horntools heroes: Niko's update from the desert

horntools heroes: Nikos Update aus der Wüste

Our first horntools hero Nikolai Fromm is currently on the adventure of his life: He is traveling from Germany to GHA and back again in his converted BMW X3. You can read more about his overlanding adventure and its background here. He has already covered 8,900 kilometers and is currently in Guinea. If everything goes according to plan, he will travel to Ghana at the beginning of July. He has already experienced a lot on his way: from neon green diesel to the first storm to a rescue operation - he reports back with an update from the desert.

The first stage: From Italy to Morocco

The crossing from Italy to Morocco took a full 50 rocking hours. Even during the sea voyage, Niko knew: "I know now that I will definitely not make such a long crossing again." When he arrived in Morocco, Niko was greeted by 4 days of heavy rain and so he spent the first few days in the car.

Then it was finally time to explore new places. In the green north of Morocco, he spent the nights at remote lakes and went on short hikes before continuing along the Atlas Mountains towards the desert. He started a total of three trips lasting several days alone through the desert and covered over 1,000 kilometers of off-road route over sand and stones. "The highlight here is definitely the large sand dunes near Merzouga ," he reports.

The next destination: Dakar, Senegal

Next up was almost 1,500 km to the Mauritanian border. Since the weather was still quite stormy and the sand made driving a real challenge, he decided to get this part over with as quickly as possible.

What surprised Niko: The quality of the roads was surprisingly good and in some places could even keep up with the German Autobahn. After 3 long days of driving, he reached the border on a Sunday morning. After the border, he was greeted by the longest train in Africa, which transports iron ore from the interior of the country 700 km across the Sahara to the coast .

From Gambia, back to Senegal to Guinea-Bissau

After a few days of relaxation in Dakar, Senegal and a service for the car including an oil change and cleaning of the air and interior filters, we left the traffic chaos of the capital with new food supplies, fresh drinking water and a full tank.
Two-lane roads quickly became four- or five-lane roads. "Everyone just drives wherever it's fastest, without considering others. Getting through here safely requires full concentration," he noted.

The next destination was Gambia. Due to the extremely high temperatures of over 45° during the day and 35° at night, he decided to drive south to Senegal after two days to
to apply for a visa for Guinea-Bissau. The process was simple:

      1. Go to the embassy
      2. Put your passport and money on the table
      3. Wait 5 minutes
      4. Leave with completed visa in passport

He spent a total of five days in Guinea-Bissau - right by the sea, where he met other travelers and on his last day was able to actively use his knowledge in a rescue operation in the sand. "An Italian couple who lived here in the capital of Guinea-Bissau got stuck on the beach. On top of that, the four-wheel drive of their Nissan Patrol was broken. The locals couldn't really help and only made things worse, so that in the end the rear differential almost touched the sand. With a bit of shoveling and my recovery boards, I was able to free the car after a few hours and drive it off the beach," Niko remembers.

The adventure really began in Guinea-Bissau: the asphalt became less and less and the potholes more and more. In some places the main roads were just sparse gravel roads. The diesel on offer had a strange neon green color and didn't really convince Niko. Nevertheless, he had no choice, poured some diesel additive into the tank and drove on. That night he was surprised by a violent storm - his sleeping place was several centimeters under water and he had to move his car in the middle of the night.

Entering Guinea

Waterfall in Guinea

Crossing the border into Guinea, like all the other borders so far, went without any problems. Nevertheless, the roads got worse and worse and so a pure off-road adventure followed. There were heavily washed-out areas, crossings, large stones and puddles over 20 cm deep. The road after the border was more like a riverbed in places and stretched for over 40 km to the first town. Another highlight of this section were two waterfalls, which he had completely to himself except for a few locals. "In the evening I was able to take spectacular pictures with my drone. Afterwards I took a refreshing swim in the waterfall," says Niko.

The subsequent journey to the capital of Guinea was challenging: over 160 km of the total 360 km were in very poor condition. At times Niko could only cover 20 to 30 km in an hour, which is why he split the journey into 3 days. The potholes were over 10 cm deep in places and extended across the entire road. Only the last 200 km were newly asphalted and therefore in good condition.

Street in Guinea

He has currently been stuck in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, for a week, waiting for his visas for the next countries. The process here is much more complex than the application for Guinea-Bissau. For a visa for the Ivory Coast and Ghana, a travel itinerary, a letter to the ambassador, a self-introduction, bank statement, confirmation of payment and hotel reservations are required - in the end, over 25 pages.

The planned entry into Ghana is scheduled to take place at the beginning of July 2024 – we remain excited to see what else awaits Niko and wish him a good and, above all, safe journey!


If you want to take part in his adventure, you can always find exciting insights on his Instagram profile _nfphotography_ or his YouTube channel.

Would you like to be the next horntools hero and tell your story? Then contact us at

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