Originally posted to HUBB on 30th June, 2017
We are through Nigeria and had a great time. None of the hassles we were warned so much about beforehand.
We entered Nigeria at Idiroko, just north of Cotonou, Benin. Directed around back of the large immigration building. Parked and left the bikes there. Yellow fever certificate requested, temperature taken for Ebola check. A lengthy (20 mins perhaps so not that lengthy) and ultimately interesting interrogation about our plans by an uninformed gentleman before being handed off to immigration. Officers were great guys. Never even hinted at a bribe. No problem. So much so that we put a Nomadik sticker on their desk.
Customs didn't really exist. I have heard others never had papers for the bikes or vehicles but wanted to be sure. I took our bike registration papers and asked. They said "Sure, what do you want me to stamp?"
There was no procedure so I had them stamp our actual papers just in case.
Then we were off. Very little hustle and bustle at the border compared to many others.
Nigerian roads are another level. Lots of traffic coming into Lagos and plenty of busted trucks on the roads across to Calabar. We even passed 2 trucks in flames. Pretty sure we passed a corpse on the side of the road which was troubling. We hit a good number of check points and just stayed close and kept riding. Usually a wave before they make their mind up resulted is being waved through with a smile. We wouldn't have stopped anyway but never got any stress. You have to feel for the local people that they surely extort.
Calabar we got our Cameroon visa easily. Got it in the afternoon. Passport photos and a fluctuating rate compared to recent prices quoted on iOverlander but because we didn't pay in Nigerian currency and instead USD we negotiated a rate and they took it.
We headed up to Drill Ranch Afi Mountain, a drill monkey and chimp rehabilitation center north of Ikom. Was a real highlight and the road north of Ikom was a motorcycle dream. Jungle, fresh tarmac that runs into dirt with a few friendly stream crossings close to the ranch.
From there we were recommended to cross into Cameroon at Akwaya. This turned into an absolute epic. Do not attempt in the wet season unless you are really up for it. Think 40-50kms per day type stuff and your bike will take a beating. Big GS type riders consider it seriously in the dry season even. Never mind that locals passed us 3 loaded onto little 100cc Chinese bikes with bald tires and not any mud in their shoes but they are on cub another level to we mere mortals.
Between Nigeria and Cameroon we were held up at a substantial river crossing by some pretty animated hustlers trying to squeeze us for money. They kept hitting our kill switches rendering us pretty helpless. We did manage to get out elbows out and get I. The water and get a cross. I gave them a spray of mud as f$&@ you only to get bucked in a rut on the other side and drop my bike. I looked like a twat and they got a laugh. It was all good in the end. A couple of kms later we hit another river, this one much wider and much deeper. It was raining so sure to come up and behind us was our bandit friends and having to re-enter Nigeria. The water was barely below the airbox. We doubled up to wade the bikes across one at a time. From there the road just spanked us. But if you go, you will be rewarded. The most spectacular landscape so far in Africa and if you are into the hard grind then a real challenge with real satisfaction. Tenting has been out of the question in the wet season for us and as such we have been approaching villages if they haven't first offered to take our weary backsides in for the night. Truly humbling hospitality and off the grid.
We got a passport stamp in Akwaya which was not obvious given the trials of just making it to Akwaya but he was a nice guy and no stress. No customs to enter the bikes so that is still unresolved. No insurance either as it was a strike in Bamenda also which made changing money a hassle as well.
We have made it to Yaounde and regrouping. We have started to second guess our plans to ride directly into the Rep of Congo and instead go through Gabon. We missed the Gabon embassy this afternoon, Friday, so will have to wait it out til Monday and get it then to leave Tuesday.
Many have great things to say about Gabon though if possible crossing into Congo sounds like a rare experience and itself a worthwhile challenge. The wet season has definitely humbled us and as such trying to avoid seeking out too much of it and try to protect the bikes.