Twelve Days Across Africa - dswphoto
My trip visiting four new African countries and getting to climb up Elephant Rock in Chad, making an illegal border crossing into Cameroon, witnessing the energy and spectacle at the Port de Pêche in Nouakchott, having a relaxing stroll around St. Louis in Senegal, the former capital of French West Africa, enjoying delicious traditional Moroccan cuisine in Casablanca and spending a magical 30 minutes walking amongst the last remaining herd of West African giraffe's in Kouré, Niger.

My flights for the trip were:

1. Flying EgyptAir (MS) from Dubai to N'Djamena via Cairo (DXB-CAI-NDJ).
2. Flying Air Maroc (AT) from N'Djamena to Nouakchott via Casablanca (NDJ-CMN-NKC).
3. Flying Air Maroc (AT) from Dakar to Niamey via Casablanca and Ouagadougou (DKR-CMN-OUA-NIM).
4. Flying Ethiopian Airlines (ET) from Niamey to Dubai via Addis Ababa (NIM-ADD-DXB).




Day 1.

Arriving at Dubai Airport's Terminal 1 at 2:30am for my early morning flight.


With my boarding passes for my flight to Cairo and then onto N'Djamena, the Capital of Chad.


Hot breakfast on the EgyptAir 737 flight to Cairo.


Making a transfer at Cairo Airport. The last time I was here was back in 2007 on my visit to Egypt.


Boarding an EgyptAir A320 at a remote gate on a cloudy Cairo morning.


Just after take-off from CAI.


The chicken hot meal option on the ~4.5 hour flight.


Flying over the Chari River separating Cameroon (right) and Chad (left) on approach to N'Djamena International Airport.


After passing through immigration I met up with the manager of the hotel I was staying at, a Frenchman called Claude, as well as the guide and driver and set off for the drive north.


We were driving ~70 kilometres to the village of Douguia, where Claude's hotel, Station Touristique de Douguia, was located on the banks of the Chari River.


Passing some heavy traffic on the drive north.


We then stopped about half-way at a mud hut village to get some containers of fuel.


Claude with the fuel salesman.


Cattle.


We arrived at the hotel at 12:30pm and I then had lunch in the restaurant with Claude. His English was only minimal and my French was close to zero, but with a bit of persistence and some sign language we managed to have a bit of a conversation. He also mentioned about an excursion this afternoon to see an 'Elephant'. I wasn't aware that there were any elephants in arid Chad so was very intrigued.


I then had a walk around the hotel compound. It was situated right on the banks of the Chari River, and could see across to Cameroon on the other side.


The bungalow where I would be sleeping for the next three nights.


And my room, complete with AC and mosquito net. After being up since 1am, I quickly crashed out for a couple of hours and had a good nap.


After a good rest I met up with my guide and driver and we went for a drive in the Landcruiser to see this mysterious 'Elephant'. A very full 4WD we passed on the hour long drive north.


Camels.


And at our destination, where I realised the 'Elephant' was alot bigger than I expected!


My guide with some of the local kids who came to say hello.


Taking in the view of the magnificent Roche des Elephant (Elephant Rock).


Clambering up to get a closer view.


After managing to climb up without dropping my camera or breaking an arm/leg.


And a group photo by the 'trunk'.


Passing another overloaded Landcruiser on the drive back to Douguia.


Back at the hotel, discussing the plan for the next three days.


Claude with a couple of Frenchmen who were also staying at the hotel for a hunting trip.


Couscous and spicy goat stew for dinner at the end of a very interesting first day of the trip.



Day 2.

I had a good sleep in, and after a run had breakfast of jam toast and coffee.


At about 10am, I went with my guide for a walk to the village of Douguia.


At the local pharmacy, built with aid from the French government.


In the shade.


We then walked to the local school.


And said a quick 'bonjour' to the kids.


The main language of instruction was French.


Walking through the village.


The buildings were made from a mixture of bricks and mud.


Coke?


