Bamenda to Yaoundé

Russell writes 15/2/11:

Our Bamenda story continues with the eventual arrival of my parts order from the UK. It took about 4 days to get into Douala, Cameroon, but it then takes another 5 days to come up the road to Bamenda! It had been a frustrating wait for a ‘customs delay’ and promises of ‘it will be there tomorrow’. We find, particularly with the African women, that they like to have a job but don’t like to work, but women who work for themselves usually work very hard indeed. Customer service was probably not an African idea, but thankfully we get there in the end and are able to move on.

Mohammed sad to see us go

I was a little apprehensive about the engine re-assembly and finding some random screw or washer left over, but actually, Lucas, Mohammed and Darren did a very good job. Everything was washed in petrol and looked like new and within a couple of days it was time to fire it up. Ok there were a few teething problems, but putting our heads together we got round them and even discovered the more likely source of my fuel problem, the filter. The bark of the exhaust note was greeted with joy all round, then with a touch of sadness as our new Bamenda friends realised it meant our imminent departure. There was also a mixture of feelings for us, we’d stayed long enough in one place to make some friends and now the road south beckoned.

Lucas, Mohammed, Mark, Darren, Russ & Cathrine

The night before we left our usual gang gathered together for a last drink and a fish and chip meal. Mohammed was proudly wearing his new Africa Orbital T-shirt, Lucas full of importation ideas, Catherine smiling all night and Mark saving a nice bottle of red at his place for us after. The next morning we made everyone breakfast before a group photo and saying our goodbyes. It’s good to know we made an impact in the lives of the people we met, and we leave with new friendships being formed in our wake.

Kribi Beach

Oh the road feels so good! Off to Yaoundé for a spot of visa shopping and time is ticking, we have visa expiry dates to keep an eye on. We collected the DR Congo visa on Thursday and as embassies don’t work on the weekend we took off to Kribi beach for a last chance dip in a warm sea. Dan and Anika, a young German couple overlanding in a camper van took us with them to the beach and we enjoyed their company for the weekend. With Darren’s new deluxe omelette, Anika’s delicious tagine, warm sea and hot sun we certainly had a nice time on the coast.

Daniel and Anika

Back in Yaoundé for more visas, we had a few problems from an unusual source. The campsite, Foyer International de l’EglisePresbyterienne, where we left our bikes and some luggage, had agreed to keep our things while we were at the beach, for free. But really alarm bell should have gone off when we hear the landlady charging 200 CFA for a bucket of water (the water was off). We’d heard of 20 CFA for 25 litres… We’ve found that people who are funny about money are exposing a serious character flaw. Sadly this was true of the people here. Not only did they want to charge us but refused us our belongings when disputing the extra charge. But Darren was having none of it and valiantly fought for the traveller’s justice. Things soon spiced up after Darren removed our belongings and she came at him with a machete and baseball bat! Needless to say the police were called and Darren spent the rest of the day giving statements and trying to get our point across while I stayed with all our kit which was still at the crazy woman’s campsite. Thanks should also go to Steffen, a Canadian VSO staying there, who was a great help translating and mediating for us. Thankfully the police didn’t take her too seriously and the British High Commission advised us not to worry asthey would step in if needed. With our last visa being collected today thedoors are now open all the way to Cape Town! Next stop the equatorial jungle of Gabon!

  1. Niki Moody says:

    Oh Darren……Surley not getting in trouble??? xxxx

  2. Niki Moody says:

    Haha:) Good you you though x

  3. A good job the mama had a machette and not a gun or you’d be in real trouble then.

    Glad o see your 3 visa’s are through and that you’re on your way. When you come home you will be able to write a book about all the folk you’ve met. You seem to be welcomed at all the places you’ve been to.

    We still keep on praying for you to have a good trip especially now down to CApetown.

    Look after yourselves and many thanks for keeping in touch.

    God Bless …………..Albert

  4. frank Price says:

    It’ such a shame there is so much corruption. It seems as though you are seen as easy targets for a bit of extra cash, being foreigners. Glad you handled the machette and baseball bat OK, it makes a saturday night out in Hereford seem quite tame.

    Keep safe on your travels


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