As many of you already know, we took the very difficult decision to cancel our 2021-21 season of trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’re pleased to announce we fully intend on operating a 2021-22 season instead, the dates for which can be seen here:
If you haven’t done so and are interested in booking a trip with us, please send us an Enquiry Form to get the ball rolling!
David and Al recently headed up to the Drago workshop in October to get some work done on Aminah. As the pictures below show we managed to get some big jobs ticked off the list! Though we still have quite a bit to do we have a good head start on the work planned for next year, which includes a full respray to bring Aminah’s paintwork back to life (she is looking a bit faded after all the years in the sun!)
Remember, you can keep in touch with all the latest happenings at Overlanding West Africa via our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Pinterest) by clicking on the icons close to the top right of each page on this website.
We hope to see you on board Aminah in 2021-22 for another adventure through magical West Africa!
David Oades (Hatter), Al Goodridge, Jimmy C and Aminah
Repairing the bent rear bumper
Front springs and hangers
Jerry can racks and lockers
Replacing water tank floor and edge
It’s been some time since we last posted as we waved goodbye to Zoe, Adam and Aminah from the UK last October – so we’re well over due with an update regarding what’s been happening on the road and at OWA!
In summary it has been a challenging season so far but also a very rewarding and successful one. We’re pleased to say that our trips have proved to be as popular as ever, having sold almost every place on every trip (approx 98% capacity). With a decent number of passengers returning to see more of the region after previous trips with us, it suggests we must be doing something right!
On the road things have, at times, been a challenge this season. Zoe (Trip Leader) decided to leave half way through for personal reasons after doing a great job at leading the 3 southbound trips with Adam. Fortunately Jason was available to do another run for us and flew out to Ghana in February to take over the reigns for the 3 return northbound trips.
Unfortunately the security situation in Burkina Faso deteriorated rapidly towards the end of 2018, meaning we took the very difficult to decision to re-route our Accra to Ouagadougou and Accra to Freetown trips to avoid Burkina Faso completely. We of course continue to keep a close eye on the security environment in the country and very much hope the situation improves soon, in the hope that we can include Burkina Faso in our 2020-21 itineraries.
Along with Jason getting 2 bouts of malaria, Adam getting salmonella poisoning and Aminah falling through a bridge in the east of Sierra Leone (see pictures below), there’s been no shortage of dramas this time around! Still, it’s all part and parcel of overland adventure travel and we believe everybody has had a really great time despite these various obstacles. We’ve received some wonderful feedback from the passengers which has been added to our Passenger Testimonials page, and we’ll be adding more in the next few weeks as we receive it.
One blog we’d like to share with you is from passenger Peggy Bright, who travelled with us between Accra and Dakar this year. Peggy has some really wonderful photos and writes about her experiences in a very evocative way. Our favourite post focusses upon Aminah falling through the bridge in eastern Sierra Leone, perfectly summing up the true nature of overland group travel. Everybody chipped in with helping get Aminah upright again, working with the guys in the local village to get the trip on the road again. Do take the time to check this wonderful blog out out you won’t regret it!
So what’s next? Out next season of trips are scheduled to start in November 2020. The dates are now up on our Overview Page and we are aiming to open the bookings around very late September 2019 – so get your requests in for time off work now!
Please note we will be updating all trip documentation and tweaking the itineraries here and there in the next few months to take into account the feedback from our current season – though please note there will only be a few minor changes. Please do bear in mind that we might not be able to include Burkina Faso at all, depending upon how the security situation in the country plays out in the months ahead.
If you are interested in a trip in 2020-21, please send us an Enquiry Form to register your interest and we will add you to our email list to let you know when we’re ready to start taking bookings. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
David (Hatter) Oades, Al Goodridge and Jimmy C
Below are some wonderful pictures taken on our current season of trips, taken by Adam, Annabel, Peggy, Ella and Herman – enjoy!
We hope you’re all well and that you’ve had an enjoyable summer (or winter, depending on which hemisphere you live in!)
David (Hatter) and Al have been super busy in the UK workshop completing the last few jobs on Aminah in preparation for the upcoming season of trips. With a recon engine and a new clutch assembly fitted, new camping stools made, new leisure batteries fitted, a respray of the cab and locker level and a successful MOT pass, we certainly have put in the hours!
