"2007 to 2010 we travelled around the world in a Land Rover Discovery3.
In 2018 we departed for a second overland adventure around the world with our daughter on board our 4x4 Iveco VM90 camper. Follow our dream here!"
- Vula, Anastasia and Akis -
Truth is that heading to Dogon country, I believed I would find a civilization transformed by tourism. Locals at Bamako warned us that Dogon people care just for money, so I didn’t have the best mood going there.
After two and a half days at Dogon country I’m so happy things are not exactly like this, at least during this low season, we visited the place. What can I can say is that Dogon deserves a visit at 100%. And for sure hire a good guide to do this, like Bukary Mete’, our gentle, English speaking guide. With somebody like him, local people and chiefs of the villages accept you more easily and you can learn much more about their civilisation.
Apart this, you don’t have to pay the entrance taxes and you help the local community as well. We paid about 17.000 CFA (30 euros) per person, for two days, and in the price our overnight in Begnimato was included. Not the drinks and food though.
Dogon people we met where all very friendly and the only think they asked for, was kola nuts. Kola nuts is something like a legal drug in here. For adult only people! They get energy from chewing (and spitting) it, despite I didn’t like it at all. All chiefs that were offered by Akis with these, were pretty delighted, though. So, don’t hesitate to spend 3.000CFA (for one kilo), before driving to Dogon.
As far as our 2 days experience in the Dogon country, it’s difficult to include everything here. We met lovely people, we visited sacred places hidden on the cliff, we walked through magical Begnimato, on the cliff and spent the night there. We saw the girls of the village dancing under the almost full moon sky, late night. And we slept on the roof of a muddy little house, with a mosquito net to protect us, just that!
And the next day, after a walk to the edge of the escarpment, we walked back to the Ende village, where we had left the car. We left Boukary at Kani Kombole village and drove through the Burkina Faso border. Late night we arrived in Ouagadougou where we camped at the hospitable and very clean Hotel OK Inn, at the south outskirts of the city. So, here we are now for the weekend, before hitting the road again to Niger._Vula Netou
Off-road you say? 187 km. in 8 hours we reply! Entering Mali, I was thinking about staying for 2 days in Kayes and after proceeding to Bamako. Akis had his own plan so we combined them today and so we started from Kayes but from the old road to Bamako, via the Senegal river. I don’t know if this was the right decision but truth is that we did just 187 km. in hours driving through huge mud holes. Poor Discovery, I was so petty about it today, even if Akis said he treated it well…
The day didn’t start so well because we both were pretty nervous, each for his reason. We had an idea about the road to follow, but on the road everybody asked, had his own idea. It was unbelievable how many villages we visited in this off-beaten track. Beautiful villages with mud huts, smiling people and adorable kids. In one village they were vaccinating them, when we visited them. After this we were no more nervous, despite the road became even worse.
Finally, we arrived at the coast of the Senegal river, and the boat came to take us. Akis bargained hard the price, and from 20.000 CFA we paid only 7.000, so we arrived to Bafoulabe, at the opposite side of the river. We found a dirty but cheap camping right at the center (3.000 CFA) and a plate of local pasta for 200 CFA each. There is a real party atmosphere here, because of the elections of July 1st. Music, dance and everybody wear t-shirts with the candidates printed on. It’s the first night we feel in Africa 100%. From Bafoulabe, good night everybody!_V.Netu
Total km.: 11.127
Day km.: 187
Overnight: Maggiolina, Camping Bafoulabe, Mali
Tip of the day: Off-road in Africa means 25 km/h average speed
Highlight of the day: the Discovery on the barge crossing the Senegal river.
Today we did all our work in the capital and we just start to enjoy it. I was not in a good mood since yesterday, coming to Dakar. Big cities like this are difficult and pretty expensive, you Know…
Today we had to do a lot – issue visas for Burkina Faso (and Guinea?) and service the Discovery. My mood got a lot better when we met Diop – my little friend in Dakar. We drove downtown to the Sofitel Terranga hotel, where we got to know each other during my previous rally Dakar trips, and had a bit of traffic jam, but OK.
With Diop in the car delighted to see us, we drove to the Burkina Faso embassy and after an hour or so we had the passports stamped for 28.200 CFA each (45 euros). After we headed to the L’ Africain Automobiles, the official Ford dealer in Dakar, that belongs to Josef, a friend of Nicolas from Nouadhibou. Directly the chief mechanic, Mr.Eugene Nosov and his crew took care of the car. In one hour and a half the Discovery was brand new, clean like never before, with oil/filter changed and diesel & air filter inspected. At the end, they took no money from us, so we felt really obliged. Thank you very much everybody in L’ Africaine de l’ Automobile!
Right after, Diop took us at his house to introduce us to his family. He was so proud to be with us in his neighborhood and we were so honoured to meet his gentle father, his sisters and his nephews. What a great family, so proud even if poor. That was an experience we will not forget, as well, so thank you Diop! We will remember you all along our trip!_Akis Temperidis