We circled around and finished our loop of Togo and Benin with a few days in Lome and a few in Cotonou, whilst camping on the beach. One night, we drove off to a nice restaurant we’d heard of, and I jumped into the back. It was dark but I noticed something move across the ceiling, just over dad’s head. I got out my torch and, pointing it at the ceiling, I saw a two-inch scorpion making its way slowly from the open window. “We have a serious problem, James -stop the car, Dad – get out of the car.” Whilst dad and James were faffing around, I grabbed my Lonely Planet Africa, and swiped him out of the car. Or this is at least how I tell the story, it might be different if you hear it from them, but that’s the writer’s prerogative. Of course, no one actually saw it land on the floor, so what ensued, in the middle of the road, was all of us dismantling the inside of the car. Someone spotted it, and a passer-by stamped on it. A sad end for our little adventurer.
We’ve spent six weeks in the francophone West African countries and it’s been a real joy seeing the differences between these small countries. They have a lot of similarities and, give or take, have got the same lot in life. They are all near the top of the list of the world’s poorest countries, and the majority of the population live on less than a dollar a day, but their neighbour is cut from a different cloth. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and the fastest growing economy, secondary to a massive injection of oil money. It’s GDP per capita stands at eighteen times that of its neighbours, so this was surely going to be one hell of a change. Burkina Faso in local languages means “The Land of the Incorruptible.” Based on this I assume Nigeria means “The Land of Mindless Bureaucracy, Gifts and checkpoints” given our first day’s experience there.
We had decided to cross from Benin to Nigeria further north than Cotonou, with the logic that any border crossing near Lagos was likely to be a disaster. However, what we lacked in our communication was a firm confirmation of which border – like a name for example. Needless to say, I navigated us to a completely different border to the one that James had planned. Once at the border, and aware of our mistake, we thought why not just give it a go? We pulled up at the barrier with all the people in the market, (which lines every border), screaming, shouting and pointing at us. Intimidating to say the least. We gingerly got out and went to the guard manning the gate. We would need to pay 5000 CFA to pass the gate – about 8 pounds, and then would have to pay a further 1000 CFA once we get through. We explained that would be fine, if they could produce an official receipt, and of course they could not. They sent us back to get our carnet stamped at a different, out of the way, office and we both decided this had disaster written all over it and drove on to the next border further north. This was much quieter, so quiet in fact that it did not have a custom’s official there, so there was no way to stamp our carnet without driving back 12 km to the last town, to the customs official who refused to take his bare feet off the desk for the entire proceedings. We hadn’t even got to Nigeria and our patience was already wearing thin. We crossed over and had our papers rigorously reviewed by the Nigerian officials, and they do not miss a trick. We left after an hour, with all our documents in order, amazed we had got through so quickly. We smugly drove off down a quiet country road to the next town – only 33km away and where our bed for the night was already calling.
We drove through a tiny village and were greeted with villagers running at the car with sticks and shouting for us to stop. As a rule, we rarely stop for anyone who runs at the car aggressively so we carried on, until one of them produced a large wooden plank covered in nails and placed in on the road ahead of us. This did not look good. We stopped, and wound down the window with trepidation. “We are the police – Why did you not stop?” No one was in uniform, there was no signs or flags and we were not convinced. We explained we thought they had been waving, and were very sorry, but saw no other option then to get out and play ball. Ultimately, in the following hour and a half we were at this checkpoint, we eventually realised they were police. They explained it was too dusty to wear their uniforms, and anyway the FBI didn’t have to wear uniforms. We had to work our way through the four separate officials – immigration, customs, police and, my favourite, public health. This chap decided it was his job to ensure we were healthy, including checking all our medications, yellow fever status and that our crackers were not out of date. All of them. We have a lot of crackers. So many in fact that he appropriated two packs of them for himself.
Armed with knowledge that police don’t wear uniform if it’s dusty, we head off, hopeful we’d got through the worst of it. We had not. 100 metres down the road, there was a second customs point, and 100 metres more, there was a second immigration etc etc. This went on for hours. All alerted us to their presence by angrily waving sticks, most not in uniform and all asked for gifts. Most did not get a gift. One was offered our gin, bought for 600 CFA but declined our kind offer. It seems our gin is too rough to even be a bribe. I finally noticed that, although most did not wear uniform, some wore bobble hats with “Immigration” or “Customs” written on them. From then on we mostly stopped for bobble hats. Oh yes, and guns. We stop for guns and bobble hats.