In just 3 weeks time Zoe and Adam will pack up the equipment and drive south for the big journey down to Dakar for the first trip of the season…..not long to go now!
Below you’ll find a selection of pictures of just some of the work that Hatter and Al completed over the past few weeks. Enjoy!
A big thank you to G and Charlie at Dragoman (as always) for allowing us to work on Aminah in their workshop, and to G for putting the new paint on for us! Thanks also to Darren, Pettsy, Nick, Amber and Jordan for helping us for a couple of hours taping Aminah up for the spray job!
We wish you all a great autumn, and remember, if you can join us on either our Accra to Ouagadougou or Dakar to Marrakech trips, please contact us via our Enquiry Form and we’ll send you over all of the relevant booking information.
David (Hatter) Oades, Al Goodridge, Jimmy Corrigan and Aminah
It’s been some time since our last update so here we go with all that’s been happening at OWA over the past few months!
Firstly, we’re pleased to say that we’ve sold nearly all of the places available on our trips in 2018-19, which is of course great news for us – and we hope an indication of the growing interest there is for travel in this less known part of the African continent.
We do still have a few spots available on all of our trips, mostly on our Accra to Ouagadougou and Dakar to Marrakech departures, so if you are interested and able to get the time off work, please get in touch as soon as possible to avoid missing out.
We’re also pleased to say that Zoe will once again be leading the 2018-19 season for us, this time accompanied by Adam Blay, who used to own a similar overland company called ‘South America Overland’. We’re sure they’ll run another great season for us and we’re looking forward to receiving all of their updates from the road starting this November!
In the meantime, David (Hatter) and Jason have been burning the midnight oil in the UK workshop getting Aminah ready for the big journey ahead. We managed to get all of the major work out of the way, including a rub down so that Aminah is ready for her new coat of paint in a couple of months time. As always a huge thank you to George and Charlie at Dragoman Overland HQ for allowing us to rent some space in their workshop and for ordering us all of the parts we needed. Cheers G and Charlie!
Below you’ll find a selection of pictures of just some of the work that Hatter and Jason completed over the past few weeks. Enjoy!
The new front springs arrive – the last 2 sets in all of Europe (apparently…!)
Raising the chassis on an Indian jack to remove the old front springs
The offending rivet which caused issues last time around
Springs removed and ready for a clean up
Adding the old blocks to the new leaves to give Aminah a bit more ground clearance
New springs on and ready for tightening
Removing the old brass bush from the swinging shackle
Inserting a new brass bush into the swinging shackle, drawing it in with a length of threaded rod
Cleaning up the threads on one of the rear U bolts
Jet spraying the old leaves ready to put together spare packs in case they’re needed
Jason by the press as we removed a brass bush
Marking the splines to make sure it goes back in the same position
The new carrier bearing
Removing the front torsion bar bushes and circlips
Replacing the leaking steering box top seal
A crank inspection whilst we replaced the weeping sump gasket
Cleaning up the engine sump in the kerosene bath
New sump gasket ready to be fitted
Colin lends a hand for a cylinder compression test and replaces the valve stem seals
Adjusting the tappets after replacing the valve seals
Removing the front hubs to inspect the bearings
Hatter about to remove the rear hub to inspect the bearings
Rear hub removed to replace a pitted wheel bearing and hub seals
A new rear wheel bearing about to be fitted
Nice fresh bearing grease for the front axle hubs!
Jason tightening the front bearings after reinstallation
Replacing the stereo voltage dropper (again…)
Tidying up the wiring
New voltage dropper fitted
Replacing the charging unit in the passenger area
Painting the roof
Sorting out the headlights for the MOT
Making a new stool locker panel
Removing another damaged panel
A lick of anti rust paint to the frame
The big rub down for the respray begins!
Hatter sanding away the truck body
Aminah’s cab after the rub down
Jason replacing one of the broken seat backs
Hatter and Jason still smiling after many late nights working on Aminah!
We wish you all a great summer and remember, if you can join us on either our Accra to Ouagadougou or Dakar to Marrakech trips, please contact us via our Enquiry Form and we’ll send you over all of the relevant booking information.
