Rosario Sala – Western Africa

Rosario Sala
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Western Africa 2019 2020 ROS
Year: 2019-2020

The journey started on November 22nd, 2019. Sabrina and I, my partner, traveled for 18 days by motorbike, visiting South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, a part of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Throughout the journey, I traveled over 22,000 km through South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Angola, Congo DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, France, and Italy.

Upon our departure from Cape Town, Chapmans Peak Drive immediately presents itself, a spectacular road that descends towards Cape Good Hope along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean nestled between the rocky walls that descend vertically to the ocean giving spectacular landscapes. After passing the Cape of Good Hope, we travel the Garden Route to Jeffreys Bay. We go up the coast after Port Elizabeth city where the Garden Route ends, we go inland to Aliwal North, a city near the border with Lesotho.

In Botswana we visit the Chobe park, we see a few elephants, many crocodiles, hippos, gazelles, impalas, and monkeys, but not lions. We visit the Victoria Falls and the next day I accompany Sabrina to the airport, she returns to Italy and I continue my journey northwards alone. I travel Angola along the coast, I stop for a few days in Luanda to visit my Ivory Coast visa. Along the way you can still see the carcasses of tanks dating back to the civil war ended in 2002.

The entrance to Kinsasha is a delusion. I take more than an hour to travel a few kilometers, the impressive traffic and the poor state of the roads do not allow me to get to the mission where the Augustinian fathers are waiting for me for a couple of hours, tiredness and tension are almost at the limit but I can reach my destination without much trouble.

I stop for a few days to get a visa from Cameroon and spend Christmas. In Kinshasa I organize the transport of mine and the motorbike through the Congo River to reach Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, some men help me load the motorbike on a boat where I also get on.

Time to cross the Congo River and then off to Loubomo. The next day there is the crossing of the border to get to Gabon, one of the most demanding roads of the trip. About three hundred kilometers of dirt road, mud and the crossing of countless fords. I went through Gabon fast. It is a country located at the equator, where the majority of people do not suffer from hunger as in Congo or Nigeria, the roads are beautiful and there are many crops of bananas, pineapples, and vegetables. I had another difficult moment in Douala, the capital of Cameroon. The only open border between Cameroon and Nigeria is to the north. The passage, however, in addition to being very difficult from the point of view of the road, is dangerous due to the presence of an Anglophone enclave in those places. These rebels improvised raids by making thefts and looting in nearby villages. Furthermore, after crossing the Nigeria border, there was talk of having to ask for a police escort for about three hundred kilometers due to the presence of Islamic fundamentalists from Boko Haram.

Between Benin and Togo, I had the good fortune to live in contact with voluntary associations and missions that do an immense job for these populations. In Ivory Coast I had to change my travel schedule again, instead of going from Liberia and Sierra Leone, I preferred to go to Mali to reach Senegal. I was hosted first in Abidjan in Ivory Coast by the nuns, then in Bamako in Mali and Dakar in Senegal by local families.

Arriving in Dakar, I knew that my trip was practically over, at least from the point of view of the difficulties, and in fact, it was so. I stayed a couple of days at a family home, living on their habits. From Dakar onwards, motorcyclists, campers and bicycle travelers meet. The road that climbs from Senegal, then Mauritania to the capital Nouakchott, is a bit demanding, with dirt roads, sandy stretches and the few asphalted stretches are full of large holes.

From Nouakchott to climb the border with Morocco to Tangier the road is very beautiful, it passes mostly near the coast where there are cliffs on the left that sometimes give way to endless beaches and on the other side the immensity of the desert.

Arriving in Spain with the ferry from Tangier to Algeciras after a little over two hours I feel practically at home. After about 22000 kilometers I finished my trip to Trento.