Still tracking the outline of the African continent their three Land Rovers, the Outside Edge Expedition team's next challenge was to reach Africa's most westerly point. They'd survived Angola and the slow sweat of the Congo was behind them as were the equatorial forests, the Gulf of Guinea and a fascinating river boat journey down the Niger to mythical Timbuktu. They'd survived the death-defying traffic of Lagos, the voodoo culture of Benin and Togo. War torn Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau are distant memories. They crossed the Gambia and made it to Dakar in Senegal. We pick up the story in Kingsley's words
We reach bustling Dakar by way of Djifere, Palmarine, Nanning, Mbouw and Rufisque, the route is a mixture of fishing villages, baobabs, tourist trap beaches and then the hooting, jostling commercial sprawl full of hustlers and vendors, slums and smart white painted, South of France look-alike villas, restaurants, markets, bars, clubs, hotels and beaches, soccer, music and wrestling matches, that make up Senegal's three million strong capital and one of the most livable cities on Africa's West Coast. We meet lovely Thembi Majola, South African Ambassador to Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia. She adds these words in the expedition journal:
To my fellow compatriots. Your epic journey along the Coast of Africa to bring awareness and to physically distribute treated mosquito nets to expectant mothers and mothers with babies up to five years is clearly a noble act... A very personal experience that has touched many people in a most direct, personal life saving way. I salute this noble expedition and want to express my deep respect and pride in the humanitarian work you are achieving at a great deal of personal cost. I wish you Godspeed on your journey, and am proud that you fly the South African flag, representing South African resilience, a caring spirit and a will to succeed. Hambani kahle!
We're heading for Africa's most Westerly tip, Pointe des Almadirs, as part of a ceremony facilitated by the South African Embassy. We're expecting a wild rocky uninhabited Atlantic point - but in Africa things are rarely ever what you expect. So imagine our surprise we're escorted past the reception, swimming pool, lawns and near nude bathers of a Club Med situated on Africa's Westerly tip or should I say nipple. "Eyes straight ahead," I caution the team, as with our South African flag we step over and around near naked sun-bronzed bodies and out onto Africa's most Westerly point. It's a yardstick for the expedition.