Cameroon From the Diary – Will the Van Make it Back in One Piece?

Hi all! It’s time for more adventures from my Cameroon diary for you, and today it’s an exciting journey from Bamenda to Wum and the Menchum Falls, in which I meet possibly the Minister of Finance, fight off some dangerous radishes and take a ride in a van that may or may not be capable of reaching its destination! Enjoy!

Day Fourteen – 5 – 7 – 2011

Another day, another 20,000 CFA. Somehow slightly under budget. So, sleep was poor but breathing was better. So we were up and did a quick pack in advance of tomorrow. Yes, we both agree time has flown past in Cameroon. I can honestly say I’m glad I came despite misgivings beforehand. I’ve really pushed myself this year –  too much but it’s been a good year.

Stamp from Cameroon!

For some very obvious reasons high it’s only the 5th of July so shave and shower pack and we wait downstairs an I wrote a series of postcards whilst they waited the predictably long wait for my spaghetti Bolognese. Nila has been enjoying veggies and rice here. So with all the postcards I headed to the post office where it costs a very small 200 CFA to Australia each 50 CFA less than to Europe -yes very strange!

Don’t know if this was a deliberate photo but this was the situation that day for my foot!

I was directed to a book shop on the Chemist Roundabout where I could get some more postcards I bought four for 1000 CFA which I think was OK, cheaper than many I’ve bought here in Cameroon. Then we hope to Moto to the Gare Routiere or whatever where transport to Wum left from.  Comings, goings, the packing onto the roof of the little red minibus was quite impressive. Nila and I had the front, I took the middle seat with which in general was OK not a lot of back support and my legs either side of the gear stick, but the issue was my left foot could be a book or a movie hey well in the end I pushed it onto a lower part of the dashboard which killed my ankle but at least my foot didn’t touch the nearby accelerator that would have been well a disaster!

Needless to say the region was even more stunning than yesterday we were now to the North of Bamenda the journey was 90 minutes and my ankle was very glad it was over!

Postcard of Menchum River – not where we visited.

This above is the Menchum river somewhere in Cameroon the windy road was sealed unsealed giant hole and let’s do it all again for the most part we were shown the river and then dropped at the Menchum falls some 20 to 25 kilometres from Wum.

We had a nice secluded spot to view the impressive gushing falls just off the road with shelter from big trees. A few photos and we were ready to hitch our way back.

We were advised to hitch  back to Wum to get a mini bus back to Bamenda from there by a friendly truck driver. We pulled over a pick-up and we ended up amongst radishes in the back of a Ute and it was quite enjoyable, if not too comfortable journey.

This stretch was the most beautiful and maybe the most English-like in Cameroon we have witnessed. Well it turned out the owner of the vehicle was the delegate/minister for finance or investment for Cameroon government or provincial, we’re not sure but he was very nice guy and we keep meeting important people! He is off to China next week or the week after so cool! The radishes were taken out of the vehicle and we were in the vehicle proper, and the driver was instructed to take us to the motor park in Wum, so nice cool experience indeed!

So we got our tickets again, yay! This time they looked at my passport. Loading the roof rack was what took the time, we left after 5:00 PM. The ride was as packed as usual. I had the window.

On the road after the waterfall two bridges had recently been completed but not open yet. The mini bus had to go down to the Creek and up the other side. On the first journey to Wum it successfully navigated there but on the our way back to Bamenda there were a few issues – barely made it up the hill on the 1st, the second we stopped near the top with two scary ‘crunches’ – the men all got out of the van and we pushed it up – actually surprised we made it back without breaking down.

After the ‘almost getting stuck’ incident the minivan made some strange hissing sounds and Nila complained the floor of the van was piping hot. I didn’t feel it to be honest but I had thick boots compared to her slipper-like shoes. I looked out the window at the rear wheel and it looked very low the whole van was really low really. We nearly hit someone at one point too. Our driver was a bit kamikaze and the right side of the vehicle which I was on stayed very close to the edge especially on sharp corners!

Then I started to feel van sick – it was very windy road and I had to keep the window open. iPod did help though! We arrived back in Bamenda at around 7:30 PM. Fortunately for us we weren’t dropped at the station/park we left from (a long way from the city centre) but at the city centre ‘Chemists Roundabout’.

Dreamland Restaurant.

We walked to the Dreamland Restaurant past some Christian evangelical concert. No hamburgers tonight because they had run out of bread! There is more bread in Cameroon than I could imagine yet there you go! My chicken and chips were nice though and cheap. Nila wanted a Djino (drink) but Bamenda appears to be out of them too!

And so that concludes my time at Bamenda and the ‘Ring Road’ area of Cameroon. One or two entries left for you now – getting to the capital of Yaounde and Yaounde itself! Thanks for reading as always, take care, and May the Journey Never End!


6 thoughts on “Cameroon From the Diary – Will the Van Make it Back in One Piece?

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