Cape to cape and further

Richard is on the road for his major trip.

Destination: all the way..........


Togo and Benin

Week 09 - 10, monday 24 February 2014 - sunday 09 March  2014

After my last rainy night in Ghana I’m luckily able to pack-up my tent dry and when I have finished my coffee I take of to get to the border post near the campground. The rain from last night was quit heavy and I wonder how the off-road track into Togo will be. The shows me a very nice but very winding road with many hairpins. The camping-owners had told me the day before that the road was good for a motorbike, but after last nights rain i have so my doubts. Anyway I go to the border post and the first stop is the police. Here is a female police officer who ask me to marry her and when I answer with no she is annoyed and it takes her suddenly ages to stamp my passport. The other office is the customs and that takes only 15 minutes while the chef was not even there yet. It’s so funny to see differences in government officials. After this I’m ready to go and I hit the road. It turns out that the road didn’t effect the road at all. I hardly see any water and that makes my mood even better. The formalities at the Togo site are handled by one person who can hardly keep his eyes open while it is the beginning of a working day, haha typical Africa !!!!!

The road turns out to amazing, small not maintained and full with beautiful views over the valleys. I’m being stopped at one checkpoint but the people here are enormous friendly and they  just ask me lots of questions over my trip like how many kilometers I have done so far and how many countries I have been. Togo is not a country with many places to see and therefor I head down to Lomé the capital. Here I want to apply for the visas for the Republic of Congo (RoC), The democratic republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Gabon and to get another visa for Benin. In Accra I had filled in the wrong date and therefor I would have to stay for two weeks in Togo and that while there is nothing of any importance to visit in Togo. 12 kilometers east of Lomé there is a place called Chez Alice, a hotel / campground owned by a Swiss lady. This is a meeting point or overlanders and therefor a good place to stay for me. I pitch up my tent in the yard and have company of two monkey’s who are kept in a cate. I find a coconut and use my machete to open it and drink the juice and give to shell to the monkey’s. The next day I go to the Benin embassy and apply for a new visa, it cost me only 10.000CFA. Since it is friday I’m only able to pick the visa up on Monday. Later the day Marc and Dorothy arrive at the campground and one day later Fabian and Jasmine arrive as well. Monday morning I pick up the visa at the Benin embassy and go strait for the embassy of the RoC. For 80.000CFA I get a 3 months multiple entrance visa. I choice for this because of the uncertain situation in the DRC. If they don’t let me in I can get back into the RoC and sort things out there. The next visit is the embassy of the DRC and here I also become residence of Togo. DRC has the policy that you can only apply for a visa in you home country, but in Lomé it is easy to become a residence. Still it would not guaranty you an entree at the physical border.The last visa I have to arrange here is visa for Gabon. The procedure is easy and the pickup is the next day. On the way back to the campground I stop at Togo-Moto to have my rear-tyre and oil changed. It turns out that the tyre is really bad and I’m happy to continue my ride with the new one. When I ask if they have another front tyre they answer no but they gave me a name and phone number of a guy who may have one. After a phone call I make the appointment for the next day to get an spare front tyre. Those day’s in Lomé have been again a great time with the all of us and the time we don’t spend at embassies we spend at the restaurant in Chez Alice getting our blogs updated and just exchanging videos and lot’s of points of interest. I also buy myself an external hard-disk to backup my photo’s and video’s. The next morning after having a breakfast in the restaurant I take of in the direction of Benin. The coastline of Togo is only 50 kilometer long and therefor I’m at the border within the hour. Once again it’s easy to get out of Togo and inside Benin, within 20 minutes all the paperwork is done and also now I don’t have to pay for a Laissez-Passer.

In Benin are two nice national Parks, but unfortunately they are not accessibly for a motorbike and therefor I plan to drive up to Nikkie to cross the border over there. The border crossing at Nikkie is known to be easy and without much paperwork. Lagos in the south of Nigeria should be very corrupt according the stories on the travelers website I spend my first night in Benin  in Abomey where there is another overlanders campground. I turns out that this campground is completely ran down. The original owner has died a couple years ago and that is visible in many things. The toilets and showers are not maintained, the menu is down to two meals, drinks are there only in two or three bottles and the service is far from acceptable. The nice thing of this campground is that there is also a woodcarver and he have many sculptures al around the campground. Since I like wood I’m very excited and have a little chat with the guy and take many pictures of the sculptures thats when I find a basin with three little crocodiles in it. Later in the afternoon there also arrives a Dutch couple, Ria and Gerrit in an Toyota Land-Cruiser. Ria and Gerrit are traveling already for 9.5 years and they are doing Africa for the second time. Unfortunately it have changed for them a lot and they don’t really enjoying it anymore and there are planning to go back to Europe. We have a nice evening and we exchange lots of information and they gave me the roadmap for the South of Africa. So far I had only copies and now I have an original, thanks for that Ria and Gerrit. During our chat it turns out that they have also met up with Fabian and Jasmine, a small world down in Africa. After a couple beers and some food I went to bed late and woke up at around 03.00. It was pouring rain and the entire campground was flooded, luckily my tent stayed dry inside but everything was muddy and dirty. In the morning the rain stopped but the tent was far from dry so I packed it wet and after an breakfast with Ria and Gerrit I take of further north. I feel not well today and have to stop during the ride three times to make a sanitary stop. When I’m closing in to Nikkie I find a cheap motel decide that I want to sleep in a decent bed with a toilet at hand and since the tent was soaked I have to let it dry first before I can use it again. By now I feel that my stomach is completely empty and I order food but after it I start sweating and my stomach is still not ok. I feel my temperature rising and I’m afraid that I have catch malaria. I do not have a tester but I have a cure with me and so I decide to start taking the medicine. The night I sleep some but not much and the next morning I don’t feel well and decide to stay another night what gives me also the opportunity to get my tent clean an dry. In the end I stay for three nights and after that I finally feel better and when I wake up in the morning I’m excited to get on the bike again.

I going to tell you evereything about the crossing into Nigeria in my next update.

The coconut I shared with the monkey’s.
The company I had during my stay at Chez Alice.

One of the many sculptures at the campground.

And some more sculptures.

My favorite sculpture like my size.

I found this fellow in a basin.

Countries I have visited: