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Rob en Dafne de Jong,

Ride-on West Africa 2

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April 1998,

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

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 drum).

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.

Ghana

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 sniffed around.

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 colonialists.

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 drawings.

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

 

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de Jong's Home

Travel Stories, English:

January 2002,
Ride on 2002...
October 2001,
Ride on Home
July 2001,
Russia and
Siberia
April 2001,
Japan
Jan 2001,
Arizona
Dec 2000,
California
Oct 2000, L.A
to Fresno via
Inuvik
Sep 2000,
New Zealand
July 2000,
Australia part 2
April 2000 India
and Australia,
part 1
Dec 1999,
Istanbul
to Kathmandu
Nov 1999,
Shoeshine boy
of Gondar

Sept 1999,
Uganda to
Turkey
May 1999,
Zimbabwe to
Uganda
Dec 1998,
South Africa
and Namibia
Sept 1998,
Swaziland &
Lesotho

June 1998,
S. Africa 1
April 1998,
W.Africa 2
March 1998,
W. Africa 1

Travel Stories, In het Nederlands:

July 2001,
Rusland en
Siberie
April 2001,
Japan
Jan 2001,
Arizona

"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 drum)."

"...the coast of Ghana. The villages are beautiful (but dirty), the beaches white and lined with palm-trees and..."

 

 

Story and photos copyright © Rob and Dafne de Jong 1998-2002.
All Rights Reserved.

 

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

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