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We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with the emphasis on "good" rather than on "time"… - Robert M. Pirsig

21 January 2020, Bignona to carrefour northeast of Bounkiling, 76.3km
Hotel Jamm de Medina Wandifa 15,000XOF (R367)


While on the loo this morning, it occurred to me we should change our plans for The Gambia. How come I get most of my good ideas in the bathroom?
We had planned to head northwest from Bignona, cross the border between Seleti, Senegal and Jiboro, The Gambia and make our way to the coast and the capital. From there, we would take the ferry between Banjul and Barra, placing ourselves on the north bank of the River Gambia. We had planned then to cycle east between the river and the border, and cross back into Senegal north of Farafenni. But…
Last night I read that the ferry between Banjul and Barra, even by African standards, is hellish, with long queues and battles to access tickets and several-hour delays and broken-down ferries and… As there was nothing in particular drawing us to Banjul, the capital, and as we can get our Mauritanian visas in Dakar, it suddenly made sense to cross the border northeast of Bignona between Digant, Senegal and Missira, The Gambia. From there, it is a hop, skip and jump across the River Gambia to Farafenni.
So… we cycled a short section of wetland and a longer section of forest, but spent most of our day, often entirely alone, cycling through African bush and trees. Peaceful, with enough villages at which to stock up on baguettes for breakfast and soft drinks for sugar. At one stop, three or four kids came over to shake our hands, each bobbing a curtsy as they did so, and one boy of about ten blew me a kiss over a homestead fence.
We came to understand why the young Japanese traveller we met in Bissau had decided to buy a donkey and cart. There are loads of donkeys around, some being used to draw carts. They are pensive and passive and slightly sad and entirely lovable. We saw a biggish group being herded down the road today, unafraid of passing trucks. Otherwise they stand around, lazily enjoying whatever shade they can find and now and then letting loose a mournful hee haw. We also saw one cart drawn by two bullocks. I can’t remember seeing animal drawn carts since we left Angola, though this seems unlikely. Certainly there are far fewer than one might expect in Africa.
We were interested to note, both yesterday and today, that many more people here, in the villages, define their homesteads and properties by building walls and fences around them. One property owner had erected branches only at intervals around the boundary, with nothing between to keep people or animals in or out. But between two uprights, he had installed a corrugated tin gate. An interesting statement. It seems, from what we have observed throughout Africa, that as people become wealthier, they are inclined to draw a line around their property. Also here we have seen much more in the way of vegetable gardens outside homesteads, these protected by sometimes attractive fencing.
We did not know if there was accommodation on the road to the border and were glad to find something, albeit a little expensive, at the carrefour (intersection) northeast of Bounkiling, just beyond the military checkpoint. The soldiers here are dressed neatly in fatigues, carry assault rifles, and greet us in friendly fashion.

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


Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
Bignona to Bounkiling
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