80 days, 14 countries, 19,000 miles, 36 passport stamps, a truckload of Jollof rice and newfound knowledge sums up the Jollof Road experience.
With no idea of what they were getting themselves into, five gutsy people set out on the trippiest trip of their lives in September 2019.
As it all comes to an end, we look back on our experiences, from posing with snakes to finding friends in the strangest of places.
1. Visited the largest West African open-air market in Benin
We plunged ourselves into the Cotonou experience with a visit to
2. Learnt the difference between Voodoo and Witchcraft in Togo
Although voodoo and witchcraft are used interchangeably, they’re not the same. While voodoo is a religion, witchcraft is what you see in nollywood films.
3. Partied with strangers in Ghana
What’s better than free food + booze + good music? Absolutely nothing. A lovely Ghanaian hosted a Nigerian Independence day party to welcome us. Shoutout to you, Sharifah!
4. Discovered Jesus’ 13th disciple in Ivory Coast
We visited The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace while in Yamoussoukro and learnt that on a stained glass window, Félix Houphouët-Boigny – the first Ivorian president, had himself painted at the feet of Jesus.
5. Met the coolest surfer kids in Liberia
They are dreamers who want to put Robertsport, their town, on the map through their amazing surf skills.
6. Tried some Jollof-looking Fried Rice in Sierra Leone
Sierra leoneans make a different kind of Fried Rice. The kind that looks exactly like Jollof rice, but the difference is in the taste. We were literally transported to heaven after one fork in.
7. Got sick in Guinea
After 38 days of being adventurous with food, our T cells couldn’t handle it anymore, so we got sick and had to be admitted in a hospital.
8. To get to Guinea Bissau, our bus was ferried across a river
If only you saw the shock in our faces when we were told that we had to be ferried across a river in order to get into Guinea Bissau.
9. Made new crawly friends at the Kachally Crocodile Pond in the Gambia
Imagine Toke pretending to not be frightened!
10. Visited Saint-Louis in Senegal, the birthplace of Jollof Rice
Jollof Road would be incomplete if we didn’t try Senegalese Jollof Rice. And oh my goodness! It’s the best tasting Jollof in the world, hands down! If you need a masterclass on the history of Jollof Rice, head over to Zikoko to get schooled.
11. Sailed down the River Niger in Mali
We took an idyllic sail down the river alongside our lovely host, Issam.
12. Bought souvenirs at the artisanal market in Burkina Faso
We planned to spend one hour at the market but ended up spending three because there was so much fabric art, woodwork and paintings to see.
13. Got a strong sense of deja vu in Niger
Niger felt all too familiar. It reminded us of Northern Nigeria.