Day 68: Hamrattan

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Tue 11 Jan 2011 19:46
Day 68: Tuesday 11 January 2011. Bush Camp 10 km south of Po, Burkina Faso N11 04.157 W001 07.750 Distance driven 179 km
We had the luxury of a late start today and breakfast at the hotel.  We deliberated for a long time whether to stay in Burkina Faso and see more of the country or to move on.  The interesting part is away in the south west around Bobo Diassalo but that would have meant a day's drive to get there and another day's drive to get back to Wagga, probably a 4 days round trip in total. In the end, when we collected our Ghanian visas and found them to be immediately valid, we opted to go straight to Ghana.  This decision was heavily weighted by the very dusty atmosphere in Wagga for the last few days.  The Hamrattan has been blowing out of the desert and the whole area is heavy with dust.  one cannot see any clear blue sky and visibility is less than 500 metres. Frankly, we have had enough of dust and just want to get away from it.  We both still have hacking coughs and wake up in the night coughing. We figured that the closer we get to the coast the less dust there will be, so we decided to head south.  it is a pity in some ways as we like BF and would have liked to have seen more of the country.  Ouagadougou is a friendly, laid back place and is the nicest capital city we have visited.
We went for our Ghanian visas at 1100, as instructed, but had to go back an hour later.  Once we had them we headed out of town but got caught up in the midday rush hour and it took nearly two hours to get clear.  We had been told that the road to the border was "a good tar road" but before we had even left Wagga it had deteriorated into a very rough and rutted dusty track.  This lasted for over 50 km where the road was being re-built.  Our beautifully clean car soon became filthy again but we minimised the dust inside by driving with the windows closed and using the AC, which we normally never do.  It worked pretty well and the inside is still clean.
We didn't have any pre-planned camp site so we pressed on to Po, just north of the border, but Po turned out to be a dump so we pressed on and are camped in the bush just off the road and only a few kms from the border.  We have had a chicken curry that has been in the fridge for a week and Rudy and Stephanie's Sevenoaks apple chutney which Jenny had hidden away and I have only just found - delicious!  We still have mounds of stores in our trays, most of which were the initial stocks.  we could survive for months without shopping!
Along the way today we saw lots of vultures and, a new feature - pigs.  In places on the dusty track water had been sprayed to keep the dust down, but in places it had filled up the holes in the track and little pigs wallowed in the mud pools while cars, busses and trucks ploughed past!