Through a rain forest on the back of a Landy

There are no proper roads between Nigeria and Cameroon. At least none that we could find. The ‘main’ road between the two, at the Ekok/Ikom border post in the south has nothing ‘main’ about it. According to videos we saw and blogs we had read this piece of road was very, very bad.

So we decided to take a less travelled route in the hopes of coming across a slightly easier route. No such luck.

As we came closer and closer to the border with our two Peugeot’s, the canopy around us growing denser and denser, the road became increasingly muddy and wet. Up to a point that I was convinced we needed 4x4’s to continue. But the Peugeot’s surprised us and kept going, slipping and sliding their way across the mud.

By nightfall we reached Abong, the border town. This is also were the road stopped. In front of us a big, brown raging river, and on the other side- Cameroon. We were in the middle of nowhere. According to the border post official, he had never seen any white men use this border post. We were beginning to understand why.

Luckily our mega church friends in Abuja organised accommodation for us and we spent the night there.

Early the next morning we were ready to tackle the big brown river and our entry into Cameroon. The locals used canoes to cross the river. They could fit almost anything onto it- we even saw some of them transporting motorcycles across.

We promptly got stamped out of Nigeria, exchanged our money and off we were in two canoes. One for our bulky back packs and another for us.

On the other side of the river we got stamped into Cameroon and were then faced with the challenge of transport. We were in a Cameroonian rain jungle, the nearest town was 70km, and a mountain pass, away and the road was in a terrible condition. Even worse than the previous day’s one.

The other problem was that there were other people who also needed transport. And the one available option was an antique, short wheel base, single canopy Land Rover. Fair enough, it looked like everybody who wanted a ride could fit on the back, if we all stood up. But we didn’t anticipate the amount of luggage. Except for our big amount of bags, there were also bags and bags of maize that had to be loaded as well. By the time all the goods were loaded there were hardly any space left. But off we went, 15 people crammed into the back half of a short wheel base Land Rover. Some of them hanging onto the sides, all of us standing. To make matters worse the road was very bad, which meant that the heavily packed Landy could only travel at a speed of about 10- 20 km/h. We were standing on top of the luggage and had to hold on for dear life as the Landy teetered and tottered sideways through the ditches. Our forearms were stiff the next day form hanging onto the ropes to keep our balance.

We stood for hours as we steadily made our way up the mountain pass. At some point we were stopped at a checkpoint and probably waited an hour as the driver and the police negotiated about something mysterious. Finally, towards the end of the day we reached the first town. We weren’t out of the bush yet, but we were nearing civilisation. But this is were the Landy stopped and we had to start looking for accommodation. I sent the team out in pairs of two to look for something that was free. Finally two team members found a church and we dropped down in the Pastors sitting room- dead tired after the long day.

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