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Cameroun & Gabon

Cameroun route notes. We deliberately avoided the Calabar/Mamfe route into Cameroun as we were concerned about the road conditions in the rainy season. A concern justified by a Dutch overlander who took over three days to cover 60 kms on that route. With the Cameroun consulate in Abuja it is possible to enter Cameroun further north, we considered crossing to the north of the Mandara mountains and wish we had done so for the interest and scenery. Throughout the route to Yaoundι the roads were dry and passable and we would thoroughly recommend this option during the rainy season. The road conditions for the route we followed, including detours, were as follows:

Gurin to Tchamba (bridge): good piste. Tchamba (bridge) to Finyole: very good part new piste/dirt road. Finyole to Ngong: piste, at times testing. Ngong to Ngaoundere: good tar for all but one small section towards the end. Ngaoundere to Addi (now called Tello) and on to the N1: good piste. N1 to Meiganga: good dirt road. Meiganga to Garoua Boulai: For the most part awful potholed road, slow going. Garoua to Bertoua: Good tar. Bertoua to Doume: Piste, but at Doume work going on to create a dirt road to Bertoua. Doume to Ayos: Good dirt/gravel road and sections of tar. Ayos to Yaoundι: Good tar.

Border Crossing Cameroun – Gabon. No problems with the officials on the Cameroun side at Aban Minkoo but the Gabon immigration official at the other end of the bridge on the Eboro side may be running a scam. Unlike others ahead of us on the same day we were charged 10k cfa per passport by him for the passports to be taken to Bitam to be stamped; the others were told to take theirs to Bitam to be stamped – at no cost. So insist on taking your passport to Bitam, en route you will pass the customs post on the left of the main road to Bitam in Eboro, no problems here.

Bitam. Hotel Escale.GPS N02 04.817’ E011 29.482’. Not signposted, follow the main road into Bitam from Eboro, at the Gendarmerie building turn left, the hotel is 800m down on the right. Over priced hotel that no longer seems to run a restaurant or offer breakfast but the room was fine. Camping possible subject to negotiation.

Bush Camp. GPS N00 58.077’ E011 04.380’. In a sand quarry off the N5, a great piste running from off the N2 south of Oyem east to Kougouleu.

Bush Camp. GPS N00 42.039’ E010 23.284’. Turn left off the N5 after Assok, on a logging track and in the midst of the rainforest.

Libreville. Hotel Eclipse. GPS N00 24.795’ E009 25.996’. Not signposted but easy to find using the Bradt guidebook map! A real gem with secure parking, although cold beer in the bar it has no restaurant itself, but is located in a great restaurant area. We shared the apartment so were able to self cater – bakery, fruit and veg stalls and supermarket close by. The owners will accept camping provided someone has taken a room. The apartment is a wifi hotspot, so free and very fast access 24/7!

Lamberene. Albert Schweitzer Hospital. GPS S00 40.740’ E010 13.824’. Only signposted at the left turn to the hospital off the N1 as you enter the town; follow the road and after about 1km it ends at the hospital. Camping is fine, good looking accommodation is also available. Either can be booked through the Hospital Administrator/Director on arrival. If camping, a wash room is available but no electricity hook up, there is also a staff restaurant that visitors can use.

Sindara. Abandoned Mission. GPS S01 02.450’ E010 40.401’. At the only and major T junction on the N1 about 20 kms after Baraka turn left, Sindara is at the end of the track. Obviously not signposted, the mission is at the reached via a track at the far end of the village and it may be necessary to ask here for directions. This picturesque site is maintained by a German NGO, it made a perfect lunch stop and could also be a great place to camp, hence its inclusion.

Bush Camp. GPS S01 41.569’ E010 45.572’. Turn right off the N1 down a track through the savannah to where the track goes into forest.

Bush Camp. GPS S02 20.953’ E011 05.316’. Beside the R21 to Tchibanga, hidden from view in a gravel quarry.

Bush Camp. GPS S03 13.635’ E010 37.529’. Beside the radio mast on the left off the piste to Panga, reached by turning right off the N6 in Loubomo.

Bush Camp. GPS S03 32.748’ E010 47.565’. On the edge of the Mayumba National Park and in one of the large savannah areas, reached via the sandy piste that starts at the southern end of the runway at Mayumba airport.

Bush Camp. Pointe Panga. GPS S03 14.455’ E010 32.599’. A small clearing in the wood on the edge of a low cliff overlooking the sea; reached from the village of Panga. See the sunset and listen to the sound of the waves, good location.

Sette Cama. Bush camp/accommodation. GPS S02 31.090’ E009 44.749. Continue on the sandy piste through the village, it ends at the registration centre for the Petit-Loango National Park. Hutted accommodation with basic but adequate facilities and the possibility of electricity hook up – providing there is electricity! Meals can be provided by ladies from the village, on request. To beach camp, turn left here to an observation tower and then turn right onto a piste along the edge of the beach.

Bush Camp. GPS S02 35.836’ E011 17.936’. Turn right off the N6 at Nyali, go through the village and the track leading to a large gravel quarry is 2km further on, on the right.

Bush Camp. GPS S01 44.848’ E011 50.007’. On one of the few open flattish spaces available in this area of rainforest and on the left hand side of the piste (R 20). It is in full view of the piste, but there is little if any traffic of any kind.
Koulamoutou. Catholic Mission. GPS S01 07.864’ E012 27.403’. Not signposted, just before the town on the main dirt road from Mimongo (N6), turn left as it reaches a T junction with the tarred road ; the airport is signed to the right at this junction. Enter the town and ask! Adequate facilities but no food available, the staff will direct you to a good restaurant next to the river. Camping possible.

Franceville. Hotel Crystal. GPS S01 37.213’ E013 36.154’. Not signposted and even with the Bradt guidebook map, difficult to find as it is set back from the road. Best to look for the Crystal Night Club and ask. Good value, but no restaurant; there is a Lebanese owned cafe/patisserie close by for breakfast croissant and coffee (take your own jam, etc!) and some good restaurants in the town. An internet cafe is nearby on the edge of the Marche.

Customs post / immigration post. The only customs post is well before the border and about 4 kms on the Franceville side of Lekoni on the main road at GPS S01 34.705’ E014 12.310’. The only immigration post is on the outskirts of Lekoni and again on the Franceville side. It is difficult to miss as there is a barrier across the road here!

Cirque/canyon de Lekoni. Bush camp. GPS S01 38.529’ E014 17.381’. The route to the lip of this spectacular cirque is not signposted in Lekoni. However you do not need a guide and all you need to do is to remain on, and leave Lekoni by, the border road and about 3 kms east of Lekoni turn right off the main road at GPS S01 36.658’ E014 16.997’ onto the wide sand verge. You then follow alongside the tarred road on the sandy track beside it, which after about 500m itself turns right into the scrubby bush. Stay on this track through the scrubby bush and follow it for about 2kms to the cirque. The bush camp site is to your right as you are looking down into the cirque. A very spectacular last night in Gabon and easy to find.

Border Crossing Gabon – Republic of Congo

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