Date: 25th Feb 08
Location: Kita, Mali
Weather: Clear blue skies and damn hot sunshine, 44°c
Status: Ben & Luke – tried, hot and frustrated, Colonel – locks and handles seizing up in the dust!
The hardest day yet on the trip both physically and mentally; lack of food, cold water and a decent road meant that frustrations hit a peak and we tested ourselves to the limits….no chance of training today at all!
Left our bush camp early to try and get to Bamako in time to get to the bank before it closed but the quality of the roads soon out pay to that idea. When we pulled into the first village to say hello a guy came up to us and drew a little map of the raod ahead and told us of the problems we’d face, and he wasn’t wrong at all!
The road changed from sections of loose gravels, to the fine dust which had entered every part of the vehicle and even included some challenging crossings of dry river beds which meant using a good run up, low range and difflock…again not the nest way to treat a broken suspension!
The 75kms to the “promised land” of the tarmac road took a little over 5 hours and with the lack of a decent breakfast both of us felt tired and irritable, so when we finally arrived in Toukoto, passing over a 500m rail bridge, and were greeted by more of the same road surface we hit a low point and both questioned continuing for the day!
Several of the people we’d spoken to talked of a good tarmac road which would slingshot us to the capital, but an African’s opinion of a good road is very different to ours! Yes it was a main road, well wide enough to take two cars, and yes it had been graded but none of the bridges or river crossings had been finished so it was the same up and down the verges as we’d had for the past four days! When Charlie the German ex-special forces had described it as an amazing journey he hadn’t been wrong, but all we wanted was a fast exit!
After two hours we arrived in the town of Kita and our first electrically fed piece of civilisation for almost a week, we wound our way down the back streets and found the dusty campsite we’d planned to stay at! A little oasis in the middle of town, with cold showers, dinner at eight and right in the centre near to a local bar. So we headed there for some light refreshment and met a gent from Ghana who gave us the address of his sons in Accra who well call and meet when we arrive in the country, returned to the camp for fish and potato supper and hit the tent after a mad, testing and exhausting day.
Will clean and fix the locks tomorrow and make the three hour trip to the capital…..finally!
End of day location: Kita, Mali
Distance covered: 170kms