Diary of our travels through Cameroon

First, apologies that this page (and those for the Congos and Gabon) is of a simpler format; we didn't plan to come this way and so had not set up the pages for those countries.

Day 116: Friday 7 January

And so we returned to Cameroon from Chad, staying once again in Kousseri. Here's a pic of the route taken through Cameroon, from N'Djamena / Kousseri to the Waza National Park, then south to the eastern entrance of the Dja Reserve and west to Yaounde:

In Kousseri we spent time in a cyber café generally confirming our whereabouts to family and friends, and decided to stay at the Hotel Moderne again. We had the usual meal but with paper wine this time to mark the end of this phase of our journey with our new friends.

Day 117: Saturday 8 January

They came this way
Kob, doing a runner
Drinks at sunset

A more relaxed start as we headed towards the Waza National Park south of Kousseri. Inaugurated in 1968 (which involved the relocation of ten villages), it is 45km by 45km and two thirds water in the rainy season. As it was expensive to get in (you pay per person, per car, per day, for a guide, per camera, etc.), we opted for one half day in the park. Once in it was excellent and our guide Abba was very well informed and did his level best to communicate in English. He was also keen that we got to see as much as possible. Unfortunately the digital photographs are not that great, as we were too far away. You'll just have to wait for the slide show!

Among the animals we saw were: elephant, giraffe, red hartebeest & topi, warthog, gazelle, cob (antelope), common jackal, slender mongoose, patas monkey and several bird species not all of which have been looked up in the book, but certainly vultures, fish eagle, kites, herons, storks, kingfishers and rollers. We drove on about 70km of track until sunset, which found us at a waterhole with animals coming there for a drink. Then back to the reception / accommodation area, where we camped for 2,500 CFA, whereas the huts cost 7,000. Ate a pasta meal and drank another of the Nigerian beers we'd brought from there. It was a cold night again, which means around 15ºC at 8 pm and dropping fast.We are certainly experiencing the desert version of winter.

Day 118: Sunday 9 January

Woke up early because of the raised voices about the camp, but got up a little later as it was cold outside. This was made a little worse by a cold shower, just to ensure that we really were awake. We left the campsite at around 9:30 and drove south via Maroua and Kaélé to Garoua (330km), arriving there at around 15:30, now seeing baobab trees again. That stretch of road is generally good, although very pot-holed in parts. On the outskirts of the town there are several hotels and auberges, so we stopped at one and asked about the rooms (CFA 5,000) and camping in the car park. The man we spoke to (manager? owner?) said that would be free, which we questioned at some length and then questioned why we had been sceptical that it should be free here while not sceptical when a French woman in N'Djamena had allowed us to camp for free.

Having arranged to stay at the La Welcome Hotel (N9º20.795' E13º 26.035'), we went into the town to the market for supplies (including a 1kg bag of Cameroonian coffee for Murray's breakfasts!). We also decided to have a meal at the Super Restaurant, which was pretty standard rice & sauce, but filled the gap. Back at the hotel we found some very friendly staff and a Cameroonian beer called Beaufort, which is a lager and technically a 'double' and a blonde, being made from maize and malt, making it a kind of malty lager with a faint taste of hops. The label says it comes in a 65cl bottle and contains 4.6% alcohol. We found, though, that most people drink imported beers or foreign beers brewed here under licence. It looks like a trend thing. And so we sat in the covered courtyard writing the diary and then watching the cartoon channel, which the folk were all enjoying. It seems this is the place to come and watch TV.

Day 119: Monday 10 January

The Chief's low roof
Council of ministers
Guide explaining symbols

12ºC on waking at 7am, but soon warmed up. Packed up and left from Garoua to N'Gaoundére, watching the scenery gradually becomming greener and the villages (and the people) more developed as we head south towards the capital, Yaoundé. There we wanted to see the chief's compound / houses, which are seperate from everything else. He has a separate system of law and is indeed a law unto himself. This appears to be tolerated and the two systems coexist fairly happily. There is many a chieferie traditionele here in Cameroon, but this was far more established with the lineage painted up on a wall, and a rooms for the council of ministers to meet. There we met a German woman (Claudia) who was translating the guide's French into German for her companions and kindly did the same into English for us. It was a fairly interesting experience, but again one paid for entrance, the guide and per camera (sometimes we feel we are treated as a a money tree!).

