Day 22 & 23 – 12&13 /2/15 – Banjul to London

So we have donated the cars to the local Rotary Club and all the contents to the only Scout camp in The Gambia, they were very grateful for the tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, water carriers, etc,

Would recommend anyone who wants to see countries at their grass roots to do something like this, we visited 9 countries in 22 days (France, Andora, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia) A great experience to go from -7 to +35 in just over a week !

We were due to fly out on the 04.00 flight to Casablanca on 12th feb, but it was cancelled so we missed our connecting flight to London, so we spent an extra night in Casablanca waiting for the next flight out, and finally arrived a day later on Friday 13th into London Gatwick – thanks for all your support and donations, we shall update the website once all donations are in and let you know how we did.

The last picture of us with the Land Rover Discovery with all our personal effects in 3 laundry bags….

the end

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Day 22 – 11/2/15 – In Banjul, The Gambia – our last day

Our Last day in Banjul, went for a little walk around, and went up Independents Tower, from here you get a good view of Banjul, then we head back to the hotel to meet with the Charity to give the cars to, a mixed feeling of sadness and joy, we then go for a little swim and then pack ready for the flight home, we then realise we have given everything away and dont have much left, we wanted to tape up the bags, but we gave that away too – oh no,  So we find a local man and we swop a shirt for some tape as we have no more money either…. well the oldest currency is trade off, so thats what we did.

A quick calculation of our total mileage is 4,975 miles….

Heading to the airport for our flight to Casablanca, then to Gatwick – hope to see you all soon to tell you all our travellers tales…. thanks everyone who has sponsored us, we have really enjoyed the experience and hope to have raised lots of money for our chosen charities.

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Day 21 – 10/2/15 – In The Gambia

We are staying at a scout camp, its the only scout group in the whole of The Gambia – they have a flag of Lord Baden Powell, and a Union Jack flying, we have breakfast with them and chat to them, we decide to give them all that we can out of the cars for their charity work, so thats all the food we have left, plus clothes we no longer need, water containers, fuel, sleeping bags, cooking equipment etc… plus pens and books that we brought with us we won’t be needing it now, they are so grateful.

We then visit a school in Serrekumda and meet with the head, we give them colouring books and pens and pencils too, as we travel around The Gambia we notice a lot of police and army everywhere – apparently there was an attempted coo,

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Day 20 – 9/2/15 – Dakar to The Gambia

So the Hotel was infested with mosquitos – great ! we had a really rough night as you can imagine, In the morning the chief of police comes and gets us at 07.30 and after more talks he now believes that we are intending to drive right through Senegal to The Gambia and not dump our cars in his country, but we need an escort all the way through Senegal to the border crossing, he makes a few phone calls and says I will come with you ! So we head off to collect our cars and then drive right through Senegal to The Gambian border with the Chief of Police as our Escort – how mad is this !

It turns out he is a really nice man and his english is quite good too, He was badly injured in the army and was flown to Britain for specialist treatment and to recoup and he says he is not going to charge is an escort fee or any border crossing fees because of this, so we have a pleasant drive right through Senegal he sees us through all the border crossings by talking to the local police and we drive off road as the roads are so bad – he says we are very good drivers as we drive like Africans, and he likes our cars very much, he would like to buy the cars but doesn’t have the money, we finally arrive at the border where he fill sin all the paperwork for us and no money is exchanged and we are now free to cross the Gambian River to the south side and find a camp site for the night, phew, its such a relief to leave such hostile countries like Mauri and Senegal behind, with the exception of him, now we are in The Gambia and the temperature has reached 35 degrees during the day and drops to 10 degrees at night – so now we have 2 days to find a charity to give the cars too as the law has changed and we can’t sell them here either, but we have been told that the Rotary Club is a good one to donate too as they help a lot of small charities within the local community, so thats tomorrows task.

about 300 miles driven today

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Day 19 – 8/2/15 – St Louis to Dakar

We have decided to not head into Timbuktu, as the time it takes to cross each border has slowed us down so much, and we have been advised not to enter Mali, so we are now sticking to the west coast and heading south, not sure where we will finally end up, as it all depends on if and when we can cross the remaining borders and sell the cars to pay for our return flights home….

St Luis is a beautiful peninsular fishing village, with quiet seas on one side and raging seas on the other, we woke up this morning to see Pelicans on the quiet sea.

We had another frustrating days drive today, we left St Louis at 11am and we drove for 4 hours through lots of little villages, we were stopped by the police and fined 65,000 zafis which is about half of all the money we have left, apparently we did not stop at the stop signs and he chased us on a moped to catch us, we get no receipt again, and we feel like cash cows to the local police, if we didn’t pay him he would not let us drive on….. so we had no choice, overtime we stop in a village we get accosted by so many people it makes it hard for us to integrate with them.

