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Flag Gambia Flag Senegal

Monday, October 31 2005

1 year, 3 months, 9 days

St.Louis, Senegal

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 39,660km

Trekking 305km

Ferry 691km

Train 150km

Other cars 4.633km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > africa > senegal-gambia > 20051031-st-louis

The Casamance

Map: Journey Banjul, Tambacounda, Saint Louis.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

By now we like Senegal/Gambia, both of them, as Senegambie is a dream for just a few..

Imagine a border-crossing that takes just 30 minutes and no one wants any money from you. Leave The Gambia for the Casamance and this is just what you get.

Casamance is the green region of Senegal just south of Gambia, rich of palm trees and rice fields. The vast delta of the stream with the same name is all lined by mangroves forests, It has shaped lots of smaller and bigger islands with its nesting places for a huge variety of tropical birds.

Something changes after the border crossing. Is it the farness from Dakar? Is it the fact that Christians and Muslims make for fairly mixed society here? Zinguinchor, we learn, has the only (or first?) mixed cemetery in Senegal.

Or is it us? Who have finally tanked in enough African air and survived a down turn in the travel cycle (malaria/police/hustlers) and apparently have now all the new found energy to enjoy this great continent.

Whatever! Casamance is as far south as we would like to go this time (the plan is to head back to Mauritania and come back 2006).

We get to Kafountine at the coast via Diouloulou by October the 18th. In Eric's Camping Esperanto we meet Fodil (F), Olivier and Marie (B) and Roger (NL).

Olivier and Marie have booked Simon for a guided boat tour to one of the birds islands for pelican watching the next morning and quickly everyone agrees to undertake the trip together. (Especially, we, do not have a great plan not to mention a guidebook for Senegal).

So this is 7 people in the Land Rover, to Kassel, where we take to the pirogue under captain Augustine Diatta.

Entering the pirogue.
Marie Hasna entering the pirogue.
Augustine, the capitaine.
Augustine, the motor is used as well.
With the pirogue through the mangroves
Pirogue, mangroves, Fodil, Hasna, Olivier.

3 Pelicans flying
not Pelicans.
 Pelican flying
Pelican above mangroves.

Probably a waste of energy to take pictures at mid day. Especially as I am still not in control re my white balance issue. But you always learn something new, like dynamic auto focus.

We get back after about two hours. Kassel is firmly in Christian hands. Where we go on shore there is a little cafe, serving beers and soft drinks and some palm tree schnapps.

A smoothly distilled spirit. I have not had such a fine one for a while. And sure not at one o'clock in the afternoon in the middle of Ramadan.

 Fodile at the bar's entrance.
Fodil: Posters indicate, they serve alcohol.
 Signes at the bar's entrance.
So do signs on the floor.

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Children, all around in Kafountine.

5 heads in a camera
5 heads in 1 camera.
close to the lense
Close to the lens.
two brothers
Two brothers.
three brothers
Three brothers, Hasna walking background.
girls and boys all in blue
Girls and boys, all in blue.
girl, sand on her neck
Girl, sand on her neck.
big tree and children
Hasna, children, big tree.

big tree and children
Senegal has big trees and many children.

Children that look into my lens from 5 centimetres (or less). A new experience taking pictures.

After 2 nights in the Esperanto Camping we leave with Fodil for Ziguinchor. Fodil is about 60 and pensioner from Paris. He usually spends half his year travelling. Usually 3 month in India, the other 3 month somewhere else.

He's done that for many, many years, if not all his life. Eye opening, to see him talk about his experiences.

There is still so much to do on this planet.

After three nights and days together we go separate paths. He is heading for Dakar to catch a plane home.

Hasna and I want to go back north via the Senegal, east of Gambia. Tambacounda is our next stop.

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Niokolo Koba

Monkeys, showing off
Monkeys doing their thing.

We get to Tambacounda. The National Park is so near. Beyond it, the region to the border of Guinea and Guinea itself, all areas we would like to go to. All supposed to be the original/aboriginal Africa.

