• Rwanda for a week May 22nd, 2011

    “The eyes of the stranger are wide open, but he sees only what he knows” (African proverb)

    Leaving the Congo was a whole lot easier than entering it. No delays, questions, form-filling or money requests. Surely there should have been one more bout with a bored immigration official? The procedure that had taken over an hour when entering the country was taking a few minutes as I left. Having prepared myself for such an interrogation it almost came as a disappointment to be on my way so quickly. As I wheeled the bike over a wooden bridge towards the Rwandan border I double-checked my passport had been stamped and looked over my shoulder. All clear.

  • Into The Casamance June 9th, 2010

    One more night


    An enormous mosquito with blonde hair helped delay my departure from The Gambia. It circled the air, flying past a red dragon on wheels, a carriage carrying Cinderella and Elvis being pushed in a pram. These were just some of the contenders in the soap-box race at the International School. Students were pedalling laps of the school in a creative array of home-made vehicles.  Funds had been raised for the Against Malaria Foundation, so it was fitting that one of the students had come dressed for the part in wings, head and a nasty looking  antenna and proboscis. The event also provided a good excuse to stay a little longer.

  • Return to The Gambia May 31st, 2010

    Cycling out of Dakar is best done quickly. This is something that could be said about cycling out of most cities in poor countries, where pollution, rather than prettiness is what one notices. The only reward is in saying that you’ve done it, if that really matters to anyone else. Fortunately there is only one major road, which makes it difficult to get lost, and no hills or confusing intersections to negotiate. Incidentally there are also no other cyclists on the road, which is interesting seeming that for most of Africa the bicycle represents transport for those who don’t have much money.

  • A short walk in The Gambia May 7th, 2010

    Bed-sharing and bed-nets

    I slept with a fireman at the end of my first day’s walk in The Gambia. That is to say we shared the same bed – his bed. I assumed that finding a hotel in a capital city would be easy. Not so in Banjul. This city has a population of less then 35,000. I walked most of its main streets within an hour, after having walked 15km along a deserted beach, and soon realised that beyond a few colonial buildings there was little else to detain a visitor.  Not a hotel in sight. I later thought it might be the World’s smallest capital, but have just checked and found that honour goes to Adamstown, if that counts.

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  • R&R in The Gambia April 14th, 2010

    Apologies for the hiatus. I’ve moved on to The Gambia – a tiny anglophone slither of land sandwiched between Senegal. European minds really thought this one out when they carved the continent up. It’s Africa’s smallest country, I think, dubbed the smiling coast, and could be cycled across in half a day.

    Unfortunately cycling is not yet an option. The bike and most of my gear  I’ve left back in Dakar – several hundred kilometres north of here.