David (Hatter) Oades, Al Goodridge, Jimmy Corrigan and Aminah
We hope you’re well wherever you are in the world at the moment, and we hope you had a very happy Christmas holiday and a good start to 2018!
Many of you have been in contact over the past few months asking about our trips in 2018-19. We’re pleased to let you know that we’re now ready to take bookings!
If you’re still interested in booking a trip with us, please send us an Enquiry Form or reply to the initial form you sent, so that we know what trip/s you want to book onto.
Please note that nearly all of our trips have now sold out….there’s literally just a few places left on some of our trips!
Please note we have tweaked the trips ever so slightly to take into account what has and hasn’t worked in the past – so please have another look at the updated itineraries on our website before booking.
One noticeable change is on our Accra to Ouagadougou trip, on which we will no longer spend any time in the east of the country – we will instead drive over to the west to see some of the Banfora region.
Please remember we have a discount structure in place if you book more than one trip with us, and all of the dates, prices and itineraries can be seen on the trips overview page by clicking on the trip maps image below:
Please note we will endeavour to respond to your emails/enquiries within 24-48 hours of you making contact with us, and often much sooner – but please bear in mind we are expecting a lot of bookings in a short space of time so we appreciate your patience in waiting for a response. We have already sold over 30 seats since we opened the bookings 1 week ago!
We really hope you can join us for our next season of trips, and please do share the message on social media and with anybody you know who might be interested in travelling through West Africa with us.
We look forward to hearing from you soon – and wish you all a very happy 2018!
David Oades (Hatter), Al Goodridge, Jimmy C and Aminah
Overlanding West Africa
If you’ve still got some annual leave to use up, or if you’ve had enough of work and fancy taking off for a bit, then come and join us in West Africa for one of our trips this season!
We still have 2 seats available on our Accra to Ouagadougou trip starting next month, visiting many of the highlights in Ghana, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso. This trip runs over the Christmas and New Year period (19 December – 16 January) meaning it should be easier to convince your employer to let you take 4 weeks off work!
We also have a few seats available on our Accra to Freetown trip starting on 06 February 2017. This 42-day trip is full of cultural highlights as we travel through Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea (Forest Region), Liberia and Sierra Leone. Please note you will need to obtain at least 3 visas in advance so it’s worth booking as soon as possible in order for us to send you the relevant paperwork for your visa applications in good time.
Further ahead in April 2017 our Dakar to Marrakech trip also has a few seats available. This trip is a real contrast to our other trips in that it crosses from West Africa into North Africa via Senegal and Mauritania, before visiting numerous places in Western Sahara and the far south of Morocco. Crossing the Sahara desert truly is one of lives epic overland journeys, and one we guarantee will stay with you forever!
Remember, discounts apply if you book multiple trips. If you’re interested please send us an Enquiry Form and we can send you all of the relevant information.
On The Road Again!
We’re pleased to say our first trip of the 2016-17 season from Dakar to Freetown is now well underway. Aminah, Zoe and Jason left the UK in late September and arrived in Senegal a few weeks later after a long drive south through France, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania.
After meeting Lisa, Jeremy, Robert, Vicki, Stefanie, Brian, Zinzi, Andy, Knut, Eva, Candace and Kent in Dakar they headed south towards Gambia and the Casamance region of Senegal.
One of the highlights of the trip (so far!) was a stay at Simon and Khady’s campement, a wonderful place where our group gets to witness a traditional koumpo dance amongst other festivities.
Check out these fantastic photos from Simon Fenton at The Little Baobab, our co driver Jason Parry and passenger Lisa Vitaris!
West Africa Tourism Organisation at World Travel Market
If you’re keen to learn more and/or play a role in helping promote the countries of West Africa as a travel destination, then why not visit World Travel Market in London next week?
West Africa Tourism Organisation, headed by Ola Wright, is hosting a press conference at the Novotel as well as a dinner at the Crowne Plaza (see the flyer on the left for more details).
The aim of the press conference and networking dinner is to introduce the new ECOWAS regional tourism policy. This is aimed at promoting the countries of West Africa to operators and travellers alike, as well as identifying and addressing the issues the tourism industry in the region is up against.
Ministers of tourism will be in attendance as well as Ambassadors and journalists. Dave the Hat is a member of the organisation and will be at the dinner representing OWA and playing a role in the proceedings. Come and lend your support!
