Mali Overland in a Land Rover Defender

Driving Mali: The Road of Hope across the Sahel in West Africa

We are continuing our Overland Africa journey as we drive our land rover Defender TDI from the UK to South Africa. We have survived nearly falling off the sand dunes into the sea in Mauritania and now from the remote city of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, on the western side of Africa we have to cross Mauritania to get into Mali, and from Mali onwards across the Sahara to Niger.

Now in the 1970s a road was built right across Mauritania from the coast all the way inland, linking up west Africa to east Africa with a road right across the southern Sahara desert and it was joyfully dubbed the "Road of Hope". Now this was 2000 so we'd read about the road of hope so we thought this is our route, there really is only one route across the centre of Mauritania to get to Mali.

Twenty years ago my wife and I packed up our life in the UK and set off to drive overland in our Land Rover Defender with the aim of driving all the way to the Cape Town in South Africa, a journey which will take us from coast to coast along the length and breadth of Africa (more than once).

Because this journey was twenty years ago, there were no smartphones, no google maps, and no digital cameras. The photos taken on the journey were on transparencies, designed to be projected. I have taken photographs of some of those slides for the purpose of showing in this video.

It was quite an amazing change as you go south because like Mauritania before a lot of Mali is also in the Sahara desert but also there's the big rivers that come up from the south of Mali, and as you come from the desert the barren desolate emptiness of the Sahara desert into lush green trees and it's so amazing to see the vibrancy of life that suddenly appears.

Mali is famous for the Monday market in Djenné, a market which is completely assembled and dismantled every week in front of the famous Djenné mosque by the locals who come in from all directions so that they can trade their goods with each other.

We dropped south down into Bamako, the capital of Mali, a big busy African city, and after getting our visas for Niger headed on to an amazing overnight experience involving the best chicken and chips meal ever and a sensational football match at a border town before crossing the border into Niger.

Overlanding in Mali beaitiful bush camping locations - landscape photo

More videos of my overland African adventure