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MIDWEST AFRICAN SERIES REFLECTION POST

IVORY COAST, LIBERIA, SIERRA LEONE, GUINEA, GUINEA BISSAU, SENEGAL, GAMBIA

Reflection post West Africa. Its quite simple – 3 weeks travelling around West Africa will take it out of you. Actually 1 week of West Africa will take it out of you!

SO MANY BRIBES I COULD NOT BEGIN TO ADD UP WHAT WAS PAID

Its common after a 3 week trip that I am ready for home but none more so than this series from Abidjan to Banjul.

GUIDES

To save me time and help with the countless checkpoints and bribery demands I decided to travel with either a guide or a driver. When going this route it is super important to get your guide right as they will basically make or break your trip. But besides their personality getting a guide also takes away part of the unknown and adventure. Such as crossing borders I always like to see the realty rather than sitting in the jeep for someone else to do my dirty work. Impossible to get the balance but if I were to do it again I would for sure prefer more scope in that regard, that’s part of the experience!

Reflection post West Africa

TRIP STATS….

  • Days – 23
  • Countries – 7
  • New Countries – 7

BORDERS, CHECKPOINTS & ROADS

This entire article could be about borders and checkpoints. I thought Afghanistan had a lot but nothing compared to West Africa, actually nothing compared to The Gambia where we must’ve stopped at least once every few minutes.

This is where you really benefit from having a guide who knows the area as they pay a few dollars and we go on our way but it soon adds up. Besides being a money making scheme its hard to know what the point of them all were as it would have been good to put some of it towards filling in the odd pothole!

Reflection post West Africa

FOOTAGE & CONTENT

This was one of my biggest disappointments, I found the region very difficult to record in as many people spoke about the camera and it was often clear they did not appreciate it. I don’t mind people questioning the camera as I can often have a go at talking them around but when I don’t speak their language there is not a lot to be said. Don’t even start me on if there is a policeman nearby because then we will most certainly have to get the wallet out.

Reflection post West Africa

  HIGHLIGHTS:
  • West Side Boys
  • Diamond & Gold Mines
  LOWLIGHTS:
  • Some of the guides needed more energy
  • Expensive to go with a guide

DIAMOND & GOLD MINES

Time to talk about a highlight, actually Sierra Leone itself was a highlight, English speaking, open and friendly locals and a nice beach. I had a few unusual requests for my guide and wanted to visit a few active mines. Unfortunately it was Friday and therefore very quiet but it probably worked out in our favour as there was less people to pay off.

It was a trek and a half to get there and to eventually be allowed to film but it was incredible to see what can be done with manual labour and not a single machine in sight!

Reflection post West Africa

RATINGS….

  • PEOPLE – 6/10 Not too open in the cities but in other places very generous
  • BACKPACKING – 4/10
  • WEATHER – 7/10 Hot but the right season to visit
  • THINGS TO DO – 5/10 Just stone cold raw experiences
  • FOOD – 4/10 Chicken and rice
  • VALUE – 5/10 Not as cheap as one would imagine
  • GETTING ABOUT 4/10, Public transport is an… experience

FINAL THOUGHTS

Three intense weeks of travelling, checkpoints and egg baguettes, I can now see why West Africa is known as one of the hardest regions to travel!

NEXT UP

A trip to Tibet!

SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
169/229

This post was part of The Midwest African Series. For my Instagram highlights you can go here.
If you would rather read the rest of the series from the blog just click here.

Question Time

  • Have you been to Turkmenistan, what was your experience like?
  • What did you do?
  • What was your favourite experience?
  • Did you try the food and explore the old town?
  • What is your favourite thing to do?
  • Would you return?
  • Did you like the locals?
  • Did you have any negative experiences?
  • Where did you stay?
  • Can you recommend anything else to do?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

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BISSAU, CASAMANCE AND BANJUL
MY PURSUIT OF FITNESS

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