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24th Oct 12’ Bobo Dioulas, Burkina Faso – Wa, Ghana

October 27, 2012

207 miles. (4013 miles to date)

Last night I reviewed my route and decided to ditch the sat nav for the journey through Ghana (Dai would be proud of me). Leaving the roadside motel in Burkina I easily located the road to Klesso which I hoped to be a short cut avoiding the main road in to Ghana. My Michellin map showed it to be an accessible road depending on whether conditions so I was pleased to find it still tarmacked. I crossed the quiet border from Ouessa into Hamale, Ghana with ease and as soon as I did so was pleased to hear all the officials speaking English, probably because of Ghanas colonial history ties with England.

At the border post a flock of vultures circled overhead and I wondered why. A truck then pulled in which was stacked high with dried cattle skins. The vultures swooped down in turns and perched themselves on top of the truck while they savagely attacked the top layer of skins.

As soon as I left the border the road suddenly turned in to a bumpy dirt track with pot holes filled with deep sand which made the bike swerve side to side. Either side of the track, the fields were alight with roaring flames travelling as fast as I and the bike in the wind. Overhead, Black Kites and Buzzards circled and swooped down for the wildlife which tried to escape the burning fields.

I’m guessing the fires were purposefully started to rejuvenate the farmers land in preparation to plant their new crops.

The chosen road was certainly a short cut but traveling at only ten miles an hour across the bumpy track made it an exhausting mid-day ride. I had to stop every twenty miles for shade and water and every now and again a KTM Chinese import scooter would fly pass by creating a thick cloud of red dust from the road which coated everything in its path including the insides of your nose and mouth which was evident from the contents of my handkerchief.

During one of my water stops at a road side shanty village, I parked the bike next to a shack and enquired to see if coffee was available and to my surprise it was. Within seconds the whole village had gathered around my bike and me, probably wondering what brings this alien and his spaceship to our village. The crowd became so big I could hardly see my bike but knew from previous experience’s it would be safe as they would just look and admire.

I located the Chief and asked if he would like me to take a Polaroid photo of his people next to my bike. He replied “no, you must take one of me alone first, then of my people”. Once the photos’ had developed they were passed around. The villagers became excited and the passing became snatching until there was hardly any photo left to see.

I admit, the attention the bike and I receive is a great feeling but leaving the villages I often feel guilty knowing that such a machine would never become available to them no matter how high they set their aspirations.

I thanked them for their hospitality and attempted the remaining 60 miles of the red dusty track to Kedge Loge in Wa.

On arrival, I was lucky to be given their last room. The hotel appeared a little run down but the receptionist, porters and security staff were all very hospitable and helped me with my bags up to the room. At first the room had electric and a water supply which was a bonus. The staff seemed amazed by this spaceship I had arrived on and when asked if they would like to clean it they jumped at the chance.

Whilst talking to the lads they remembered two S. A. BMW riders staying here last year coving a similar route. I presume they are the two lads I recently spoke with when researching the trip. If you’re reading this Anthony and Russell (apologies if the names are mixed up), the lads said to say hi. During my meeting with these two chaps they warned of a phrase they often used AWA which means Africa wins Again. Since then, I have used the phrase daily, but hey, it wouldn’t be an Adventure if it was easy!

Over the next few days I plan to travel the length of Ghana from North to South and finally get to reduce my daily mileage and explore more by arriving earlier at each destination and look forward to some rest days not too far ahead.