David Oades (Dave the Hat), Al Goodridge, Jimmy C and Aminah
Overlanding West Africa
Our first trip of the season started in Dakar a few weeks ago after the long drive down from the UK. It’s great to be back in the region we know and love so well and running trips again after so long away due to the sad events of the past year!
A warm welcome to Janet, Wendy, Kathy, John, Theo, Tim, Mehmet, Baz, Sam, Martin, Steve, Ray, Roy and Adrian, it’s great to have you with us! Above are shots taken on Ile Goree, which many of our passengers visited as a day trip from Dakar.
Not far from Dakar we passed this truck being towed along. It looks like it’s seen better days and the truck towing him didn’t look to have been having a much easier time of it either! Fortunately the driver didn’t appear to have been hurt in the crash.
The first truck lunch of many to come! An easy drive day bought us to our first bush camp, and the first night of torrential overnight rain. It ought to have finished raining a few weeks ago, but the rains this year have come late and are lasting longer than normal. We’re hoping the dry season we plan our trips around comes soon. C’est l’Afrique!
Gambia is split in half by the River Gambia, and with no bridges over it, a lengthy wait for a ferry is an inevitable part of overland travel here.
Tendaba Camp is a real highlight of the time we spend in The Gambia, with a great selection of birds viewed from the camp and on the numerous boat trips our passengers took. A comfortable spot to settle into the relaxed pace of life!
Konteh Kunda School of Music have only just opened, and we were delighted to be one of their first groups to visit. Established to celebrate and promote the Griot tradition and musical talent, and to provide a school for foreign students, we were overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome we received and the energy of the music and dancing we witnessed. Above and below are shots of a Kora and Balafon performance soon after our arrival.
We danced for much of the evening to Djembe drumming, before witnessing an indoor performance from the family. Several of us also took part in Kora lessons.
A short drive down to the Casamance region saw us back with Simon and Khady in Abene. It was great to be back after so long and to see everybody again, and the Koumpo dance we witnessed on the first evening was as stunning as it has ever been!
The Koumpo is a forest spirit, particularly feared by local children, and often used to warn those in a village who may have digressed, such as children picking mangoes too early. A spike comes out of the Koumpo’s head, which he plants into the ground and spins around on – a truly stunning sight to witness!
Kafountine is a busy fishing port that attracts workers from far and wide. Dozens of boats come in on a good day, and the men unloading the fish are paid per crate, which explains their frenzied pace of work!
Some of the catch is sent to market by refrigerated truck, but the vast majority is smoked, or salted and air dried. Dried fish provides a main protein source for many of the countries which make up West Africa.
The beach in Abene gave a great afternoon’s relaxing, and Jase and Baz managed a quick surf!
Another night in Abene and another night of great music and dancing! We were joined by the same stilt dancer who’d given our previous groups such a great performance 18 months ago, but this time with a new costume he’d just finished making!
After a short stop in the main city of Casamance, Ziguinchor, we were back to the coast, visiting local villages by boat, looking for wildlife, and enjoying stunning sunsets.
We’re now in Bissau city, as relaxed and friendly as ever, enjoying some rest and western luxuries before the rough road east into Guinea begins. The heavy rains won’t have helped the roads, but should make for some stunning waterfalls!
Many thanks to Tim, Theo, Baz and Wendy for letting us share some of their photos!
There’s only a few seats left on our Southbound trips starting in October 2015, so now is the time to get in touch if you want to experience the magic of West Africa with us! If you do want to join one of our trips please remember that you will need to obtain a number of visas in advance before you travel, so you will need to book as soon as possible to ensure you can get all of the necessary visas in time.
After such a dreadful year in 2014 with the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, it’s great to see the West African region finally returning to some sense of normality. There are now just a handful of cases being recorded each month, all of which are confined to a very small area (geographically speaking). Contact tracing is now much more efficient than before and has played a significant role in combating the spread of the virus. The vast majority of each of the 3 affected countries have been Ebola free for many months now, making travel through the region possible once again.
