I can’t help thinking some simple timetabling should be put in place. We don’t leave Bo’s main lorry park until 12.30, I arrived at 8.30.
The road as far as Bandajuma surprises me in being good level (boring) grey tarmac. Even when it becomes earth it is mostly drivable at speed. From Potoru, in the middle of nowhere, a mototaxi is ready waiting to make me on to Kambamba village 16km away. It’s then a short motorised inflatable ride across the Moa River to Tiwai (pronounced Tee-way) Island Wildlife Sanctuary. The BBC are here, but no one else, filming primate communication. Accommodation is a tent beneath a metal roof, with mattress and pillow. I had already seen various types of monkey without even leaving camp.
I leave Tiwai at 7am. The bright sun just above the tree canopy, blinding me as I look back at the island from the boat. An older man drives me towards the border. ‘The Liberians laugh at us’ he says. ‘They have a new road from Bo/Waterside’ – a different Bo – ‘you will see’. There are lots of ups and downs that keep on going and start to remind me of the neverending Quebo-Boke road, particularly as the pain of keeping still starts to build in my bum and thighs.
The border between Sierra Leone and Liberia is a bridge over the River Mano. All borders should be made of water, there is a definitiveness about them an agreed land border cannot have. On the bridge a man coming the other way says ‘you will enjoy Liberia. If you liked Sierra Leone you will love Liberia.’
My first night is in Robertsport, gorgeous in the evening light, with the quintessential tropical African image working wonders.