1st visit 2nd visit


The Niokola Koba National Park was really exciting, not just because it was our first real sight of wild animals but because we had the opportunity to play in the mud and get the recovery toys out.

Entry 12th June 1999
Tripometer 10,123 kms
Currency CFA (1000 = £1)
Language French
Time GMT
bcampit.jpg (7546 bytes)

Previous "The Gambia"

We were amazed that no fee was requested at the border and for the first time we decided to use our Carnet de Passage - the car document that is worth more than your life. It was Saturday and the banks were shut but fortunately we had enough CFA to last us through the weekend at the Niokola Koba National Park. At the town of Tambacounda we were approached by a very desperate refugee from Sierra Leone trying to get the money for a taxi to Dakar. It was pitiful to see a man beg so we parted (Andrew willingly, me not -so) with 40 dollars and hope that he was genuine.

Camping outside the park was eventful. First there were flies in the dinner then we were all up at 4am preparing ourselves and the tents for the impending storm. In previous countries we have been kept awake by dogs, prayer calls and cockerels. Now it is storms. Oh, for a good nights kip!

On the 13th it was Andrews birthday and we had a smashing day game viewing in the park. We saw monkeys, baboons, hippos, gazelles, various types of deer, warthogs and loads of birds. The park had officially closed at the beginning of June because of the rainy season but they let in the odd car if they think you can cope with potentially muddy situations. So far the mud was minimal and Punda delighted in the odd puddle. I had hoped to find a birthday card and a fly swatter for a pressie but this is Africa. Andrew did have one card to open though from his dad. I made a birthday cake in the outback oven - well, more of a pancake! It tasted good though and there was a candle too. I expect the wish was for a cake that rises next time. That night we were entertained by a giant scorpion and blue and yellow lizards doing press-ups.

The next day we awoke to clouds and we had only been on the track for a little while when the storm hit. The tracks became rivers within minutes and we were forced to sit it out for an hour or so. As the day progressed so did the events. Camel Trophy has nothing on us! Crossing palm bridges was interesting but by mid afternoon we were up to the chassis in mud - really think jelly welly type stuff. It wasn't long before our shoes were off and we were sliding around with shovels, sand tracks and .....the moment we were waiting for .......the winch. Hurray!!!! Both Punda and Turtle were winched out of some sticky situations and we were filthy. The park is approximately the same size as The Gambia and given that the route ahead was long and of uncertain condition we decided to turn back. If we had continued and had some problems then it is likely that we would still be there. Support teams don't exist out here, even when the park is open. We reached Badi camping point just before nightfall after a few more adventures in the mud and disturbed a hundred baboons who were sleeping in the trees above. What an incredible sight. The speed that  the baboons descended the trees and exited was amazing - it was like a wave of baboons. It wasn't long before they were back and kept us awake with their mating calls or the like.

We returned to Tamba (passing Chris going towards the park) to visit the bank, market, chawarma bar and to get Noels puncture fixed. Africans will fix practically any tyre - vulcanising the side wall made very interesting viewing. Tyres that we would throw away in England are almost new over here. In the town a couple of donkeys were up to rumpy pumpy in the street. The local children were laughing but the sight brought tears to my eyes and Andrew was very jealous indeed!!!!!

There are three routes into Guinee, two of which are impossible in the rainy season and practically impossible at all other times. We chose the easy (!!!!) route as we had been warned in The Gambia to get into, and through,  Guinee before the rains hit hard. The road towards the Guinee border turned to piste and became terrible. This was pre-rains and now I know what pot holes the size of Land Rovers look like. It wasn't long before I was booted out of the driving seat for incompetent driving. This was the most challenging terrain so far - choose the pot hole, avoid the greenery and pray to Allah that the water isn't too deep. We were though the worst of it after about two hours of white knuckle driving and the gluteus maximus had a chance to get out of spasm mode. The slight (very slight) improvement in the road condition marked the start of Guinee territory. The passage out of Senegal was smooth with the exception of being chased by the Gendarmerie for not stopping at their invisible checkpoint.

Next "Guinee"

Click on a picture to see it full size

tfix2t.jpg (6307 bytes) tfix1t.jpg (7272 bytes) nbridget.jpg (7310 bytes) nstuck1t.jpg (7597 bytes) nscorpit.jpg (4963 bytes)
Retreading Noels tyres Fixing the sidewalls on Noels tyres A ropey bridge in Niokolo Koba National Park Hurray, we get to use the winch One of the neighbours in the park
nstuck2t.jpg (7711 bytes) nbirboyt.jpg (7631 bytes) bcampit.jpg (7546 bytes) bordert.jpg (7425 bytes)  
We get to use the winch again as Turtle goes for an alternative route Jac bakes me a (pan)cake for my birthday Bush camping on the way to Guinee - it's a hard life Sally strides the border between Senegal and Guinee  


from The Gambia




Niokolo Koba Park Campement just outside the park with cold beers and food  
Campement du Lion.  Closed when we arrived but were still able to stay there.  Nice views. Facilities were all closed. N13.01.600 W013.14.328
Badi used to have a campement but it was deserted and broken down when we arrived.  Bush camped it at the old site.  There were lots of baboons/monkeys roosting in the trees. When we arrived there was a mass exodus, fantastic to watch N 13.08.613 W 013.13.337
to Guinee