Mixing mud and straw for the mud bricks.


Drying out in the sun.


Pumping water from the well. All water in the village had to be drawn and fetched by hand.


Fixing the fishing net.




Goats.


Firewood.


Shop.


Mosquée. ~55% of Chadians are Muslim.


Water.


Lunch back at the hotel with some goat meat and salad for the starter.


Juicy steak and fries for the main.


And delicious meringue and custard to finish.


I then had a relaxing afternoon and went for a swim in the pool, read a book and generally took it very easy.


At about 4pm I went exploring with my guide again.


Farmer.


Nomads.


Getting to the juicier stuff.


Feeding the kid.


Big stick.


Dusk back at the hotel, looking over the Chari River.


Getting to taste some of the local wildlife that the French hunters had brought back for dinner.


And fresh pineapple sprinkled with sugar for dessert.



Day 3.

After breakfast, we headed off in the landcruiser again for the 50 kilometre drive to the village of Guetè. As we would be going to Lake Chad where Boko Haram was still active, we also picked up a AK-47 wielding guard.


Some African Zebu pulling a cart in Guetè.


Down on the surprisingly green lake shore (only a small branch of Lake Chad reaches the village).


Some of the local ladies.


We then drove off-road to the village of Mani.




And relaxed on a rug in the shade of some trees.


And feasted on some fish freshly caught from the Chari River for lunch.


After resting up back at the hotel, it was time for an excursion on the Chari River on a pirogue. As we were heading up river and getting close to Lake Chad (where there had been recent attacks from Boko Haram) we again picked up an armed guard.


Villagers from Douguia doing some wasking in the river.


Spotting some pigs as we head up river.


Our guard disembarking on the way back down river, with the camera shy kids scattering!


We then berthed on the western side of the river and made an illegal entry onto Cameroonian soil.


Shepherding the flock.


We then picked up a couple of guys for the journey back to Chad.


Docking the pirogue just after dusk.


Chicken & tomato soup for dinner.


And some tasty beef and beans.



Day 4.

Watching French television in the hotel restaurant before the drive back to N'Djamena to meet up with Jordan.


After the one hour drive from Douguia, we got to the Novotel in N'Djamena to pick up Jordan. Jordan is on a mission to visit every country in the world (and only 18 to go after this trip). After avidly reading his trip reports to lots of exotic locale I asked if I could join him on his next Africa trip. Thankfully he didn't mind me tagging along.

We then drove through the bustling streets of N'Djamena for the 10 kilometre journey out east to Gaoui.


Gaoui is a small village ~10 kilometres from N'Djamena.


The former sultan’s palace has been turned into a small museum that focuses on the culture of the local Sao People.


The Sultan's impressive mud castle.


Decorative art on the walls.


We then headed out for a walk in the village. Some of the boisterous local boys posing for a photo.


Clay pots drying in the sun.


And a local girl.


We then drove back into the bustling metropolis of N'Djamena.


After driving past the Grand Mosque and market, we went to the Place de la Nation and had a walk around.


At about 2pm we went to a restaurant called Cote de Jardin, and I had a Chadian dish of spicy spinach and mutton with Fufu.

At about 3;30pm we headed back to the Novotel and I had lazy afternoon by the pool. There were alot of French military guys with crew cuts enjoying their weekend here too.


At about 7:30pm we caught a taxi for 3000 francs to Le Central restaurant for dinner, but unfortunately it was closed.


After a great lunch there, we ended back at Cote de Jardin instead.


Some grenadine flavoured locally made soft drink to quench the first.


And some very tasty roast duck breast.



Day 5.

After getting up at 2:30am, we caught the hotel shuttle to N'Djamena airport. We both hadn't registered our arrival with the Police in N'Djamena, but luckily there were no checks when got stamped out without any problems at immigration.

The airport terminal was under a lot of construction and the waiting area was just some plywood walls with a direct unhindered view onto the tarmac! A few mosquitoes buzzing about too.


