December 25, 2008 GMT
Burkina and beyond

The entry to Burkina Faso was a strange one, a 'no-mans' land of 30+kms where we took the time to make a little video for Migos blog, the three of us riding together towards the camera. We also rode past three strange tourist buses, pink in colour, a Swedish group touring West Africa. They'd stopped and what seemed to be camped for the night in the no-mans land! We enquired as to their well being, for they could have been broken down. But all was well.
From the border we headed south, stopping to eat and after ordering lunch we got the surprise of lot's of plates of food! I mean, three each! When we chose our meals they, the staff told us the choice was chicken, fish, haricot vert, rice and some sort of cabbage and sweet potato. We, thinking they were all together and part of the same ordered something like, “Chicken with rice, haricot vert and cabbage please!” Only to find out they were all a meal on their own!! We needn't have worried about the price as when the bill came it was less than a couple of beers in Mali! Cheap as chips! What we didn't eat I gave to a street kid plus a few pennies, he was chuffed to bits at his haul for the day!
We were heading for Ouagadougou, the capital, known as 'Wagga'. A great sounding place and surprisingly a good city with modern amenities, even casinos. After spending time in the north it was nice to find some neon lighting for a change. Migo and I headed off, leaving Mark to do some writing again.
The onward route we knew was taking us towards the National park of Nazinga. An elephant reserve the boys had told me about. So when we arrived at the gate, paid entry and travel 35kms INTO the park on dodgy piste! I already had some problems with the bike for when I fitted the oil cooler back in Dakar it had recently sprung a leak and and was pissing oil all over my leg! Not at a huge rate but certainly enough for me to be concerned, a lot. Having to top up oil every 30kms or so didn't bode well in my eyes! I had realised the problem, a bleed vale I'd not loctited and it required the whole thing removing before repairing.
Making it to the reserve and seeing our first wild elephant, we were quite impressed with the park. The facilities not being the best but certainly lots of elephants, bathing in the watering hole and with a big bull elephant wandering through the camp, ripping off branches and eating what it sodding well liked! I was impressed with the proximity that could be gotten with the animals. I was soon to find out just how close we could get....!

After a couple of days chilling out at the camp, searching for the electrical problem on Migos bike and renewing the rear brake fluid, Mark joined us we headed off again for Ghana. The 35kms to the camp in the park was to be a long day out, for Mark and Migo wanted to attempt a new route to the West which wasn't to be. So we set off on the route back the way we came.
Heading out of the park Mark happened to have a spill, not a great spill but one that deserved a photograph anyhow.

Once we'd chilled out, had a cigarette and come to righting ourselves we got an almighty crashing from the grasses to the sides of the road and here comes a bloody elephant, all trumpeting, ears flapping and definatly pissed off at us!! We quickly jumped on the bikes, mine stalled, I think I shat myself and then shot off sharpish! Migo and myself in one direction, Mark in the opposite! After stopping in what was a couple of hundred metres or so Migo and I burst out laughing, for want of anything better to do, the blood pumping wildly at such a close shave we'd just experienced and waited for Mark to turn around and catch us up, always watching and listening for elephants, nerves on edge, rogue or otherwise!
Mark caught us up, getting a good trumpeting as he went past the offended elephant which I'm sure increased the revs on the bike a touch! I was thinking of how on earth would you explain that one to his mother? “Sorry....... raging elephant, motorbike, Africa........ oops!” We certainly got more than we bargained for!
After the elephant incident we visited Mole National Park across the border in Ghana. Another country, another stamp.

Posted by geoffshing at December 25, 2008 11:41 AM GMT

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