We both feel it has long been time to change the header of our website ‘From the UK to Mali…‘, and now, after some agonising over what to change it to, the time has arrived.
We have both been investing time towards planning for the next exciting leg of our journey, the visa beauracracy, security situations, FCO advice (and the obvious insurance implications), sending emails to other cyclists, calculating kilometers, calculating days of cycling and rest, the list goes on.
So, right now the plan when April arrives, looks a little bit like this (ambitious and still a work in progress!),
– Pedal out of Mali and into Burkina Faso, where we will met with an Association of Young Musicians.
– Cycle through Burkina Faso and into Benin.
– Crossing our fingers that the Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou issues us a visa (they normally refuse visas to travellers with an Embassy in their country of residence), we will cross the border into Nigeria.
– After enjoying the music scene in Lagos we hope to continue through Nigeria on a carefully calculated route (owing to security issues) and cross the frontier into the green (though rather hilly), Cameroon.
– Hopefully overcoming more expected visa problems, we will manage to obtain a visa for Gabon (known for its lush rainforests covering more than 85% of the country). By this point we are almost expecting to have run out of time and will possibly be forced to fly home from Libreville (Gabon). But if not…
– IF we can secure a visa and time remains on our side, we will cross into Congo heading a few hundred kilometers to Brazzaville.
– At Brazzaville we will take the ferry across the Congo River and border into Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, famed for its rich music scene.
Admittedly the last two stages of the journey are by far the most ambitious and remain in our minds a hopeful extra! But even if we only get as far as Nigeria’s energetic Lagos, I know we will have been slowed down by the best of distractions, as has always been the case on this fantastic trip.
So with many hopeful ‘ifs’…’ hanging in the air, we’ll leave you with a map of our proposed 5000 km additional route, some images of the countries we hope to pass through and the funky sounds of DRC’s Baloji!