The last few kilometers on our way to the Burkina border confronted us with some hard reality. Troubles in the north of the country with extremists and bandits pretty much ruined the entire tourist sector and that leaves quite a few visible traces: the road to Burkina is completely deserted and the last police checkpoint is covered in bullet holes. On the other side of the border, the Burkina policemen couldn’t believe their eyes from behind their sandbag walls when they saw us approaching. It had been a while since they last saw tourists crossing the border here.
They felt visibly uncomfortable as they started what appeared to become the most extensive border control of the entire journey: the panniers got turned inside out, all bags needed to be emptied and our paperwork was checked and rechecked. But the atmosphere got more relaxed as they found out all was fine and they cheerfully waved us goodbye as we rolled the bikes in the country.
A few kilometers further down the road, some friendly customs officer stamped our carnets. Tom had to explain him exactly what he had to sign and stamp though. We took a last quick picture – which most of the times is just plain forbidden at border crossings – and we were able to move on.
Some 200 km long, nice gravel piste and a bit of sealed road, took us to Ouagadougou, Ouaga for the friends, the capital of Burkina. It looked like a stupid traffic violation of Tom was going to spoil the fun, but luckily the police officer got that excited about our plan to ride to South Africa, he promptly dropped all charges and let us go without a fine. “C’est loin, l’Afrique du Sud!”…
Ouaga is the place to be for visa applications and we were going to start our tour of the embassies the very next morning. But first we treated ourselves with a decent bed, a vegetable meal and a nice bottle of red in the Pavillon Vert, a green little oasis in this crowded city center.
As Tom got back from the Ghana embassy the next morning, he didn’t feel too well though: he was dizzy, extremely tired, was absent, shaked and coughed pretty badly. Most of the time, Tom is quite full of energy. Now he looked more like an old rag. Better go see the doctor, so we reckoned…
And as if the devil is in it, he came back home from the hospital covered in sweat, holding the results of a blood testin one hand and a box of malaria pills in the other hand. The malaria pills we took in advance weren’t 100% effective, but chances would have been especially low to get malaria on them. Not to Tom so it seemed. That means he will have to just sweat it out for the next few days. He’s far from the tough biker he used to be now I must admit ;-).
But we should be able to move on in a few days. All will be fine!