Since we last posted a couple of months ago, Al and David (Hatter) have been busy getting Aminah ready and all of the paperwork in place in preparation for the upcoming season. We’re pleased to say she passed her MOT first time with no advisories (that’s her annual mechanical check for the non Brits out there) and also her tachograph calibration. All that’s left to do is to stock her up with spare parts and food supplies for the big journey ahead. Not long to go now!
For those of you who don’t already know, Jason Parry will be joining Al as the co-driver for our upcoming 2015-2016 season. We know Jason from his time working for Dragoman Overland, and though he has been away from overlanding for the past few years doing a ‘normal’ job in the real world, he is itching to get out on the road again!
We’ll let the man himself do the talking:
“I know Dave (Hatter) & Jimmy from my time working at Dragoman, last seeing them in person just prior to their first OWA season in 2012. Having recently met up with Al in preparation for the season ahead, I cannot wait to get back out on the road, and am looking forward to meeting all of the passengers and immersing myself in the diverse cultures, customs, and terrain of West Africa!”
I first fell in love with Africa when I spent 4 months working in South Africa back in early 2000. Since then, I have travelled independently in South Africa, Kenya and Namibia, as well as leading trips for Encounter Overland between 2006 and 2008.
I reluctantly left the road in 2008, intending to knuckle down for a couple of years doing a ‘proper job’ to secure myself some sort of financial security. My intention was always to return to overlanding, and after too many years of masquerading as a grown up, I am finally in a position to do just that. Hatter approached me earlier this year and could not have timed it any better”.
As you all know we always love to highlight a more positive image of the region, and to support that initiative we recently found this superb article entitled “The Top 10 Least-Visited Countries in Africa” written by ‘Travel Geek UK’. We’re really pleased to see so many countries in West Africa represented, highlighting just some of the many reasons why you should visit West Africa. Click on the photo from Sierra Leone below to read the full article and to see more beautiful images from around the region!
We have recently partnered with ‘Friends of Conakry Refugee School’, where 26 staff offer an education to 500 students, provide them with a meal each day, and help with safe housing for the vulnerable. Guinea has historically received rather less international assistance than some of its neighbours, so it’s great to see a UK organisation involved with such a valuable project.
Many of the children at the project are orphans from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire and simply can’t afford to go to school. FCRS are setting up small business initiatives such as catering and soap making, and running IT and English classes for the local community in order to subsidise the education of the poorest. We plan to visit the school on our Freetown to Dakar trip, bring out supplies from the UK, and make a financial donation to the project.
You can see more information about the project here on the Friends of Conakry Refugee School website.
We’re really looking forward to returning to West Africa and meeting all of you who are booked onto our trips in a few months time. To keep you going for now, check out the video below from our trips between Accra and Dakar in 2014 – showing off just some of the best places we visit in West Africa!
Dave the Hat, Al, Jimmy and Aminah
Overlanding West Africa
After leaving the UK 7 months ago for another expedition down to Ghana and back, Aminah is home! Our last trip of the season (Freetown to Dakar) arrived into the Senegalese capital a few weeks ago, and Al and Aminah began the long journey north through Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain, and France to the UK.
Rainy season is fast approaching in West Africa, a time that makes travelling in the region challenging at best, so time for Aminah to have a well deserved break back home!
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Nev Kelly who joined Al as the co driver for the season. With OWA being the first ever overland company to operate a trip through Liberia this season, it was important to have good crew onboard. They’re an essential part of any overland expedition, and Nev’s hard work and commitment in working with Al shone through in the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from this seasons passengers. Thanks Nev!
You can read some of the great comments the passengers from this seasons trips wrote about OWA, Al, and Nev by clicking on the photo below. Many thanks to everybody who took the time to write such positive feedback for us. Cheers guys!
In a few days Al and Hatter are heading up to the workshop to give Aminah some TLC in preparation for next seasons trips. We’ve jigged things around a little to take into account what has and hasn’t worked well on our trips to date. We’re still including all of the same countries, but seeing more of Burkina Faso AND also visiting Benin and Togo on our new Ouagadougou To Accra trip.
You can see all of the dates for our trips in late 2014/early 2015 here:
If you haven’t done so already please send us an Enquiry Form to register your interest and book a trip.
