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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 26 Nov 2009
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Calabar to Limbe ferry details?

Hi all, Currently in Accra, Ghana. We've heard that the Mamfe border crossing is terrible, and a friend who has just gone through said it was 'broken' and he no luck getting through in a 4x4. Apparently there is a twice weekly ferry from Calabar (Nigera) to Limbe (Cameroon) but don't know if it is just for foot passengers. Has anyone tried this with a vehicle? We have one motorbike. Any info greatly appreciated, we are not up to really rough riding with our beastie!!!

Cheers,
Xander and MrsX
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Old 27 Nov 2009
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My friend took that ferry from Calabar to Limbe with his XT in December 08, seemed to work well. The boat was called the Angel Gabriel. Don't have much further info except that it was doable last year.

Just a note on the Mamfe road. It's not real difficult riding unless it's rained. Then it's another story with the mud. We were lucky enough to ride it during a dry period and it was great fun, and the Bamenda region of Cameroon is cool. Good luck ~~
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Old 11 Dec 2009
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When did you do the Mamfe road?
I did it on a bike in March (dry season) and it does not look like something I want to do in the rains.

Took 6 hours to do 60km, it rained the previous night though.
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Old 12 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inyang View Post
When did you do the Mamfe road?
I did it on a bike in March (dry season) and it does not look like something I want to do in the rains.

Took 6 hours to do 60km, it rained the previous night though.
Inyang -- the Mamfe road was late December 2008. Nearly all of the road was dry -- lucky.
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Old 14 Dec 2009
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Hi guys
Went that way earlier this year, looked at taking the ferry round the
Ekok to Mamfe leg then decided to take some hard pills and give the road
a go. Made the crossing on 24 July '09, slap in the middle of the wet
season. It can be done as we achieved it but we had to employ helpers,
and it was miles and miles of deep mud. I would not recomend this
route two up on an Africa Twin, at one stage we got one bike so badly
bogged 5 of us only just dragged it out. Very hard on man and
machine.
As for the ferry, our understanding of it is that is still runs and takes
bikes, not sure about cars. all info for this can be seen in the Africa
Lonely Planet.
Hope this helps
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Old 19 Dec 2009
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Go through Bissaula directly onto the Ring Road - it's not easy, but it's better than the Mamfe road in the wet and MUCH more interesting!

We did it earlier this year, see: http://www.mindtheelephant.com/blog/...1_archive.html

The road that looks possible on the Michelin map through Abong isn't possible with anything other than bikes as the river is too deep - there are canoes that you can use to cross with smaller forms of transport.

The road through Bissaula is a mission, but worth it. We were only the second tourist vehicle through in 5 years so it's not very well used, good adventure though! Here's the blog from the others that went through:
Country template Ghana

Enjoy.
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Old 20 Dec 2009
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Our ferry experience!

OK, we did it! And after hearing reports from others about the Mamfe road and how long it took and the road condition, we're really glad we did it. BUT it was not without it's hassles.

Nothing is completely straight forward, and you can't sort anything out till the day the ferry leaves anyway - in our case, it was Calabar to Tiko (22km from Limbe) on Tuesday morning (Limbe ferry was broken, should run again soon). You have to bargain a price for your bike to go on the boat - we managed 45,000FA in the end (roughly £65) - after trying twice and even getting a better deal but then the ship's manager upped the price on us!! The bike was ridden on by Xander across a thin gang plank, with help from the loading crew. 50 guys wanted money for their help loading, we were able to get away without paying anything. We did get help from some guys on the dock (dealing with procedures etc), one wanted no money, another was OK with just a small amount for a soft drink.

Tickets per person are 6500 naira second class, 10,000 for first class. DEFINITELY get first class tickets - you go on the boat as soon as you like on Tuesday afternoon, you sleep on board then boat sets sail at 5am Wednesday morning. It's aircon, you get breakfast and lunch provided (and it's nice!), and there are few enough people that you lie down on the seats to get sleep. Crossing is pretty smooth - MrsX gets seasick and got through fine. In 2nd class, you are absolutely crammed in with everyone else, can't sleep and no aircon. It really isn't worth the hassle! Passport control for Cameroon is completed on board, it was straightforward and cost 3000CFA for each passport to be stamped (everyone paid, and it was all explained onboard beforehand, so no funny business - it cost more if you didn't do it yourself, by the way!).

Offloading is where the biggest stress and hassle came in. Xander was told after loading the bike that we would have to pay 100,000CFA for a crane to offload - he said no, we'll wait till everything is offloaded then bring the bike off. Seemed no problem. We arrived at 3.30pm Wednesday, to be told we had to come back Thursday morning to offload. Xander arrives Thursday, the dock manager starts at 200,000CFA for offloading the bike - and no crane!! He says no, dock manager won't budge below 150,000CFA. After boredom and sitting around for several hours, Xander starts helping offload the bike. This shocks everyone - a white man working? Cameras everywhere!! At 3pm, having already given Xander a cold drink, the dock manager says he has to charge for offloading the bike and can't do it for less than 20,000CFA. Considering 10 guys lifted the bike off the boat and another 10 guys collected it by hand on the dock, and they are all paid for the offloading work they do right across the boat, it was worth it and actually very reasonable.

Take from our experience what you will, but a bit of hard work and relating to local people can really pay off if you're on a budget. Xander made a lot of friends, got lots of offers to visit etc. If you try the ferry, see if you can find Paul the cook - lovely guy, offered a very cheap place to stay (nothing fancy for 5000CFA) but good food where he co-runs the restaurant, and helped us alot.

Cheers, Xander and MrsX
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  #8  
Old 24 Jan 2010
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thanks for ferry info

Xander did good relating Xanders' crossing on Ferry.

Inyang plans to do Central Africa-East Africa and loop back up via South Africa then Angola/Congo/Gabon come January 2011 and would rather bypass Mamfe and save energy for the roads and officials in the CAR.

How was the customs on landing? Carnet and importing issues?

Last time we crossed into Cameroon (March 08), I had to deposit 700USD for my bike, I was given back all the money on return though.
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