Africa brings all its might to challenge me
From Nzérékoré I enter Côte d’Ivoire with my Laisser-Passer, obtained at a cost of €150. I spend the night here in Man, where I manage to get cash from an ATM (something which is never without complications here in Africa).
After leaving the city I am stopped no fewer than 5 or 6 times by the police, before deciding to take a 300 km road that cuts through the Taï National Park. The route is a steep slope, with serious technical difficulties at some points caused by mud damage.
Once I reach the town of Taï, I find refuge at the Congregazione Maria Consolatrice Catholic Mission, founded by Italian nuns in the 1970s. The Italian nuns themselves, now in old age, are no longer here; these days, the mission is managed by three African nuns who speak Italian well and take care of the 23 young girls who live and study here.
Africa brings all its might to challenge me here in Côte d’Ivoire, with 200 km of immense difficulty awaiting me tomorrow.
After saying my farewells to the sisters of the Catholic mission in Taï, I continue my journey south along the horrendous sloping road that skirts the Taï National Park. As expected, the road is full of mud and pools of water as much as a metre and a half in depth.
I make my way along inclines bogged down with mud, losing control of the motorcycle several times and falling on three occasions.
Utterly exhausted after a hellish 60 km, I have the good fortune to find another mission in Niébé where, shortly after I go to my room, a violent rainstorm breaks out and continues for hours.
There are still many kilometres to go before I can leave that terrible road behind, so I set out from Niébé very early the next morning to tackle another 130 km of mud, under conditions all the worse for a full night’s rainfall.
It takes every ounce of concentration I have to escape this nightmare, falling twice despite my best efforts thanks to a combination of the steep gradient and the excess weight of the laden motorcycle.
ortunately, step by step, I reach Grand-Béréby where I meet Antonino, the owner of a fabulous hotel right on the Atlantic ocean: La Flotte.
Antonino gets around in a 4×4 overlander, but has also done a lot of travelling by motorcycle. Many years ago, he bought an Africa Twin to journey to North Cape, an adventure followed by travels in Africa, where he has now worked for years. For me, meeting people like this is a great privilege, as they inspire me to achieve my own dreams and turn my passion into a job.
I’m woken up by the sound of the ocean in Grand-Béréby, and by 6:30 a.m. I’ve already taken a dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic. Next, I visit an area of swamp that’s home to delightful monkeys as well as some other animals, like elephants on the move from the Taï National Park.
Leaving Grand-Béréby behind and proceeding towards Abidjan, the road is incredibly difficult with kilometre after kilometre of thick gravel and dust, as well as one-way traffic with enormous lorries sending up dust and black smoke.
I cross Abidjan by evening, a risky undertaking thanks to the heavy traffic, potholes, and the sudden, violent downpours. After spending a night in the city, I’ll be ready to enter Ghana.