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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 22 Aug 2011
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Road Conditions Cameroon to Republic Congo ?

Hi Folks.

Which route should one take to avoid Gabon when going from Cameroon do Republic Congo directly ?

Visa is pretty expensive (50.000cfa) and I am thinking to skip Gabon but depends on the roads. Cannot find any informations, maybe somebody here has taken this route already and could share some informations.

Also, which border to enter Cameroon from Nigeria in around one month ? Abong ? Maybe I should mention that I ride a 125cc classic vespa, 10inch tires so trying to avoid the big mud wherever possible.

greetings from Togo,

Chris
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Old 22 Aug 2011
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Hey Chris,

I don't think you can reasonably avoid Gabon, especially if you are riding a Vespa. Almost everyone just heads south through Gabon, the roads are good and Gabon is a nice place with some great rainforests so I would recommend you go there in any event. I seem to recall hearing from some 4x4 purists that the roads in the northern part of the Congo are pretty hard core.

Once in Gabon, for bigger bikes a common route has been to head east through Franceville but the road has soft sand for larger sections so not a good choice with your tire size. Head straight south instead, N1, etc.

From Nigeria to Cameroon, most cross at Ekok to Mamfe. The road used to be quite bad in the rainy season, but they are working on it so it is better. Still to be avoided if it is wet until they make it all season road. When dry, well packed mud and pretty good. If it is wet season, you can go around by taking a ferry from Calabar.

As you ride onwards, remember to cross from DRC into Angola at the Songololo crossing, not Matadi. The road is better, and will be dramatically better for a bike with small tires.

I trust that you have heard about the changed visa requirements for the DRC and the home country sourced visa request/demand that has been a hassle for some travellers.

Ride safe.
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Old 23 Aug 2011
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A couple have recently just come up South to North through Gabon on a motorcycle. The roads do not look good, but they are useable. Its seems like its mostly sand (except for mud in Nigeria!).

This is there latest post:
07-08.2011 Central Africa & Nigeria - ::. UKGSer.com .::

A
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Old 23 Aug 2011
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Ah, fond memories of that road in the pictures, some great shots. That's the road that runs east-west from roughly Okoyo (in Congo) to Franceville (in Gabon). It's about of the 1/2 of the way up Congo-Brazza before it cuts across to Gabon. The roads on the Congo-Brazzaville side are paved up until Okoyo but it's unpaved and rough from there to the Gabonese border, something like 150-200km.

I think the OP was asking if a person can ride all the way up (or down in his case) the length of the Congo and bypass Gabon completely. My vaguely worded answer was I don't think so as the road north Okoyo was supposed to be very rough so the most northerly crossing that most people take is on the Franceville-Okoyo route.

The pics from the link show how sandy that road is which would make it tough on a bike with small tires. The roads straight south in Gabon (N1?) will at some point lead to rough roads on the Congo side but see regular traffic and offer options to take go through Cabinda if a person has a dual entry Angola visa or cross somewhere directly into Congo-Brazza.

At some point, if the roads get too rough, one of the benefits of a small bike is that you can throw it on a truck to get through the worst parts. There will be more options to do this on the more common routes I would think, it might be possible for the route east to Okoyo but it is not frequented regularly by truck traffic so you might be waiting a while until you found a truck that would take you at a reasonable price.
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Old 24 Aug 2011
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These guys bypassed Gabon on the way to the 2010 soccer world cup. In relatively weak KIA 4x4s.

Home | Road to South Africa
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Old 24 Aug 2011
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Good to know, looks like an interesting trip. I couldn't download the videos to see how that specific part of the route looked but for an intrepid adventurer, might be interesting to give it a go.

I met up with some friends in Matadi, DRC who were 4x4'ing south to the World Cup from Italy and they had contemplated taking that route but thought better of it after talking to some other, better prepared, overlanders that they had met enroute.

May not have turned out to be as bad as feared for a 4x4, but their info was enough to reinforce for me that the Okoyo- Franceville route as the better choice for a fully loaded overlanding bike.

To each his own though, the road conditions are changing pretty fast so it might be a super highway within the next few years.
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Old 28 Aug 2011
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The route from Cameroon to Congo Brazza, via Sangmelima, Mbalam and Souanke to Ouesso is certainly doable, I took it in mid 2010. The roads are surprisingly good on the Cameroon side, leadin through impressive, dense rain forest. There's Chinese logging going on on the Congo side, but everything goes in and out via Cameroon. Both border check points were friendly and only the Cameroonian customs guy even hinted at me "donating" some money.

The first two thirds of the track on the Congo side are pretty bad though. Enduros and 4x4s will manage, but you will struggle on a Vespa. It all pretty much looked like in the picture, for about 150 km if I remember correctly, parts had deep ruts that I know fellow overlanders had a hard time dealing with in their Landcruiser. It took me four days from Yaounde to Ouesso.



More pictures here

When I get back from my current trip in October I can post GPS tracks and such, as I think this is a route really worth taking but often overlooked.

This was in the drier part of the season, I imagine it get's ugly in the rain. That being said, as you can see, local 4x4s ply this route, so it's doable.

Oh, the customs hut in Cameroon is in a village about 30 km before the border, where the road takes a left turn. Be smart and stop there the first time you pass it so you don't have to go back all the way like me.

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Old 28 Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelbug View Post
These guys bypassed Gabon on the way to the 2010 soccer world cup. In relatively weak KIA 4x4s.

Home | Road to South Africa

Here's their video:

link


This brings it all back. I was alone on a TTR600 and dropped the bike countless times into the mud. I was completely and utterly fılthy when I reached Ouesso. I would try to ride on the ridge but the clay was just so damn slippery that at some point I decided to just take my chances and take the puddles head on.

Good memories though...
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