We finally arrive in Dakar and see lots of nice cars, Mercs, Audis etc, and we think great this is more like it than the wrecks we have seen along the way, but once again we are stopped by the local police, they have a small shack and its absolute madness, they want our passports, and more money, we dont want to hand over our passports, so we talk to them and have tea with them to try and calm the situation down, it turns out they are fed up with Europeans dumping their cars on their land and abandoning them, we say we want to drive on to The Gambia, we dont want to dump our cars here, then the Chief of Police arrives, its now 11pm,  he escorts us into a taxi to a local hotel, we have to leave our cars at the check point…. we have packed everything that we need, we will see what tomorrow brings….  about 250 miles travelled today .

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Day 18 – 7/2/15 – Nouakchott to St Louis

Phew Its so hot, about 35 degrees, we are sticky and smelly and exhausted with the constant red tape at all the borders, having to pay for this and pay for that each time we cross another border, and the time it takes to cross each border with no real organisation to any of it, its so frustrating … They don like dealing with tourists, they want a middle man and this always costs….

We were advised to avoid Rosso, as its chaos crossing the border at that point, but we somehow ended up there, as there are no signs anywhere to tell you where you are and where you are going, all the roads took us here despite our best efforts to avoid it, so we had goats and donkeys in the road stopping us from moving on and all the locals banging on the cars wanting things from us, so we were stuck in the middle of this chaos for 2 hours, but it is very beautiful here on the west coast of North Africa as we drive down from Nouakchott to St Louis, which is another small peninsular on the borders of Senegal, we saw Pelicans in the sea and a small ferry crossing… we have sand everywhere, in our cars, in our bags in our clothes, in our ears etc…

about 300 miles covered today.

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Day 17 – 6/2/15 – Heading to Nouakchott

Had a good nights sleep on the beach, but the sound of the sea all night long made us all need the toilet a lot !  Made breakfast and waited for the guide to direct us along the beach roads to the little remote villages, we came across a small fishing village and we gave some gifts of colouring books and pencils to the Elder of the village to distribute among the children of the village, he was very pleased with that, and then we continued heading south , we are aiming for Nouakchott tonight.

about 280 miles covered today.

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Day 16 – 5/2/15 – In Mauritania somewhere….

Left the campsite at Banc D’Arguin and headed south on the coastal road, there are a lot of crashed and dumped cars along this road, our guide takes us to a camp site, well just a few tents on the beach actually !  We make camp and chaz catches a large fish in the sea using his hammock as a net – ingenious!  We put it back though…

We have dinner in the tent as the wind is blowing strong winds and sand everywhere, we drink our last beer as there is no where to buy any now, all in bed by 10pm – Good Night !

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Day 15 – 4/2/15 – Dakhla to Mauritania

Up early at 7am to re pack all the cars and collect a hitch hiker called Maud who is in Dakhla and wants a lift to Mauritania, its a 4 hr drive to the border crossing, on the way Dave gets a speeding fine, its 300 dirhams (£30) but we have no idea what the speed limits are over here…. so we just pay it and get back on our way, we arrive at the border and the queue to cross the northern part of the border into No Mans Land is just one car, so we think yes our lucks in, and we enter No Mans land in 45 mins, as we drive through this no rules, no law area we see lots of burned out cars and wrecks just abandoned by disheartened travellers who couldn’t get their cars across the border, we drive on and approach the southern part of the border into Mauritania which is a completely different story – total mayhem…. we are taken from one building to the next, to pay for this and that, check passports, check log books of cars, get a stamp for this, and a stamp for that, check insurance, prove yourself, what are you doing etc. etc.. at one point we thought we would not get access so we planned on camping at the border until they let us in … then after 6 hrs of bartering and frustration a man comes over and says OK you can go !  Yes……

We drive upto the police station at the edge of the border and get the stamps into our passports and head out into Mauritania finally, but notice that they have put the wrong cars in our passports (you need this to sell the cars)  oh well we will have to work that one out later… as its so late we are now stuck behind all the lories and we so we drive very slowly for an hour to the campsite that Maud works at but its now closed, so she calls them and they open up and let us stay in a bungalow and give us food, its now 10pm and we are exhausted – good night… 235 miles covered

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Day 14 – 3/2/15 – Sahara Desert to Dakhla

Well an interesting night under canvas as Dave and Andrews tent had a Dung Beatle under the ground sheet which attempted to scratch its way through all night long….

So blearly eyed we make breakfast  and pack up to drive around a bit more, we found a watering hole for camels and an old watering hole with trees growing in it, quite a sight in a desert! then we stopped by the sea with a huge sand dune that we all climbed up, there was a shear drop at the back though!

We went for a little swim in the sea and then drove back to Dakhla, very thankful for a safe navigation through a massive unforgiving hot and windy Desert. Thanks Colin for an amazing experience.

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