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Transafrica over the west, 20`000km, with a Land Cruiser 200

Old 08-23-2013, 03:37 AM
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Day 19, Benin

We have further extended for a night at the Marina Hotel - Cotonou and can still explore something - a city which we like very much.
Thing in the morning we were looking for a tire repair services, which are easy recognizable by the tire wall. The first guy we show the tyre told us - this is so not repairable.
Undeterred, we drove to the next provider, and tried again to communicate with hand and foot.
He could two english words, tube and the word repair with a thumb up

He showed us that he will patch the tyre and insert a tube. The alternative was to use DHL or TNT Express to flight in a new tyre - we was glad that we had found a quicker solution.

The repair should take 15 minutes - but, of course, was after 45 min was nothing finished.
In the meantime we were at Toyota, looking for engine oil, because we had none of it - for the case that we would have to top up.

But after a short time the tire was again operational, only the aluminum rim had some scratches due to the African way of working. But it isnt a beauty contest, who cares about the rims on an 4x4?

In the afternoon, we issued our car including all content to a cleaning service - not so easy to leave it so - fully loaded and with the keys... With slightly foreboding as we sat for two hours in the pool, and waited anxiously what to expect, when to pick up.
Of course, the moped taxi shuttle guy try to make a new deal, because the price he originally agreed was not enough. Of course i don`t give him more. a deal is a deal - and if necessary, I walk the short distance. With much grumbling I was driven to the cleaning service - who was equipped very professional. Brummie - wow - say like new. Some welts from driving through single tracks were still there but that is nothing who is cleanable on side of the vehicle.

I had need hours to check if everything is still there - so i just do a short quickcheck about the expensive parts of our equipment - everything was still there.

Later we enjoyed the pool and the restaurant - as i said the sea is not very inviting.
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You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything.

Last edited by 4x4tripping; 08-23-2013 at 03:39 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:46 AM
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very glad to hear that you are doing well, keep exploring!
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:34 AM
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Day 20 , Benin - Nigeria

Today we got up at 7 clock. We had to fill the water tank - what was not that easy - at the end there was at least 4 guys from the Hotel who try to help us.
It was 9:40 as we were finally ready to progress with the journey. We reached the border at 11:00 clock , despite heavy traffic.
The exit stamps for Benin we got quickly - but now we had to drive to the nigerian border. Well it was pretty bad , always artificial barriers were erected and people wanted our money.
There was the Health Service , the XY service - and we had again a fixer who told us he is an officer from the police - which we can`t scare away.
After he had distributed $ 10 from us to people who do not actually want the money -we said that we will no longer be paid - and had only a Maestro card. Now our progress was really slow - but somehow we managed it within 2.5 hours to reach the real border - an incredible marathon in this heat .
At least 45min we was at the vaccination service - who wants to desinfect our car when we dont pay 200 USD. We told him he can desinfect the car, the guy means that this consume 6 hours. This is ok for us we said - now he shout angry that we have to pay 30 USD - but after a while he resigned.
Same same on each station, we guess over the half of them are phantasy stations. That our fixer showed us an police ID card, and we arent shure if he is an officer or not - made it more difficult for us.
Finnally we reach the nigerian border with police guys in uniforms. They want to see the exit stamp for benin - which we had in our other passports. Ouch, they got very angry about that we had each two passports. Shouted that it isnt allowed to carry two passports, calling their chief`s, and getting really nervous.
After again endless minutes we got our stamps, and had to switch the "hut" for the guy who wants to write our car data in a big book. Here also the Discussion about paying a bribe starts - we was glad as we sit again in our car..
Now there was our fake police fixer who wants 200 Euro. I show him the "bird" - that he is completely crazy and start the engine and start driving.
He runs behind shouting - i had ignored him when i realize that there comes two Police checkpoints again. Fuuu*** I guess with a crying guy behind it isnt that easy to cross that checkpoints.
I stop the car and open the window a bit. He asked why i start driving - i told him that he isnt a police officer, an cheater. Now he wants 150 Euro - i close the window and start driving. One Officer on the first checkpoint asked me - if that crying man behin belongs to us - we told them. No. The guy starts talking to the police officer and we can proceed. After 20 Meter i stopped again.
We had realized that there are several Checkpoints and Roadblocks until we reach the "real" road.
I told the fixer, that i pay him 20 USD - if he runs with us - and bring out without hassle to the road. Not more - or i drive by my own.
Now he runs in Front of us- shouting "Diplomatic, Diplomatic and showing his fake licence". The Military and Police guys looked skeptical - but no one stops us.
He has earned his 20 USD, and we was glad to reach Nigeria. If you plan this route - use a smaller border- for get through much more relaxed.
The road was big, 2 lines for each like an highway. Unfortunately all 100m there was 4-6 Military Guys who stops cars and search them. They did search deeply - we saw pretty stripped down cars. They where heavily armes, machine guns an pistols - definitively no fake.
I was now way to nervous and stressed. We passed severall of them - but one group point us to stop. I stoped shortly and hit again the gas. Gitte was really shocked and told me to stop again - but i know i now just can keep going.
The next "mobile control point" wasnt far - but they let us pass. A short time later they try again to stop us, i did just wave and keep driving. This way i break trough severall stops. This was not wise, not good and pretty stupid - i just had much luck.
I need over an hour to calm down - it is hard to describe - but it was an hard fight to get through that border - and i know i had much to loose. By foot or with a bicycle - what can happen. But with an > 100`000K USD Car - when they starts to remove the interior paneling and so on (stuff we had seen driving through)... Yeah – I was not relaxed.

