• And the winner goes to… A year in reflection December 31st, 2010

    I started the year learning to surf in Morocco and I’m finishing it drinking a lot of beer in Cameroon. Between then I’ve crossed 14 countries in Africa and cycled about 12,000km, collecting more than a few stories along the way. Here is a review of some of the highlights, lowlights and other interesting observations from my year on the road. If there is a category you’d like to add please post a comment to let me know. Happy New year.

    Most atmospheric place: Harper, Liberia. A town full of war-ravaged buildings, surrounded by beautiful palm-fringed beaches.

    North from Harper

  • House of God and heavenly beaches August 1st, 2010

    At this time of year a day without rain in Freetown is a rare one. The clouds don’t so much as roll in off the ocean, but hang ominously over the mountainous peninsula like a dark dirty blanket, capable of soaking the city and its overpopulated residents at any given moment. There is no longer any thunder or lightning display as a pre-warning, and the question is not so much if it will rain in the day, but when.

  • 2000 bednets for Sierra Leone July 21st, 2010

    Approximately 300km east of Freetown lies the village of Sahn. Like most villages in Sierra Leone it has no running water or electricity. Many people living  here survive through subsistence farming, (rice and cassava) and for the lucky, repatriated money sent from relatives working in larger towns or cities.

    Malaria is prevalent, particularly now during the rainy season, but for most people paying $5 for a mosquito net (much more if they wish to buy one for every sleeping space in their house) is simply too costly. Millions of people in Africa die from malaria every year. Bed-nets are the most cost-effective means of preventing the disease.

  • A vote for Guinea June 27th, 2010

    Greetings from Guinea. This post, like the previous one, has been written from my hotel room in the town of Labe. There is Internet connection here, albeit very slow, which is the first I’ve come across since leaving Bissau two weeks ago. Not in the hotel I should note. I’m surprised there is even electricity. There isn’t much of the time. My room and the rest of the hotel give the impression that there have been very few people staying here in recent months. It has that musty airless smell of an attic. If there ever was a cleaner, he or she has not been working for a while. A family of large cockroaches has moved in during the interim. Most have now disappeared under my foot, except the largest, who is particularly nimble. I realised last night he is actually a mouse.

  • Thank You Mr President: Visas and biscuit throwing June 1st, 2010

    The Guinean Embassy in The Gambia is not where my guidebook says it is. Readers Google searching for an address may now end up here, or here, which is where I found its new location. Attempts at asking shopkeepers and traffic police directly outside its former address met with limited success. One person told me one thing and the other another. I think a lot of useless information can be gathered this way in Africa. Thank progress for the Internet.