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If travel were so inspiring and informing a business...then the wisest men in the world would be deck hands on tramp steamers, Pullman porters, and Mormon missionaries. - Sinclair Lewis

20 January 2020, Sao Domingos, GUINEA-BISSAU to Bignona, SENEGAL, 56.2km
Auberge Kayanior 10,000XOF (R244)


Exchange rate: Rand 1 (R): West African Franc 40.87 (XOF)
The West African franc is the currency of eight independent states in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo


It was a short run to the border, sustained by egg baguettes. Getting out of Guinea-Bissau and into southern Senegal was a breeze, officials polite and efficient. On the Senegal side, a border guard asked that I greet Julius Malema, his hero, when next I was in South Africa. I asked why he liked Malema and he explained that Malema spoke up for the poor, and stood up against the ANC in parliament. He wasn’t swayed when I said that Malema’s economic policies were likely to make the poor poorer, but he felt immediately critical of Malema when I said I thought his race-based comments were exacerbating racial tensions in South Africa. Of this latter, he disapproved. Most Africans with whom we have discussed racial tension, especially following the 2019 xenophobic attacks by South Africans on Nigerians and others, have said “Why? We just want peace”.
We were almost immediately conscious of an increase in wealth. Walls being built around village homes; people less obsessed with us; better quality roads in low-lying wetland areas; a couple of tour buses (we saw our first couple in Guinea-Bissau, perhaps the first since Namibia); a bigger variety of soft drinks at garage shops; wifi at our auberge.
Immediately beyond the border we cycled passed a clothing shop displaying brightly coloured dresses. Then passed earth-coloured homes dwarfed by magnificent cotton trees. Outside some villages, on the road, villagers purposefully slow traffic by placing logs in the lanes, alternating the left lane, then the right. We cycled under an overcast sky through the the grubby city of Ziguinchor, surprisingly mannerly, colours muted by the dull day.
After crossing the Casamance river, alive with fishing boats and water birds, we cycled for a long way through a wetland to the village of Tobor. On the verges in the wetland were mounds of shells, a faint fishy whiff wafting from them across the road. Trees with mangrove roots standing above the water, their root reflections creating interesting diamond shapes.
We were pleased to find an attractive little auberge in Bignona, and particularly pleased to be able to negotiate the price down to our preferred maximum. So rare to find pictures on the wall and flowers on the table, plastic, but an effort at pretty, and wifi. There was a restaurant on site, but no food. The proprietor said she could order in and what did we want. We settled on pizza, then waited, and waited, and waited … for almost two and a half hours! Ravenous…

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…


Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Border to Bignona
Auberge Kayanior, Bignona
Auberge Kayanior, Bignona
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