But after a while we had an high quality highway without further hassle. We use a branching dirt track to get an silent spot for breakfast and a break.
Sometimes later we reach Lagos, a huge city with lots of traffic, again bad roads. We stuck for hours in traffic jams and slow moving traffic. But hey - we was in Nigeria.
We did starts soon to look for a hidden spot for a wildcamp, but at this part of Nigeria you drive from small city to small city without bigger green spots between, farms or wood.
We stopped at a car dealership , and asked the guards if we should spend the night there - but since there was no owner - the guards was not allowed to decide… Several times we left the road for dirtracks, but anywhere houses, hats or people..
It was getting dark as we cross an big Hotel. We decide to ask if we can stay at the save parking, and meet the Hotel Director. He can`t believe that we wants to sleep in the car and did make us a special offer of 50% for an room. We can pay that – can use a room or sleep in the car if we want. Under this circumstances we choose the room, use the pool and the excellent Restaurant.
40 USD is pretty cheap for a nice Hotel, we just had burned 600 USD for two nights in Benin (5 Star Hotel, togehter with laundry and some food & drinks). The Hotel here in Nigeria is named "Nirvana" - what a name ...

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You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:55 AM
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Day 21, Nigeria Nirvana Hotel to Bushamp approximately 610km

Today we tried out to eat some miles down - through a beautiful landscapes and cities deserve the name . They are smug , clean, and churches are everywhere to be seen - and the cars often adorn references to a psalm or something from the Bible.

Nigeria we like more and more - no corruption - nice happy people - and often we get a thumb up, as they detect the we are tourists.

As often we eat our breakfast later, after some driving at10 a clock , along the way , and then drove back towards Cameroon. Do we push to much? We dont know how much time the wet/rain season will cost in Cameroon till Angola - therefore we keep our plans - to travel slowly if we know that we can reach southafrica within our timeframe...

We have never seen so many police checks - but they rarely apply to us - thankfully . But the police are nice and friendly.
Always in places where the traffic slows - you will be surrounded by an army of sellers - where you can get near everything - from mobile phones to chargers , potholders , eatables, iron etc. Our favorite is the roasted cashew nut.

In the evening we got stopped by the military who told us that the road before is "not safe"- without to say why.
Maybe you understand - we wasnt really relaxed and with a bad feeling in the stomach we miss the time for getting a wild bushcamp space before the sun goes down.
There is virtually no place where you could go unnoticed, or from where you can not see other villages or houses.
We follows severall Dirttracks, but here are to many people, we always end at some huts, houses or small villages.
So we drove in the night, with an open eye for a sleeping possibility. I was thinking as a factory site or something similar.
At a police checkpoint in the dark we were asked what we do here and we marked that we are looking for a hotel or a safe place - to spend the night.

The Police told us, that there is no hotel arround. We ask them if they are there at the checkpoint during the night.
As they say yes, we asked if we could spend the night near them on a branching dirttrack, in approx. 100m.
We showed them that we can sleep in the car, and they nodded. For shure there where some houses in sight distance. But the people seems to think we belong to the police - and dont try to disturb our delicious meal (fish from the can) and another sip of whiskey.
A quiet night is probably not - because the police stops 100m away almost any car who drives there.

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Old 11-27-2013, 03:56 AM
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Day 22, Nigeria to Bushcamp Cameroon ca 240 km

We spent a quiet night, just the heat was pretty extreme. We used the car aircon to cool the car down - to get a chance to fall in sleep in the short timeframe before the car heats up again.
We wake up from a knock on the car, the police checks if we are ok - thats a service!
Now in the starting day and some light the locals come to ask, where we are from, where we are going. They cant belive that we plan to do such an extended trip.. "Cameroon is dangerous"
And they ask, why we dont ask at their house. They have rooms there, they will cook local food and so on... Next time we would do it this way, the people was very friendly and relaxed and we dont think that we would risk anything there. Keep in mind that you explore your camp area at the day - that you are able to talk to the people to get a feeling about safety!!
We dont try to let them know, that we regulary dont try to connect with locals, because we just want to cook our meel, to talk together - to relax and don`t be surrounded by a bunch of people who watch each step.
Over the day we are open for chatting, some smalltalk and so on, but the evening is ours...
We give each Police Guy a pen as a small present (they dont ask for) and head to the cameroon border.
We know that there is a small Nationalpark, there is a Waterfall too - but honestly we know that we will see these Animals soon enough in the southern part, and that there are some very big waterfalls - so we pass the sight seeing part.
We look how to split up our money, change the clothes to the oddest we have, did prepare us for a hard border crossing.
But here the border guys was very friendly, relaxed - and within 30minutes we was in Cameroon.
After a short drive we meet some small mud huts, and the first time where a guy sign us that he is hungry in Cameroon - needs food and water. Thats just a try to cadge, he dont looks as he need food or water...

