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  • 1 Post By roamingyak.org
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  #1  
Old 19 Jan 2014
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from Lagos to calabar

Hi can we drive across from Lagos to calabar, we don't see many posts of people going this way.
we do not need any visas as we have got all apart from Gabon we get in Lome, and Cameroon we get in calabar.
has anyone done this recently if so which route.

cheers for any info.
dave
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  #2  
Old 19 Jan 2014
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Hi Dave
The route through Nigeria to Calabar used to be well traveled but I have not heard many people heading that way in the last year.
Most trips in the Mid 2000's used to bypass Lagos and keep inland before heading to Calabar. The locals knew the area as Cross River state.

Keep us posted and updated on any new information.
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  #3  
Old 20 Jan 2014
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we did something like this 9 months ago....we crossed north of lagos...and kept out of the city...crossed along nigeria via benin city,enugu, and south after ikom......do not go south before then...WARNING...delta is not a place to drive around...i know its alonger road...but belive me even this northen road is difficult....road blocks with burnt out police jeeps...fake cops...keep all windows up and doors locked...dont open the doors, window...if they csan get a hand in they will open the door and drag u out.....if u have peper spray keep it handy ( even if some of the badguys were sunglasses to stop u from spraying)...
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  #4  
Old 21 Jan 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gazza171 View Post
we did something like this 9 months ago....we crossed north of lagos...and kept out of the city...crossed along nigeria via benin city,enugu, and south after ikom......do not go south before then...WARNING...delta is not a place to drive around...i know its alonger road...but belive me even this northen road is difficult....road blocks with burnt out police jeeps...fake cops...keep all windows up and doors locked...dont open the doors, window...if they csan get a hand in they will open the door and drag u out.....if u have peper spray keep it handy ( even if some of the badguys were sunglasses to stop u from spraying)...
Sums up why people have figured out to avoid the south (and north) and head through the middle. Even if you don't need any visas its highly recommended to go up to Parakou in Benin, then up a bit more to cross the border after Nikki, then New Bussa via a piste/dirt track (all in tracks4africa), Abuja, then Makurdi and onto Calabar if you want to visit. No guarantees, but this is likely to be the least amount of hassle and risk. About 10 checkpoints border to border, only one serious request for a 'dash' (bribe) and smiles all round… others had a few more requests, others none (2011 & 2012).

Strong advice is to avoid the south - higher risk all round, much more checkpoints… Camping at the Sheraton in Abuja is kind of fun as well ;-)

Good luck…. ;-)
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  #5  
Old 21 Jan 2014
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Hey. I rode my bicycle from Benin ( Ketou ) to Ikom and on to Cameroon back in April/May. No major hassles along the way ( went through Abeokuta, Ibadan, Oshogbo, Benin City and Enugu ). Took me close to 3 weeks. The only stretches that are pretty tense is the Benin border- Abeokute stretch with lots, and lots of checkpoints and the last 100 kms towards the Cameroon border. Comply with the guys and smile !
Be safe, L.
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  #6  
Old 29 Jan 2014
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Hi guys,
Many thanks for the advice - we have been debating which route for days now!! From Ketou to Ikom tempts as it is the shortest/direct route. Were going to ask Nigerian truckers to help make a last minute decision but all of your comments have helped us to decide on Abuja route now I reckon.
At Grand Popo enjoying the breeze. Only need our Cameroon visa now.

Cheers!!
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  #7  
Old 30 Jan 2014
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I drove the southern route two years ago and wouldn´t advice against it at all ! Went over the border 50km north of Porto Novo at "Pobé" where everything was absolutely relaxed with no hussle involved. Of course everything is kind of chaotic with people screaming around at eachother and the guy on his "200l-petrolbarrel-vespa" gets a beating for trying to speed over the border without stopping but relax, its Nigeria ! ;-)

I although have to agree to "roamingyak" that the Parakou area in Benin is fantastic too !!!

My route was ---> Ilaro - Ifako Ijaye - Lagos - Ibeju Ode - Benin City - Warri - Port Harcourt - Calabar - Ekang -> Cameroon

There are plenty of police checkpoints and some of them definately demand for a gift ( same thing on the northern route through Abuja as i´ve heared from friends ) but generally no problems if you ain´t got one for them and make your point clear. After a while you develop a way of talking and dealing with officials and for me joking in many situations worked well to make friend among the at first even dodgiest policemen ( "that bird last night took all my money, but doesn´t matter cos Nigerian women are best in all africa" , " ah ah, these guys at the last checkpoint were so hungry that there´s no gifts left for you, next time my brother" ) !

I stayed at local peoples places a lot which invited me, camped in compounds and really enjoyed the friendly, energetic, hospitable and well educated nigerians a lot !

The south is amazingly beautiful and although I went to all the "hotspots" where there was trouble and kidnappings some years ago I had no serious problems where I got in danger. Depending the kidnappings I talked to many people and the issue with this is pretty much solved due to military presence and agreements with the government !

Of course I am not pretending its absolutely safe, cos it isn´t ! Stay alert, don´t trust everybody and have a safe place before it gets dark ... but not on an higher level than in other african countrys I would say. I´ve arrived in Benin City and Port Harcourt in the middle of the night due to breakdowns/bad timing and although nothing has happened to me + i managed to find a place to pitch my tent for free its not something i would advice !

