One of the most memorable photos from my time in West Africa was this camp spot in the far southwest of Mali.
We were hundreds of kilometres off the bitumen trying to map routes through the Bafing National Park. We followed tracks to the Bafing Chimpanzee Santuary which turned out to be completely shut down, it had been closed many years previously but we were in the area so had to check it out. We followed some feint tracks south from there which petered out from village to village. Each one we passed through we were greater warmly by the people. After 150km we were pretty deep and we knew our fuel supplies would be pushed to the limit (with 2 leaking tanks and running the 6cyl petrol). To top it off the clunk from the driveline got worse (turned out to be a front prop UJ) so we decided that night to turn tail and head back to refuel. We had mapped what little we could.
That night we heard some rustling around camp which turned out to be a stray cow. We could however hear in the distance a lot of chanting, singing and wailing. Maybe witch doctors are alive and well near the Guinean border after all.
To read more about the MAPA Project and our adventures there, take a look here:
This week’s photo is from a very remote village in Mali. We were here to help The MAPA project map and record information on all National Parks and reserve areas in Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Maps show little to no roads in these parks and those on paper maps have been lifted from old IGN maps dating back to the 50’s.
This village in particular is north of Mora Mora in the de Boule NP. Villages here do not have motorised transport so when our Land Cruiser pushed through the bush the whole village came out to meet us. With mud huts so close together, the villagers moved their firewood aside and congregated on the edge of the village to see us off. I took this photo from the roof of the Cruiser. The curious look from the children is due to them never seeing a camera before.
For me this is the most poinient photo of our expedition through West Africa.
Our GPS tracks for the area can be found on Tracks4Africa