hotel Ok Inn, couldn’t be better in a capital city and meeting up with our mates from Gravel Roads (Eric and Dean)
3) Staying with our fellow Italian overlanders (Fab and El) in a village in Burkina Faso and hosting Italian coffee mornings for one and all (including Rastas on donkeys)
4) Demonstrating 5 solar lamps for an evening school class and getting involved in a volunteer project at a local school in Koubri, Burkina Faso
5) Staying at the Green Turtle Lodge, Ghana….. paradise!!
6) Vicki realising that Nick is better at map reading almost ALL of the time ;-)
7) The welcome we got when we came to Ghana – complex handshakes and a discussions about the world cup – GO BLACK STARS!!!
8) Ghana street food – It may well be fried in palm oil – but boy it tastes good!!
9) Greenery – palms, hardwoods and plants of tropical sizes
10) Music and dancing – amazing concerts and players – seen some proper African drumming along with some sexy bumpin and grindin!!
11) Trying to master several different African handshakes
1) We gave two volunteers a lift in the back of Dassie and they said it was more comfortable than a tros-tros (local mini bus transport in Ghana), so much so that they both fell asleep!!! And it wasn’t even a tarred road!
2) We had our first proper bartering experience with a little girl in Burkina. She had spotted that we had an empty coke bottle so she came over with a bag of peanuts (they grow these themselves). I thought that she wanted to sell them to me so I got a little bit of money to pay her, when handing over the money she was clearly shocked and gasped. She then made it clear that she wanted our coke bottle. She then said goodbye and something else in the local language, which I clearly didn’t understand. About half an hour later she came back and had made me a little hand broom as a thank you for the money!
3) Meals in Ghana sometimes come on two plates….. we are putting weight on!!!
4) Dassie was orange by the time we hit the coast in Ghana so we gave her a good clean – nice to see parts of the van that we had not seen for more than a month
5) West Africa has had some late rains – we had some great tropical storms with proper Hollywood style lightening, one of which required a complete drying session the next day.
6) Forgot to mention that even though Nick has lost his wedding ring – he still managed to get a marriage proposal from a lady at an egg stall – Nick thinks its because of his good looks and charm – Vicki belives it was because he was so dirty that she took pity on him and simply offered to scrub him clean and wash his clothes…. Could have been a “lost in translation” moment ;-)