Boarding the Air Maroc 737 just after 4am for the flight to Casablanca.


A couple of pastries and some juice for the 5 hour flight left me pretty hungry.


Flying over the Hoggar mountains in southern Algeria.


Our connecting flight to Nouakchott wasn't until 8:45pm this evening, so after clearing immigration we headed to catch the train into the city.


The plan today was to catch a connecting train in Casablanca and head to Rabat, the Capital city of Morocco.


Just under 2 hours later we made it to Rabat Train Station.


The old post office. Rabat was quite a picturesque sea-side city to walk around.


We stopped to check out a protest that was underway. After taking some photo's we were quickly apprehended by some uniformed policemen. After 'deleting' our photo's and reassuring them we were just tourists, we were allowed on our way.


Stopping at a Pâtisserie for a snack.


Bee's feasting on the honey cake.


We then walked throught the markets and medina.


Fresh bread, easten with every meal in Morocco.

Laundry.


Flowers.


After our first choice was closed, we then went to lunch at a restaurant called Dar Rbatia.


And enjoyed some tasty Moroccan mezze.


And some steaming hot chicken tagine with couscous.


After lunch we walked to the Casbah.



We then continued into the Casbah and the enjoyed the view from the Platforme du Semaphore overlooking the Atlantic and the creek dividing Rabat from Sale village.


Walking back through the souq.


And got a pistachio ice cream for 8 Moroccan dirhams (~80 cents).


And finally making it back to Rabat Train Station for the journey back to Mohammed V International Airport.


At the airport waiting for our 8:45pm flight to Nouakchott.


Dining options at the airport were limited to an underwhelming and very smoky food court (with no smoking signs everywhere) or a simple restaurant where we had chicken and rice for dinner.


After an uneventful flight from Casablanca we arrived just before midnight at Nouakchott International Airport.


With the visa on arrival. Quite expensive at 120 euro's but relatively straight forward after a bit of a wait.


After catching a battered old Mercede's taxi we quickly checked into the Hotel Atlantic and I was in bed by ~1am after a ~23 hour day.



Day 6.

A simple and tasty breakfast at the Hotel Atlantic.


Outside across from our hotel. Although we had online approval for a visa on arrival, the plan was to find the Senegal embassy and get the actual visa to save on hassle when we arrived at the border crossing at Rosso.


Mauritanian ladies.


Dry cleaners. Our hotel was on Rue Ambassade du Senegal and our map said the embassy was close by also. After alot of searching we went back to the hotel and learned it had recently moved though.


We got a taxi to the new embassy, but learn't we needed a passport photocopy. We then went to hunt down a photocopier (and almost got eaten by this dog except for the very long leash!).


After getting all our paperwork together, we were in and out in 30 minutes with our brand new visa's all ready for the crossing over the Senegal River tomorrow.


Shop.


We then walked into the city to do some exploring. Two Mauritanian men wearing traditional Boubou.


The twin minarets of the Saudi constructed Grand Mosque in central Nouakchott. Mauritania is nearly 100% Muslim, most of whom are Sunnis.


Grabbing some lunch in central Nouakchott. Very cheap at <$6 total for the drinks and meals.


Next stop was the central markets. Mauritanian men at a Boubou shop.


Jordan was keen to try one on. After they gave him an inflated price however it was not to be.


Dried tobacco leaves.


At the Musée National where we got an introduction to Moorish civilisation.


After a quick break at the hotel, we met up again and got a taxi to the star attraction of Nouakchott, the Port de Pêche (Fishing port).


We got there at ~4pm and right on peak time when the boats were unloading the day's catch.


Was great to walk about and take in the sights, smells and smiles.


Some of the very colourful boats.




Unloading in progress.


Boy & fish.


Family.








Run aground.














Was an exciting end to the day and definitely the highlight of Nouakchott!


For dinner we went to one of the restaurants a short walk from the hotel. While Jordan had the steak, after the excitement of the Port de Pêche I decided I had to have the fish and chips.



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