Nigerian biker, Kunle Adeyanju who is currently on the road, riding from London to Lagos, has narrates his experience from Tambacounda, Senegal to Bamaco, Mali.
Read his experience below;
The last 3 days had been quite eventful, and it was a trying for me also. Looking critically at everything it was a rich learning experience.
As we all know, sometimes in life when Murphy’s law came calling, that is, when everything that can go wrong, will go wrong… that is usually when you need to stay strongest because in life such day will come whether we ask for it or not, that is life.
And like I wrote earlier, I don’t believe that thing happen for a reason, but what I do believe is that there is a lesson to be learnt in everything that happens. So I have learnt some deep lessons from the event of the last 3 days.
DAY 22 The first segment of my ride was to move from Tambacounda to Kidira, a border town in Senegal with Mali and wait for my interpreter at the border to help with communication and facilitation.
This is required here because of the ongoing ECOWAS embargo on movement of people to & from Mali owing to the Military Coup.
However, since I am on an humanitarian mission, the UN Charter guarantees free passage for persons on humanitarian mission if they satisfy the country visa/entry requirements.
The ride to Kidira from Tambacounda was about 255KM, the worrying part of this route is that it traverses through a park, a game reserve and Lions, hyena and others wild animals freely roam across the road
The stern warning from the park rangers and the authorities is people must have exited the park by 6pm, because in the cool of the evening lions and other wild animal roam on the road.
There has also been report of lions sighting in the morning too.
The night before going to bed, I did a lot of thinking on my strategy if I confront a wild animal, what do I need to do, to stay alive! I checked the top speed ever recorded by a lion on the internet and it was 80kph, and the lion is also more manoeuvrable than I am on the bike.
At 80kph, the lion can do a 60 degrees turn, which I can’t, so the only evasive strategy for me was speed.
So before leaving the hotel in Tambacounda, I spoke to eagle on the dangers ahead and I said to eagle, you have to help me, we need to do this, and I felt eagle in my heart said, we are in this together, lets do it. And the moment we hit the road, it was like eagle was on steroids, eagle was just pulling speeds about 150kph.
Even some bends which normally I would have dropped my speed to 100kph, eagle was just taking them at 125kph, and thank God we came out of the park without any issues, I only saw monkeys.
I arrived Kidira 30 minutes earlier than expected so I had to wait for my interpreter.
As I was riding into Kidira, a young man frantically flagged me down, I thought there was an issue, but he turned out to be a Nigerian living in Diboli, the border town on the Malian side and came out to Kidira to see me.
He said bros when I saw your post that you were in Tambacounda yesterday, I knew you were coming here today and I have been waiting for about an hour to see you. I thanked him and we took pictures!
Finally, my interpreter came and we headed to clear my exit and eagle with the Senegalese Police, Immigration and customs. The process took about 1.30hr as they were trying to confirm the ownership of the motorbike from the INTERPOL database.
Finally, we were cleared, and we headed to the Malian Police (Border Guard), the first checkpoint.
Generally, every morning, I always attach my Camera to the mount on eagle without turning it on, but only when I need to capture a scene.
And this morning too I followed the same routine of attaching my camera to the mount.
The Police seeing the camera & even with the lens cap on, became furious with me, claiming that I am filming them, I explained that the camera is not even on and the lens cap is attached, how can the camera record anything with the lens cap on? But they didn’t seem to believe me
They said a camera like this probably is seeing through the wall and recording everything inside their office.
They invited me to come inside the station head office which I did and asked me to on the camera that they want to see what the recorded videos inside.
I put on the camera and told them they can only see the recorded files on the camera app on my phone, but they said I was lying.
My interpreter kept trying to explain, and the whole thing took us 2.30hrs, before they took us to the border station commandant, a nice man who interviewed me intently on the essence of my adventure and said you can’t come into mail because of the ECOWAS blockade.
I told him as a member of the United Nations by virtue of my country’s membership, I am invoking the UN Charter that guarantees free passages and protection for persons on humanitarian mission, and I said Mali is signatory to the charter.
He was silent for a while, then he spoke in English, he said you are a smart guy, I like you, and he ordered his boys to grant me my entry permit.
After that, I had to obtain an entry permit for eagle from the customs, and that took another 2 hours. By the rime I was done it was 7pm. There was no hotel in Diboli, the border town so I decided to proceed to go to Kaye my stop point for the day 90Km away.
There was still some daylight, but after covering like 10km, darkness just came down as if it activated by was a light switch. So I brought down my speed to 80kph, then suddenly I remembers the lions and other wild animal
As Diboli was just on the other side of the Park in Senegal, and thinking that, with the darkness if they are there, they will see me before I can see them, so I decided to up my speed to 110kph, everything was fine, but after about 30KM, a truck veered into my line.
I swerved then hit went to the pothole that dented my rim, I got stuck and became super worried.
I saw a village like 200m away, so I pushed my bike there called my interpreter in Diboli who spoke to them, then he arranged a vehicle to come to the village and from there we proceeded to Kaye. i finally got to my hotel in Kaye about 2am in the morning.
The following morning we chartered a minivan and recovered eagle back to Kaye to be repaired.
The Rotarians and the Malian bikers all rallied around me, all coming out with options. The Malian Bikers got me a replacement wheel in Bamako and sent this down 680km to Kaye, where I was
Before the guy bringing the wheel arrived, the mechanic they sent to me informed that my wheel can be fixed, and it should be ok. So we took the wheel to the “LADIPO MARKET OF KAYE” where it was fixed.
The guy brining the replacement wheel from Bamako, had a breakdown on the way, so I left with my repaired wheel, we later met on the way and headed to Bamako together.
A high point of human generosity was also showed to me by @aribidesi a guy I have never met, that resides in UK. But on reading about the incident offered to order a replacement rear wheel for me to be shipped to Bamako.
I told him the guys in Bamako are loaning me a wheel to Lagos, so he’s re-routing the shipment to Lagos. I am so touched by your generosity, and I pray that may the almighty God also remember you too for good.
My reception by the Malian Bikers was an ATOMIC BOMB, six of the riders came to rendezvous with and about 150km into Bamako, and we rode in the sort of a presidential motorcade that will even make Putin jealous. These guys are good on wheels, quite gifted.
When we arrived Bamako, they took me straight to a restaurant for lunch and thereafter we went to the Rotary Centre where I met the District Governor Elect, PolioPlus Country Chairman, his Vice Chairman and a host of Rotarians.
I was deeply touched by the reception, after wards they gave me another presidential motorcade to my hotel…… Indeed, the reception in Mali was an ATOMIC BOMB, and I mean ATOMIC BOMB! They showed me a new level of hospitality and kindness.