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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 7 Jan 2010
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road from Lambarene (Gabon) to Dolisie to Brazzaville

Hi Guys after a major clutch blow out, (still waiting on parts). We will be heading down into Gabon (hopefully) next week. WE have gotten a very recent report about the franceville to oboyo road (gabon to congo): it is okay but lots of soft sand. I was wondering if anyone has any recent info on the Lambarene (Gabon) to Dolisie to Brazzaville road. and what we may be looking at. To note we are two up on an Africa Twin (very heavy). i have read Mark Hammond's (ride far) post so i know what it can be like after rains but here in Cameroun it is dry (for now...muhahhaaaaaaa)

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  #2  
Old 8 Jan 2010
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Hey Xander. So right, the road from Gabon to Dolisie could be a little tricky in the wet. If it’s rained sporadically you’ll probably run lot of mud ponds for the first say 70 km. But they're really not that bad and should be OK two up. After that the road improves because of log truck traffic. Then again, if it’s been raining steadily the whole thing would be muck.

Dolisie to Kinkala can be some tough going again if it’s rained. We averaged just 60 miles a day on that stretch in January 09. The road wasn't all bad -- some decent piste in fact. What took time was getting thru the monster mud messes with trucks queued up for many days waiting to wrench through the mud. So it won’t matter if you’re two up or not, you’ll be pushing that Twin, if it's wet!

I have some videos of the Dolisie to Kinkala stretch on You Tube YouTube - RideFar's Channel Closer to Kinkala you run maybe 10 miles of deep sand. From Kinkala to Brazzaville it’s paved.

Dolisie to Brazzaville has also got its share of ex-Ninja rebels and bandits. I saw a report not long ago about a robbery of westerners on that route, not sure exactly where. As I understand it the Congo civil war began in Mindouli. We saw plenty of weapons but encountered no problems and personally I would run the stretch again, but to each their own.

You’ll find decent lodging, food and fuel in Madingo, Mindouli and Kinkala. You’ll also be welcomed like a king, tourists are very rare. The Congolese in this area were some of the warmest, sweetest people I encountered in Africa. Looking back, Dolisie to Brazzaville was the no. 1 greatest adventure of our ride. Good luck …
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  #3  
Old 12 Jan 2010
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Road conditions Northern & Central Gabon

Hello from Libreville.
I arrived in Gabon Christmas day. The road from the north border is in excellent shape. Almost like a European highway. Word of warning, the road suddenly & dramaticaly takes a turn for the worst about 50 kms from Ndjole. with no signs it suddenly has large sections of deep potholes covering nearly the entire width of the road. The Problem is that they are normally around a corner and completely in the shade as the jungle vegetation forms a canopy over large sections and are hard to see when you are travelling at 100 km/h. Lots of kanikaze bush taxi drivers and logging trucks.

Beautiful scenery when there is a gap in the forest. A few times in central gabon, you will need to ask locals if you are on the right road as there seems to be little in the way of signage at the new branches except right at the roundabout in the towns where the highways meet.

The road to Libreville is okay. Lots of potholes and sections where they have dug out the pavement to repair it and waiting for the asphalt (some time in the next month) to complete the repairs. Another reason not to drive at night, during the day they are not a problem as the road is clear of overhanging vegetation.

I would suggest that you overnight in Oyem to be fresh for the roads/highways in central Gabon.

Rick
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  #4  
Old 12 Jan 2010
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We're looking at driving Dolisie-Brazzaville on the 19th.

Anyone have any up to date info on the road?

Will post here once we've done it.

Cheers, safe travels all, Sam.
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  #5  
Old 18 Jan 2010
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Hey Ridefar

I'm thinking of a passing thro Cameroon/Gabon/Congo perhaps April or May. I'll be solo on a GS1200. Can I make it? I'm a big guy with plenty of off-road experience - but if 1/4 tonne of bike gets stuck up to the axles I WILL be in bother! Some of your vids look a bit hairy - but are they short sections, or are there hundreds of miles like it?

Cheers,

Ian
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Old 18 Jan 2010
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YouTube - B2C Webisode 9

This is what it looked like for us in Spring 2008
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  #7  
Old 24 Jan 2010
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Okay, so...

Dolisie-Brazza:

road is rough but fine (2wds are bashing through). It takes all day.

We met first 'ninja' roadblock just before Loutete, and last was just after Mindouli. Seven in total, although 2 were un-manned. They each ask CFA3000 'to fix the road'. They appeared to be unarmed.

We confused them with a 'Happy New Year' and then either drove through, over or around whatever they were blocking the road with.

On arrival in Brazza, we were told that most people (including locals) just pay them the 3000 (so about 20000 in total).

The easternmost 2 (the last 2) were the most aggressive, but only chased (on foot) for about 20m.

So, be careful out there, and don't try the route at night!

Safe travels, Sam. (from Luanda)
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Old 24 Jan 2010
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Hi Sam, I see you're live now. Are they fully into rainy season yet or is that still coming. I should be going through there in early May.

Have fun!
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Old 24 Jan 2010
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There's about 2 hours of rain per day, it can come/go at any time. The road remains firm, but the top 2cm are VERY greasy (we have to be careful in a Land Rover, so you'd be better stopping and waiting on a bike).

'later, Sam.
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  #10  
Old 24 Jan 2010
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Thanks, Sam - I'll keep an eye on this thread. Is there a blog or something that you update as you go?

Safe traveling!
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  #11  
Old 24 Jan 2010
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Hi,

This could be of interest:

The Endurance Rally Association - London to Cape Town Rally - Route Survey

but it could be construed as advertising (although not for us!).

Grant, feel free to remove if inappropriate.

Cheers, Sam.
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  #12  
Old 24 Jan 2010
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Sam

That's all very encoraging! And very nice reading.

I have a feeling that a lot of pics I see from people's blogs etc. are the hardest-going bits(?) - at least that's what I'm hoping! Deep mud, water etc.

I know you're a 4-wheeler, but you don't see a problem getting through on a big GS? If 2WD can do it, I can - its just the matter of getting IMPOSSIBLY stuck on my own which isn't nice!

Guess I'd be going through Apr or May, which appears to be neither the wettest or driest time.

Ian
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Old 25 Jan 2010
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You're right, most people post the worst stuff! Ours is more 'level', as we are doing a route recce for 2wd cars, so the route cannot be too difficult.

The thing, in fact, is the rain. If you have had rain within 8-16 hours it could be an epic, but if no rain in the last 24-36 then it'll be a breeze (this is general from southern Nigeria to mid Namibia!

You'll be fine on your big bike, but if it's raining go slow or stop for a few hours and enjoy the peace.

Safe travels, Sam.
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  #14  
Old 25 Jan 2010
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Thanks Sam.

That's what I wanted to hear really - I'm sensible (or soft!) enough to wait a day or two, but wasn't sure just how persisitent the rain was once it started - I don't want to be waiting a month!
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  #15  
Old 25 Jan 2010
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Hey Ian. If you ride Dolisie to Brazzaville in May, that’s towards the end of the rainy season as I understand it. I think you would be OK so long as rain hasn’t been heavy.

Riding Dolisie to Brazzaville in January 09, my two friends and I asked ourselves what it would be like to ride that road solo thru mud. It would have been a beeyotch. It was a team effort getting thru a lot of the gruel.

That said, we didn’t encounter much axle-deep mud. Nor did bad mud messes run for hundreds of miles. The worst of it was a number of monster mud messes that took time and effort to negotiate, especially around dozens of trucks queued up and waiting for days to get thru. Good luck ~~

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