It took us two and a half hours to cover 11 km. We head into the town, with the dark road leading in resembling a river bed, with cars stranded at the bottom of a dip, with streams of traffic shouting and beeping at anyone unlucky enough to not have the power to get back up the dip. It was chaos and somehow, with the help of some locals, we found our hotel. We were so relieved to get there – what would surely be an oasis of calm. It advertises itself as a 5 * hotel with parking and a pool, the only option for us as camping is almost impossible in Nigeria. We parked up after fighting our way into the car park, and head to reception – a small hatch being manned by a fantastically efficient woman surrounded by eight Nigerians, all jostling for attention. I collapse in the corner, totally incapable of bringing anything useful to the party, totally ignoring the two men in the foyer in dirty clothes, holding Kalashnikovs, presumably guests, but James joins the jostling, Eventually, she sorts us out a room – standard double, we declined the cinema suite or the hot tub room, but, of course, we must pay in advance. Needless to say we haven’t been to an ATM, as we’ve spent our entire 4 hours in the country in the presence of the police and, after both cards are declined, and they are unable to change dollars, I am seconds from a meltdown. I will always appreciate James organising for me to be let into the room, whilst he walks the dark streets (obviously no city power) to find an ATM.
The next day, we plan to head to Benin City. It’s 185 miles and if the day before is anything to go by, this is grossly optimistic. We set off and make exceptional time, travelling 150 miles in 4 hours with only one checkpoint, so different from the day before. It’s all going so well… We hit a huge traffic jam, which occupies us for nearly three hours and once again, leaves us entering a city in the dark and the traffic, totally exhausted. It’s difficult to say why there was a traffic jam, but there was over 1 mile, in no particular order, a burnt out petrol tanker, two jackknifed lorries and three broken down trucks. We also discovered Nigerians’ total acceptance to driving on the wrong side of the road. The first time being when we were driving at 60 miles/hour on a dual carriageway with a central reservation, overtaking a lorry, when we found a truck driving head on towards us.
Day three in Nigeria, things have got to get better. After 22 km we are flying along with limited police checks - but no, our Nigerian’ gremlins have not finished with us. A bike driving the wrong way down the dual carriageway signals at us that something’s wrong. We pull off where a man on the side of the road tells us our right front wheel was wobbling like mad, and, when we look at it, oil and grease are flooding out. As luck would have it, despite this being a dual carriageway in between two cities with no buildings or settlements, there is a garage on the other side of the road. By this I don’t mean a building, or even a ramp, but two men sitting at the side of the road surrounded by hubcaps. They have no tools, but, once we supply them with the essentials, they pull off the tyre at breakneck speed. The tyre comes off, as does some small balls of metal – our wheel bearings - which have exploded. The men, who don’t speak more than 10 words of English between them, explain it is “Kaput.” I would certainly agree with that. We ask if they know where we can get another – “of course” and they put in a call. A man arrives in less than 5 minutes with a replacement – where he came from no one knows, and where this part came from is anyone’s guess. But it is the part, and after some rather useless bargaining, we settle on paying him “an arm and a leg.” The men put it on and replace the wheel. They explain we need to make sure there is grease on both sides and apply it to our new wheel bearing, and then take off the other front tyre. At which stage, some more wheel bearings fall out… This is all seeming extremely convenient but at this stage we are over the metaphorical barrel, so we repeat the process and get new ones fitted. Whether this was all legit or a complete farce I am not sure. I know we drove in there leaking oil out of a wheel that looked like it could not limp another metre and we were both watching as the wheel bearing casing cracked as soon as the wheel was off. After the event, we looked up how much it would have cost at home, and it seems that it would have been an arm and at least half a leg, so maybe this was not too bad. At the end of the day, Stanley drove out of there.
The day continued in a similar vein. The roads we were driving through were becoming increasingly built up and with that came more police, worse roads and horrendous traffic. The police gave up asking for presents and started asking for cash outright, finding problems with the car. Amazingly our patience outlasted theirs and we got away with only our good will, happiness and the odd email address as bribes. On exiting one of the small towns (large cities to you and me), the road disintegrated into a river. There were holes in the road filled with water so deep they would drown a normal car, which we skirted with the motorbikes and tuk-tuks, until we reached one there was no space to skirt. We were 20 km from our beds but this road was completely impassable. We found a motorbike driver to show us the way round, through tiny villages all setting up for another night without power.
