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:
Many seasoned overlanders would agree that the biggest immediate danger presented to them comes not from violent crime, assault, malaria or vehicle theft but from other road users sharing that thin ribbon of (hopefully) unobstructed land.
This clearly defined interactive map shows the number of deaths per 100,000 population for most of the world’s countries. Grim I know but I think it could be useful. Stats can often get skewed with these things so its best to draw comparisons from your own experiences. From my experience Mali was probably the worst for careless driving alongside Kazakhstan which both rank in the low 20’s. However does this translate to the statistics shown? Linked to the map are a number of accounts from developing nations that I can personally attest to from Bamako, Mali and Jakarta in Indonesia. Let us know what you think from the places you have visited and driven in the comments.