Tag Archives: Nikon D200

Nigerian Forest Girl

While travelling you sometimes have some of the most random and beautiful encounters. One evening just after crossing the border from Benin into Nigeria, we bush camped just off the road. We thought we were in the middle of nowhere but within 15 minutes a small groups of people from a local village showed up. We didn’t speak a common language but somehow ended up laughing and chatting for quite a while and they all wanted their photo taken. One of them considered the area where our camp table and chairs were to be our living room, so he took his shoes off before standing next to Louise for his photo.

The following morning it continued with another small group of people wanting their photos taken. This beautiful little girl’ eyes lit up when she saw herself on the back of the camera.

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Grand Popo

I stood on this beach for the first time when I was 14. Some of my fondest memories of that trip are from our time at Grand Popo. It was one of those places that overlanders used as a break from the road. These days it seems to be have been a little forgotten. By these days I mean when we were last there in 2008. Perhaps the travellers stops have moved further along the coast to Big Millys in Ghana, that had a similar sort of vibe to the one I remember from Grand Popo. Everyone having a good time, telling tales of their adventures on the road, sharing food, drinking singing and laughing together and forgetting about the rest of the world.

It was also a very different time when I was 14, the internet didn’t exist when I was 14, no one had a GPS, most people hadn’t heard of a Laptop. Photos were taken on film. You couldn’t get info on roads from websites, it was all word of mouth, we had heard rumours that the border to Zaire had closed. So we had to come up with an alternate plan, by we I mean my step dad and the 2 british couples we were travelling with at the time. Suddenly out of the blue some locals showed up and offered to buy the cars, after a whole day of discussing and haggling and talking it ended up being a con, and they stole our video camera. Later that night there was an incident involving the local restaurant owner and one of our brits complaining about the size of a pig we bought being no bigger than a chicken. I have many other stories from our week or two on that beach. When we returned It felt like it had been hit by some kind of plaque, there weren’t any woman selling eggs and bread on the beach in the morning.

No matter how many times I return to a place, it’s always different, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. At least I will have those first memories of Grand Popo. Going through and sharing these photos from our trip has stirred up many memories.

Reflecting on what you have done in the past sometimes help in providing perspective on what’s next.

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Man Trucks

I first saw this model of MAN truck on my first overland trip through Africa when I was 14. I even helped some of the overland truck drivers repair them, they were pretty basic machines. I still remember one of these rolling up to Grand Popo in Benin, I thought the french foreign legion had arrived or something like that.

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Senegalese Sunrise

Whenever I look at these older photos, I remember where on a map, what time of day and what we were doing when they were taken. I can never remember the name of the place they were taken at though. I find myself regularly looking at google maps to figure out where I took a photo.

This was was taken close to the Saloum Delta national park in Senegal.

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Mauritanian Sands

We didn’t spend much time in Mauritania, just a few nights. Right before we left a couple of french tourists had been shot by terrorists, so we were a little concerned and only transited through the country. A bit of a shame really, had we done the trip the other way round we would have most likely spent quite some time here.

We found that the more remote or the poorer the place you are in, the friendlier the people and the more genuine they are. Even though they have nothing people were more than happy to share whatever they had with us.

This was taken in the Parc national du banc d’arguin. It’s supposed to be a great place for sea birds. Perhaps one day, I’ll return.

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Moroccan Tracks

Time to fill in the gaps.

Morocco was a country that surprised me, we had a good time for the most part, we had a little run in with an unofficial guide in Fez. Except for him Moroccans were extremely nice people and the country is stunning and it has some great off road tracks.

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Angolan Hills

I’ve been kind of following the basic route that we took on our extended trip through Africa back in 2008-2009.

Angola was an interesting country that clearly was still recovering from the civil war that had been going on there for who knows how many years. The Chinese had moved in in a big way, building roads amazingly fast, this helped as we only managed to get a five day transit visa, to cross the country from North to South about 2500 Kms. To make matters worse the anchor point of the rear shocks on the rear diff tore off on our first day in Angola. We thought we were doomed with how bad the roads were. Luckily half way through day 2 we hit Tarmac and had it all the way to the Namibian border. We tried to get the rear diff welded, but with no portuguese it was proving to be difficult so we just bounced all the way to Windhoek.

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Sandy Tracks

Who would have thought that some of the sandiest tracks on our trip through Africa would have been on the long border road between Gabon and Congo.

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Bush Camping

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but most of the photos I have been posting recently are from the big trip Louise and I took in 2008. This one is from the north of Cameroon, we arrived at the edge of this river after the sun went down, we didn’t realise we had camped about 20 metres from a village. We discovered this was the local washing up spot in the morning.

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Nigerian Kids

Nigeria is truly full of people and when we drove through there in 2008 we were a little apprehensive before we got there. We were warned by many travellers and articles on the net about how the police and people will all try to rip us off. Surprisingly that never happened, we were always welcomed and everyone was exceedingly friendly. Perhaps it was because we were travelling with a crazy dutch couple who’s answer to the police asking if he spoke english was “sometimes”.

It goes to show that when travelling people have very different experiences some good, some bad. We’ve met plenty of people that loved Gambia, we couldn’t stand the place or the nature of the people there.

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