But Niokolo Koba is a bit of a waste of time this time of the year. We kind of have sensed that before getting here. Still rainy season, the grass is high, to high for game viewing.

And the territory is vast, even in the dry season you hardly get to see one of the 30 or so lions, tells us our guide. And I don't like guides, guides that tell you all the time to be careful. But the policy here is to put a guide in your vehicle/or - don't see their great National Park.

And the guide makes sure you return before sunset, gets you moving all the time. No time for watching these monkeys. All in all a stressful 5 hour undertaking for 25 Euros.

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Tambacounda/going north.

6x6 Land Rover driving Sahel north from Tambacounda.

Taking the dirt road from Tambacounda north (on 23rd of Oct) is more the adventure we are looking for. And this can be undertaken without a guide. And allows for extended bird viewing.

The road/the vegetation/the weather.

Our road from Tambacounda north
Our road, the wet season not over yet.
Muddy roads,
Some water..., Hasna's driving.

Road, not visible
The road that is no more.
Baobab, and Land Rover.
Pain de singe, baobab, Affenbrotbaum.

The road starts out nicely. But eventually we encounter some water.

Enough to make the trip impossible for bush taxis, nothing serious for the Land Rover.

But even we would not manage more then 60km on our first day.

When we set up for camp, a storm builds up quickly, forces us to stay inside and count the seconds between lightening and thunder ...

... - and hope that Michael Faraday (wiki) was right.

Some leftover of Kevin's whisky, and there we sit and watch the pouring and lightening and count ....

Thunder, a big storm breaks loose
The lightening and thunder, a storm moves in quickly.
Lightening from inside. A long exposure shot on the Canon Powershot
Inside the vehicle, 5 seconds till thunder.

Savanna, Sahel. We have left the green tropics. Getting from one climate zone to the other is done surprisingly swiftly. Vegetation changes from a lush green to quite a lot drier.

Camp the 2nd day. And we have gone only 200km north from Niokolo Koba.

Camp, time before sunset.
Camp, next to the road.
Camp, time before sunset.
Camp on day two, before sunset.

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Marabou and one of his wifes
Marabou Mohamed in the village of Debe. One of his wives.
Marabou and one of his wifes
and his mother.

Getting off in villages is the experience we are looking for. People are as curious about us as we about them. And they show it.

Mohamed in Debe speaks excellent French. "I am the Marabou here".

In that function he is the religious leader (he is the Imam). He is also the head of the village for all civil/social/health matters. He represents the intelligencia.

His personality shapes a village. Whether people laugh/are in good spirit, whether there is a lot of tension/mobbing/quarreling, whether there is rubbish all around, whether villagers are of good health/have bright, shiny teeth. The villagers' fate depends on their Marabou.

people in villages
Village People, Who is more curious (they or we)?
people in villages
Village People, Staying in the car can save hours.

They are digging a water hole, 60m their current depth. Some more to go. With picks and shovels. Just one is working at a time, lowered down to the ground of the hole while sitting on a shovel that is tied to the robe, all digging then is done by hand. Excavations are being pulled up by 2 donkeys.

Cementation and all casing is again done by hand. Hard work under extreme conditions. I cannot say/only guess what the light and air conditions on the ground of the well are.

Some accident is reported to us. Already some weeks ago. A stone hit a man right in his eye while he was working his pick at the bottom of hole.

Dig a water hole
Digging a water hole with shovels and picks.
Old man, working on the hole
Old man, working at the well.
Jeremy Yung's painting of old man, working on the hole, Senegal, savanna.
Jeremy Yung's painting.

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Tropical birds
Tropical colourful birds.
Tropical birds
They let you get surprisingly close.

mere metallique
Mère metallique, about to take a bath.
Big bird from a different world, bad lightening.
from a different world.

Really I am not getting the light and the colours right. Weather conditions are difficult. But there is room for improvement.

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Landy and Hasna crying for a break.

It's Hasna's turn. Malaria, we suspect when she shows signs of fever and weakness the night in Camp2. The doctor in Raméron, a village about 200km north of Tambacounda shares our suspicion, prescribes the usual Couartem tablets.