Al has been busy with the official OWA travel blog detailing the journey from Senegal to Ghana and back again. There are loads of entries on our blog site with some excellent photos! The latest entry was from the last couple of weeks of our Freetown to Dakar trip, as the group made their way from Guinea-Bissau to Casamance, Senegal.
There are some great photos in this latest post, it should whet the appetite for joining us for a trip!
We’ve also updated the videos page on this website making it easier to view all of the amazing footage from West Africa. Check out our short films by clicking on the photo below:
Remember, you can keep in touch with all the latest happenings at Overlanding West Africa via our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Pinterest, and Google +) by clicking through to the pages via the icons close to the top right hand side of each page on this website.
We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you onboard Aminah later this year for another adventure through beautiful West Africa!
David, Al, Jimmy, and Aminah
Here are some excellent photos from Gary Potter, Claire Abery, and Elizabeth Johnson who joined us on our Accra to Freetown and Freetown to Dakar trip this year.
What a hectic few months it has been since we last wrote a post for the website! Finally we have the time to sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and fill you in about what’s been happening at Overlanding West Africa.
See what the sign says below? THEY’RE IN LIBERIA!
Overlanding West Africa are proud to be the first ever overland truck based company to run a trip through the country. Here’s a picture of Al, Nev, and the group as they crossed the border from Sierra Leone a few days ago. Al says the drive from the east of Sierra Leone into Liberia was a long hard slog, the roads were terrible, and it took longer than expected, but in the true nature of overland adventure travel they made it!
Another first for Overlanding West Africa after being the first ever overland truck based company to run trips in Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone in 2012. Well done Al, Nev, Aminah, and all the group, congratulations!
Well, what else has been happening over the past few months?
After our hugely successful first season, Hatter has settled in the UK permanently to focus upon the operations and marketting for Overlanding West Africa and working to build upon the success of the first few years. Jimmy has decided to move to Australia to focus upon a new business venture and to settle down with his partner Claire.
To enable the trips to keep running, Hatter and Jimmy invited Al Goodridge to buy some shares in Overlanding West Africa and act as the new director, and Al is currently leading our trips in 2013 and 2014 with ex-Oasis Overland driver Nev Kelly.
Aminah needed some TLC after her first run down to West Africa, so Hatter and Al spent some weeks getting her back to her sexy self, including a brand new spray job with a new flag scheme down the side (note the Liberia flag!)
After a full mechanical overhaul, restocking her supplies and spare parts, and passing her MOT, Hatter and Al drove her down to the south of Spain. Upon arrival, Nev flew in to take over from Hatter, and off they went across the straits of Gibraltar to Morocco for the long drive to Dakar.
As those of you who follow us through social media will know, our Dakar to Freetown trip is now well underway. The group are currently in the beautiful Casamance region of Senegal enjoying a couple of nights on the Atlantic coastline.
Al, Nev and Aminah left Dakar with a group of 19 overlanders: A warm welcome to John, Ant, Narelle, Sascha, Phil, John, Arnold (Will), Warren, Jane, Robert, Connor, Chris, Daniel, Ian, Peter, Ina, Janet, Birgit and Tania.
To help us all keep up with the excitement on the road, Al has taken on the task of writing a blog detailing all that’s happening on the trips. If you’re a fan of adventure travel and overland trips you will love Al’s updates! Please do follow our blog through Google+ and all the usual social media channels:
You can expect regular updates from Al and the group as they make their way down to Ghana over the next 10 weeks or so.
A real highlight of the trip so far was the groups visit to Abene in northern Casamance. Al and Nev took the group to a wonderful campement managed by Simon for an evening of traditional music and dance. The climax of the festivities was witnessing a ‘Koumpo’ (known as a forest spirit) whip up a frenzy on the dancefloor, a real privilege to see.
A massive thank you to Simon, the staff at the campement, and all the performers for such a wonderful evening of entertainment.
Back here in the UK, World Travel Market took place at London’s Excel Arena this week. Hatter popped along for the day to visit those stands representing West Africa. Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria were all present, and it was great to put some names to faces after so many years.
We want to say a massive thank you to Ola at ‘Come To West Africa’ magazine for including Overlanding West Africa in the latest edition. Ola was working at the Nigeria stand at WTM helping push the West Africa tourism message, and Hatter was lucky enough to grab a photo opportunity with the editor himself!
