Day 33… Thursday 4th May
We had a tour around the waterfalls and set off around mid-day with a 4 hour drive to Mamou. As we set off with a 2km drive to the main road, passed an army truck with men carrying weapons and with balaclavas. Driving quickly on, there was a tank (note from Allen, not a tank) up ahead blocking the road and several army trucks. Quite nerve wracking but we had no choice but to continue our path as turning around would have caused more problems. The sergeant waved us through all the vehicles and armed men. A huge relief. If something serious was about to kick off, certainly didn’t want to hang around to find out. Our road to Mamou had recently been tarmacked – a dream road. The Chinese investment in roads has certainly changed the area – saw several construction workers and work being overseen by Chinese along with site compounds and large quarries. However, roads mean trade between villages and that can only mean progress. Limited options for established campsites in Guinea so we stayed in an overpriced hotel in Mamou. Cant really grumble as it had electricity, it was clean with hot water plus dinner/breakfast available.
The approach to the campsite the night before was very attractive, along tiny little dirt tracks, through hidden little villages. But upon looking at the maps that evening we realised that Google may have sent us on a more convoluted path. So, when we left from the campsite entrance we turned right and stayed on the road all the way to the main highway.
This was working perfectly until we passed a pickup truck (Hilux of course) just off the road with a dozen guys in the back looking a bit menacing, some wearing face coverings.
A little further up the road we had another surprise when we came across a series of military vehicles. We slowed a little, always weary of being yelled at by someone in a uniform. A burly chap in fatigues ushered us around one of two large armoured personnel carriers (like in the photo). We snaked around these and some pickups, to come across around 40 military personnel, helmets on, bullet proof vests, rifles, etc, all hugging the vehicles looking ready to pounce on we can only assume the men we just past.
Given that we were clearly not the people they were after we were pleased to be quickly ushered on, and thankfully managed to get far enough away before anything happened.
With there being a military junta in power at present lets hope things stay calm until we get to the Ivory Coast.