Paddling

Camping on the Niger River

Niger River by Pirogue

One of the highlights of my 20-month cycle ride through Africa, didn’t actually involve any cycling… it was in fact, the two weeks spent paddling a locally-made wooden pirogue (fisherman’s boat) down the Niger River.

To say it was all fun would be a lie. It was one of the most physically demanding 2-weeks of my life. I suffered greatly with bites from sandflies and tsetse flies and we were always on the lookout for crocodiles and hippos an snakes. Thankfully we never encountered any crocodiles, as we spent an inordinate amount of time actually in the water rather than our boat. We had left late into the dry season and the river level was low so often we had to get out and drag and push the boat round the shallow rocks and sandbanks.

Having said all that, we saw only a handful of fishermen and enjoyed two solid weeks of peace and quiet with only nature for company. Watching the sun set every night you could forget a lot of the hardships and take to sleep just those amazing memories… when you could sleep that is, because those sandfly bites plagued me and itched incessantly the whole trip!

Route

Maps and GPS tracks

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Video of paddling down the Niger River by pirogue