Later we found the Hotel Faithy (N7º20.161' E13º34.352') which was quite upmarket for us at 6,500 CFA but it was great to have a hot shower (first in a couple of months, since Ghana) and a good meal (fried fish or chicken plus potato and plantain chips). Although there was a TV in the room, there was no English language apart from part of a regional news broadcast from the west of the country (the english speaking area). Instead we got out the laptop and watched Kill Bill Vol. II which was on the external hard drive - although when there were subtitles from a Chinese speaker, these were in French! Still, a relaxing evening, if a little late considering we had decided to leave at 6:30 am for the 530km drive we had in store for us.

Day 120: Tuesday 11 January

Up at 6am; left at the planned time; breakfast on the way. The road was graded piste in fairy good condition but leaving things very dusty. It was also punctuated by the usual array of police checks. After Garoua-Boulai, the road suddenly became tarmac in perfect condition, which was excellent and did wonders for our ETA. We learned later that this is because the EU decided to fund road building in west africa and started here. There are apparently no further plans other than this slightly bizarre strip of good road, albeit a couple of hundred kilometres of it.

By this point we were clearly back in the land or latitude of mangoes and bananas, as well as very tall hardwood trees (and logging companies, of course). In Garoua-Boulai we tried to find a bank but it was closed. So we found the Hotel Montagnia (N4º34.540' E13º40.975') opposite a cyber cafe which although slow allowed us to catch up on a few matters.

Day 121: Wednesday 12 January

Up at around 7am with the intention to set off sharpish. It wasn't to be. We realised we had to get money if we were to go to the Dja Reserve as we hoped, and we also had to filter water - after getting it from a well as the water was off. While Moira set about filtering the water, Murray went to the bank. There they were unable to change travellers cheques or cash Dollars, but Euros may have worked. Pity we didn’t have Euros. Back at the hotel there was some interest in the water filter and so some conversation was had. We were able to ask about changing money in the informal sector. A couple of phone calls were made (costing us 500CFA each, whereas it should have been 150 judging by the advertised costs at the cabin telephoniques!) and a Nigerian man was summoned to change money for us. He gave us 485 CFA to the Dollar, which was better than the informal sector in N'Djamena. We gave him the last of our Nigerian stout beers because we're nice that way.

We eventually left Garoua-Boulai after 11am, but that was fine as we had a drive of around 250km to the entrance of the Dja Reserve. The first part was on relatively bad piste and the second part, after Abong Mbang was on very bad piste - very bad for our kidneys/backs and for Puff's suspension, and so dusty that the otherwise green vegetation on the side of the piste was brown, and one had to have headlights on to be seen through the haze made by oncoming logging trucks.

At Lomié we tried to find out where the entrance to the park might be found, but no one could tell us. We did find out where the office was, but it was 6pm by then and closed. We had no choice but to turn up in the morning and so went to the Hotel Le Raphia (N3º08.702' E13º37.366') which is run by a retired parliamentarian. Over a well earned beer, we got chatting to Gary Morris, a geologist working for an American company with an interest in extracting cobalt and tin from the area - cobalt being fundamental to battery powered vehicles and important in the drive towards use of non fossil fuels. He had folk from a Chinese potential partner company with him; their interest was in that use of cobalt. We talked at some length about environmental impact, reforestation, the applicable international and Cameroonian laws, etc. We also met Ben, who works for VSO, but used to be in the dot com silicon valley business. He had been here for around a year and knew the area and people very well; a great source of information for us.

After a bucket shower (the pump was dead) and great meal (3 courses even!) we did battle with cockroaches for bedroom space. Not sure who won in the end.

Day 122: Thursday 13 January

A most interesting day. The idea was to enter the Dja Reserve fairly early and enjoy the rainforest for the rest of the day and for most of tomorrow. Well breakfast and chatting to Gary and his companions took time and then the formalities at the reserve office in Lomié took even longer. The Reserve is funded by the European Union but locally managed; if only they knew how their money is being spent! We had to pay for two days, for the vehicle, for the camera and for the guide, which came to CFA 28,000 or around £35. We planned to spend the night in a local Pygmy village, for which one pays a further CFA 1,500, and so on and so forth.

We paid up and got our receipt and with our guide (Francois) drove the 12km from the turnoff at the Hotel La Raphia (N3º08.702' E13º37.366') to the eastern entrance to the reserve (N3º05.398 E13º36.521. So far so good. So far and no further. Hence the waypoints. At the entrance there was the office of the chef de poste and a dilapidated sign declaring EU funding, but no gate. The chef de poste declared our receipt invalid for entry to the park because, it turned out after lengthy discussion, it was he who was to take the cash and issue receipts and 'what if there were a diplomatic incident?' Discussion led to impasse and to solve this Francois was dispatched to Lomié to find the chef de equipe principal of the reserve.

