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Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 16-11-2011

Citroën 2CVs and Dianes at the Marina Hotel, Cotonou

(Click to enlarge)

The amazing thing is that these ugly ducklings, along with a couple of dozen others, all made the journey by road from Brussels all the way to Cotonou! Click here and here to see previous blog posts (a year apart) of the ‘Touareg Trail’. Also, click on the photo below to go to my ‘2CV Touareg Trail’ photo album:


Thanks for reading!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 13-01-2009

A rather eccentric Englishman is planning to drive AND fly his car from London to Timbuktu!

Yes, English adverturer Neil Laughton will set of this week in this somewhat quirky vehicle:


Read about the whole plan on the BBC website here.

Timbuktu – or more correctly, Tombouctou – is a pretty remote town in Mali, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, and was an important stop-off point on the trans-Saharan trade route. As we’ll be living in Mali in a few months’ time, it’s certainly a place I plan to visit (but maybe using slightly more conventional transportation!)

Other unconventional trans-Sahara journeys include:

*On a camel trek (not that unusual for the location, mind)

*By motorcycle (and don’t forget Frank, who rode his from London to South Africa, via Benin!)

* By environmentally friendly CHOCOLATE-POWERED Toyota Landcruiser (yes, really! Have a look!)

* And not forgetting in a Citroën 2CV. Click here for previous blog posts on The Touareg Trail and here to read about another trans-Saharan 2CV trek, this time from Plymouth to Banjul.


If you’re planning on crossing the Sahara yourself, then BEWARE! It can be dangerous! It’s very hot and dry (as if you didn’t know). One guy I met who did the 2CV trip spoke of drinking 8 litres of water a day and never needing a pee once!!! Also, there are certain boundaries and borders which it is dangerous to cross (see map here). Finally, don’t hold me responsible for any advice you’ve just read!

Meanwhile, all the best Neil – have a safe journey!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 26-11-2007


Yes, the ‘Touareg Trail‘ 2CVs made it to Benin from Brussels. Here are a few of them (2 of which are Dyane’s not strictly 2CVs) outside the Marina Hotel on Saturday. Have a look at some more of them:


This year, they took a different route, through W Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina and then into Benin. What a trip! For a 2CV enthusiast such as myself, it’s great to see so many of these ‘ducks’ altogether. There were some particularly interesting ones this time. Firstly, this classic 2CV, probably from the 60’s or so:


Also, this weird and wonderful 2CV pick-up, with double headlamps!


I shan’t bore the Afrophiles with any more car pictures, but if you do like 2CVs, check out my photo gallery, which has loads more spanning the past 3 years of the Touareg Trail. Thanks for visiting. More news soon!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 27-10-2007


It’s 2CV time again soon! Today, the next fleet of Citroën Deux Chevaux leave Brussels for another epic trans-saharan Touareg Trail to Benin.

Here are some more of the cars that made the trip last year:

(click to enlarge)

Sugar Free 2CV!
(click to enlarge).

At the moment this post goes on the blog, the launch will be taking place in Brussels (10:30am today) with the departure scheduled for midday. Read about it here and watch this space in a few weeks to see photos of their arrival.

The BBC recently put this article on their site, which praises the low emissions of the Deux Chevaux and cites it as a great car for London driving. I’ve been a big fan from a young age, but have never owned one yet (maybe I’ll wait till I have my mid-life crisis in my 40’s, then get one!!!) Incidentally, the first ever post on this blog, was of a 2CV, posted by Reggie.

If you’re interested in buying a 2CV, then the 2CV centre – bizarrely in Frome, Somerset – is the best place to get your tin duck these days! Also, Francophones, check out this cool 2CV site. Here are a couple more pics:

Cool combi!
(click to enlarge)

Nice blue one!
(click to enlarge. More photos in my 2CV gallery).)

Finally, if you click on nothing else, read this article from the New York Times (listed on the Touareg Trail site), which doesn’t mention 2CV’s but has some important and interesting stuff about Benin. It’s so well done, I’ve added it to my links on the RHS.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment if you can.

