Due to the power of elimination we knew which way to turn at the junction today and so we knew we were heading in the right direction, there were no tarmac roads to Sindou and it was one long bumpy red dirt road all the way there. As we left Banfora and got further into the countryside the scenery got more and more beautiful, I really felt like I was in Africa now, there we were cruising down a fantastic road, fields and trees either side with the odd smattering of thatched mud huts, children would chase you down the road waving and shouting “Bonjour” as we passed by.
We’d been going about 20km when we hit a roadworks sign and realised that the bridge over the stream was under construction and that they were diverting you down a steep muddy bank through a field and up another steep muddy bank. I was on a scooter, it wasn’t built for off roading, but nevertheless I was keen to have a go, Gen decided to get off and let me go it alone, probably not a bad idea. I slowly crept down the embankment trying to go slow, but not so slow that I would get stuck, I’d made it to the bottom but it was really muddy and so I had to give it everything our little bike had to get it back up the other side. Thankfully there was a few local kids who were on hand to help push the back wheel down to gain enough traction to get back up. We made it and I paid my toll to the young kids, I bet they made a decent earning that day!
Cracking on we continued up the road, dodging potholes and at one point even a green mamba!! After the 60km drive I could see why Sindou was only accessible during the dry season, we were just getting into the wet season and there were some sizeable puddles forming but we’d found ways around them and we could now see the peaks. The Sindou Peaks are a 3km chain of tall sandstone towers that have been eroded over time by the strong wind coming from the Sahel in the north, they looked really quite impressive. We pulled up and stopped the bike, paid our admission fee and then pretended we didn’t know what he meant when he tried to get us to take a French speaking guide, well, we wouldn’t have understood most of what he said so there was little point! We spent an hour or so exploring the peaks by ourselves, it looked like something out of the planet of the apes, the surrounding area was so flat and rural and yet there was this 3km long chain of stone tower, I began to realise why the local people saw Sindou as sacred.
It was really really hot by now and so we decided to start heading back to Banfora, only as usual, things didn’t go entirely to plan, we’d done 40km when we noticed we had another puncture. These skinny little scooter tyres weren’t cut out for the red rocky road. Luckily for us though, this time we stopped right next to a little hamlet of huts. I went over to speak with a couple of young boys who directed us to their friend who could fix our puncture. A young lad who was about 13 came out of his house and wheeled our bike off, we were told to sit under the tree with his parents and wait, he must have been able to tell that we weren’t cut out for temperatures in the 40’s! A short while later, we were back on the road and racing the thick black rain cloud to Banfora that was seemingly chasing us down the road. It just started spitting as we pulled onto the main road, naturally we took cover in the nearest bar and remained there until the rain cleared!
Once it eventually stopped raining we went to book a ticket for the bus in the morning, we were heading back to Ghana tomorrow for the final push south, first though we had to cross the rarely used border at Hamele. Gen was nervous, was it going to be as bad as the last ‘rarely used’ border we crossed??