Now i was happy to drive one of the most famous offroad parts during our Trans-Africa! The "famous" part is between the border and ends in Mamfe.
The scenery is just amanzing! Here the "Jungle" is worth to wear that name, big trees surrounds the "track" who itself who has dig partly very deep holes. For an Toyota Corolla it may be the challange, but for an well equipped Land Cruiser on 33" tyres it was not that hard that i had hoped...
Unfortunately it was too dry to get more fun out of the track, also when we are in the small rainy season. (if you are query yourself about your tiresize: when you like to get some challenge - stay on 33".. With 35" or bigger tyres you will not find any challenge on the known tracks).

Yes, with some rain you will have some challenge there, but when you watch the travellers from 2013 are the chinese streetbuilder on - to built the street there...
Somewhere we miss deeply furrowed mud paths the locals use with their corollas, and was able to find some offroad fun there. Yes it was a "nice" piece offroad, but when you like to drive offroad and go there to find a challenge, you will be disapointed.
On a private Roadblock some guys try to optain money for keeping the track in good shape... I try to tell them, that we overlanders like bad roads and that they please should stop maintaining the roads - but i guess they dont really understand what i want....
The first time since Morocco we meet some Overlanders on that track (there is no alternative for these part, therefore when there are overlanders on the way up - you will meet them).
Two Girls on the way up in an Land Rover we just had a short smalltalk. A short time later we meet another english guy with an Land Rover who has an breakdown. His rear axcle he had fixed with his rear winch - crazy stuff... He is on an africa loop and on the last view miles up to the UK and was really pissed of from travelling because he runs from breakdown to breakdown... We talk about the sitations on our and his route, he was happy to hear that nigeria is pretty easy to cross.
As he hear from our disappointment about our offroad challenge he points us to the Road N8 between Bachuo Akabe and Bakebe.. He has there a really hard fight he told us, the worst part of his africa roundtrip.
The N8 means a big road who you find on each map - but this part of the road was never build.
Most Overlanders and the too the locals use the well prepared road from Mamfe to Bachuo Akabe to Etuku..
That guy was really staggered as he hears that i don`t have any deeper mechanical skill than changing a tire or an fuel/air filter - the simple stuff.
After the meetup the day nears to the end and we drove through the track to Bachuo Akabe. On the village we meet tar again, somewhere in the middle of the village we saw a dirttrack in pretty bad shape starts there, the good tar road heads to Etuku. Thats must be the track the english guy has told us from, with a portion of respect we head to the track.
Because my girlfriend feels my big disappointement about the missing offroad challenge - she dont try to ask for heading on the tar road... For shure i will drive that bad track.
The village locals stops us and told us that the road is not possible with our car. I try to tell them that i can lift the car (hydraulic AHC suspension) and have lockers, but i`m not shure if they believe me.
Very nice and friendly guys who just want to help us in the right direction.
After a chat we progress with the track, but we had to rest soon, the day nears his end. We are surrounded by the jungle, the real primeval forest we knows from films, just a wonderful environment to cross. Here is no track who leaves but we found a small spot direct on the track (20m away).
Thats not the privacy we like, but today it has to work for us. We get our chairs&table out and prepare a fire for the night. Severall motorbikes cross the roads and three young guys was curious enough and return shortly as they passed us.
They could speak some english words, but it was barely enough to really have a chat. They just cant believe what they see - it looks like.
After a while they leave and told me that they will come back later.. Was that a threat or just a new friendship? I will have a look that our car is ready for emergency start when we go sleeping - i promised to myself. We usually pack everything before we go sleeping, no table/chair/stuff outside anyway...
We prepare two beautiful steaks (watch the pictures) together with pasta and pesto - delicious!
It was really hot and wet and extreme loud from the insects and animals - who was unfortunately not visible. We often try to guess what animal has currently cried - amazing!
We light a fire and enjoyes the evening with a sundowner. Two thre times a motorbike cross the track, but without to stop.
Tomorrow we will see what is "the hardest track" on an african roundtrip.
My Girlfriends means that i`m a bit too carefull as i ask her to leave the driver seat free for tonight - to be able to do an emergency express start...

But there are some other stuff who can cause headache - our route was well known and public in our blog - we put each evening the GPS coordinates from our wildcamp to our blog (with our satellite messager)..

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You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything.