Eventually, we get back on the main road, but as night descends the police checkpoints come thick and fast, sometimes only 500 metres apart, lighting kerosene lamps on the checkpoints next to the soldiers, wearing camouflage, crouched over their AK47s. There are no hotels with safe parking and we have no choice but to keep going til we find one. We arrive in the town we had planned to stop, and think we are hallucinating. There is a Sheraton, which, fitting our luck in Nigeria, is shut. We explain our predicament to the security guard, and he recharges his phone with credit to call his sister, who works at a hotel, then instructs a passing motorbike to show us the way, bargaining him down to a normal price for us.
We head off the next morning, into what can only be described as an apocalyptic storm. There is not another car on the road, and we make hay whilst the locals avoid the downpour. We join the back of a queue, needless to say, on the way into Calabar but even we are surprised by what we find. Ten men have blocked the road with tree trunks and won’t lift them til we pay them money or cigarettes. We are not being singled out, every truck driver, taxi and private car is facing the same thing. We sit tight in the car, until they get bored at shouting and banging through the windscreen and circling the car. We limp into Calabar, where we are greeted with queues for petrol which line the entire road. We draw the line at joining them, and pay three times the price for diesel, still cheap by UK standards. Nigeria – I think you have beaten us.
Although this country has been, and I struggle to find a polite word, a challenge, I can’t say it has been all negative. Every person, including most policemen we have met, have been kind and extremely helpful. On nights when we could stand no more, they have escorted us to hotels, helped with directions around their crazy roads and made us smile in massive traffic jams with their conversation and antics. How these lovely people put up with this completely dysfunctional road system, open faced corruption and constant petrol shortages I don’t know.
Many thanks to Ding.com for their continued support making communication easy in Africa
With a heavy heart we left the elephants of Mole and headed off after a morning walking safari. It was a long drive to Accra but we wanted to get there to apply for our Angolan visa. It takes at least five days for an Angolan visa and they only accept applications on a Monday so we were very keen to get there. So we drove, and we drove. Normally a stickler for no air con, even I broke in 45 degree heat but we were making good ground. After 3 hours, James looked down at the temperature gauge whilst driving and noticed it was through the roof so we pulled off and did the obligitary “look blankly under the bonnet.” No obvious problems came to light after we’d checked a few bits and bobs and after half an hour, Stanley seemed to have cooled down. After calling my Dad back in England and checking we weren’t doing anything that would harm him, a call every parent likes to get , we decided we should carry on. On two conditions – no air con and speeds under 100 km/h. We cautiously continued, and despite a few moments where he got a bit hotter he stayed safely out of the red for the rest of the journey. Of course, with no air con, we were well into our red zone. It took several more hours than we planned and despite our best efforts, we drove into Accra at 9pm, completely exhausted.
We had planned to spend a night or two in a popular overlanding spot called Big Milly’s Backyard – run by an englishwoman who discovered the area when backpacking. What we had failed to realise is Saturday night at Milly’s is reggae night. We pulled up, and this place was clearly the place to be for the night, although maybe not for two overlanders who had been driving for 12 hours, after getting up at 6 to see elephants. To get through the gate, you needed a wristband – always the sign of a good place to sleep, but when we explained we were overlanders they bent over backwards to help us. One problem was that the camping area was at the back, and to get there you had to drive through the dance floor. They cleared it for us, and if nothing else we made one hell of an entrance. With a Malian band taking the stage, there was only one thought on our mind – if you can’t beat them, join them. Somehow, the night finished at 5 am when we crawled into our tent, not what we would have thought at 6 that morning.
