Cameroun – Cameroon – Kamerun

Walking across the narrow, metal suspension bridge which spans the Cross river, from Nigeria to Cameroon, feels like passing through a magic portal into another time and a far off place. behind is the modern, paved road which speeds one into the tempest and tumult of modern Nigeria; in front a narrow dirt track winds…

Nigeria, bubblin’

All Nigeria is divided into 3 parts. The division is marked by two great rivers, the Niger and the Benue, which come together in a 'Y' shape, creating 3 natural regions. The North is dominated by the Hausa people, their society is characterised by a highly conservative strain of Islam, under the rigid hierarchies of…

Lagos the great

It wouldn't be true to say that we had heard glowing reports of Lagos before going there. Most of the tourists we met in West Africa thought we were mad for considering it. Nigeria's immigration, customs and security personnel enjoy a special place in the horror stories of African travellers' lore, and Lagos holds pride…

Togo & Benin

Togo - Four glorious days After battling your way through the crowds of money changers, hustlers and helpers on the border between Ghana and Togo, you emerge to find yourself in the city centre of the Togolese capital, Lome, and a bare stone's throw from the presidential palace. The question immediately springs to mind: "why…

Pray for Ghana

We arrived in Ghana on the Thursday before Easter weekend. After spending a long day on a bus from Abidjan, including a breakdown which lasted for several hours when our bus failed to make it up a small hill, we stopped at Axim, one of the first towns in any size on the Ghanaian coast.…

The Cote de Khaki

The first thing that you notice after crossing the border from Burkina into the Cote D'Ivoire is the roadblock straight in front of you. It is of a style, solidity and professionalism that puts the efforts of the Burkina police to shame.

Burkina Faso – big men and little people

By the time we had completed our month in Mali, the 'hot season' had started in full. Apparently we had arrived during the 'cold season' when daily temperatures rarely go over 45 °C. Therefore it was with a certain eagerness that we embarked on our trip Southwards towards the coast and the cool, cool sea.…

Mali: take one large river, one large desert….

Most tourists who go to Senegal go for hedonistic reasons, lying on the beach with fine French dining amid lush tropical scenery. Nobody goes to Mali for hedonistic reasons. The dust, sand, poverty, underdevelopment, poor transport, scarcity of 'luxury' manufactured goods and the heat, especially the heat, mean that it is always a difficult place…

You don’t want to go to Dakar

"You don't want to go to Dakar" was the reply that we heard time and again when we told people in rural Casamance that we were going to go to the capital. "It's the city of crooks, thieves, cheats and swindlers, aggressive and noisy - no good for tourists". They were generally unconvinced when we'd…

Senegal: More tales from the dark continent

November 1999, I arrive in Southern Senegal from Gambia, as part of my effort to travel overland through Africa, from the Westernmost point to the Southernmost. This is the second instalment of the travel diary. Hello again all, just arrived in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, after spending the last month in the South Western…