While this was happening we packed our bags for the walk to the Pygmy village, got out boots and had a bite to eat. Although we tried to reason with the chef de poste, this was his domain and nothing was going to shake his resolve. Having arrived at around midday, it was well after 4pm when the chef de equipe principal turned up - or in this case his subordinate as the chef was out of town. What followed looked like an argument on the verge of a bar-room brawl, with these two combatants screaming at one another in French, with the chef de equipe principal saying that the chef de poste was power hungry and what impression does this give to tourists, while the chef de poste asserted that this was his domain, so kind of proving the point. At one point it looked like it was going to get physical, the two men being separated by others, while we sat in the shade of an as yet unidentified tree, watching the spectacle. In the end, no further money changed hands, although at one point it had occurred to us that this was what the chef de poste was after to allow us in. We were allowed to proceed and off we went, following Francois to the Pygmy village which we got to at dusk, so no time to look around.

Traditional house building
The EU was here
Your room, madam
EVIL spirit
Moira doing stature
Happy Birthday Murray

We were shown to the hut in which we were to sleep (see photo) and told that the villagers would dance for us with the right ‘motivation’. This, in the best colonial tradition, amounted to money, booze and / or fags. We settled on a CFA 2,000 and a packet of fags. After some food we had brought with us, we settled in and went to another part of the long narrow village where the dance was to begin at 8pm. The dance itself may or may not have been put on just for us (they were practicing when we arrived in the village) but our attendance cost a bit. It took around three and a half hours and was accompanied by drums and song, and seemed to symbolise the banishing of an evil spirit. A great experience!

Day 123: Friday 14 January

Happy birthday Murray! What a way to spend it: waking up in a Pigmy village and then walking through primary rain forrest. Fantastic! Apparently there are elephants and gorillas about, but these are more at the northern entrance than here. Even so, we left at 7am in the hope that we'd see something. It wasn't to be although we did see evidence of heffalumps having passed and we did see certain prehistoric looking species of hornbill out of Jurassic Park and huge cobwebs out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But what made it most worthwhile was a walk in the afternoon on which Francois hacked through a vine to produce clear pure drinking water. It is moments like that that make this venture so special.

We had originally wanted to spend the night at the village adjacent to the office of the chef de poste and had indicated this to our guide. He had not mentioned that there would be a cost involved, but when we declared that we would rather go back to the hotel for a wash, etc., on account of it being Murray's birthday, this was met with some disappointment and a demand for some money for standing them up. We declined on the ground that they ought to have told us that there would be a cost in the first place, so that being disappointed could be appeased by handing over a few fags. Either way, we were off.

Chez nous
From limb to limb
Spiders win Turner
Indiana I presume
Good ol' Abba
Men of the village
Drying coffee and clothing
Not bad, actually

But not that easily. Puff died, and this caused some puzzlement, soon solved by a loose earth connection to the fuel pump. While trying to figure it out, we were met by Michel, who works with Francois. He spoke English as well as French and was very eloquent. He asked whether we needed a mechanic, but this turned out to be unnecessary even although he had gone into the town to find one. We met him in Lomié and he asked us if we could meet up later on. We agreed to meet at a local bar for a beer after supper & douche in our case anyway. After which Moira gave Murray a 20ml bottle of Grant's Scotch whisky, bought in northern Cameroon for considerably less than its price in Scotland!

After supper at the hotel (Raphia) we returned to Lomié and met Michel & Francois in a local bar with very loud local music. The chat was interesting and gave us some insight into the convention of round buying in Cameroon (you can hold any offer in abeyance until your present drink is finished, and then accept it) and to the bureaucratic problem of the previous day. We asked what we should tell others and were told that others should turn up a day before they want to enter the park. Not sure what difference that would make given the personalities involved, but there you have it. Our advice is to go directly to the entrance (GPS waypoints above), and avoid dealing with two offices.