We spent a couple of days with the lovely Milly and met lots of volunteers, tourists and even the odd ex-overlander. It made a lovely change from the empty campsites we’ve been staying in for 2 months. We applied for our Angolan visa and set in for the long wait – but my God, did we land on our feet. One of James friends, Sonja was working in Accra and gave us the exceptionally generous offer of staying with them whilst we waited. Not only did we get a room with air-con, it also gave us a chance to get Stanley serviced and checked for the reason for his overheating. After 6 hours at the Toyota dealership, James returned to tell me the reason he had overheated was it was hot… The servicemen seemed to think if we were mad enough to take him to Northern Ghana, where it’s proper hot, we could hardly be surprised if he gets a bit toasty. Our hosts also introduced us to possibly the best place in the world – Accra mall. We were like kids in a candy store. They had a burger king, a spectacular supermarket and even a cinema. We went every day – sometimes even twice, eating in the food hall and shopping in the stores for things we haven’t been able to get since Europe and won’t see again til South Africa – you know, the essentials - ice cream and a volleyball.
Armed with our visas, we tootled up to the Volta region, a mountainous, lush area to the east of Ghana, bordered by the second biggest artificial lake in the world. We spent a night up in the mountains and then headed on to Wli waterfall, Ghanas tallest. On route, we managed to drive through what seemed to be a continuous party. Each town was covered in black and red ribbons, and people seemed to have come for miles around, booking out all the hotels to stay in the region. We enquired as to what would cause such a big party, and found out to our cost later that day. This seemed to be a funeral, which spanned for over 100km. Somehow, whilst James was navigating – yes I still hold it against him, we managed to take a wrong turn and end up down a dirt track, only to drive directly into the cemetery this exceptionally popular man was about to populate. I drove past, with most of myself hidden beneath the dashboard, except for my bright red face and drove, exceptionally fast, away.
Wli was beautiful, and it took some getting to. We spent three hours hiking to the top of it, and by the time we made it were greeted by some other hikers, who I hope understood our poor manners as we undressed whilst running towards the water, shouting hello before diving in. John, our guide, after having hiked the same distance in flip flops and a white ironed shirt and black trousers in 40 degrees, declined our offer to swim with us because the water was too cold. We wallowed for a while, before starting the descent and the short hike to the much easier to access lower falls. These were colonized with bats and the entire wall of the waterfall was moving and squarking and we repeated the above exercise.
We crossed over to Togo on Ghana’s Independence Day, with the imminent threat of my Dad arriving in 2 days and us being 2 countries away. We passed through a charming border crossing, where we had to wait for the customs official to stop serving in his shop across the road before stamping us out. We spent two nights in Lome, on multiple visa runs and were due to head off early to get to Benin to meet my Dad when an apocalyptic storm hit. Yes, I might have been gossiping with another overlander before I realised James was battling to bring down the tent in gale force winds whilst protecting our omelettes from sand, and trying to boil some water. But I returned just in time to eat the omelette and drink the tea from the safety of the car whilst we watched coconut after coconut fall perilously close to people braving the storm to steal palm fronds.
We set up camp at a Yugoslavian-run hotel on the Route des Peches. James has a lovely habit of when speaking French to accidentally saying Serbian words, to eventually stare at me whilst saying the word before I say I think that’s Serbian – it’s certainly not French or English. I hugely enjoyed watching the opposite, as he started to speak Serbian to end up accidentally talking in French. She was certainly exceptionally bemused at speaking Serbian in Benin.
Dad arrived, bringing me a rescue parcel and a solar panel. The next morning I had the joy of opening my rescue parcel from my Mum, and Dad had the joy of standing in the heat, setting up my solar panel whilst I used his bathroom. Who wouldn’t have children? We pottered along the beautiful, if lethal coast line and even got in a quick game of volleyball in the salt pool at the hotel. After allowing him a whole half an hour to acclimatise we started our trip north with a view to spending a few days at the Parc National de Pendjari. It’s a hell of a distance, approximately 600km, but is reported to be the best national park in West Africa, so we broke up the journey with a stop in Abomey. They are said to have historical palaces and after viewing them I’m not entirely sure where this description has come from. We drove around looking at mud huts for several hours, thanking our lucky stars the museum had already closed for that day. On the plus side, the guest house had a mini golf course which is a first for us, and there was a charming restaurant down the road which did local food under a sky full of fruit bats.
The next day we drove the last 400km, pulling up after a couple of hours to eat a quick cheese sandwich. We found a quiet turning off the road but after ten minutes were joined by four policemen with guns who told us to move on and eat our sandwiches elsewhere. We could be attacked by bandits! How likely it is that bandits lie in wait of white people eating a cheese sandwich I’m not sure but they were quite persuasive with their guns so we popped off. Welcome to Africa, Dad!