I did enjoy it much to write a blog, therefore i start a new blog about overlanding, travelling, paperwork and preparation of extended trips and so on: http://www.4x4tripping.com

Last edited by 4x4tripping; 11-27-2013 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:49 AM
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Really fantastic stuff! Thanks for sharing
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:50 AM
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Day 23, Sunday 2 December, Jungle Camp - Beach Camp (Cameroon) ca 260 km

Today we drove the first 7 hours 150 kilometers harder offroad style. These english guy was right - very very nice offroad stuff and way harder than the famous border crossing till mampfe!

Again and again demanded long mud passages all of us and the car - several times it was not easy to figure out how to best tackle the passage.

The AHC Suspension saved us severall times for getting stuck, because the suspension can lift the car also on setting "high" if it detects massiv wheelspin on all tyres. It was the first time that Brummie had really to fight, since our experiences in the sand of mauretania.

So everything was going extreme lean angles with subscript chassis, low- furrowed track mud mud grooves and holes where you do not know how deep they were - and where to see no more lanes were . Sometimes the whole still steep downhill or uphill - so beautiful crisp.
If Brummie side leaning on the mud channel - was also my adrenaline level as where he belongs.

But at the end we manage it through these lovely area without the use of the Maxtax, Winch or ground anchor. Remember this was optional, there is a better track available from Mampfe, so you dont have to use this track. But you can.

The locals are really nice and helpful! In Mamfe they had try to stop us from taking this route: "not possible , not with this car " ...
It was possible - but also several times very close.
I think with smaller tyres than 33" you can figh there often with your winch, if you like to do that..

Cameroon is THE off-road paradise and many Dirttracks to nameless villages invite you to explore. From our track we saw severall splitting tracks who looks exrtemely worse - yummi!

As part of our Trans Africa within 2 months - it was not possible to explore these tracks deeper. They looked also too risky for a single car, specially if you sleep inside of your car. Not funny to sleep inside, when the Mud was inside too. With 2-3 well prepared cars - you find there any challenge you dream about..

As we reach a better track we reelerd off another 90km additionally. I want to camp by the sea and to swim inside again.
We headed to Limbe - a sweet little town - with a majority rocky coast - and the Cameroonischen oil industry outside the city - including oil rigs.

When the now ironically sounded - no - it 's beautiful here - even though the oil industry does not quite fit here. The Limbe region is just wonderful! Many smill islands lie to the little town, reminds me a little bit to the islands arround koh pi pi in thailand.

We drove about 20km to the north along the beach and found a nice restaurant by the sea - where you can let us camp against a small mite.

To swim into the sea after such a day - very nice! Perfect waves, a nice spot - what does we want more? The sand is black there, a nice contrast to the beach we usually know.

The Restaurand was just a beach restaurant, as we start cooking the peoples left the beach - and we stayed back there alone. We cook rice and put a delicios steak on the fire - delicious!

Shortly after the food - it was already dark. Suddenly we noticed - that we got attacked by ants. Normally, this would have gone over our socks and good. But we treated our socks with Nobite - they perished miserably and called for help and gave us their burning juice - we and our socks was full of dying ants.

So resettle camp - swimming in the sea - and the late Sundowner can come.

The people in Cameroon are not quite as cordially as in the previously visited countries. It is rare to see a wave at the roadside at sample. Often, people begging on the wayside.

A few times we were yelled at when we rolled in step speed through the villages. We dont had stopped to ask why, maybe they just want to drive with us in the next village...

The Police guys on the checkpoints arent that friendly too, but they work correct without trying to take cash from us. Usually they just want to chat a bit. We also drive in a correct way, slowly in the villages. We stop also when there is no stop sign on road crossings, to avoid any bribery szenario we read from.

Keep your paperwork is in order, ride correctly and be kind, then you can bypass the most trouble who can happen...

Fuel prices in Camerun are arround 1 USD per liter.

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Here the pictures. Unfortunately Gitte was often not relaxed enough to take pictures - so you can just look these areas of the track here who was not that heavy to drive...
























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You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything. But it will need some time for the next update.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:33 AM
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Day 24 Monday 3 December , Beach Camp - family connection, Jaounde , Cameroon ca 360 km

How cool is that? We have allready passed the first milestone - to reach the beach from cameroon, in the raini season
Here i had guessed that we probably get stuck in the mud for some days, for reaching the beach. We realized that in the morning, as we wake up.
I got out and jumped into the sea on this wonderful black beach. Looking back from the water shows an amazing szenery, with the highest mountain from Cameroon in Front. I enjoyed it for a while to look back from the sea towards the beach and country. It was a bit overcast and foggy - but so beautiful!
We meet an guy from the tourism office who try to sell us a walk into the mointains. He laughed out loud as he hears that we want to cross the congos.. Too dangerous.. Funny that people of each country told us, that the next country is worse. That had started in Mauretania..
We don`t want to walk, we are on to enter the next stage of thrill - to cross to congo on an less known boarder in the jungle. We also didnt know if we can enter there in an legal way. And i hope too to find there some additional offroad adventure.



