We'd wanted to go to West Africa for some time, and finally got around to doing something about it - bought tickets to Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast, and sent our passports off to the French Embassy (approx 4000 kilometres away, in Sydney), who were the representatives of many West African countries in Oz. Time went by, the passports never came back, and we began to panic. Two weeks to go, and I phoned the French Embassy in desperation, to be told that they had never yet succeeded in getting ANY visas issued for the countries we wanted to visit. We demanded the passports back, cancelled the tickets, and two weeks later we were off - to Mexico!
This time we were much more organized - we'd fly to Paris, get the visas, then fly down to West Africa. A bit of thought suggested it would be much more interesting to drive across the Sahara. That takes too much time to plan, so we decided, against our better judgement, to take a truck trip across the desert, then go it alone. Dragoman tours advertised a short trip, London to Lome (Togo), which looked fairly good on paper, but they wanted people under 35 years old. One persuasive letter and a substantial deposit later, we were finally en route to Africa. The truck trip was actually scheduled to go from London to Nairobi, but Geoff and I would get off in Togo, to be replaced by another couple who wanted to start there.
The story is written up in six parts: