Back from the Grand Raid: Monrovia to Nouakchott
I am sending the following review of my recent trip with Alberto traveling from Monrovia, Liberia to Nouakchott, Mauritania:
I recently returned from a 3+ week tour in Western Africa conducted by TransAfrica. I want to pass on my enthusiastic review of the experience. We began in Monrovia, Liberia on March 20, 2022. I was met at the airport by my to-be guide and all around expert, Alberto Nicheli. He guided me and my travel mates to our hotel in Monrovia and to so many wonderful places in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania. It didn’t take long for the concerns about what I had signed up for to pass.
Throughout the trip, Alberto and his team made sure that each of us was safe, cared for, challenged and educated in what for me was an area that was new and unknown. With his assistant, Armstrong, a group of excellent and friendly drivers, and a support staff in the office and throughout the area we traveled the long journey north. In each area, Alberto with his 30+ years of experience, had local contacts, friends, and a long list of amazing people and places to meet.
We were privileged to visit small villages all along the way. Alberto and his team were always greeted with smiles and hugs helping all of us to feel welcome. We got to walk around the villages, meet the people, capture some wonderful moments in photos, enjoy the local music, dance, food and customs, and soak up the real world in each area. At one point I realized we had traveled for 2 weeks without seeing any other tourist types.
The pace of the trip was intense but never more than we could handle. The hotels and restaurants were some of the best in each area. There were built in days of travel to tropical islands for a slower pace and days of hitting the cities of Monrovia, Bo, Bissau, Dakar, Saint Louis, Nouakchott for exploring museums, markets, and monuments. Whether a special mask dance performed for just us, or a tour of the slave quarters of that difficult period of history, or a history lesson in the local museum, or a boat trip through a national bird sanctuary, we were treated to some of the most unique and stimulating travel experiences I have had.
The group varying in size from 10 down to four as some people started and ended in different places consisted of seasoned travelers and we embraced the challenges of long bumpy, dusty roads, hot sun, and sometimes unusual food. Many of us were older, retired folks, but the itinerary was created and adjusted to all of us.
From the information I had prior to the trip, I was thrilled by how far beyond my expectations this experience took me. I thank Alberto and his team for their expertise, their hard work, their thoughtfulness, their sense of humor, and their respect for the people and countries of West Africa. It was evident that they loved the travel themselves and passed on the enthusiasm to the rest of us.