Friday, November 14, 2008


The photo above is just to show what the roads in Guinea, West Africa are like in wet season

While travelling to Johannesburg on business last month, we passed the weigh bridge just outside a neighbouring town. My husband and I began to discuss the fact that many trucks we see on the roads are grossly overloaded. Not only is this detrimental to the road surfaces, (South Africa’s regional roads have fallen badly into disrepair over the past decade) it is also highly dangerous. It is dangerous for the truck driver and dangerous for other road users.

And then we look at each other and burst out laughing as we both thought of the roads in West Africa.

As they say in the classics: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet until you’ve travelled on third world roads.

In 2006 my husband moved an entire fleet of heavy earthmoving machines (13 in total) from the gold mine site in Guinea (the project had ended) to an existing gold mine operation in Mali. The trip which took 53 days was 1800km / 1100 miles long. He started off during the wet season (which means horrific conditions in Guinea where there are mostly dirt roads) and skirted the Sahara desert passed through Mauretania and down to Sadiola (a town 400km south of Timbuktu) This is a complete post on its own so I won’t go into any more detail. I will do a post on his Safari later on this month.

However, while going through his photos, I came across dozens of overloaded vehicles that he’d snapped. Some of them are on the dirt road. The real traffic started once he entered Mali and the roads (which are in very good condition,) are tarred. Taxis, passenger cars, busses, trucks, lorries, donkeys and bicycles were loaded to the hilt.

Here are a few...

Yes, that is a human hand waving from the top of the pile! Apparently he's called the conductor

Everything including the kitchen sink is loaded here!

You hold your breath when you watch
a vehicle like this travelling in front of you.
Will it toppled over onto its side?

This guy meant business!

My heart always bled for the poor donkies of Mali...

Have bicycle, will load!


  1. Hi Jo, I am back from Holidays and catching up on my friends blogs! I enjoyed that one,I would not like to be travelling behind one either. It must be an art in itself to get that amount of stuff to balance on the car roof at all!I do feeel sorry for you poor doggie on the diet!
    Best Wishes

  2. Welcome back Peggy, I trust you had a good one. Did you go abroad? (we say "overseas" here)Yes, the traffic is quite frightening in West Africa but everyone is very friendly and cheerful. Oh my, poor Megan :(< She is slowly getting used to the "diet" pellets. They definitely work - high fibre obviously swelling and making her feel full - she is not begging so much anymore. She has two sympathetic friends in Texas who have sent her their support! Good to have you back again. Hugs Jo

  3. Oh me! That one car looked like it's roof should be caving in from the burden that was loaded on top of it!

  4. Hi Monica, nice, to "meet" you.Thanks for popping in. Yes, the cars are loaded to over-capacity. They DO break - roofs cave in, the middle of the vehicle collapses. Hugs Jo


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