Moto-cross Africa  
England to South Africa .  
...and back. . .
 
  
 
 
 
 

 


 
 

On The Road...Yaunde

After waving goodbye to Dan 2 and Linz from Clinique Gamkalley, we headed East through Niger towards the Nigerian border. Having travelled with Linz for a few weeks, we were now much better trained and made the effort to stop for a biscuit break rather than just riding all day on a hungry stomach. Having satisfied ourselves on some snacks, I went to pick my body armour and camelbak which were in their usual resting place - somewhere on the floor near my bike. This time, however, there was a passenger in it that I wasn't expecting.
 
I dropped the items back onto the floor, shaking it just enough on it's way down to send the snake slithering for shelter...the rock where Ed was sitting. I shouted to Ed who scurried out of it's way. We gathered around the rock the snake had crawled beneath and I kicked away (in my motocross boots) it's shelter for us to catch it on camera. Unfortunately for me, the snake wisely headed to the nearest shelter it knew of, which happened to be the motocross gear I had dropped back on the ground...oops!
 
I then had to pick the clothing up for the second time and shake the snake our, which had taken a much better 'grip' this time. Apart from that, Niger was fairly uneventful.  

With only a few days left on our visas to enter Nigeria, the three days riding was fairly straight forward. We camped overnight at some typical auberge/hotel type places and enjoyed a beer or two in the evenings - just check your bill in Niger as here they appear to have mastered trying to raise the prices and hoping you don't notice. This service is all done with a smile though and they rarely argue when you point out that they are trying to overcharge you.
 
Finally we took the plunge and entered Nigeria. Apart from some sort of interview or chat with the SSS - apparently the paranoid secret police in Nigeria -the entry into the country was straight forward (but don't forget your Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate).
 
After an overnight stay in the large city of Kano - where we didn't really venture out into the streets - we found our way to Yankari Game Reserve and the Wikki Warm Springs. It was worth a visit for the warm springs, but no-one that day saw any game of interest and the experience was ruined by the staff. Not only were they rude, but when not screetching the tyres of the game cars around the park, they liked to blast loud music out until gone 3am - past the sleepy biker's bed times and therefore making for grumpy campers in the morning. The jumped-up, self important SSS man there also became slighly irritating, so after a day in the reserve we packed our kit and rode to Jos.
 
Jos apparently takes it's name from Jesus Our Saviour, and fittingly we stayed at a Catholic Mission whilst in the sleepy town. On our only afternoon there, I had a final splash out on a pizza and a bottle of Guinness (still available in Cameroon) after finding out I'd been spending more money than I had budgeted for on the trip so far.
 
Amazingly, Nigeria is home to a quarter of the whole of Africa's population. This meant that the usually peaceful roads we have become used to riding were suddenly rammed with traffic. Everyone is in a rush, and apparently overtaking should be performed not when it is safe, but as soon as possible.
 
Bikers - being smaller than cars -have no right of way. Instead, they soon learn that they must yield to the oncoming overtaking vehicle (the driver of which kindly flashes their lights at you to let you know they have no intention of dropping back and that it is best for you to find an alternative route). As such, I found myself dropping off the road and onto whatever the surface running alongside the road happened to be, five times in one day.
 
The next stop was the capital city, Abuja, to pick up our Cameroon visa. Once we had said document in our passports, we braved the Nigeria roads again in a South-Easterly direction for the border crossing from Mfum to Ekok. 
 
The crossing into Cameroon was beautiful. We rode across a bridge spanning a wide river, with rainforest on each bank. After a night at a hotel in Ekok, we were welcomed to the jungle by the muddy road that leads to Mamfe - a journey that was to take us a day rather than the 2 hours predicted by the locals.
 
Unfortuantely I was now having 'technical difficulties' with my helmet camera, so I was disappointed to find I'd not recorded footage of some of the muddiest and most challenging sections. Luckily some of the photos do the track justice (see album). The track proved particularly difficult for the heavy Africa Twins, and several times we had to resort to manually carrying their heavy panniers through before getting the bikes themselves out.
 
It was starting to get a little late in the day at one point, but just as we were stopping to check the route and to rehydrate, Father Peter Paul scooted along the track towards us on his 150cc bike (with very little mud on the bike or himsemf). He was just dropping his pillion at the next village, and promised to return to guide us through the best route within a few minutes.
 
So for the next hour, we followed Father Peter Paul towards Mamfe, stopping briefly at a school he needed to visit on the way.
 
Arriving at Mamfe, the Father allowed us to put our tent up inside the new Church Hall, before we would carry on towards the road the next day...apparently this is where the track gets difficult.
 
The next day was much the same to Bamenda (ie muddy, hot and hard work but great fun). We had to replenish our water supplies again from taps at villages along the way, but managed to make Bamenda just before nightfall.
 
The next day Mikey and other-Chris on his R80 BMW (who I knew was on the road but I hadn't met yet) arrived for the three of us to tackle a section of the ring road - a notably beautiful and difficult section of road circling north of Bamenda.
 
Although the scenery and the Lake of Wum were scenic, the track was bumpy and good fun but nothing compared to the mud of the previous few days. Unfortuanely I had my camera out due to the lack of working helmet camera and managed to drop it en-route. We finally managed to get the camera back, but unfortunately it is no longer working. Chris also managed to bury his bike in a hedge, and by coincidence, whilst he has hiding, Thomas appeared from around the corner.
 
Thomas is a German in a Toyota Land Cruiser who had met Mikey at the Zebrabar in Senegal. He is also heading for South Africa, so we gave him the details of where we were staying.
 
 
That brings me up to date, as the next day the four of us rode/drove from Bamenda to the capital, Yaunde, where we were reunited with Dan and Ed. I've been here for about 5 days now - the longest time I've been in one place since Marrakech. I've been working on my list of jobs to do, which includes getting the next 3 visas (Gabon, Congo, DRC), finding a video camera, picking up my DHL parcel, servicing the bike, getting the side stand welded back into place and updating the website before hopefully doing nothing on Christmas day.
 
After Christmas...the big push south towards Angola. 
 

 

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