This is part of the Seventh section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Chad or read our previous visit
15/1/01 The saying goes, "You should not plan to achieve more than one thing a day in Africa". We were unusually lucky and managed two border crossings. Out of Chad to Cameroon and after 70 km of Lake Chad baked mud flats now dusty with pulverizing vehicles, out of Cameroon and into Nigeria. Both straight forward and a little over an hour each. We were again disappointed in Nigeria's roads. Red on the map, but the asphalt left to deteriorate to the extent that most vehicles now use a dirt track alongside because it is smoother, at least in the dry. More trucks were seen broken by the road than moving along it. Having only one track of wheels we weaved between potholes for a while but as they grew to covering the width of the road we deferred to join the dusty side track. Stayed at Maiduguri tonight.
16/1/01 The roads better and it was easy to cover the approximately 600 km to Jos. Still getting fuel out of plastic but as explained to us, "Nigerian fuel is thicker and gives 3-4 km/litre more mileage than Cameroon fuel. That's why the Cameroonies buy Nigerian petrol to take across the border". Thicker fuel would also mean a lower octane and less fuel flowing through the carburettor jets, both making the motorcycle run hot and rattly and "run on". Where a country has a fuel shortage it seems they ignore the long term effects on the vehicles for the short term problem solving. The flat terrain passed through the usual villages of subsistence people selling what little firewood they can collect from the depleted scrub and gathering a shrinking amount of water from drying dams. It seems the only possible long term survival for the land and thus its people is to reverse the rapid population growth.
17/1/01 It's difficult to remain immune to the deteriorating conditions that surround us every day in this region of Africa. Grand schemes now just empty shells. The Jos Museum, a highlight of Nigeria but again with no maintenance rapidly disintegrating. Money is wasted everywhere in the world but it seems so much more criminal in a country where the people have little or nothing. Without the release of other travellers and the "oasis camp grounds away from Africa" that they bring, without the natural scenery and animals of east Africa and with the extra difficulties of intermittent water or electricity and petrol we have become quite tired of this part of Africa.
18/1/01 330 km to Nigeria's main tourist town, Kano. Again alone with no sign of any independent tourists at the tourist camp this month. "Will the last traveller in West Africa please switch out the lights". Kano is deterring tourists at the moment however, not intentionally, but as a result of their introduction of Sharia Law, the strict enforcement of Muslim Law from the Koran. In this part Muslim, part Christian country, this state government has allowed the enforcement of Sharia Law on Muslims. However it has flowed over to Christians resulting in some being arrested for talking with the opposite sex (something which could result in promiscuity). Muslims have recently been flogged for having consumed alcohol or being adulterous. The introduction is going through teething stages resulting in demonstrations and even the parading of a decapitated head through the city. No wonder the Lonely Planet Guide describes one of the highlights to Nigeria as surviving a visit.
19/1/01 We had managed to obtain our Niger visas yesterday within an hour, freeing up today to visit the recently renovated museum in this oldest city in West Africa. It's growth recently however swamping the older part and its mud city walls. People have moved here from many different regions with their face scars indicating who they are and from what tribe. Some are quite distinctive with one to three vertical slashes on the cheek or slashes back from the mouth corner like cat whiskers.
20/1/01 Straight to the border and we had managed to traverse Nigeria without a single police road block stopping us.
Move with us to Niger
or go to our next visit to Nigeria
Story and photos copyright ©