Day 124: Saturday 15 January

Driving day: 236km to Yaoundé, although only the first 117 from Lomié to Abong Mbang are bad. The problem is that in driving on the bad roads to Dja, it became clear that further work is necessary on the suspension as the leaves that were put on in the rebuild in 1999 are WAY too hard for the chassis. Welding needs to be done in Yaoundé and so care is necessary. It was still a full day's driving, arriving in the labyrinth that is Yaoundé at sunset. On the way we were stopped and searched by forresters, but without explanation, which was really irritating. Had they said they were after tusks, skins, etc.(which only became clear later), we would have unpacked the landy with all due speed as we believe in such searches. As it was, we used the unpacking to give the kit a sweep so getting rid of several tons of dust from the road. In Yaoundé, we found the Hotel Ideal (N3º53.096' E 11º31.150') with the help of a garage attendant. It is handy for embassies and, as it happens, mechanical work and banks, and so a perfect spot for us to be for the next few days as we do a couple of things on the landy and get visas for Gabon and the other Congo (Brazzaville). Another tiring day, so beer o'clock was declared and a meal bought and paid for.

Day 125: Sunday 16 January

Sunday in Yaoundé and that, according to the Lonely Planet means enjoying one of the highlights of Cameroon, let alone Yaoundé: attending an open air mass, complete with singing and drums. This turned out to be within a church and not that impressive really. Also, being indoors, watching it felt a little more voyeuristic that it would have been in the open air, so we didn't stay long. We did learn how to get a taxi though: you shout the destination and the price you are willing to pay. If he stops, you got them both right. Not attending mass, we walked around a local market instead and then took a taxi back, to work on the 22 days or so of this web site since last writing anything in Niamey, Niger.

Day 126: Monday 17 January

Up early and off to the embassies of Congo and Gabon. It took us a while to find, so here are some waypoints for anyone planning the same:

Congo (Brazzaville): N 03º53.724' E 011º31.207'

Gabon: N 03º53.666' E 011º31.168'

At the Congo embassy we learned that the cost would be CFA 60,000 (US$130), so we swallowed hard and elevated that country to the top of the list of expensive visas. They need one form and two photographs and it will be ready by 8am the next day. They agreed we could pay on collection, although getting cash without a passport may prove problematic.

Next on to Gabon embassy. A long wait but then met the First Secretary who was very pleasant and told us that it is CFA 35,000 (cheaper than the book says!) and if we give the passport in at 8:30am we can pick up the visa at 4pm.

On the way back from the Gabon embassy we stopped off at a mechanic and got referred to someone who started on one of the welding jobs. He completed the chassis job and the windscreen will be done tomorrow, as long as Murray can find some silicon to allow us to remove and then replace the windscreen.

Next to the bank. Here is a waypoint of a street with 5 banks (Ave. Charles de Gaulle), although taking dollars - cash or travellers cheques - is risky as the value is such that several banks will not cash either: N 03º52.647' E 011º30.983' In the end we managed to cash both, although the commission on Travellers Cheques is 23,000CFA (US$50!) but the CitiBank has no limit on how much you can cash. All went well - even cashing small denomination Dollars (at Ecobank)- apart from getting through to American Express, so we would have to return tomorrow to complete the transaction.

After finishing up writing the web diary and doing the laundry and some shopping (supermarche and quinquillaire/hardware store) it was sunset and beer time (a good combination!).

All life happens on the street here including: cooking, peeing, sleeping, and the buying and selling of every imaginable item. Today's delight was noticing a man carrying a set of bathroom scales. He would stop and weigh you for 200CFA, which seemed to us a good way to earn a buck or two.

Sometimes Yaoundé looks like a giant car boot sale, with new and used items everywhere on mats or rickety tables waiting to be purchased. Interestingly there are often piles of second hand clothes for sale which look just like the old western clothes you or I would put in the charity bin for sending to developing countries. That is the clothes do get here but may sometimes find themselves being sold rather than given away.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Day 127: Tuesday 18 January

Another day filled with capital city tasks. Firstly back to the Citibank at 8 am to finish the cashing of the travellers cheques. Now with cash in hand (as you can see visas are proving to be one of the major costs of the trip), it was back to the Congo Embassy to collect our passports. However they were not ready so we were asked to 'go away' and come back at 10 am. We were directed to a cafe conveniently just across the street. To our amusement the cafe was still being built but proved to be a lot cleaner than many others of the more finished variety that we have frequented. They also served a very tasty omlette and large mugs of (Nes)cafe each with 4 lumps of sugar added before we could protest! It is curious that the influence of French culture is evident in the excellent pastries available but not in the coffee they serve despite it being grown here!

With passports duly stamped for Congo, we went round the corner to the Gabon Embassy, waited an hour or so, handed over the necessaries: one form, one photo, one passport, and 35,000 CFA each and were asked to return at 4:30 pm.

