Howdy all! It’s time to continue on from last week where I began my recollection of my time ten years ago in the credible destination of Cameroon, West Africa. Last week covered my arrival and a full day in Douala. Today I’m taking you south to the little town of Kribi and again reliving the experience through my diary. Last week I didn’t edit out a lot to make a full post out of it – two days of travel. This time I cover a couple more so I may be a little more selective. To the diary!
Day Three – 25th of June 2011
So here I sit with Nila at a hotel beachside in Kribi as the waves crash onto the shore. There’s a nice sea breeze blowing, it’s 20-22 degrees, we have a table and a verandah – what more could you ask for?
But back to the morning…
So we left in a taxi (from our hotel in Douala to the bus station) to Centrale Voyagers. Yes we were off from Douala, a place we both kinda liked, despite it being devoid of any kind of tourist attractions. A pretty cool vibe. Centrale Voyagers actually had a building, in direct contrast to other West African bus companies I have experienced. So we had around an hour before the 1230pm bus (to Kribi). We just chilled, sitting on our bags. A mum and her daughters were close by and me singing ‘Copacabana’ seemed to entertain them.
Finally our bus was ready to leave, a giant white behemoth which look oldish. NOT awful on the inside but with five seats across and no working air con. Yes, this was West African travel as I remembered it. Except much cooler. That doesn’t impact so much when no-one wants to open a window at all though.
Getting out of Douala was a stop-start process. But eventually we were out. At one point the bus stopped and took on a whole lot of people – even the aisle was suddenly full of people standing. Lots of activity, chatting, it was pretty cool.
When we arrived in Kribi we were off the bus with about three taxi drivers (asking for us to take their cabs). We went with one called Alfred. Okay, he probably ripped us off, and had another guy claiming that as he approached us first we had to go with him. We were shown two hotels not in the Lonely Planet. One was the Hotel Jardin Eden D’est, the other Hotel Atlantique. Both around 24000CFA mark, a little more than we wanted to pay but not outrageous.
However Atlantique was not beachside and also a little dingey, so we are at the East Eden Garden. Lots of French channels on the TV. It’s a very pleasant place, Kribi, that’s for sure. The ocean crashes down twenty to thirty metres away. How cool is that?
Day Four – 26th June 2011
The night was cold. And hot. Nila wanted the air con turned on, so at one point I put on a jumper, socks and thermals and it was still bloody freezing. So I had to turn the thing off. At around 8 or 9am I put the air conditioning back on. I was up at around 1030am. The shower is okay. Decent pressure but the height of it way too low. Especially considering people are generally taller (than I am) in Afrique.
Nila went for a walk, but I think she found little Kribi a little boring. For true there isn’t a lot to see and do here. But a day or two of relaxation can only be a good thing in my book. So I moto-ed to the restaurant of last night. I can now reveal its name – ‘Le Marmite’, although I saw no sign of Marmite on the menu.
I had a spag bol this time, they seem to do it okay in Cameroon. After a while, I headed to the beach. Could see a tanker or two out in the ocean a fair way away. Great to walk along the beach and have the water go over your feet. Watch out! We saw one piece of glass, and a crab. We saw a man herding his cattle along the beach – not something you see each day. We walked to the river – around the river there’s a bit of industry, a very small port. We followed the road along to a bridge, a church, a fish market, couple of good pics to take there.
As we left two guys carried a bowl full of fish and shrimp between them and let me take a photo. There were even a few swanky boats, a marina, and a guy fishing (I think) from a surfboard! It had been a really cool walk.
It’s been a really great day. (Back at the Hotel) A mum and her kids were outside so we talked and chatted. Pierre (a French guy staying at the hotel) gave them his binoculars and they checked out the bats in the tree. I let them play with my camera and they took like a zillion photos. They seem great, happy kids. Their mum makes wedding videos and is making/wants to make a documentary about a village of Le Pars in Cameroon. Dinner was a roll with a scary amount of mayonnaise and two doughnuts. Well, they tasted great. That’s the day as it stands. The breeze is strong and Nila is struggling with her newspaper.
Day Five – 27th June 2011
A high powered morning of action we did not have. We both kinda moved at the same time – around 1045am. It seems the mosquitoes somehow found their way inside and bit me on my fingers and on my bum! I just hope the locals are on the money when they say there isn’t a lot of malaria here.
My diary at this point has a page an a half about the French guy Pierre who seemed to be looking desperately for a wife and wanted to buy a house in Cameroon. I’m going to skip this part for obvious reasons. After lunch we headed to the nearby waterfalls, Chutes Lope.
It’s amazing how easily we fit on a motorbike, avec une driver. Music everywhere in Cameroon, real reggae-inspired African beats. Sorry, side tracked. The falls are pretty nice really, much better than they appear in the postcards.
A few boats, a few black birds, possibly crows, and a few touts. Unfortunately we were suckered into paying WAY too much for a pirogue ride to a pygmy village. The tout took us to the fisherman who took us on a long walk to the pirogue. They did all the work (but the tout took most of the money).
But hey, we took an amazing pirogue trip down the river Lope. I can honestly say, we are in the real jungles of Africa now. Dense, green, jungle trees that were so bloody high! Like, I don’t know, thirty metres or something? Just brilliant, what a place to be! The sound was amazing, just animals and insects making their noises. A jungle symphony!
Then we arrived at the village. It was fairly underwhelming. The villagers were out hunting antelopes and lions (we were told) so just a few people there.
And so we returned to the hotel…
At Le Jardin D’est I had a quick shower where I shed a layer of red sand. Walking in sandals sucks, I hit two pot holes and nearly re-injured my right ankle (which was by this time much better). I am thinking I want to get to the Ring Road now too. We will be here in Kribi another day. It’s so chilled and laid back we love it. No real rain touchwood since we arrived. Plenty of clouds though.
Day Six – 28th June 2011
So this one nothing much happened, it was a real ‘nothing day’ as I tend to call them as I travel. Our last day in Kribi.
So diary done, plans discussed and well, planned. Kribi has been a wonderful sojourn and I’m sorry for it to end. I am expecting a blockbuster final nine days in Cameroon. So once more into the breach again! Time to get packed and get ready for a big day of travel!
And so ended my time in Kribi. In my next Cameroon post I will relieve the experiences of Limbe, and indeed getting to it! Thanks for reading, take care, and May the Journey Never End!