Not only is Overlanding West Africa on the front cover with 3 photos, but there is an 8 page feature inside talking about what we are trying to achieve with our trips. Thanks so much for including us Ola we really appreciate it! Also many thanks to ex OWA passengers Rob Kuhlman, Inga Lotta, Wilna Wilkinson, Holly Melanson, and Clare Glade Wright for some of the superb photos used in the article.
Read more about all the media publications Overlanding West Africa has been featured in over the past few months here: Overlanding West Africa In The Media
Also a big thank you to Christophe Noel for writing a review about us for the superb Overlanders website Expedition Portal. Christophe highlights the fact that our trips go as far off the beaten track as possible and to places well of the radar for most travellers. Thanks Christophe!
Remember, you’ll need to book quite soon if you want to take the last available seat on our Accra To Freetown trip in January 2014. We also have just 3 seats left on our Freetown To Dakar trip starting in March 2014. If you can’t join us this season, we will have new dates for our trips in late 2014/early 2015 on our website by January 2014 so keep checking in!
We hope you all have a very happy Christmas wherever you are in the world, and a very happy new year. We hope to see some of you onboard Aminah in 2014 for another incredible adventure through West Africa!
David, Al, Jimmy, and Aminah
It’s been quite a while since we updated our latest news section. Alot has been happening since we returned from our recent trips in West Africa so here we go.
Firstly, we want to say a massive thank you to everybody who had the confidence to book with us for our first season through West Africa in 2012-2013. We couldn’t have run these trips without you! We took a gamble by devising, marketing, selling, and operating a trip which no overland operator had done before, connecting Senegal to Ghana via the coastal countries of Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. We also travelled through Senegal’s Casamance region, which has not been done for several decades by an overland truck based operator, and Ivory Coast which has effectively been closed to overlanders for the last 10 years. We were the first to run trips into Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone, something we are very proud of!
After finishing the trips in Dakar in mid-April 2013, Jimmy and Hatter drove back to the UK. It took just over 2 weeks so we were both pretty tired when we got back to UK. The journey home took us through Mauritania and Western Sahara, a sparsely populated area with some of the most beautiful coastline anywhere in the world. Here is a shot of Aminah where the Sahara desert meets the Atlantic ocean.
On returning to the UK, we met Al who has decided to join the OWA team as director. Al is an experienced overland trip leader and a fellow West Africa aficionado. We’re both very pleased to have Al onboard. Al will be leading the 2013-2104 trips. Read more about the new OWA team by visiting our Who We Are page.
Looking ahead now to 2013-2014, we have decided to include Liberia in the itineraries for our Freetown To Accra and Accra To Freetown trips. We will be the first commercial truck based overland company to devise, market, sell, and operate a trip through the country, something we are all very excited about. Liberia has only opened up to tourism in the past few years and with the British Foreign Office lifting the travel advice we are very pleased to be able to include it in our itineraries.
We have also been busy with our web designer changing a few things on this website. We now have a sliding image gallery at the top of each page, showing off some of the best photos taken by us and the passengers on our recent trips. We have a new social media click through bar at the top right of each page, which will take you to our popular Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube Channels, as well as one for Pinterest. We have some incredible shots on Pinterest do click through and have a browse to whet your appetite for West Africa travel!
In addition, we have a new box on the right hand side of each page below the latest news section called ‘Photo Gallery’. Al has been very busy adding some of the best images from the trips we have just run. It’s an incredible selection showing off the beauty of the people and landscapes of the region.
There is also a new “OWA Trip Videos” tab on the right hand side of each page. Click on any of the videos shown, enlarge the screen, and sit back and imagine yourself on one of our trips in West Africa!
We would like to say a huge thank you (in no particular order) to Holly Melanson, Ian Grieve, Sally Crace, Wilna Wilkinson, Ant Marcon, Will Betts, Rob Kuhlman, Di Forgan, Inga Lotta, Simon Ottner, Annie Porter, Jemma Dunn, Clare Glade Wright, Scott Carlyle, and Sally Holbrook, for allowing us to use some of their photos for promotional purposes, thanks so much guys! You can see a photo of some of the passengers who joined us on the trips lower down this page.
