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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 1 Apr 2008
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Crossing Cameroon

Hi,

can anybody advise me how to cross Cameroon from Nigeria to Gabon with respect to road conditions, safety, nice places to be, etcetera? North-south, west-east? Specific roads to drive of not to drive? Cameroon seems to me the most difficult part travelling down to Capetown.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martheijnens View Post
Cameroon seems to me the most difficult part travelling down to Capetown.
Hmm, not sure why. I rode through Cameroon 30 years ago - crossed over from Nigeria near Port Harcourt and then trqvelled the main route through Douala and Yaounde (even got a new passport in Yaounde because the old one was full) and then East to CAR. Ok, the roads were a bit rough in places but nothing like Sahara conditions, or the mud in what was then Zaire.

Garry from Oz.
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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Hey,

Cameroon seemed easy to me (except the Timber-Truck-Corrugations on the gravel roads) compared to Angola or Boma-Muanda in Congo-Kinshasa.
Have a look at this to get an impression of the road qualities and driving-times in Cameroon. On the sea-side you have to go to Limbe for relaxing. If you are looking for animals think about the trip to Dzangha-Sangha in Bayanga/CAR. The gorilla-trekking here is the most impressive and the cheapest in whole Africa.

Further on in Gaboon you have to decide which way to take to enter Angola. Most of the travellers prefer the one via Point-Noire. I recommend you to enter Congo-Brazza more in the north via Franceville as described here , it is safe and quite easy to drive. On this way you also avoid the route Point-Noire->Brazza if you won't get an Angola-Visa in PN.

Any more questions?

Peter
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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Cameroon is a very easy country to drive through, with the previously mentioned logging roads being bad during the rainy season. From Nigeria the easiest crossing is at Banki then the road from Mora to Ngaoundere is fine. Thereafter you are on a logging road to Garoua-Boulaï, after which it soon turns to new tarmac through Bertoua to Yaounde.
The best road to Gabon is via Ebolowa and Ambam, but I don't have accurate info on the conditions. Gabon embassy in Yaounde.

If you are crossing in the south of Nigeria then via Calabar is ok, but the road is a mud track to Mamfe before improving to Douala.

Plenty of good places to stay/things to see in Cameroon from Gorillas and Pygmies to mountains and lakes, grasslands and Sahel, to game parks, great beaches and excellent seafood.
Dave
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Old 11 Apr 2008
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Thanks for your replies! It is helpful, in particular the recommendation of traveller-tracks. Very useful information, not only about distances but also about road conditions. Whow! From all information I collected it becomes clear that there is no way of avoiding the rain season. But what is the `best` (or less worst) country to travel through during rain, Cameroon or Gabon? Maybe, Peter (Slep Afrika) of traveller-tracks knows the answer??
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Old 12 Apr 2008
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Thanks a lot for your comment. So, maybe I'm on the right way and I hope you will also post some information to give all the work a sense.
Back to your question:
You point in the right direction when you say the 'less worst'. Just ask yourself which are the bottlenecks in the rainy-season and you will figure out that there are at least three:
- Nigeria-Cameroon via Mamfe: During heavy rain it will take 2 weeks with a lot of (expensive) help from the local people to get 50 Km (guys with a Landrover I met in Brazza)
- Cabinda-Matadi (Muanda-Boma): All I heard (friends of me lived in Boma for two years) of this route is, that you might get in 12h (90Km) even in the rainy-season. You can avoid this route as I figured out above, but you have to keep an eye on the angolan visa. I've heard you will be rejected in Kinshasa without an angolan visa (although you will get it defenetly in Matadi) or apropiate papers from the angolan or your embassie look here.
- Noqui-Tamboco (North Angola): When we drove this road it seemed to me that there are three or four parts where it might be difficult during rain. Further in the south we had heavy rain and even the local Toyota Hiace have done it.

If you like to get a suggestion, I would say, push the rainy season as far as possible in the south (if you are using the road via Mamfe - but also the more nothern border-crossings p.e. via Mora are also sensible for rain). If you get it south of Luanda you won't have any problems.
Keep in mind that the rainy-season is comparable to our winter. Nobody might predict how cold it will be, if there is snow and how long does it last.

Cheers Peter
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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Hi Peter,

Thanks for your information. Your suggestion “to push the rainy season as far as possible to the south” means to travel from Ngaoundere to Yaoundé during the dry season, in January or February. However this also means to travel through Gabon - from Libreville over Franceville to Brazzaville - in March or April, so in the rainy season. Is that doable by motorbike? The pictures on traveller tracks suggest it can be quite nasty in rainy season! Another question: how is the fuel situation between Libreville-Franceville-Brazzaville?

By the way: look at my website Welcome to Wonderful Travels, the section "about distances". Is that the kind of information you expect for Traveller-tracks? If so, I will send you the data.

Thanks for your answers,

Mart
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Old 23 Apr 2008
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Hey Mart,

please don't get me wrong, but doable is a lot :-) and as I've seen you did a lot already.
The gravel-roads in Gabon were in a fairly good condition, they were solid and quite well prepared. During rain they will be slippery (this might be tricky by bike) of course but from Kasamabika to Franceville I guess you won't find any mudhole. From Alembe to Kasamabika I didn't drove, but I tested the first few Ks and decided then to take the road via Boue (cause I was heading north). This road (I tested) had a lot of holes but maybe the underground is still solid and this are only some Ks.
From Lekoni to Okoyo you have sandroad, which means that the sand is more solid shortly after rain than during dry periods. We also had some rain when we drove and there was a lot of rain shortly before we arrived. This road does not cross any river and does not go down to any swamp-areas, the water disappear very shortly after rain. One year ago the tar-trucks for the new N2 in Republic of Congo used this road to carry the tar from Franceville to the construction point. So this road was under maintenance permanently. With a bike you shouldn't have any problems here even if they do not maintenance it anymore.
I didn't really record the fuel situation, cause we were still driving with diesel from Angola :-). But on the road from Libreville to Alembe it should be no problem (Gabon has a lot of oil). In Francville you will find fuel for sure as well when you reach the N2 in Obouya. The small villages between Kasamabika and Franceville I can't really remember, guess what that means. But there is some traffic, so there must be fuel too (maybe little more expensive).

Well, the net of routes is just the static data. I thought about the dynamic things like the road conditions and driving times. As you might imagine is that an easy job one week after you drove the road (I guess it will take less than five minutes for the last week with about 2000Ks to enter the data to traveller-tracks - if the routes are entered) but a hard one half a year later.

Cheers Peter
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Last edited by slep_afrika; 15 May 2008 at 22:26.
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Old 28 Apr 2008
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Thanks for your information Peter!

Peter, thank you!

This is the information I need. I also found out that there is small "drier" period, in january and february. I think that is the right time to cross Gabon. It looks great!

With respect to distances, I kept in my agenda the data of times of departure, times of arrival, amount of kilometers, etc. So, not from town to town but from day to day. Unfortunately I lost all the data of South America because my agenda was stolen in Miami.

Best greetings, mart
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Old 8 May 2008
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Hey Mart,

sorry for the delay, but this sounds good. I would be glad to get my hands on those ;-), will see what I can get out of that.

Cheers Peter
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