Bonjour mes amis (French),
Mali is about the hottest place in Africa and we were almost roasted
on our way to Djenne (route to Mopti). Djenne's mosque looks like a massive
sandcastle and is really impressive, but there are many mosques like that
in surrounding villages, so if you go there, you might well want to visit
one of the other villages instead and avoid touristy Djenne. If you do
so, you should always first ask to speak to the chief of the village to
ask for his permission to enter the village though. That's the way things
work over here.
We are not staying long in Djenne, just long enough to look around and
take pictures. "Christian-dogs" are not allowed to enter the
mosque. An incident with two Italian homosexuals and a publication of
photo's of the mosque in a pornographic setting is used as excuse for
this, so we are told. There is a lot of discrimination between different
groups over here and every day things happen that mix up our feelings
about this place.
Burkina Faso was said to be one of the most relaxing places in West
Africa and we immediately feel the good atmosphere when visiting Bobo
Dioulasso. In Ouagadougou we met some guys who play traditional African
music in a band named Siniasuigi, which means something like "Keep
the future". We join in a jam session and play the djembe (African
The leader of the band, Dramane, then invites us to a wedding where
they have to play. The morning is already very hot. The music is good
though and we have a wonderful time, although we can not really get contact
with the families and the couple that was marrying. The groom is not even
there, we think and the bride is being dressed for hours, is not allowed
to leave the house and is, following the tradition, not allowed to speak
one word that whole, long day.
When we decide to leave in the afternoon (very much bored), an exception
is made for Rob to greet the bride. She is dressed in a traditional, light
blue costume and holds half a calabash in front of her mouth, signaling
that she may not speak.
From Burkina Faso we travel down into Ghana, where we visit Mole Game
Reserve. In Ghana the raining season is about to start half march, but
now, at the end of April, still only a little bit of water has fallen
(El Nino?). We therefor are very lucky to meet two large groups of elephants
at the two waterholes that hold about the last water in the region.
We camp on top of a hill, from where we can easily follow every step
those mighty animals take. We see one of the groups entering the waterhole.
After half an hour of splashing and spraying (the little ones really let
themselves go) it is suddenly decided to be time for a bite (or breaking
down some trees). A group of baboons now comes to the water. We've also
seen crocodiles, impala's and warthogs; the latter visited our tent and
Then for us it's also time to leave. We drive down to Ghana's coast
and really feel like entering the tropical zone. The air is much more
humid here than up north and it doesn't cool down at night anymore.
Along the coast there are a lot of fortresses, that were used to defend
the commercial interest of the former colonialists. Also the Dutch have
been very busy (and nasty) here, to ship all the slaves to America. It's
not really true that the colonialists captured the slaves themselves;
they were captured by the Africans and sold or traded for arms to the
The history is very interesting and the Ghanian people are very busy
making everything ready to get more tourists. There is only one problem
(we think). The discrimination price-wise is very offensive. In Mole we
had to pay twice the price Ghanaian people had to pay, but at the Fort
the price for non-Ghanaian people was 10 times higher. At Kakum National
Forest (that is initiated by USAid, Unesco and a lot of other international
organisations, so in fact from our tax money), the price was 12 times
higher. We were one of the many protesters (we saw in the visitors book)
against this policy and refused to go in.
We had a wonderful time at the coast of Ghana. The villages are beautiful
(but dirty), the beaches white and lined with palm-trees and it's nice
to see the fishermen do their work on the beach and at sea.
In Tema we were invited at the SOS-Children's village, where we did
our project (The World on a Children's Drawing) and exchanged beautiful
On to South Africa
Tomorrow we will put our dear sidecar in a container, together with
the sidecar of Canadian John, whom we met here, to ship her to South Africa.
We wanted to try to get a convoy together to drive through Nigeria, Cameroon,
the Congo and Angola but we cannot get a visa now, and it's not really
more expensive to ship the bike and fly ourselves. So we have decided
to go the safe way.
A greeting and a smile, Rob and Dafne
Ride-on World Tour