Overlanding West Africa share their highs & lows of 2015 and plans for 2016

I’ve traveled by overland truck through Southern Africa and have spent a fair amount of time in Tanzania, East Africa and I have to say…West Africa is looking very appealing as well.  It’s definitely on the ‘maybe’ list!

So I’m really pleased to have David from Overlanding West Africa round up their year and give us some insight into an area that’s…well, a little more challenging than some overland routes.

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OWA Truck 'Aminah' by the Basilica Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. (Photo Credit: Simon Ottner)

What were the highs and lows for Overlanding West Africa in 2015?

At the start of 2015 we were not operating overland trips in West Africa due to the Ebola outbreak. Therefore it was a pretty low point for us, though of course nothing like the low that so many people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea were going through.

With the situation gradually improving as the year went on, we decided to operate trips in the latter part of 2015 and into 2016. We opened the bookings in April 2015 and were overwhelmed by the response!

Despite so much negative media coverage of the region in 2014 and 2015, it hadn’t put people off visiting and we had our best season ever in terms of sales!

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Village Ladies in the west of Ivory Coast. (Photo Credit: Clare Glade Wright)

A real high was crossing the border from Guinea into Sierra Leone on the very day the country was declared Ebola free in November 2015.

The BBC news team saw our truck Aminah and our Dakar to Freetown group at Bureh beach and interviewed them for the news about the return of tourism in Sierra Leone.

What plans do you have for Overlanding West Africa in 2016?

We will continue to operate the trips we currently offer between Morocco and Benin. We are proud to be the only multi country overland operator to be offering trips in so many countries in West Africa.

Of course we are always keeping an eye open for possible new routes, especially in countries like Chad, CAR, Algeria, Niger etc. but at the moment this remains out of reach for security reasons.

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Cultural Dance, eastern Sierra Leone. (Photo Credit: Mehmet Haksever)

What message do you have for people about West Africa?

Please do not believe the constant negative narrative that the mainstream media bombard you with about the region. Sure, some countries in West Africa have their problems, much like anywhere else in the world!

If you look beyond the headlines you will find countries full of beautiful landscapes, fantastic music, pristine beaches, and incredibly friendly and welcoming people with some of the richest culture ANYWHERE on this planet!

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Boating at Tiwah Island, eastern Sierra Leone. (Photo credit: Simon Ottner)

What top tip would you give someone considering an overland trip?

Overland trips in West Africa are somewhat more challenging than in most other parts of the world.  There is considerably less tourist infrastructure here than in other parts of the African continent.

You must be patient, flexible and open minded. If you’re not, travelling in West Africa is probably not for you!

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Aminah ploughing through the mud in Guinea (Photo Credit: Baz 'Mustard' Robley.

I’d like to thank David from Overlanding West Africa for taking the time to share some of the highs and lows of the past year.  You can find out more about where they go on their website, or just marvel at the wonderful colourful photos!

All images supplied by Overlanding West Africa.

If you’d like to share your overlanding stories or news, please do get in contact.

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Much of the information and advice expressed on this website is the personal opinion of the writer. If you choose to follow any advice you do so at your own risk with no recourse to the writer or Adventures in Overland.

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