We would also like to say an extra special thank you to Jamie Noel, who joined us on our Accra To Freetown trip. Jamie is a professional film maker and made a number of short films about the trip. Highlighting the people, culture, music, landscapes, and trip life in general, the films offer a fantastic insight into the region and are accompanied by superb soundtracks. Thanks so much Jamie! You can watch Jamies videos below, and will find them elsewhere on this website.
Below is a photo collage of some of the passengers who joined us on Aminah for our 2012-2013 trips. We are looking forward to meeting everybody booked onto our next set of trips starting in late October this year (once rainy season has thrown the worst it can down and the region is drying out).
Remember, we still have a few seats left on all of our 2013-2014 departures, and are offering discounts if you book two trips with us. There never has been a better time to visit the region. Not sure yet if you should come along for the adventure? Read some Passenger Feedback about us and the trips we run to find out more, and read our Why Travel With OWA? page to see what makes ours trips so much better than others out there!
Al, Hatter, Jimmy, and Aminah
THANKS TO ALL FOR AN INCREDIBLE FIRST SEASON!
We’re in Ouagadougou with a good wifi connection, so thought we’d take the chance to update you on the latest happenings from our return trip so far.
We spent Christmas and New Years in Kumasi, Ghana, before driving down to Accra to meet the group. After obtaining some visas in the capital, we headed along the coast for some time on the beach and to visit the slave forts in Elmina and Cape Coast. Ghana’s coastline is as pretty as it ever has been, always brings a smile to the face when you drive along the palm tree lined beach front.
Most of the group went on the canopy walkways at Kakum National Park, tens of meters above the rainforest, for great views of the surroundings. After a lunch stop we carried on to Kumasi for a couple of nights, before heading out to Lake Bosumtwi. We found a great camp spot by the lake front, a really chilled afternoon had by all.
The trip continued north as we made for Mole National Park. To break up the drive we spent the night at the ever impressive Kintampo falls. Being a weekday we practically had the place to ourselves! For this time of year there was still a decent amount of water coming over the edge.
The road into Mole National Park is currently being upgraded, lots of vegetation has been cleared to lay what looks like a 4 lane highway. We presume that this road will connect the north of Ghana to Ivory Coast in the west. The group all headed out on nature walks and saw elephants, bush bucks, warthogs, baboons and monkeys amongst much more. All appreciated the swimming pool to cool off in after the day animal spotting.
We decided to spend a couple of nights in Bolgatanga in the far north of Ghana, and found a decent spot in town to camp. The group then spent the next day taking taxis to visit various places around the vicinity of Bolgatanga, including shrines in the Tongo Hills, and also traditional arts and crafts villages further towards the Togo and Burkina Faso borders.
Crossing into Burkina Faso we had 2 armed guards accompany us for a 30km stretch through the forest area due to banditry, but then quickly made it to the capital Ouagadougou. Everybody enjoyed a free day visiting the city centre and relaxing by the pool, before we headed to Bobo Dioulassou for 2 nights. The mosque and market in Bobo are so picturesque and a hive of activity.
We then headed out into the Banfora region, spending 3 days visiting the natural sights the area is famed for. We camped at the stunning Karfiguela waterfalls, and then walked out to wonder amongst the Domes of Fabedougou. On the way you could see the massive irrigation pipes put in during the days of French rule which carry water down from the falls to irrigate the sugar cane fields below. We then broke camp and headed out towards the border with Mali and the town of Sindou. From here we walked to the Sindou Peaks, an amazing sight of natural rock formations that spire into the skies above. The wind has blown the sand through the area for centuries and created all manner of wonderful shaped peaks, quite similar in shape to those you would see in Cappadocia in Turkey. It feels almost lunar like at times!
We are now in the Ivory Coast, and the group have been off exploring the surrounding arts and crafts villages the north is famed for. We now continue our Ivorian adventure as we head for the infamous Basilica in Yam!
Remember guys, dates for 2013 and 2014 are now up on this site, you can find them under THE TRIPS tab at the top of this page. We hope you can join us for the adventure later in the year!
David, Jimmy, and Aminah x
PS We wont have much email access until we arrive into Freetown on February 24th. We are heading into the jungle between Ivory Coast and Guinea for a while! So if you don’t hear back from us straight away please be patient, we will be intouch as soon as we can.