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 21-04-2007

Aaarrrgghh! We’ve had SOOOOOO many power cuts this week – it’s been almost unbearable!!!

Our friends the Vickers said that the power outages were one of the worst things to deal with here. However, since they left on Sunday it got worse and worse, with a total of around 59 hours without electricity in five days!

Here’s a brief low-down:

  • Monday – The electricity went off at 6:00am and did not come back until 9:00pm. We ended up going round a few shops in town, which have generators and good aircon.
  • Tuesday – First day back at school. Power on and off a bit during morning, then cut from 1:00-3:00pm. Another twist: our freezer door has broken – the lower hinge has almost completely rusted off, so it no longer shuts properly.
  • Wednesday – Luxury: NO POWER CUTS all day, until 11:00pm!
  • Thursday – Bad night’s sleep due to no power all night. I have work to do, so take the laptop round to the local cyber cafe, which has power and internet! The air-conditioning is also nice, with midday temps well over 30 degrees C. It finally returns at 2:45pm after almost 16 hours, but the lights are very dim, the fans hardly moving and various appliances keep going off and on (spooky!) Off totally from 3:30-5:45pm, then back again…until 10:10pm. The water is also cut by bedtime. Can’t get to sleep until early hours. No cool water left to drink, only mango juice! Our kitchen reeks of rotting flesh as the meat in the freezer gradually goes off.
  • Friday – Get up and remove ALL meat from freezer and mop kitchen floor. Still no power. I spend an extra long time at the gym as it has good aircon, then hit the cyber cafe. NO CONNECTION! Aaaarrgggh! Finally, at 9:50pm, the power returns and hasn’t gone off again since (and it’s now Saturday evening).

Phew! Let’s hope this is the end of such a long spate of power cuts!



Other News:

  1. Micah lost his first tooth the other week:


  1. We have the school summer fair on Saturday, right at the start of rainy season. Let’s hope it stays dry (and there’s power!!!)
  2. Rob’s next workshop is from 3-5 May in Togo (why are there never any in Benin?!?)
  3. We have a new CREEPY CRAWLIES album on the photo galley, which includes this fab photo of a grasshopper, taken by Madelaine:

Grasshopper (Taken by Mads)

(click to enlarge)


Over the months several hundred photos have accumulated on the gallery (any idea how many, Reg?) In case you’re new to this malarky, here are the albums. Click on any one that interests you to see its photos:

Cotonou Photos


Benin Photos (general)


Wild animals at the Pendjari National Park


Togo Photos – a very pretty country


Rob’s Ethnomusicology experiences


Creepie Crawlies – cockroach, mosquito, millipede, and THE moth!!


African people – some great shots of a variety of people.


Birds of Togo and Benin – this one’s for you, Steve P!


Rob’s shirts – it had to be done. They have become a tad legendary of late!


The ‘Touareg Trail’ – some crazy guys in Citroën 2CV’s drove across the Sahara and finished up in Cotonou!!!


Friends and Stuff – Jon Assheton, the Vickers, Clive Rahn…etc.


Birthdays etc. Blowing out candles, parties, food, balloons etc.

That’s all for now. Thanks for visiting – please leave a comment if you have time.

Rob et al

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 27-11-2006

Hi folks! Sorry for the delay in posting any info – I’ve been spending my ‘blog time’ putting photos into the NEW gallery. Just click to the RHS and you can see all the pics.

There’s Benin Photos, like this one (click to see more)

Ganvie 1

Then there’s Togo Photos like this one:


If you’re a bit of an ornithologist, then check out my Birds of Benin and Togo album:

Pin-tailed Whydah (2)
Then there’s the hot-off-the-press 2CV Touareg Trail – shots of the Citroën 2CVs which crossed the Sahara and were in Cotonou last weekend:

and then there are shots in our city in Cotonou Photos, like this one:

Cotonou lagoon

If you’ve got a moment, have a browse! There will be more added soon (including the monumental ‘Rob’s Shirts’ album!) Stay tuned!

More news soon. We’re all doing okay and looking forward to Christmas!

Thanks for visiting,

Rob et al