Archive for the ‘Mali’ Category


Posted: December 7, 2010 in Africa Orbital, Mali

7/12/10 Russell writes:

Arriving into Mali was a very laid back affair, although we did try and make it harder on ourselves by refusing to pay for an official, legally required document for the bikes. Sometimes you can try too hard, and of course we paid in the end. Police and customs usually put extra charges at borders, but are rarely official and with determination are avoidable. The following day was Darren’s birthday, and what did he get? Vomiting, diarrhoea, a trip to the hospital and a dose of Typhoid! Happy birthday!

Going on the drip

So with a French army ration pack to keep us company we waited in the hospital while they injected him, lots, and for a drip to be drained into him. But otherwise he was not too bad, sleepy and keen to get out of a pretty smelly and filthy Mali hospital. The poor lad in the bed opposite was in a very bad way, he wasn’t fully conscious, severe gurgling in the chest and had occasional fits. I couldn’t stand buy as a Muslim outside went through his prayer ritual while this poor lad wasn’t getting prayer, so I asked the father and prayed for the sick man. Feel free to add your own prayers.  We managed, as soon as Daren was off the drip and fees paid, to ride out of town and set up a camp for the night, and in hammocks we slept till the sun woke. A tiring 4oo mile ride in the mid 30’s took us the next day into the Mali capital, Bamako.

A smoking goat herder

While fighting through the dust and traffic we were pulled over by cops on a scooter, apparently we’d failed to stop at his whistle and was angrily demanding around £200! He had his cuffs out ready to take us to the station at one point, but after much pleading we gave him all we had, about £25 and he eventually let us go. Genuine? Who knows? We doubt it, but are trying not to let this taint or Malian experience. We are now staying at a catholic mission with some very friendly nuns. Four or five days here should be enough to sort out our onward visas and washing.