If you take the northern road you also would miss out on Lagos which is quit an experience compared to the sterile and boring Abuja. Its the biggest and most charming urban shithole i´ve been to so far and i loved it ! Don´t get why every single time Nigeria comes up here the "Sheraton" is mentioned as if it would be a paradise in hell you have to reach the same day you cross the border to be "safe". Free and safe camping is possible in thousands of places and talking for me the adventure of finding them is one of the reasons i travel ! No need to get any visas there as for Angola you won´t be lucky anyway and Cameroon is possible in one day in Calabar too ( can highly recommend the monkey sanctuary and carnival they have there once a year )

Always when it comes to Nigeria the only thing you read about on the HUBB is bad stories, which I think is a shame ! Dead people lying on the street, kamikaze truck-drivers, bandits at roadblocks, corrupt police everywhere, cops "wearing sunglases to protect themselves agains your pepperspray when they try to rob you" ??!! The traffic is crazy, but not any worse than Ghana for example.

My advice --> don´t judge the country before you went yourself !!! Its easy to get a bad opinion and scared as nearly every local in west-africa warns you of Nigeria and its "bad" inhabitant ! Mostly they are people that have heared rumours and bad stories from other folks and have never been there by themselfes.

Of course there are travellers that had many negative experiences and they are very welcome to post it on the HUBB, but I didn´t find too many recommendations so this is my contribution !

Some pictures of the "southern route" :



( entering Lagos in the morning dust )















Cheers,
Chris
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  #8  
Old 31 Jan 2014
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Here is another report of going along the south:

Notorious Nigeria | Indlovu

No checkpoints like that when I went through the middle in 2011... but things do change...
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  #9  
Old 4 Feb 2014
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i will say, that personaly i dont think it was as bad as some would say...but everyone on our truck felt it was the most danguse place we went in Africa...
but i still say its not THAT bad....but we did see burt out police cars on the road,
one of our drivers was draged out of the driving seat by guys and we pulled out the spry and got out our large nuimber of people to back them off...but we did go straigt to the real cops after, and they helped us out ( the bad guys were following us until we got to the real cops)....this type of thing happend on the outskirts of 2 diffrent citys......the second time the local Nigerians scared the bad guys off

we did here gunfire once or twice inn the night, but we also heard that in other countrys ocasanaly....so nothing that specail

ive been to Nigeria before and i know like everywere there are good and bad...just nigeria does have a bad reputation

we found free places to stay in almost every place we went to....and locals are often helpfull...the food markets are a little less stocked ( people say everything is imported because they have the petroldoller so there is not as much farming as there should be)

good .....check out turbo king

if u are driving a Bedford or a Internatanal/Mac....its a good place to find parts

real good and smoth roads most places

Calabar is a nice city

i personaly dont know about port harcort...for me its just not worth the risk...and people i talked to out there black and white said...its not a risk worth taking

if u are looking at the options to avoiid Nigeria of driving around ( not safe) or shiping ( lots of money and cheating) i would go across Nigeria....a place you will not forget
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  #10  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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Nigeria experience

Hi Chris,
(My advice --> don´t judge the country before you went yourself !!! Its easy to get a bad opinion and scared as nearly every local in west-africa warns you of Nigeria and its "bad" inhabitant ! Mostly they are people that have heared rumours and bad stories from other folks and have never been there by themselfes. )

We agree!
In the end we took the route north and crossed at Nikki - terrible bedrock and mud drive the day we took it. But the welcome was fantastic! The Nigerians sure do know how to welcome you to the country.
No worries for security or check points - humour, a big smile and fun cleared the way.
Met the many stickmen west of Abuja - practically rammed the one that is famous for being a nasty corrupt horror - he jumped out of the way very quickly!
Other than that - no worries. Saw some amazing Fulani women and many large cattle migration herdsmen. Wonderful. Wish we had gone slower but visa timelines are a pain in the ass here in West Africa......
A two hand welcome wave from Nigeria. ha ha
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  #11  
Old 23 Feb 2014
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Cameroon to Lagos

We tried to go from the small boat harbour, Idenao about 40km north of Limbe, to Calabar 2 weeks ago. The port captain would not let us go because of piracy in the area. The port captain said that tyeh Lagos Calbar road was good.

We then drove around to Ikom in Cross River State Nigeria via Kumba and Mamfe. The road is pretty messy for about half the distance and apparently virtually unusable in the wet season. From Ikom we drove to Lagos. Once you are in Nigeria all the roads are good. Driving on the main A232 highway from Onitsha to Benin City and then onto Lagos is not for the faint hearted. The traffic is insane running in both directions on either side of the concrete median regardless of the formal direction in which the traffic should be travelling.
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  #12  
Old 24 Feb 2014
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I travelled on a street bike from Lagos to Benin city, Onitsha, Owerri, Aba, Port Harcourt, Calabar and then through the very very bad road from Ekang to Mamfe in Cameroon (see photos), but the Chinese are building it. That was in January 2014. It was a fantastic trip and the people were very nice and helpful in both Nigeria and Cameroon.
Just keep your eyes wiiiiiide open on the roads specially in the USA African style (ie: Nigeria). You could easily have an accident there due to: very bad road covered with potholes, badly laid tarmac, people and animals crossing the road all the times, very bad drivers and most of all vehicles coming at you head on on the express way between Lagos and Benin City!!!
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Last edited by schenkel; 24 Feb 2014 at 16:09.
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  #13  
Old 5 Mar 2014
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Wow
We did that route in early February and never saw that section at all. Our route was a breeze but then we had not had rain and all the locals would point us in the direction of the best way if no workers were around.
Hope the bike and you were okay.
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