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4 travelers at this place:

  • Day88

    Chutes, snakes and ladders

    February 26, 2017 in Guinea ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

    My mood was starting to improve but then there's been yet more problems with the bike. Firstly the rear wheel bearing completely collapsed, though I initially felt lucky that I found a mechanic who could source the same size bearing. Unfortunately I later realised his thuggish hammering at the wheel had chipped and cracked the cast alloy hub. Some mechanical advice from back home confirmed my expectations, the whole rear wheel is @#$&€£.  The crack will propagate and the whole rear wheel will disintegrate and it's impossible to tell if that's in 10 miles or 10k miles. As you can imagine I'm pretty urgently trying to source a new rear wheel from the UK. Then 2 days later I start an oil change at a rural campsite and find out half way through that the thread in the oil sump is stripped and I can't do the bolt back up. I'm in the middle of nowhere with a bike I now can't start!  I temporarily use threadlocker 'glue' to hold the bolt in. Hopefully that lasts!

    So I tentatively head off to a 'highlight' of the trip I've been looking forward to - the Fouta Djallon highlands. Unfortunately it turns out the roads to this region are terrible. They're mostly solid volcanic rock, meaning I need to lean forward and ride on the pegs nearly the whole way to keep as much force away from my fragile wheel as possible. I'd heard so many good things about this area from other overlanders and people in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea itself, but as I get into the region proper I find myself a bit disappointed. It's interesting and provides something different from the flatness of the past few weeks, but it's not stunning.

    Well my opinion and mood has changed after 3 days of brilliant hiking and bouldering.  On foot you get into the really interesting areas. My guide has themed walks such as 'Indiana Jones World' and 'chutes and ladders'. The latter involves climbing down 200m by a waterfall, repeatedly crossing it, and then climbing back up later via ladders made of branches tied together with vines. Although I think this may be better named snakes and ladders, after we came across a cobra. I'm glad he was ahead of me! I'm now in much better mood after being looked after with great local food and having no mosquitoes at this altitude. I'm now ready to get back on the bike, although the hiking and riding on the pegs have given me throbbing thighs and the knees of a geriatric.

    P.s. I'm sure everyone will be amused to hear the legs of a plastic patio chair broke while I was sat watching the football, while 20 of the village children watched me and the football. 2 hours later I also fell out of a hammock...but no one saw this!

    1 and 6) The ladders!
    2) The plateau where every trek starts...downhill
    3) The start of the descent
    4) The waterfall bouncing off my bald head
    5) Another waterfall that I later swam in
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  • Day84

    Crossing the Kogon

    February 22, 2017 in Guinea ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

    A casual look at the map poses a minor problem, there is no road between the capitals (of Guinea Bissau and Guinea) without a 100+ mile detour. However, on zooming in there appears to be a number of small border crossings, so I pick the option that looks most remote and the adventure begins.

    Wow what an adventure it was, comical border formalities, 2 drops, many water crossings, rocky hill climbs and haggling for a pirogue over the Kogon river. On top of this I bumped into my old friends Ferry and Gulcin. This 8 hour adventure is summarised in the 3 minute video link below.

    I arrived into boké, the regional town, and immediately took my first AC room of the trip to help my tired body. But I had a problem. The border was so small that they said they don't  stamp passports, they just check. They said the next town has immigration. The next town had the same situation. So I've now been through 3 border/police checks and arrived in Boké without officially entering the country. The following morning I find the local police and ask where I can get an immigration stamp, the answer I get is Conakry, the capital, 200 miles from the border! This just sounds ridiculous so I keep pushing and end up with the chief of police for Boké who says he will stamp it but he needs to check with his boss first. This sounds promising, until 2 hours later we're still waiting for his response. After some gentle questioning it turns out I'm waiting for the chief of police for the whole country, and he is a little busy in a cabinet meeting trying to control rioting in Conakry. In the end I get my stamp...and the phone number of the police chief. I suspect roadblocks are going to be easy from now on.

    On another topic I changed €100 and became a Guinean millionaire.

    1) Coming ashore on the Kogon river
    2) The hideously proportioned sculpture outside my hotel room
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  • Day95


    March 5, 2017 in Guinea ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

    From my hiking spot I had 40 miles of the rock road again and then I was on tar. My knees, my back, my wrists, my everything was relieved!

    On my way out of Fouta Djallon I had one last stay in this scenery with amazing 180+ degree views, as the second photo shows.

    Now I had 250 miles planned to the rainforest region of Guinea, with a little nervousness of quite how bad the road would be, especially with my dodgy wheel. Well my prayers were answered, with mile upon mile of beautiful smooth tar that had lots of sweeping corners through the hills. My destination, Nzérékoré, is where Ebola was at its worst and so there is a lot of aid going into infrastructure, just in case it flares up again. I'm on a French vegetarian diet here. I.e. I'm eating everything but red meat. One theory is that monkeys are more prone to Ebola, but that it is transferred to humans by eating undercooked bushmeat...and from all the hunters I see, there is a lot of bushmeat on the menu.

    After a recharge day in Nzérékoré, I head off in hope more than expectation to look for Chimps in a small village called Bossou. I'd heard of a Japanese research station where I might be able to see chimps. They're particularly interested in this group as they are the only ones in West Africa that have been known to make tools. After a short 30 minute walk into the rainforest, I'm with a family of 8 wild chimps. They're amazingly disinterested in our presence, apart from the baby who seems to enjoy throwing branches at us. The alpha male, just casually walked past us and started munching away.

    Video at
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Guinea, Guinea, Guinee, Gini, ጊኒ, غينيا, Qvineya, Гвінея, Гвинея, Gine, গিনি, གྷི་ནི་ཡ།, Ginea, Gvineja, Guini nutome, Γουινέα, Gvineo, گوینیا, Guinée, An Ghuine, ગિની, גינאה, गिनी, Գվինեա, Gínea, ギニア共和国, გვინეა, ហ្គីណេ, ಗಿನಿ, 기니, گینێ, Gyni, Ginɛ, ກິວນີ, Gvinėja, Ngine, Гвинеја, ഗ്വിനിയ, Gineja, ဂီရာနာ, Guinèa, ଗୁଏନେଆ, Gwinea, ګونې, Guiné, Guneya, Ginëe, ගිණියාව, Guine, கினி, గినియా, ประเทศกินี, Kini, ۋىنېيە, Ґвінея, گنی, Ghi-nê (Guinea), Orílẹ́ède Gene, 几内亚, i-Guinea

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