We drove relaxed through the green jungle to Yaounde. Cameroon , we have now both closed in our hearts - because it is beautifully - and the people are relaxed. Although the people starts to beg from time to time, the people arent that warmly welcoming than in the countrys before, it is nice here!
Today we was also a bit on the Cameroon mainconnection roads, the N3 - what means we had too some police checkpoints who we wasnt able to drive through as we usually try it on the small backroads. One check was pretty deeply, they checked triangle, Carnet and fire extinguisher - the other times we was able to look stupid and to sign them that we dont understand.
While people have always spoke English - so this has turned behind Limbe - all of us speak French. We even bought a pineapple and beat pretty early on for a good bush camp.
We knew that we were noticed when exiting the road, but we left ourselves to the aloofness of the people. After dinner , with veal steak and mashed potatoes - there was a ripe pineapple - what a life.
During we wash the dishes two men came out from behind the car - and unfortunately could only speak French. Apparently they found our wild camping not so great.
To bad - we was glad to camp early and had want to have an relaxing evening.
We packed our gear, because we had to leave anyway, and we discuss if we want to trust these two guys. We trust them, and they show us a parking spot where we are hidden behind their house. They care about our security!
Now they offer us to come into their house. Now we had a familly connection. 7 People live in this large inconspicuous house with two floors and a neighbouring cottage. They had a large living room we would also like to have at home. A large leather couch, a wall clock, a large dining room table, over all a bit more space and like we would like to have at home in switzerland. Electricity is granted only from each 19h in the evening - but otherwise have everything you need here.
Honestly - just the living room. As we asked for toilet they had no answer, we had to go outside. In the meantime it was dark outside, not an good idea to find a spot for toilett - we was glad we had our foldable camping toilet with popup tent and dont have to s**** in their garden somewhere.
So we sit in their livingroom with candle light - but no more sign of hospitality. So i went out and came back with three cold beers which we shared. The two men, Joseph and Desire were brothers and live there together. One women spoke English since she came from the english speaking nothern part of cameroon, Bamenda and so we had also a little small talk.
Thus, a large living room , we would also like home ... Sofa, showcase , wall clock - so we would not have imagined it. Electricity is granted only from each 19h in the evening - but otherwise they have everything you need here. The water they got outside, they have not an bathroom like we at home - it is like on of these caribean or houses from cube who are just not really finished.
The two men , Joseph and Desire , were brothers and lived together here. Joseph is a mechanic, while Desire is a taxi driver (we guess with a bike taxi). We learned that we have passed an national park, about 5km before - and that we have to go tomorrow . Since Google / Bing satellite maps do not know the park - we expect times relaxed with a zoo ;-)
It looks that we had a bit too much fun with the english speaking women, they had to leave soon - and the discussion ends because auf the language barriers.. As the electricity and light comes at 19h, the television starts and we was alone with some children - the adult ones seems to leave for television.
The woman of the house apparently had no desire to take care of us. We would have been happy if they just would leave us where we was, that to lead us into their house without anything. But clearly our fault when we cant talk the french language, i guess the evening had end in another way - by sharing storys and chatting.
So we went to bed early. The host wants that we park in another way - but we prefere a straight peice of meadow. After a short discussion we could stay where we are. Tomorrow we will reach again the remote areas of Cameroon - happily with an wildcamp spot where we could stay witout hassle.

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You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything. But it will need some time for the next update.

Last edited by 4x4tripping; 01-22-2014 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:03 AM
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Day 25 Cameroon (Beach to Jungle Camp 350km)

In the morning we filled our watertanks, glad to had a water filtration / purification device.