We had a couple of ideas of places to stay in the national park but none were particularly concrete. We pulled up at the first but were still 40km from the entrance and decided, as it was still light, we should try and get a bit closer. Normally, wherever we go, we can always camp so its not so much of an issue but now, with our latest visitor there was the added pressure that wherever we end up has to have a serviceable room. However, we heard tell of a place right on the edge of the park with nice rooms. We drove the 40km of piste to get there, following our GPS coordinates and things were looking bleak. It was leading us into exceptional poor villages, which seemed very unlikely to have accommodation, but we persevered. We ended up 400m from the place, and still no sign of a guesthouse. We asked in the village, “Chez Numi?” and were directed down a smaller dirt track. After 300m we arrived at what looked like an abandoned garage. About to give up and drive back up the piste we tried the even smaller track over a bridge to find a German man wandering around what looked like pure forest. He had the look of Robinson Crusoe, with a large beard and clothes covered in oil. He then proceeded to show is round his guest house – with its pool constantly filled with running mountain spring water, his bungalows with possible the best bathrooms I have ever seen in Africa and his own potable water filtered directly from the mountain. We explained we had found it very difficult to find him even with GPS coordinates and maybe a sign of two might have helped. He explained he used to have signs, but they fell down and someone had used them as firewood. He had asked for a new one but they hadn’t got round to it. After 35 years in Africa, he had certainly become African.
We spent a couple of days in and about the park and I had the privilege of showing my Dad his first elephant, hippo and most importantly, impala. On our last night, we camped within the park and were set for another inevitable night on our own when a group of nuns arrived. To say this was a surprise is an understatement. We never really got to the bottom of why they were there but they did certainly provide entertainment for the evening, even accepting a beer or two when offered.
They next day we left, with a quick stop at a waterfall on the way out. We were shown to the waterfall by the obligatory 4 guides whilst another 6 or 7 people organized a coffee for us, advertised their merchandize and offered to dive off the waterfall. Whilst we were away at the waterfall someone even washed our car. I think they don’t get tourists very often… but with the knowledge of 23kg of luggage going back to the UK I used the opportunity to finally buy some souvenirs of our trip. Swimming in the pool beneath the waterfall was very refreshing and we left in a clean car, with a boot full of merchandize and the promise of Wifi in the next town – apparently 3 days off the grid was too much for my Dad. I think we may have become habituated.
Whilst in the national park we came across the sad news of the attacks in Cote D’Ivoire. We had been 400m from the hotels just two weeks before and it seems extremely sad. Not only for the people attacked and their families but also for all these countries we have had the privilege of visiting. All along we have been hearing how the attacks in Bamako and Ouagadougou have had a devastating affect on the tourist industries of tens of countries, often thousands of miles away from the initial targets. In the last year, the very park we were in had had a reduction in numbers by a third, and the owner of Chez Numi reports in days gone by having 4 overlanding cars at any one time. I suppose the only positive is that we have been lucky enough to do this now, as I seriously doubt it will be possible for much longer.
We spent a couple of days on different beaches along the Atlantic coast, including Assinie, Jacqueville & Grand Bassam. The sea is ferocious, to the extent that one night I woke a dozen times thinking the car was being broken into as the crashes were just so loud. The days were spent lying on the beach, drinking far too much and relaxing after our epic drive from the north of Ivory Coast. One day, the entire village came out to help bring in the fishing nets, and lying on the beach watching women with babies on their backs and old ladies pull in the nets for hours was just too difficult for James. I managed it fine, especially when he was out there in the midday sun for well over an hour to bring in the impressive catch. I helped too - I brought him his hat as I watched him change from ivory white to lobster pink in under an hour.
