04-Feb-2008 -- This is the 4th of a series of 83 confluence visits during our voyage from Nigeria to Europe and back to Nigeria around the entire African continent. It all started on 28 January at 11N 5E.
Story continues from 14N 2E.
This Confluence took some time efforts to find. Sunday, 3 February we are leaving Niamey and travelling to Baléyara. Our aim was to see the market at Baléyara and Filingué and to visit the confluence 14N 3E.
Once we enter Baléyara we were met by some guides and shown to a parking place. The market is a very lively and picturesque place. Lots of animal bartering, salt trading, and all what is required for the daily live in this region. It was a real pleasure to see this market.
Back at our parking place we made enquiries how we could possibly get to the Confluence which was not so easy due to the language barrier, and there where no villages nearby to refer to. We decided to go towards Filingué and try from this direction to find a suitable path towards the Confluence.
We got as close as 15 km but could not find a suitable path and continued to Filingué. At Filingué we drove briefly through the market which was by far not as large and as lively as Baléyara. Also there was no sort of accommodation available. We decided to go back towards Baléyara and try to find a path leading to the Confluence and set camp somewhere on this path. We tried several times but did not succeed and we ended up again in Baléyara. We searched for the turnoff to Bandu Peri. It was late and we wanted to drive a couple of kilometres out of town and find a suitable place to set up camp.
It was not easy to find a suitable place next to the road with already harvested fields and small settlements everywhere, eventually after 15 km or so we found a nice campsite in the middle of some thorn trees. Thank God for this. The next morning we went to Bandu Peri. We were now around 25 km from the Confluence. We had an old map, which reflected a path that should lead in the direction of the Confluence. We met a friendly villager who wanted to show us the way. After 10 km with the path leading further and further away from the Confluence I stopped and tried to explain to our new travelling companion that we have to go in some different direction. He understood and advised that it is impossible to go this direction and we would have to go back to Bandu Peri, go back a couple of villages towards Baléyara and from there we can find a path. So we did.
It was difficult to find the path leading from this village and without the help from our companion we surely would not have found it. This path was leading us as close as 8 km to the Confluence till it turned in the wrong direction. From there we went cross country a couple of km and so reached the 6 km mark where we found another path only for a couple of 100 meters and then the path went the wrong direction again.
At his point I was not sure if I wanted to continue or not, when our companion on the roof rag mentioned "This is Sahel, go on, no problem", so we carried on cross country all the way to the Confluence, which was not so easy at times. We managed to drive right up to the Confluence this way and were at the Confluence just before 2 p.m. By this time it was very hot.
After we made the required pictures we started our return journey. We took the path we discovered 6 km from the Confluence and got this way back to another village on the road to Bandu Peri very close to our campsite. We drove our travelling companion back to Bandu Peri, said good by, and returned to our campsite once more. While travelling there we remarked that we never found out the name of our travelling companion.
Continued at 11N 3E.