Not because the water was bad, it had just a decent amount of dirt inside.
Then we try to find that nationalpark our hosts has mentioned. But we didnt find the entry point, nor a sign for it.
So we head in direction of congo. Till Youande we had a kind of an good country road, where we could push it a bit, the V8 let us flight, with many overhaul operations. Here we saw again many accidents mostly caused by big trucks, some of them was pretty fresh.
The landscape is incredible. Slowly the bush goes into the green jungle and into the rain forest. The road and the places were getting smaller, and we refil our diesel tanks, and bought little bread, bevore we leave the populated area of cameroon.
We went over many rivers and bridges, until the road stopped, and just a nasty gravel track lead into the deeper forest. The track was really the worst washboard (corrugated) i had ever driven. I set the suspension to comfort, lower the airpressure and try to run faster than 100km/h, but that rattle dont reach an comfortable level, too it was dangerous because deeper holes that required a screeching halt.
Mostly the AHC Suspension let us drive quickly over such stuff, but this time it was too extreme and i drove 10-15km/h over an hour to avoid serious damage on our car.
We hadnt found any recent experiences, had no idea if we even can cross there to congo - if we get our paperwork done there. I hope we dont have to return the same way...
But soon the the rattle/shake track gets better, and a fast brick clay track leads through the amazing rain forest.
There was no traffic and not often we saw some people and 1-2 huts. The people here was very small, a kind of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples,very short and we never
saw one person without a machete in the right hand.
They dont pay more attention to us, they donst seem to see tourists often(no beging anymore). They seem to look for small fields of banana and other stuff who mostly was behind the first row of trees of the track.
After a while we reach a small village of maybe 10 huts with an open selfmade looking barrier who was open. As the people detect us they start scraming and start to run to our car, while we was slowly rolling. I decide that i dont want to know what they want, because they are a bit to loud/fast.
Maybe the want to drive with us, to let us transport something, or also do get some roadtax?! After more shy looking peoples on the road side, this amount of running guys - to much for us. So the V8 brought us quickly away.
Now quick passages was mixed with really bad stuff, deep holes and some funny mid. It takes a lot of concentration to drive here without ruining the vehicle - unless you sneak extremst.
Later in the afternoon we reached after we have long seen only " mini " village " a real village with gas station - the last in Cameroon, according to a gas station attendant .
Now we would usually start to look for an wildcamp spot.. But here is jungle just jungle.. When there is gap, then there is too a hut. So we stop on such a hut and tried to ask - but no one was there. We start again and after some kilometers we stop to camp directly on the track, on a short piece who was wide enough to let other vehicles pass.
As usual i did a short walk to inspect the camp are, to avoid some surprising events. There i detect an near overgrown entry to a unvegetated spot. We had to take an steep hill, to get there, our car is made for stuff like that. We look that no trace point others to our camp, if someone pass us by daylight.

Bingo - we are such lucky poeple! On tall grass at sample, we would never relax because of snakes and stuff - here we got really a perfect spot.
We cooked a Steak with pasta and pesto rosso - yummi!

As i did check Brummie (we name our car this way) I found that 4 of the 6 screws of the roof rack had been resolved between 1 and 2 cm . Ouch! Even as we take out the camping chairs, a screw drops down. Damn bad tracks!

Then we heard some people talking very close, there was now severall walking peoples on the track in the evening. We never wash that quiet till today and we too use just very small lights. We didnt want to get detected.
If we got detected it is probably better to move directly in a village and ask for a permission to stay there, as to hide in the wood and make the locals worry about.
Here in the jungle (rain forest) it is pitch dark at night - the smallest light acts like a spotlight - and we use the smallest light sources we had ( most of it covered by our fingers).
Only some fireflies (glowworm) was visible from time to time. Usally we are pretty relaxed at our camp, tonight in these darkness and trying to be quit as possible - not really - specially because we recognize that we can hear people talking constantly - a village is nearby.
So we didnt light a camp fire and talk just quietly. After a while a gospel choir was to hear pretty near, a nice experience to sit and hear that!
Now we will go sleeping and we hope that we have remained undetected...

---












-----------------------
You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything. But it will need some time for the next update.

Last edited by 4x4tripping; 04-08-2014 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:45 AM
  #50  
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Day 26, Jungle Camp (Cameroon) to Jungle Camp (Congo), 315km

Like as usual, we wake up pretty early and used the cooker to heat up some water for tea. The breakfast we will do later, when the sunrise has bring the sun. Then the amount of mosquitoes in the air is much less then, and with some luck we are hungry till then.

The adrenaline rises once as we start the engines, somehow we had to return to our dirt track again, had to climb over the clay hills. For shure we look where the village is we could hear near at night, but is was not visible. Means that no road lead to the village, looks like they had no car, no slot for parking, no mobility.
Since yesterday afternoon, we are in deep jungle / rainforest. Since yesterday afternoon we see only woods, no distant view, no view, just a braid of trees and shrubs - and our jungle track. Rarely is there an offshoot, even more rarely, a few huts on the roadside. There are also no shops or shopping - apparently not even expect the locals with traffic or sales.
But from time to time we meet some guys walking on the track, always with their machete as glued in the right hand.
After probably 2 hours driving, we stopped for breakfast. What for a noisy environment-the jungs is pretty loud. We saw some monkeys, some birds, note more. But the noise let us know - that there are many animals out there.

The track itself had everything. From passages with deep mud, extended ruts, really bad washboard, to parts like a flat jungle highway.
Did you too ask yourself sometimes, how this washboard originate? I found this scientific explanation

Sometimes the washboard was that worse that we had to creep or to drive above 100 km/h. The problem with the high speed was that there are near invisible jumps in the road, so we severall times took of with all 4 wheels with our near 4ton Land Cruiser.
Because of this we also drive many kilometers with 20-30km/h, a speed where the AHC Suspension (hydraulic) was able to take out the washboard and we don`t risk our car or live.
We was not shure if we could pass the border if we was there, if they could handle us overlanders, was able to stamp our Carnet de Passages, would accept our worldwide car insurance, would let pass us through.
That we probably had to drive back, sound not good to us. Really a green hell. Did we mention that we just see trees?

