Way Out West Few venture to this incredible part of the World but after backpacking through 13 countries and 13,000km overland, we can tell you this is why we highly recommend West Africa. We’ve battled Saharan sandstorms, ridden in empty iron ore train carriages, travelled on car rooftops, saddled horse drawn carts, been in a couple of car accidents and we’ve even been to Timbuktu and back. Yes – the place really does exist. We’ll also mention the times we hallucinated in the heat, bashed bongos on sandy beaches, sat on live crocodiles, toured Togo, mixed it with UN officials on dance floors, visited the home of Voodoo in Benin, followed the slave trade in Ghana, rocked it with reggae, hitchhiked at night to Ouagadougou and of course we’ve bounced to the African beats. We’ve seen that no matter where you are in West Africa, there’s football fever. It’s like no other in this part of the World and we’ve followed it from the back alleys of Burkina, through the streets of Senegal and across the mud flats of Mali on route to the World Cup. Our way on the highway! In an untraveled part of the world we’ve faced a few difficulties along the way. We were thrown out of Senegal on first arrival and with new passports trying to enter Nigeria proved costly after being bailed up by border officials. We’ve stood face to face with corrupt police, out ran chasing immigration officials in a speeding taxi and some how survived Nollywood. The sheer heat of the Sahara alone destroyed most of our gear and we won’t talk about the time we were both arrested at a Cameroonian checkpoint, because each time we have arrived in a new village , there have been smiles on faces, football games and children demanding hi-fives, so it’s hard to be anything but amazed and excited by Africa, its people and its positives. What else can we tell you? We’ve developed a craving for street meat and we’ve eaten all sorts of animals, we’ve experienced the beauties of Benin, toured bars in Donkey drawn carts, swung in hammocks, sat sideline at grassroots football matches, climbed lava flows, viewed a waterfall crashing straight into the sea, jived where a jungle meets a beach and we’ve kicked footballs around with hundreds of children. We’ve worked on projects with child labour in granite mines, education at football clubs, conservation of the endangered Drill monkey, hung out with Sudanese refugees and spent time on the world’s largest non governmental hospital ship in Togo. Wherever we’ve been, we’ve attempted to break down barriers and prove misconceptions about West Africa wrong.
To get to Gabon we beat 4 bribes and earned the respect of 32 African passengers in the process. Most recently we travelled in a Le Mans style effort for 24hrs through 18 checkpoints where we were dragged out at each and grilled by police. It all sounds ridiculously unbelievable – we know – that’s West Africa and that’s why we love it