February 22, 2011 GMT
NIGERIA 19.02.11 - 28.02.11

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Our heads are full of horror stories about Nigeria as we’re riding towards the border, corrupt policemen, nail boards, dash, uncountable check posts, violence outbreaks etc.
From the first day on in Nigeria all this stories prove not to be true for us!
At the border all the procedures are correct, the police officers friendly with no one asking us for money. Instead they’re wishing us a good trip through Nigeria!

at the sheraton CAMP in abuja

at the sheraton CAMP in abuja.JPG

We’re being stopped 2 times on the way to Kano but, in both cases, the officers only want to know where we’re heading and where we’re from. At the first check post in Nigeria we are asked if we’re hungry; they would slaughter a goat for us if desired…
Arriving to Kano is a bit of a nightmare at first, terrible traffic and no road signs whatsoever. Our old city map doesn’t show most of the roundabouts, which makes it even harder to find our hotel. It all doesn’t matter. The first guy we’re asking for directions jumps on his motorbike and bring us right to the entrance of the Kano Tourist Camp. Instead of asking us for a tip, he only wishes us a pleasant stay and rides of.
The rooms in the Tourist Camp are dirty and overpriced, the staff is not willing to change the sheets or replace a bulb… not exactly a place for relaxing after a long ride!
Kano is a city of about 5 million people and it suffers from lack of electricity. Only 2 hours a day there would be light, otherwise, the ones who can effort, run their own generators, adding to the incredible air pollution.
But still, there is always something making us happy after all: 3 weddings on the day of our arrival in the Tourist Camp. Jane is diving into the colorful events making new friends while I’m servicing the bike.
Nigeria has excellent roads but a lot of insane drivers. Riding 110km/h is considered to be slow; even trucks are overtaking us occasionally. Why to ride 110 when the speedometer shows 180??? Nobody even considers slowing down in the city limits or at the speed limit sings. One can see the results of it pretty soon. All along the highway there are car wrecks lined up. For us, the greatest danger in Nigeria is definitely the crazy traffic, not anything else.
As soon as we stop at the roadside for a coffee, we’re surrounded by curious people. Nobody would touch the bike or do us any harm; they’re all polite and friendly people.
Abuja is still under construction it seems. The road system isn’t finished yet but the traffic already arrived. It takes forever to squeeze through the endless cars and minivans and to find our destination: the Sheraton Hotel. Yes, that’s right; we’ll be staying at the Sheraton this time… not at the Hotel itself though but camping within the hotel grounds.
It’s kind of strange to ride straight up to a 5 star hotel gate and ask for a place to camp, isn’t it?! We were asking ourselves ever since who got the idea to ask for a place to pitch a tent in this hotel for the first time.
The staff kindly shows us the grounds for the tourists (they call us tourists and not campers…), the toilettes near the swimming pool and the showers in the squash court.
From our tent entrance we can see the bright Sheraton sign and the beautiful lit National Mosque. Things can’t get any better.


national mosque in abuja


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tourism in nigeria isnt that great at the moment...

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hairstyle in nigeria


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the kids just love to pose


the kids just love to pose.JPG

We’re having the first contact with Angola at their embassy Monday morning. Despite all the widespread unfriendliness and their special requirements (copies of driving license, vaccination card, carnet de passage, international registration, payable only in US$) for the visa application, we’re hoping to get our transit visa 2 days later.
But 2 days later there is no visa for us due to computer problems in their systems… we should come back 5 days later on Monday. Unfortunately we can’t wait another 5 days due to the expiry of Jane’s Nigeria visa. Bad luck and somehow a bitter taste of our first Angola encounter. Things are much easier in the Cameroon embassy, 2 days later we’re having our tourist visas and ready to leave Abuja and our fellow campers (sorry, TOURISTS) Steffen and Lilly.


We’re trying to make it as far as possible towards the border this day. Due to our “shortcut” to Ogoja, which isn’t a short cut after all, we’re forced to camp along the dirt track. We simply knock on the first house we see and ask for a permission to camp. Not only we get the permission to stay overnight, we’re being offered a room, shower and food! Tina is a great host and proves to us once again that Nigeria isn’t bad at all!
In fact, during our 10 days stay, we only had good experiences in Nigeria!


Next day we make it to Ikom, and after 1 day rest we’re challenging the famous Ekok – Mamfe road. No issues at the Nigerian border side besides one female officer who couldn’t count up to 10. She’d simply insist that Jane overstayed her visa…


offroad in nigeria

offroad in nigeria.JPG


Posted by Darius Skrzypiec at February 22, 2011 03:46 PM GMT
 
 

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