Whilst Murray took Puff for the second welding job (the windscreen), Moira went to email and do other tasks. The welding was fine and the window reset, although after that Puff wouldn't start and Murray remains convinced that using the car as earth for the welding machine did something to the electrics, even with the battery disconnected. Still, an auto- electrician was on hand and the problem was sorted, but it meant that the tasks for the day were incomplete. To top it all, we didn't get our visas for Gabon because we misunderstood the collection time: we thought 4:30pm; it was in fact 14:30. So that'll be another task for the morrow, including giving Puff a clean and getting a couple of parts, before setting off for Douala.

Finally, we were able to update the web site at a cyber cafe that allowed us to use their server machine. Even so, we were there until 20:40, at closing time, which happily coincided with beer o'click. We went to 'The Cave' bar first as we'd said to a German biker (Andy) that's where he could find us. But after one beer and lots of loud music, we returned to our usual spot, the 'Bunker', where we met a drunk chap wanting to practice his English. This amused us, but not for long. Having got some chicken-type street food, we took the bones back for the cats that live at the hotel; they crunched them in a way no domestic cat would dare to do!

Day 128: Wednesday 19 January

Modern, in parts
It's a supermarket, honest
The hustle &, well, the hustle

Up and at 'em, paid the bill (8000 CFA per night) and cleaned the inside of the landy of all the dirt-road dust that with a bit of rain will become silt. We left Yaoundé at around 10am, having picked up our passports from the Gabon embassy. We found he road to Douala with no problem at all, using the GPS. Pity it was the old road, unfortunately still the only one on the GPS basemap (thanks Garmin!). We just knew it was wrong when we found piste with potholes! Eventually we found directions to the new road, which involved driving back through Yaoundé. But it was worth it. The road is great, fairly new tar and no potholes; understandable as it connects Cameroon's capital with its largest city.

At aroud 4pm we telephoned Gavin, a friend of a friend (Mary), based in Douala. He gave us directions to near where he lives and met up with us, took us to his apartment, offered us beer and accommodation and was generally a great guy. He left us to get properly clean in his flat while he returned to work (head of security for MTN, Cameroon) for a while. Oh how nice to have a hot shower and be in an air conditioned flat with a permanent ethernet internet connection and a pool!!!

In the evening Gavin took us out for a meal of local food, which was great as it took place on the waterfront in a place where one chose one's fish, albeit from the freezer. We also had meat and chicken kebabs and plantain chips. After that, we went to the pub of a friend of Gavin's (Jean-Luc, a martial arts champion, and his wife Claudia) for a few more drinks and had what turned out to be a bit of a late night. This was to become the pattern for the next couple of days.

Day 129: Thursday 20 January

Great sleep last night; almost too cool with the air con on. This we are not used to! The day was spent mostly with some mechanics at Wackenhut, the security firm Gavin originally worked for and firm which he is on secondment to MTN from. David, the current head of operations, offered the services of George and Peter, to source parts (cheaper for a non-Westerner) and change the front near side shock absorber as well as grease the propshafts and change oil in engine, gearbox and transfer box and flush the radiator. It was fantastic not to have to closely watch the mechanics at work, knowing that they were trustworthy and maintain a fleet of security firm vehicles as their job. To say thanks and in exchange , we'll add the Wackenhut logo to our web site - in the fullness of time David!

In the evening we went out for a fantastic, if expensive on our budget, meal of pizza for Moira and filet for Murray - as in on a hot rock, the entire filet to share between two. So 2 filets for the table, which also included Sue, Jane (from Guinness, which boasts Cameroon as its 5th biggest market) and David. Later we went back to L'Entranger where Jean-Luc was very happy to discuss his martial arts talents, which appear to us to be not inconsiderable. What followed was an offer of some local fire water for Murray as it was, allegedly, only for men. The night ended up being an all-nighter, still playing drinking games at Gavin's until 6am!

Day 130: Friday 21 January

Wackenhut mechanics
New road required
M & G up the Lava
With Gavin
NOT oil; lava

Serious hangover - and yet we got up at 8:30 in order to drive to Limbé with Gavin - he doing the driving, thankfully. Just outside Limbé is a lava flow, from an eruption of Mt. Cameroon at the end of 1999 / beginning of 2000. It went across the road, so necessitating some quick thinking by the roads department who have now built a road exactly looping round the head of the flow. The lava flow is still warm in parts. So we climbed up the flow for a bit and then went off to a lava beach, which in this case means little more than it is made of black sand, and was therefore new to us and interesting. There we swam for a bit and had a (soft) drink, before driving back to Douala, Murray feeling quite unwell ... In the evening we went out for more drinks, with more or less the same crowd of interesting expats as before (Richard, originally from Edinburgh joined us).

