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Camel World  




Travel Diary - 2003
5 January | Senegal
22 January |Gambia
18 January |Guinea
9 February | Mali
22 February | Burkina Faso
3 March | Ghana
19 March | Togo
20 March | Benin
25 March | Niger
12 April | Chad
15 April | Cameroon
16 April | Nigeria
30 April | Congo
24 May | RDC
31 May | Angola
5 June | Namibia
27 June | South Africa
30 August | Lesotho
10 September | Swaziland
9 October | Botswana
17 October | Namibia
19 October |
29 October | Malawi
4 November |Mozambique
16 November | Tanzania
12 December | Rwanda
16 December | RDC
18 December | Uganda
24 December | Kenya

Travel Diary - 2004
9 January | Ethiopia
6 February | Sudan
21 February | Saudi Arabia
23 February | Jordan
3 March | Syria
5 March | Turkey
12 March | Greece
21 March | ...And Home


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17 months, 43 countries, and 2 vehicles

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, Continued

If Mali is dry, then Burkina is hot. We have hung a thermometer from the CB mount between the front two seats, so that we can fully appreciate our discomfort. The day can start in the arctic thirties, but by 10 a.m. it's forty, and by midday it my well hit fifty (122F).

You water bottle gets so warm you might as well add a tea bag to it. The Brownchurch shower delivers hot water as if by magic. And woe betide the man who tries to shower from a water tank that has been in the sun.

After the dryness of Mali the heat of Burkina conspires to rob us of our rubber seals - the slave cylinders on the clutch that failed were symptoms of a greater malaise that affects both man and machine.

We leave the sanctuary of our poolside campsite and head south to Bobo, to find that people tut when we say we have come from Waga, and say it is too hot there. It dawns on me that Waga is some five degrees warmer that the rest of the country. Silly place to put a capital then, one would think.

Bobo is where I get a slow puncture fixed, and this leads to the discovery that the hand brake is binding a little, so that means another bloody day in a garage. Is this really to become the Africa land Rover Garage review? It only takes a couple of hours, so I use the time to repair a knackered camp chair.

Now this is one of the new cleverly jointed ones that fold into a stick, only the plastic of the complicatedly moulded three-plane joints is too brittle and has now failed of is failing on four of the eight nodes. The easy thing to do would be to chuck it and buy a new one, only I haven't seen a camp chair for sale since Spain. The African solution is marvellous in both its simplicity and its cunning. Take off a good plastic joint, make a mould, and cast the new joints in aluminium. For six quid. Only in Africa.

But if you think that this would be the highlight of the Burkina experience you would be wrong. That came in a cyber cafe in Waga where I found myself uploading these pages next to a group of Nigerians. They were meticulously crafting an email which involved a great deal of cutting a pasting of email addresses. The BCC filed had to contain thousands of recipients. And of course it was a mail inviting you to give them your bank account details so that they could remit the $20m that they had skimmed from the highways budget.

When I found out what they were doing they were delighted that I knew the scam, and took real pride in their work. So I gave them your email address.


Ougadougou, Burkina Faso  23/02/03

It's pronounced Wagadoogoo, or Waga for short, which you just know means it's going to be fun. Getting here was easy, with good gravel roads, and then tarmac, and the border crossing was memorable for the pleasant officials on both sides which meant that I never even had to stop the engine... even though the starter motor seems to have sorted itself out.

The rest of the car, though, is taking a holiday. Both front doors are a nightmare to open, the rear right has an open window, and both the rear electric windows are out. The clutch slave cylinder is giving out fast, the car sounds like a London bus, and even the accessories including the inverter, the expensive Italian compressor (about 8 tyres fills), and even the backup Land Rover foot pump (did three tyres), are on the blink. The water pump filter, which is ceramic, had shattered despite Brownchurch's protective rubber cushion in the form of an O ring, so before leaving Bandagiara I replaced this and we had a full morning of packing the vehicle with our Dogon souvenirs and Richard's gear.

It's time for some repairs, so we've settled down in the grounds of the luxurious OK Inn to sort ourselves out and enjoy the pool, bar, and mini golf. I am told I need to get a sun tan that goes beyond my elbows. Damn.