My West African overland trip Part I – My plan

By bus or by plane?

My plan
: To do all of West Africa solo overland.

This article is part of a sequence of posts about my experience traveling by bus in West Africa. 

I visited all colored countries plus Niger and Mali

Few months ago it was only an idea, a dream, but now I look back and I can’t believe I did it. OMG…Yes, I did it!!! and I’m so happy about it: I spent 6+months traveling alone all the way from Nigeria until Senegal by road. What a trip! What an experience!!!

My shared taxi from Sierra Leone to Guinea-Conakry

Here I just want to share some general figures with you. My next few posts will be related to this overland trips in West Africa. What does it mean? It means that I’ll be sharing with you some stories about the transportation I took, how were the journies, how much did I pay, how long did it take, how was the border crossing experience, etc etc.

So…keep following me 🙂

My plan: To do all of West Africa solo overland

This African trip actually didn´t start in West Africa but in Zambia and South Africain in November 2016. Then I reached Nigeria, my first West Africancountry, in December 2016 and my plan was to move from there slowly to the west visiting all the possible West African countries as long as I can get a visa for every one and my money lasts until the final country.

Why solo?

Well… first of all, non of my friends had 6 months time to travel the world and second, no one was interested in West Africa. What a pity! For them, of course! 😜

Why overland?
I’m not intending to break any record or expecting that my friends think I´m a very cool and brave traveller, it was mainly a matter of money and I really wanted to visit all those countries. If you take a look at the flight prices you won´t believe how expensive is to flight between those countries. For example flying from Mali to Senegal (neighboor countries) could cost the same like flying from Senegal to Europe and it´s actually less than a 2 hours flight.

But to be honest it´s not only a matter of money, it´s the oportunity to see the countryside and not only the big cities, to meet people on the way, to be able to change the plan and direction of the trip if someone recommend you something different or if you just feel like staying longer somewhere, to stop in an unknown village and spend a night there with the locals, to live how they live, eat what they eat, travel to the next place in the same way they would do it, to enjoy the African landscapes that are unique and expectacular, and more and more.

Cause of all this mentioned reasons, I decided to go the entire way overland. All of West Africa by bus. Hmmmm… That’s a challenge!

First step, first country: traveling inside Nigeria by local bus.

Are you CRAZY???? That was the answer I got from ALL the people I asked (Nigerian friends living outside Nigeria, Nigerians living in Nigeria, other travelers that have been to Nigeria before).

But yes, I did it.

Do you wanna know how the bus trip was? Check my next articles about it coming soon 😊

Here the figures from my West African Solo Overland Trip:

(I´m not including distances inside the cities, only from city to city).

In total: 21.853kms

By bus: 16.961kms

By car with friends or a driver or hitchhiking: 3.833kms

By motorbike: 613kms

By boat/ferry: 446kms

The ferry from Barra to Banjul in The Gambia was supposed to be a 45min trip but it became a 2+ hours trip

In detail (in case you are interested):

By bus

Nigeria

Abuja-Calabar 701 kms

Calabar – Lagos 743kms

Lagos-Cotonou 124kms

Benin

Cotonou to Dassa-Zoumé 203kms

Dassa-Zoumé to Natitingou 339kms

Natitingou-Parakou 213kms

Parakou-Niamey 616kms

Niger

Niamey-Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) 514kms

https://instagram.com/p/BPp6rEeDs0V/

Burkina Faso

Oagadougou-Bobo Dioulasso 383kms

Bobo Dioulasso- Banfora 85kms

Banfora-Gaoua 198kms

Gaoua-Ouagadougou 389kms

Ouagadougou-Tiébele-Ouagadougou 356kms

Ouagadougou-Bani 238kms

Ouagadougou-Lomé 947kms

Togo

Lomé-Kara 411kms

Kara-Badou 342kms via Atakpame

Badou-Kpalimé 170kms

Kpalimé-Hohoe 81kms

Ghana

Hohoe-Accra 213kms

Accra-Kumasi 253kms

Kumasi-Kintampo-Kumasi 372kms

Kumasi -Obuasi-Accra 298kms

Accra-Abidjan 536kms

Ivory Coast/Côte D’ Ivoire

Abidjan-Yamoussoukro-Abidjan 472kms

Abidjan-Man-Abidjan 1126kms

Abidjan-San Pedro 332kms

San Pedro-Gand Béréby-San Pedro 102kms

San Pedro-Danane 464kms

This picture was actually taken in Zambia right before starting my West African tip and it represents the way I travel 🙂

Liberia

Saniquellie-Gbarnga vía Ganta 105kms Monrovia-Bomi-Monrovia 126kms

Monrovia-Marshall-Monkey island-Monrovia 174kms (car+motorbike)

Monrovia-Freetown 545kms

Sierra Leone

Freetown-Conakry 245kms

Guinea Conakry

Conakry-Dubreka-Conakry 56kms

Conakry-Kindia-Conakry 232kms

Conakry-Dalaba-Pita-Labé 358kms

Labé-Koundara 252kms

Guinea Bissau

Koundara-Gabu 134kms

Gabu-Bissau 186kms

Bissau-Varela 171kms

Varela-Ziguinchor 73kms

Senegal

Dakar-Banjul 269kms

The Gambia

Banjul-Wassu 213kms

Wassu-Koungheul 161kms

Koungheul-Bamako 1.023kms

Mali

Bamako-Mopti 636kms

Mopti-Bandiagara 74kms

Bandiagara-Téli-Begnimatu 48kms

Bandiagara-Djenné 177kms

Djenné-Ségou 245kms

Ségou-Bamako 237kms

By car with friends or a driver or hitchhiking:

Lagos-Ile Ife-Erin Ijesha-Lagos 528kms

Cotonou-Porto Novo-Cotonou 82kms

Cotonou-Ouidah-Cotonou 76kms

Cotonou-Ganvié-Abomey-Cotonou 300kms

Natitingou-Tanougou-Natitingou 142kms

Bani-Ouagadougou 238kms

Lomé-Aného-Togoville-Lomé 164kms

Lomé-Kpalimé-Lomé 240kms

Accra-Cape Coast 296kms

Accra-Aburi-Boti-Accra 186kms

Accra-Tema-Ada 112kms

Abidjan-Grand Bassam 82kms

Gbarnga-Monrovia 193kms

Freetown-Bureh Beach-Freetown 108kms

Freetown-Banana island-Freetown 116km (until Kent, then by boat)

Bissau-Saltinho-Bissau 336kms

Dakar-Saly-Dakar 134kms

Dakar-St. Louis-Dakar 500kms

When we had to change the tires in Senegal and any of us knew how to do it… and after taht, our car broke down lol

By motorbike:

Natitingou-Kota-Koussou-Natitingou 102kms

Ouagadougou-Bani-Ouagadougou 314kms

Danane-Sanniquellie 99kms

Sanniquellie-Nimba-Sanniquellie 98kms

The day I crossed the desert by motorbike in Burkina Faso and realized that I was in the wrong city. OMG! I have to write about it, lol

By boat/ferry:

Ziguinchor-Dakar 432kms

Barra-Banjul-Barra 14kms

And now it´s time to share how was my experience during this long trip of 21.853kms. More posts coming soon.

Enjoy it and stay tuned!!!

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