We saw one of these rare tracks who crossed our track, but we stay on the better "highway". We didnt see a single car or truck the whole morning. After a while i slowed down quickly, trying to guess what was in front of us.
The jungle was cleared further here, an approximately 800m wide spot, around the track. In 100m distance was a tiny house, more like a bus waiting station, and a closed barrier. Two armed guys hanging arround there, a big sign shows something - to far away to read.
Definitively not a border crossing like we know them. But it looks to official and special, to be a trap.
So I drive to the barrer and stop. Now I could read too the sign, a mining company. One of the guards could speak english, what he shows us dosnt make us happy.
We had to return to the last junction, use one of these much smaller tracks. Maybe 20km back with some not so nice parts of the track.

Our offline satellite view of Bing and Google Hybrid and tracks4africa shows us, that this normally should be the way. Now is there a mining company...

Looks like they build the GPS Sources from the satellite view, instead of really track the road? The small road was not visible in the 14/15 Zoomlevel we had.

Anyway, we drove back, turned to the small road. The track was small but flat. Better than new highways in europe, a pleasure to drive! After a short drive we arrived in a small village with probably 12 huts but too 2 small houses.
There was several crossroads, we try two of them, who had a dead and. We ask at one of the houses to the direction of congo. They show us the direction, but not as exact as necessary. We tried two other roads but wasn’t successful. So we returned to the house, and ask them again. I guess they thought “stupid white guy”.

One of the men jump onto the bike and choose a small quite bad track and after 200m a bit outside of the village we stopped at a house. Obviously the border. If we had found this junction by ourself, we would have passed them, because we could see on the navigation, that the real border is miles away from here.
The exit of cameroon was easy. They dont seems to see many tourists like us. A guy without uniform was in the hat and came outside to look at our car. "Where is your weapon" he asked, like it is an usual equipment for border crossing. After a short friendly chat we got our carnet stamped (without any hassle), and could drive further in direction of congo.

30km dirt track through an nice scenery lead us to something like an village. More a comercial fabric than really a village, but we was just at the border, not in the town itself.
Guess what we saw, in the middle of nowhere? A blue Land Cruiser 200 was parked near the border! The first car in Congo
Some shacks was on the roadside, where the different steps was - we had to finish: Police, Gendarmere, Immigration und Vaccination. Like expected, each one want`s 20`000 CFA for doing his job. No one could speak English well.
The lady who seems to check our vaccination card try to walk away with them. I catch the card out of their hand, and shows her that we come later to her. I didnt want to buy these vaccination card back at the end.
Not an easy job there! We had to argue with any station, with a mixture of "understand nothing", "what", and "please write us a receipt", "your embassy told us it is free" to "we have no money" and once even I put the Visa card on the table - to pay with that (with knowing they cant handle that).
They was not happy about us. The gendarmery guy was angry about, and starts to check our car.
Damn, why we didn`t got a break bevore this border? I was hungry and dont feel really prepared for that amount of stress.

I open the back of the car, shows the drawers shortly, because they start to touch around. The second guy point to my cb radio antenna, damn - I dont had removed it before the border. The only point where they could catch me - everything else is perfect, from insurance, to papers, to visas, vaccinations to stuff we carry with us.

Ok one weak point is too my 2nd passport, a swiss person is just allowed to carry one of them at the same time.
Hint: try to keep everything completely legal, and you will don`t have any problems.
Glad that the leader guy ignors the other one, he detects stuff below our mattress, between the drawers and matress. There we transport our foldable Travel Toilet and our tirestep.

After that he shows us that we should leave, seems to be a bit pissed off.

This border wasnt not near that hard like that one of Benin/Nigeria at Lagos, but also not too easy - for a small border in the middle of nowhere.
For these travellers who try to optain an insurance at the border - at this border crossing you cannot get an insurance!



We were totally wet, high humidity and heat together comes at a price.

So we were glad to jump into our car, and let the aircon doing her job. A small village starts directly behind the border. Compared to the cameroon Villages near the border- here in congo there was really cute small chalets.
We had to find the women from the vaccine service, who wan`t to write our values into a big book we guess. We didnt see her - so we drive through. Also at these village - no visible shop or fuel station, i guess they will have some barels if you ask there.

With our 270l Diesel we dont care about fuel, was able to pick us these better fuel stations in the bigger cities. Also there: every single liter fuel we bought, we fill through our mr funnel fuel filtre! It is better to have some work while refilling, that to get stranded with bad fuel in the tanks!

After the village the rain forest starts again. It is that beautiful, but after a while you really miss an extended view, to see more than some meters! A beautiful green hell...
But after a short ride the rainforest got more and more into a jungle, palms, banana and flowers surrounds the track, very nice. Suddenly a violent thunderstorm began pouring rain, lightning and thunder. The dirt track transformed in a short time in a clay piste, what was very very hard to drive.
The tail tried several times to be quicker, and i stopped because i though - something must be wrong with the tires. But everything was ok, these mud was just near like ice. It was hard to drive, but too a lot of fun! Everytime the tail try to overtake, i had to compare that wish with accelerate, what makes us quicker than necessary. Fun! After a short time we detect traces in the mud - there must be a car bevore us! Now we saw where he chute from the street, the marks where they fight back to the track, marks where he hit the sidewall.

