Archive for July, 2011

Filed Under (General, Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 27-07-2011

Beads for sale at the bead market, Bamako, Mali:

Filed Under (General, Things to do in Bamako) by Rob on 25-07-2011

Have a relaxing walk by the canal (no.1)

There are two nice canal walks we know. This is the first (although it’s the same canal, just a different bit! Will blog about the other walk in future). For this one, drive east along the south bank of the river through Magnambougou until you get out of town. Then, just after a derelict factory (with chimneys!) you’ll see a strange looking metal structure on the left. Leave the road here and park up by the sluice.

Here’s the place on Tim’s Bamako Map:

View Tim’s Bamako map in a larger map

So, you’re driving in from the bottom left of the picture, then turn immediately left and park at the end of the lane. Then you cross one little bridge onto the triangular ‘island’ then the longer bridge over the sluice and you’re on a path between the Niger River and the canal.

From here it’s a couple of miles to the Brand New Bridge! When we did the walk (last Sunday) there were loads of mopeds going past, partly because the main road on the other side of the canal was blocked of for works on the bridge. Hopefully, this will change in the near future when the new bridge opens. As you walk along the canal, the view is very pleasant. You also pass a couple of small Bozo fishing villages.

Once you get to the new bridge, you can either cross over to the right and walk back along the road or turn around and come back the same way. Or, if you’re feeling energetic (or riding a bike) you can continue along the same side of the canal a bit further – that will be the 2nd walk!

This is the question my friend Eric asked me to write 700 words about as a guest writer on his blog.

But rather than paste the whole article into my own blog, have a look at his instead!
Click here to see Rob’s article on Eric’s blog.


Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 20-07-2011

A shop in the Gambia which sells four-legged chickens:

Hmmm…could catch on!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 14-07-2011

We were recently privileged to have two weeks holiday in the Gambia, West Africa, which was very pleasant (in spite of the three day drive each way!)

Here are some reflections on holidaying in the Gambia. It is a good place for your hols if you like:

* Beaches: they’re clean, peaceful, long, sandy and the sea is relatively calm, certainly compared to Benin (see this post about Beninese beaches).

* Shopping for nice food at a decent price. There were several great supermarkets stocking many British and American products which we cannot get in Mali. This was a bonus for us (but not worthwhile if you’re flying there!)

* Wildlife: if you like monkeys, crocodiles and some other wildlife, then it’s pretty good (but don’t expect herds of elephants, giraffes or zebras – you won’t see them!

* Birdlife: if you’re a bird-watcher, then the Gambia is almost essential! Even without trying hard I saw at least three kinds of kingfisher, two kinds of hornbill, an owl, a violet turacao, and a grey plantain-eater. And all pretty close by too!

* Swimming pools and nice food! The two often go together. We found that – in ‘off season’ at least – if you buy a drink or something to eat you can swim for free at many of the pools. Our favourites were the Sun Beach Hotel at Cape Point and the Kairaba Hotel in Senegambia, but there were plenty of other good pools, all spotlessly clean and with excellent food.

The Gambia is not the place for you if you like:

* Hills and mountains, as neither exists in the country.
* Driving on nice roads! This is still Africa and whilst the tourist area had nicely tarmacked streets, elsewhere in the country they are not always as good. Ironically, the worst roads by far were between the Gambia and Senegal – are they trying to keep the French out???
* Complete peace with nobody bothering you. At the pools, yes, but on the beaches there are often ‘bumsters’ as they are called, who will follow you wanting to be your friend. Ignore them and they generally go away.
* Lakes as these are rare if there are any! However, we had a wonderful day on the peaceful inlet at Lamin Lodge.

There you go! We enjoyed our hols and one day (“when the kids have left home”) we may well fly back out there for a relaxing week of sunshine, who knows?

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 13-07-2011

Mr Baker, bakes non-stop fresh!

You know, I can’t even remember who sent me this photo. At the time I duly filed it in my ‘funny e-mails’ folder, as you do, hoping it may come in useful some day. Well, I guess it has. Meanwhile, if you were the generous donor of the above photo, do let me know. Oh, and thanks in advance!!

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 06-07-2011

You know it’s rainy season when this happens:

I taught a three week course in this classroom last August/September. On the last day, however, the heavens opened and this happened. I had to drive my car up to the doorway and jump over into the room just to retrieve my African drums! Fun and games in rainy season!