Day 131: Saturday 22 January

Long lie while Gavin and Richard (Security, Wackenhut, Yaoundé) went to play football. We said our goodbyes between their football and them going for a drink with the lads, because they would not be back by the time we would need to leave. So we emailed, etc., and packed up and drove to Tara Plage (N2º54.347 E9º54.123), near Kribi almost due south of Douala. The road to Kribi is good, being tar all the way. Kribi on 22nd January, is where we had agreed to meet Hendrik-Jan & Julian before travelling generally south. In Kribi we had Puff washed and met the folk on the beach.

In the evening we had crevettes (prawns) on skewers, which appears to be a local speciality, at the restaurant of the auberge where we were camping for a mere CFA 2,000 per night. This is a touristed spot, frequented by expat Westerners and wealthy locals and is pretty close to being idyllic: clean beaches, sun, sea, etc. It would afford us the chance to chilll for a couple of days while Hendrik-Jan & Julian went to Yaoundé to get their Congo and Gabon visas. We agreed over the meal to meet at a particular GPS waypoint on the road south just outside of Ebolowa on Wednesday 26th January.

Days 132 - 134: Sunday 23 - Tuesday 25 January

Both vehicles
Just us and the beach (?)
Better without clouds!
There were several of these

Let's face it, take one look at the photographs and understand that our next liaison was 171 km and 3 days away and you'll understand why the combining of days here. It was a time to lie about, read books, do laundry, filter water, swim, and generally recharge our batteries. Moira came down with a bit of a migrane however, so not that great for her - or for Murray who then had to do many more of the customary admin tasks. However, be not too sympathetic as his skin colour is now just that little bit browner anyway. On the down side,we were running out of money until Libreville and beer was CFA 1,300 which was more than double usual bar prices. So we cooked for ourselves for the most part and drank water (ooh!). We made a very large pasta salad and lived on that for the next two days. That sort of thing. Oh, and used the machete on a coconut. That sort of thing.

The days started off pretty hazy, due to the relatively heavy showers that came on each of the four nights we were at Kribi. In the afternoon, it brightened up and became like an idyllic beach, for long walks to the waterfall from a river that flowed into the sea at the falls. Otherwise, the accommodation was not quite idyllic as the shower was sandy & not that clean, and the toilet worse - though we could use the one attached to the hotel bar / restaurant, until it closed at 10pm, that is.

Day 135: Wednesday 26 January

D-day and time to leave and make our rendezvous in Ebolowa. We left a little later than planned due to having to find the correct road out of Kribi, filling up with petrol, buying bread, etc. After that, we spent about 4 and a half hours on seriously potholed piste, complete with dust, probably the second worst road yet, behind the route to the Dja reserve. And Murray forgot to properly tether the (full 20l) water jerry, which must have bounced out of its holder and come crashing down on the spare wheel at the back, breaking and bending the bracket (How did they not notice you may ask? Well, such is the noise of Puff it is difficult to hear anything at all!). Oh well, yet more welding (soldeur metallique en Francais) to get done in Libreville!

Another effect of the road and our later than planned departure from Kribi, was that we were late for our meeting with Hendrik-Jan & Julian. They didn't seem to mind and had in fact left notes with several people at checkpoints, who recognised the discription of us/our vehicle and passed them on so we knew where they had gone from the waypoint. A quick break to have the last of the pasta salad and a banana, and to properly tie the spare wheel to its bracket to prevent further damage or loss of the wheel itself, we left on fairly good road for the border with Gabon ...

The border crossing was easy from the Cameroon point of view, just a couple of stamps required, and we were off. Perhaps the most amusing part of the exit from Cameron was the question, from one of the border guards, how we found Cameroon ('very nice,beautiful, etc'.- the obvious reply) and whether we had 'found any money' in Cameroon. We responded that we had checked most of the forrests, but found that it does not grow there. Late as it was (17:30), it was still possible to get on thefree ferry across the river, that is still operating while the bridge is being completed.

From here, click 'back' a couple of times and then click on the map of Africa more or less where Gabon is. The story continues there. Before that, and for the sake of completeness, here is a picture of our route from Kribi (no track, but marked Tara Plage), via Ebolowa (Waypoint called Meet HJ & J) to Libreville.