The same for Moussa, a guy who we have given a lift for the last 30km. It's still the "season". Apparently. I just hope that I can escape it this time.

Giving a lift has become the norm on these last 2 days through the bush. There is always someone, a mothers with baby, sick person, semi elderly who carries nothing but a kitchen knife ..., in need for a lift from here to there. They're as happy as can be.

And natural guides for us.

So in Raméron on Oct 25th we cut short our adventure and decide to return to St.Louis/Zebrabar.

But it is not just Hasna who needs some rest. The Landy that has held together well for all these month since England really, starts showing true sings of wear. Especially on these last 400km where I push it hard to get to St.Louis as quickly as possible. A noise from the front-left wheel, the middle-left wheel, some other noises underneath. There will be a lot to investigate.

But to top things up, while we push to get back, with Hasna suffering from her Malaria, the middle left suspension comes loose (washers brake) and causes the spring to jump out halfway. We manage to put everything back in place within and hour and a half. Bear in mind Hasna, malaria and the 4 p.m. heat. I am quite proud of my girl.

A puncture (middle-right) after midnight slows us down even further. But eventually we reach Zebrabar at 3 a.m. the 26th of October.

The idea is to stay a couple of days, repair the vehicle, and continue our journey in Mauritania, then Mali, ...

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Back in Zebrabar

Bennie's Unimog
Benny, Anja (B) and Unimog.
Frank and Unimog
Frank, Yanneke (NL) and Unimog.

But it should come different. While we enjoy the beer and company of interesting people, travelers and others, the daily swim in the lagoon and Hasna's way of doing the cuisine, the Landy is indeed getting scrutinised daily. Thanks at first to Andreas, later primarily to Cristian. And many problems we find.

So we change the front-left hub bearing (it is squashed), we change a couple of break pads (already iron on iron in one case) and Cristian manages to repair the 6x6 box lever (did not wnat to disengage anymore) and the central differential block lever (was going hard since our entry in Senegal).

Hasna (malaria is a thing of the past within a few days) spends her days looking and searching for and preparing the meals. From the Senegalese she picks up quickly what bait catches good fish.

And she wants to catch a rabbit, at night with a torch. So-far without success, but who knows.

And she conducts the Cous-Cous for 25 party, the biggest ever staged Cous-Cous dinner in Zebrabar. Extra large portions for Cristian and myself, goes without saying.

Mor and Hasna, fishing fish
Mor and Hasna fishing, 2 hours later dinner is ready.
Mor, throws in the line.
all Senegalese are excellent fisher men.
Mor and Hasna,
Mor and Hasna.
Mor, throws in the line.
Cristian, why not some Cous Cous beforehand..

Hasna, Mamadou
Hasna, Mamadou discussing Cous-Cous issues.
Cous-cous sur cas cas sur kokot.
Cous-Cous "sur cas-cas sur kokot".....

Moroccan technique that works, - we are carrying a lot of that stuff.

There is always two sides in life. It's not all about food and fishing for me and my Land Rover.

Some weeks into our life at Zebrabar I am discovering that I've got two types (size) of prop shafts with different sizes of U-joints fitted to my Land Rover. Well the Land Rover has a total of 3 prop shafts (6 U-joints). And I'm carrying only spares for one. And a total of 3 U-joints need replacing.

That should set us back by yet another week. I know, I had a choice in life a long time ago and I chose then I wanted to become a semi-professional mechanic.

So lets order new parts via DHL.

And I think that it is really about time to leave here, and even if that is just for a week. maybe to Dakar, some Charwarmas, some new surrounding. What a great idea!

On Monday 14th of November we leave with Cristian and Ursula for Dakar. What a great idea!

A picture from myself working on the Land Rover.
Working in the sand.
After Sunset. Behind Zebrabar, the lagoon.
The Lagoon, behind Zebrabar.
Crab on springs of Land Rover
But how can you work like this.
Hasna, preparing Tagine for evryone.
Thanks god Hasna is taking care of us.. > journey > africa > senegal-gambia > 20051031-st-louis

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