B2B Manager from CAKE, Sinje Gottwald, is crossing the African Continent, from Europe to South Africa on a Kalk AP. Two batteries, a satellite telephone and an adventure spirit beyond limits. THE PACK asked her very kindly if we could publish her (electric) travel diary, and she said yes! If you have missed part 1, just click here > and if you want to know more about Sinje Gottwald, please check out her Instagram page >
All pictures & texts ©Sinje Gottwald
It was the most adventurous week by far! I crossed two more borders and am now in Sierra Leone. Crossing into Guinea at the beginning of last week was a great challenge, the road was a muddy track through the jungle only for motorcycles and included a river crossing on a small boat. 6 hours for 90km! In Conakry I had an issue with a screw that I accidentally broke off, but was then lucky to receive immediate help from the Libanese community there, who also invited me to a birthday party once it was all fixed.
I am in Monrovia, Liberia! After I got food poisoning in Freetown and stayed in bed for two days, I got back on my bike and crossed Sierra Leone on perfectly asphalted roads. The electricity infrastructure outside the capital is not good, if there is electricity available then only in the evening and blackouts are happening on a daily basis. I’ve only been able to continue with the help of locals who pointed me to private companies that own generators. And even with all the help I ended up in a village two days ago where I couldn’t charge the batteries at all. This challenge is tougher than I thought it would be!
After crossing 9 countries and riding roughly 6500 km I arrived in Abidjan – this is a huge milestone for me and the bike and I’m beyond excited that I made it this far! The last couple of days through Liberia and Ivory Coast were very long and challenging, traffic in Monrovia was extremely stressful and finding places to charge wasn’t easy. The interest in the bike is overwhelming and people gather very quickly when stopping somewhere – one time the situation got a little out of hand though and I had to hide the bike in the living room of a family while I was charging the batteries. I am trying to get a few visas while in Abidjan now before continuing to Ghana this week.
This past week’s challenges were not about finding electricity and accommodation etc. but about trying to get a visa for Nigeria, dealing with physical exhaustion and crossing into Ghana from Ivory Coast. This border crossing took 24 hours, which meant I had to stay there over night, outside the customs office on these wooden benches. It also included many and very long discussions with officials and a tracker that got mounted on my bike that will be taken off today when I leave the country again to cross into Togo. Hopefully leaving Ghana won’t take as long as entering.
I crossed 3 borders in one week and am now in Nigeria! Due to an issue with the Benin immigration system I was stuck in Lomé for 3 days waiting for my evisa and only received it (via WhatsApp) after contacting numerous people. Nigeria stopped issuing visas to travelllers outside their home country a few weeks ago so other overlanders currently fly home to get it or ship their vehicle around Nigeria. I teamed up with Anna, another solo traveller, and we managed to cross the border without having a visa – the chances of this actually working was almost 0! After 10 hours of discussing, negotiating and organising we were given the stamp on the 24th of December!
Monday Update: I crossed Nigeria as fast as possible, it was probably the most dangerous country on my route and the first country I did not feel comfortable in. Many police and military check points along the way with corrupt officers – at one I got hit on my arm. I teamed up with Anna again and we crossed to Cameroon together on a small boat as the land border is closed to tourists due to security risks on the Cameroon side. I will take a couple of days off now to reflect, rest and sleep!