Our main aim in Ivory Coast was to get a Ghanaian visa, and the lady at the embassy was spectacularly unhelpful. We managed to get a transit visa for 48 hours, which was a problem as we were very keen to see a bit of Ghana and speak English for a week or two before the next onslaught of Francophone countries. Also, we were planning to pick up our Angolan visas in Ghana, the only place that gives them. After picking up our transit visas, we headed straight for the border. Little did we know what we had in store. This was our most painful border yet. Firstly, it was busy – very busy. Massive trucks lined the route and we headed straight to immigration where we promptly got shouted out repeatedly by a variety of policeman. They seemed to want us to do everything at once, but refused to tell us where to go. They screamed for our passports and car documents and then walked in different directions. After an ominous glance at each other we split up, each following one of our precious documents. I got us stamped out of country with a lady that not only refused to look at me, but had never ever had a chance to see James. James got us registered and we rejoined to head to customs. One stamp and we were out of this hellhole. But the Chief is on lunch. No one else is capable of doing this very simple stamp. This screams of corruption and we try every office but no one will do it. They explain he is eating and he will come back. When? When did he leave? I don’t know. He’s the Chief. We wait two hours and again split up to ensure one of us is in his office and the other is following him, as he waddles, down the corridor to make sure we are first. Maybe we are getting more African. He throws everyone else out, except for a second hand shoe salesman, and looks at our carnet as if he’s never seen one before. We explain the concept and he stamps it. He doesn’t know the date and I explain it’s the 23rd February – my Mum’s birthday. “Oh! We must celebrate” He brings out sweets from his drawer and passes them round as he tells us about his mother. We toast her birthday over some cherry drop travel sweets. The shoe sales man asks for a sweet, but is rejected because it isn’t his mother’s birthday. Bizarre.
Great. On to Ghana. We are greeted with smiles at the Ghana border and the information that our car, a right hand drive, is illegal and there is no way they will allow it in. In fact, we will need an escort, which we will need to pay for, to get to the customs headquarters in Accra. This is news to us. This can only go well with a 48hr visa for a country. We get through our Ebola check (why?) and head to immigration. We chance our arm and say we want to extend as we would love to spend time here. The Head of immigration, a really lovely man, grants us our 30 day visas there and then, explaining we MUST see Ghana. We then explain the problems with the car, and he offers to hold the passports and as long as the car gets in, he will grant our visa. In the Customs Office, we hide from the original customs officer, and the man we find stamps us in after a cursory glance at the car. Maybe he doesn’t realize its right hand drive or maybe the carnet is sufficient. Whatever the answer, we run back, get our visas and get the hell out of there. Every police check from there on out, and there have been many, up to ten a day, has started with, “This car is illegal,” and a long winded explanation. Our method of dealing with this is at every police check point is the passenger pretends to drive and the driver holds the steering wheel at the bottom. I don’t know if this is working but we only got stopped twice yesterday so maybe we’ve cracked it. Ghana is called “Africa for Beginners”. I’m not sure we’re beginners anymore and this is bloody hard work!
After passing the border, we drove for a further 3 hours and I chose a campsite, which sounded nice, called “The Hideaway.” We now have a rule, we don’t go to anywhere that is called the hideaway or something similar. After getting our visa at the embassy in Abidjan, crossing the border and driving for another 3 hours, we off roaded for a further hour to get to “The Hideaway.” Which would have been fine, apart from the apocalyptic storm which hit just before we headed down the dirt track. But it was beautiful and incredibly peaceful when we eventually got there in time to make a chicken satay and drink a couple of their cold Club beer.
We drove up north and stayed overnight on the edge of a lake, and for the first time there were other tourists. We spend the evening chatting to a lovely German family and headed up to Mole the next day. This is Ghana’s gem – a national park up near the border of Burkina and it is fabulous. We camp at their slightly rundown campsite and head out first thing on a safari. We take Stanley and put one of the guides with a shotgun in the car, and within minutes are rewarded with a herd of elephants crossing the road in front of us. Stanley is from Surrey and has never seen an elephant and it suddenly strikes us we’ve driven so far from England we can now run into a herd of wild elephants. Also, much more importantly, we see our first Impala. She is sneaking around our campsite and mostly evades our cameras but it’s a real mood lifter.
We were expecting Ghana to be quite different from its Francophone, and significantly poorer neighbours, and in some ways it’s delivered. The villages have wells and sanitation, most of the population seem to speak English, and there’s significantly more in the markets. On the other hand, the second you get off the main road, the roads disintegrate, every mile you pass a lady with a bundle of firewood on her head and you can spend three days trying to upload your blog post (!). However, this is up north. Tomorrow we head south for Accra and a few days in the capital for a treat and a visa, and I suspect it will be very developed. Maybe we'll even get to go to the cinema!
Liz Jarman & James Nunan
Our trip from Essex to Cape Town & back again
Km travelled : 50818km
Countries visited: 30