With reading this marks we was pretty quick, i saw where he lost control, and was prepared there. I never was drifting more previously, pure fun. Also completely crazy - the much better choice is to wait till the condition gets better!
After an half an hour we saw the blue land cruiser 200, we had seen at the border. He had hit the sidewall and was stuck, and 3-4 guys try to get them out, while pushing them.
They don`t seems to had detect us, so i try to hide us, light off, engine off and watch their progress. After some minutes they was unstuck and drive again - we wait 10 minutes to give them a kind of protrusion. The place they leave was full of toilett papers as they try to clean themself of the mud.

We saw that they got stuck severall times, and after some times we had them again in view distance, to short behind a turn, so we got detected. Again they had hit the left sidewall, they are lucky, because on the right side it goes downhill.
I didnt see a way to help them, we had trouble to stay on the track by ourself, no way to winch them out without much work for anchoring ourself. So we wait till they was out there, again 4 man pushing the car, after a while they was again on the road...
We rest there a while, eating something in the seats, it still rains a lot. In that mud and rain we cant eat our regular breakfast, or cook something.

When I look what damage we two cars did to that dirttrack, creating deep ruts, slip away of big parts of the track - filling the drainage system - I start to fear that they dont let us drive further, if we meet a village, checkpoint or similar. Too if a car got really stuck, the track will be probably not wide enough to pass by, so you are not quicker than these guy bevore you, who had no winch or mud tyres.

Glad that we just see just one car for the whole day... After a short break we drive further, enjoying the mud. Without ESP we probably also had hit the sidewalls, I guess. The thunderstorm seems to pass by, the rain gets weaker and ends finally.
We arrived in a village who was not soo tiny. At something like a bar we saw the parked Land Cruiser 200. The day was near gone - so we drove further - to find a wildcamp spot for the night.

The last 20km there was no possibility to even leave the track. The track was surrounded by jungle. In the middle of the Village (everywhere just clay track) was a step hill, where we are not shure if it is possible to climb up, it was still wet and muddy. I decide to risk it, and was on to put in 4Lo and the difflocks as a white guy with a bicycle slowly try to walk down, together with two helpers.
We feel like it was a long time ago, that we meet a white guy ;-) He`s a young guy from Czech, who did travel through africa by bike. We had a nice chat, he wants to know about if it is possible to drive further by bike - we told them that he better wait till it is not that wet..

Our car was able to climb up - pretty risky if you slide down - hard to get any control in that condition... Above we could see the whole village, a small church and even on one of the houses an Hilux Pickup before with an WWF Sign.
At a small shop we stopped and bought some food. We would like to ask that WWF guy about what he did here, but we need a hidden wildcamp spot soon. We hadnt drive long, a short part behind the village was one of these spots where the locals seems to get the clay for the roadbuilding, where we could hide us behinde some hills.
Unfortunately the Coleman stove (unleaded, two flames) died after heating up water for a soup. As we want to fire up again to rare a steak - he didnt light up. We try to solve the problem, but we wasnt able to repair it.

What a crap device. After 3 weeks of use with a maximum of 2 inserts a day, and using of Coleman Fuel - and daily sooty pans...
We are in the middle of nowhere, how we will cook the next days? Our plan was to go into the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, staying some days into the rainforest, watching animals...

At night we try usually to stay hidden and undetected - therefore we can`t know if we are able to light up a fire... Tonight we was too close to the village, at sample... So we have a cooling box and a fridge - but no cooker...

We decided to have a look at the shop in the village for something to cook, otherwise we will pass through to Brazzaville. A bit hungry we go sleeping.

____
















_____________________

You can progress reading also in our Blog @ http://transafrica2012.blogspot.com - but i will tell the whole story here - and try to translate everything. But it will need some time for the next update.

Our experiences about equipment, gear and so on, we write at the www.4x4tripping.com Blog, since a short while too in english language.. About stuff like the most important gear for overlanding, most important apps, comparisons of winches and air compressors, travelogues and so on...
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:44 AM
  #51  
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Always a pleasure to read about your adventures.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:02 PM
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A good read once again. Awaiting the next segment of the adventure.
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rworegon View Post
A good read once again. Awaiting the next segment of the adventure.
There will be a kind of delay, before I am able to translate the Transafrica-Diary to the end, because a new journey is coming:



Here is my "new" Travel-Thread:

https://www.yotatech.com/forums/f100.../#post52243713

And the new Travelblog you will find here:

http://adventure-overland.blogspot.com

I will finish this translation of my transafrica blog afterwards for shure! Because the story here isn't finished, I had to open a new thread...

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Old 12-25-2014, 07:32 PM
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Great thread, awesome trip!
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:51 AM
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What a trip. I am jealous.
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