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20th Oct 12′ Guard Post near Kobenni – just South of Didjeni, Mali

October 22, 2012

274 miles. (3387 miles to date)

Being keen to retrieve our passports, I woke early the next morning and quickly packed. The soldier gave us our passports and wished us “bon voyage”.

Fifty kilometres down the road we approached the sleepy exit border post of Mauritania where our vehicle importation documents and passports were stamped out of the country. The process was surprisingly quick but we still had the entry border post of Mali to contend with.

At the Mali border post we submitted our passports, visas and vehicle log books to the authorities along with the extra payments or tips if you like. We changed a hundred euros each and left the post with hardly any change.

As soon as we entered Mali the terrain changed as it often did. There was corn field upon cornfield with locals running through them banging there metal dishes together to frighten off the feeding birds. The women bathed themselves whilst washing their brightly coloured garments in the large stagnant pools of water then hung it out to dry on the thick privets of the African plains.

Bee eaters swooped down with mouthfuls of crickets and bees as the kites feed off the rotting cattle at the side of the road and vultures circle above awaiting their turn.

Heading South in to Mali we both feel tired so stop at a melon stall in the middle of nowhere. We bought the biggest, juiciest melon and shared it with the gathering children.

Further down the road entering another village, I notice a motorcycle shack surrounded by Japanese import’s all awaiting repairs with their owners. The owner and his customers seemed delighted we had stopped and offered us chairs and coffee. We compare bikes, though I felt incredibly guilty explaining what each farkle was for and how much it cost in answer to their questions. During this trip, I often ask myself if what we are doing is correct considering the income of the poverty stricken villages we are riding through.

Our aim was to reach Bamako but as the light faded we knew this wouldn’t be achievable so settled for a hotel just South of Didjeni for only 5000 CFA each for the night, the equivalent to approximately £6.

Our hotel room has three single tubed rusty hospital beds similar to what seen in army movies with tatty mosquito nets covering them, but its clean (ish) and secure which is all we need. The birds and crickets are chatting away loudly just by our prison like louver window. For the first time in Africa the Mosquitos are plentiful so suspect we are near water. A hot sleepless night ahead is predicted.