My first camp in the true African bush went well. I had all my limbs in the morning and I slept soundly. That is after I put earplugs in, before that every rustle of the wind woke me up.
The ride today was pretty much as the rest of Senegal; hot and dusty. There has been a gradual change from salt production and green trees near the coast to charcoal production and more arid conditions inland.
Right from the start of the ride there were soldiers every 1km or so, more in the towns. At one town as was told to go around the dirt tracks at the back because. .. yes the president is coming (again). I turned left and took the first right, no point in going too far out of my way. Ahhh… The market is in full swing on a road crossing my path. After much confusion, chaos, and moving of donkeys, market stalls and wares, I was on the other side. In the next town i was forced to the side of the road by the presidents motorcade going the other way. Including am ambulance.
My plan for the day was to reach the Mali border. I did not think I would be able to cross until Monday as I needed a visa. I arrived at the border and followed the road passing hundreds of lorries waiting to cross. At the end was a single fixer waiting for me. I asked if i could get a visa here today? Yes, no problem, so 1/2 hour and 45,000 (45 pounds) later I was in Mali!
I thought Senegal was hot. . Mali is hotter, over 45 degrees C. I stopped for a while under the shade of a tree to offload and reload liquid and then onto the first town.
Mali has problems in the North of the country, just today two UN peacekeers were killed, I am in the South but even so, camping is not a good idea. So i am in an air conditioned hotel, had pizza and beer for dinner, hot shower and WiFi and will still have change from ┬ú50.
Tomorrow I have a nearly 500km ride to Bomako , the capital and stay in a hotel ready for Monday when I hope to get my next visa for Ivory Coast