Cape to cape and further

Richard is on the road for his major trip.

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


Nigeria no problems at all

Week 11, monday 10 March 2014 - sunday 16 March  2014

Entering Nigeria from Nikkie on a sunday is one of the best things you can do. It’s quiet and the people working where extremely friendly. The all ask me for my email address and they all give me theres. One guy from the military intelligence service ask me some questions where I plan to stay. I tell him honestly that I never know in advance where I will be at night. I tell him that there are many rumors on internet that the nigerian police and military checkpoints ask for money. He tells me that that is not longer allowed because Nigeria is changing as he day. He gives me his mobile number and tells me to call him if anybody along the road ask for a bribe. I thank him for everything and promise to call him if there is someone making problems. I head of in the direction of Kaiama and the road is all tarmac, then at some point I check the map and it tells me that I have to go left at some point otherwise I will head down south. That is something I don’t want because there is Lagos and I like to avoid the biggest city of West-Africa. After my turnoff the roads becomes quickly bad and even worse. I rethink my plan and think for a minute of turning back to the asphalt, but come on the road can’t be that worser. And that is a big mistake, because the road become worser and worser and it doesn’t go quick at all. I get tired and on one point I drop the bike and have to wait ill somebody helps me. He offers me to drive in front of me so I know which track to take. It goes well for some time and than the motorbike of the guy breaks down and we try to repair it but that doesn’t work. It becomes dark and I don’t like to ride a dirt road in the dark, but the guy say it’s only 3 kilometer to the next village where I should wait for him. When I arrives in the village there is a police checkpoint and after a chat in which I explain that someone is coming up but that I don’t like to ride in the dark. The police officer, Abel offers me to stay at the checkpoint and sleep there. Abel and is colleague give me some food, rice and beens. It turns out that they are really cool guys. I’m even able to take a shower and than after some more chats we go to bed and I sleep on the veranda of the police checkpoint. In the morning they make me coffee and buy me bread and with that they make a very good impression of the Nigerian police. In the early morning I continue my road and the road doesn’t become much better for another 35 kilometer. Than finally there is tarmac again. It is with potholes and sometimes no tarmac at all, but it is so much better than the road I drove yesterday. I promise myself not to do any off-road anymore because I’m sick of it by now. Today I hope to end up some where 200 kilometer before Abuja. I mange to make it till Bida where I take a motel room since the road I drove today was full of potholes and the temperature is back to 40 degrees. The next morning I’m back on the road by nine and it’s clear that I’m heading in the direction of the capital, because the traffic become worse and the roads better, or maybe the other way around. The closer I get to Abuja the busier it become and the traffic here is chaotic, but with my GPS I manage it to reach the Hotel where I can pitch up my tent without any problems. Sheraton hotel let travels pitch up there tent at the back of the hotel. As travelers you are allowed to use the showers and toilets of the sport center and you are allowed to use all the other facilities as long as you pay for it. The first thing I do is going to theGabon embassy which turns out to be only one kilometer away. The lady’s are very friendly and despite that the application time is in the morning they lat me fill in the forms and complete all the necessary paperwork. They tell me to call them back at 13.00 the next day to hear of the application is approved. Then it will take 48 hours to collect the visa. This means that I have to stay at least four nights and since I have only 10 days visa for Nigeria that I have to hurry up as soon I have the visa. The next day at 13.00 I call the embassy and it turns out that the visa is ready and that I can pick it up at 15.00. I’m very surprised and promise my self and pizza at the restaurant that night. It’s been such a long time ago that I had a decent pizza. The pizza turns out to be fantastic and with the free salad I have a great meal. Now I planning to leave the next day so I have a bit more time to cross the rest of Nigeria. So far I had not one single bad experience in Nigeria and that despite of all the bad things written on internet. the 15th of March I’m allowed to enter Cameroon and therefor I have three more days in Nigeria and plan to split up the distance in even pieces. At the end of the afternoon I start looking for a place to stay, but Nigeria is quit populated and therefor not many place for bush-camping. I arrive at intersection and here I experience the first negative thing, when I ask if there is and motel they show me where and want to have money. I have to become really angry towards them before they back off. After showering and drinking a beer, I head into town to find something to eat. I end up in a small street where lots of locals are having dinner. I find a place where they prepare fried noodles with egg. When I’m sitting there having my dinner a guy comes to me and start a chat. That is not a problem but after a while he tells me that it’s not safe and that I have to come with him. I tell him that it is perfectly safe and that I’m not going anywhere, but he incline that I have to come with him. And within the two hours I have to become angry again and I tell him to back off and let me have my dinner. I backs off and I won’t see him anymore and that better for both of us, because by now I’m a bit done with those stupid brainless shit-heads who things they know how I feel. I head back to the motel and next to it is a little bar where I drink another beer and than I head to bed. When I wake up the next morning I feel really rested and I’m full with energy to head towards the Cameroon border. Near the border there is a place called Ikom and that’s where I plan to stay the night, so I’m close to the border crossing for a early start. The further east I come the better the roads become, I’m very surprised about it. It turns out that I’m much earlier in Ikom than expected. I find a small quest-house and have some chats with the guy’s over there. I asked them how it happens that the road is so great down here in the east. Then they tell me that the World bank and the Africa trading bank sponsoring the road for a better import/export route with Cameroon. He also tells me that the road connecting Nigeria and Cameroon is almost completed. They are finishing up the last 30 kilometer from the border into Cameroon. I’m very happy to hear that because the road between Ekok, Nigeria and Mamfe, Cameroon is known as one of the worst roads in Africa. We also have an interesting conversation about the differences between European and Africa people. As example he say that there are many Europeans are doing what I’m doing living there dream. Africa people are different and they don’t have the drive to do so. The Africa people are thinking in a way of it goes like this for hundreds of years why change? This is strait away one of the main problems of the African people. They don’t see the importance of changing certain habits and therefor all the money coming in from the western countries for development project are a wast of money. The people just spend the money and if it is finished they go back to there old lifestyle. The joke I make quit often here in Africa is that the African countries have deleted the word ‘maintenance’ from there dictionary. They are building buildings, houses and roads but they never maintain it, so within a couple of years it’s rotten. They also don’t respect others, like people animals and the nature, They throwing all there rubbish along the road and nobody gives a shit. Another example is that the cars which are not allowed on the roads in Europe anymore they are used here. You see the most dangerous cars riding around. They just ride them till they break down an d leave them exactly there where they break down, sometimes on the middle of the road not thinking of putting them aside. They just don’t give a shit about anything. The interesting part of our conversation is that the guy agreed completely and that it is not good for the people to get all this money from western countries. As long as they don’t want to change they will not change.

I had an amazing experience, especially when I consider that there where so many negative threads on internet. I did not have any problems with security issues, the government officials where very nice to me except for one. The citizens where very welcoming and where always willing to help if I had any question. Life did become more expansive the last couple of years according to the people I spoke with. As any other capital, Abuja is busy but in general cleaner than other Africa capitals.

In my next update I will tell you everything about the road from Ekok to Mamfe and if it is still one of the worst roads in Africa.

A stop at a small village was always a happing for the locals.
My hosts for my first night in Nigeria.
Cool cop, just in his first semester.
And some of the locals.

Countries I have visited: