He decided to push his limits as much as possible and travel the entire African continent by bike. Moroccan globe trotter Yassine Sqalli persists in going to the end of his journey to discover the continent’s cultures and its secrets.
Originally from Safi, Yassine Sqalli, a young 26-year-old adventurer, has taken on the crazy challenge of traveling the roads of neighboring countries on his two-wheeled vehicle equipped with a simple tent to spend the night. Yassine began his journey on March 8, 2018, and intends to complete it in January 2020. He has traveled more than 15,000 KM so far and crossed 13 countries, namely Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon.
Yassine, who is currently in Nairobi, Kenya, the 25th African country he has visited by bike since leaving Morocco in March 2018, does not hide his ambition to go all the way to the end of his dream despite the obstacles he encountered during his journey full of adventures and unexpected.
Passionate about cycling, Yassine covers between 80 and 100 km per day depending on the weather and the state of the roads, often very poor. All along his way, Yassine assured us that he never felt in danger. “On the contrary, the inhabitants of the different countries crossed were very welcoming and did not hesitate to make me discover the local culinary specialties,” he said.
Faced with unfavorable weather conditions, security challenges, several diseases, and wildlife, Yassine Sqalli shows great courage and exceptional endurance. Suffering from malaria six times since the start of his adventure, the Moroccan has not let himself be defeated. It clings with all his might to achieve his objective of crossing the Sahara and the wetlands, passing through the most remote villages more isolated from the mainland.
In addition to the mechanical breakdowns of his bike, Yassine also encountered some problems with the police. Wanting to access Nigeria via its borders with Niger, Yassine Sqalli was arrested and searched by the authorities. “They thought I was part of the terrorist group Boko Haram. But thank God, everything is back to normal”.
“I am determined to go to the end of my dream and to achieve my challenge of visiting all of Africa. After having cycled through several cities in the Kingdom, my dream has grown, and my ambition has become great. Why not embark on a journey across Africa,” said this young Moroccan in statements to MAP.
Equipped with a tent to spend the night anywhere else in the savannahs, villages and winding African roads and the bare necessities for survival, Yassine Sqalli is determined to continue his “beautiful human adventure” which allows him, he says, “to see the true face of Africa, to meet its people and discover its habits and customs”.
“Unfortunately, many people still only believe what they read about Africa as a continent of misery and danger. But, there is a considerable difference between this Africa and the one I see with my own eyes. The people are welcoming and smiling, they are always trying to help you,” said this young adventurer.
Discreet in his movements, humble and modest, Yassine Sqalli does not go “unnoticed”, he is everywhere solicited by an “admiring” population of the visited countries which wants to know at all costs “how a young man of hardly 29 years could cross by bike almost all Africa during three years and which still continues on his dangerous and full of unforeseen momentum”.
“In South Africa, 30 kilometers from Cape Town, I was attacked by thugs who stole my phone and my wallet. An accident that certainly marked me but did not discourage me from going forward,” said Yassine, who said he also met many people who helped him and encouraged him to continue his journey.
This native of Safi sighs every time he is told about the country. “It’s been almost a year since I tasted a glass of mint tea, I miss it so much,” he said.
This cycling enthusiast is just waiting for permission to cross the border of Ethiopia to continue his journey, which will then take him to Sudan and Egypt. “Inshallah, I will arrive safely, I do not intend to give in or give up. I will continue until the end to discover the unknown,” said the Moroccan globetrotter.