January 18, 2011

210 Days….. A great escape and hundreds of potholes!

Countries visited – Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria & Cameroon
Miles travelled – 2186 miles
Sunny days – 29
Coolest night – 20’C
Warmest day – 37’C  in Togo & Nigeria
Cheapest fuel – £0.45 in Nigeria
Best food tasted – Freshly caught fish that was so tastily barbecued to order in Limbe, Cameroon (they could sell the recipie and make a million!)
Most interesting camps – Day 1 Cameroon outside a bar in Kumba – A GREAT night after a most amazing day in the Rain Forest.
Most scenic (muddy) drive – Through the forest in North Cameroon, we saw our first clear streams/rivers for the first time in West Africa – feels like the Africa you see in the films.
Easiest visa application – Congo(Brazzaville) Embassy in Abuja. Mary, the lady who deals with applications, was amazing and got us on our way with our visa’s in less than half an hour

 Most useful things

  • Our whiteboard on the side of the van. We decorated this in support of the national football teams of Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon (Black Stars, Super Eagles & Lions) which was a real winner for all our police checks. 
  • Oh, and the winch!  When the Landy fell into a soak-away pit at The Stumble Inn in Ghana

Least useful things

  • Kelly Kettle! DON’T buy one of these – you will never use it
  • DEET – does not stop you getting bitten by Fourous (we call them Hoover Flies) they are an absolute pain in the butt – literally!
  • The lack of a T55 Torx bit to inspect the gearbox oil!!  Poor planning!


1) Seeing a mangled, dead person on the road in Nigeria.
2) The crazy roads in Southern Nigeria, pothole & tanker heaven – 80% of the road traffic are fuel tankers that have yet to learn that the cargo they are carrying should not be driven at speed greater than 20 mph on potholed roads!!
3) Both Nick and I got the flu in Nigeria and only got better when we were at the sea in Cameroon. 


1) Doing the gentle hour hike to see the lower Wli Falls in Ghana, they really were worth seeing (Nick took a swim in his pants …..“real man” swimwear)
2) Finding a little Swiss run hotel in Togo where the owner had two washing machines (we haven’t seen these since we left Europe) and allowed us to do a load of washing for free, filled the swimming pool for us and did not charge us anything to stay there!!
3) Getting in and out of Abuja in record time. We arrived on a Sunday evening and we proudly left before sunrise on the Friday morning with our Angolan, Cameroon & Congo visa’s.
4) Driving through amazing forests in Northern Cameroon – Cross River Park is amazing.
5) Meeting Sam, a 6 Foot 8” Cameroonian farmer, who took us on a tour of his Rubber and Cocoa farm which was preceded by him taking us to a local music night and dedicating a song to us (which he sang!).
6) Meeting up with our Italian friends and meeting some new fellow overlanders, Heike & Stefan going North – THANKS GUYS!!!


1) We visited the ‘birthplace’ of voodoo in Togoville and we had an official audience with the Prince of Togo (in Togoville), quite surreal really. We are not sure whether the king is still alive as we were told he is ill but they won’t publicise his death until two years have passed from his death….go figure.
2) Nigerians on a whole were extremely friendly and very welcoming. We only had one incident where we were stopped by ‘fake’ officials. They claimed that we had come into Nigeria near Lagos and as we had travelled this way so we had to pay ‘environmental tax’. We firmly stood our ground and told them where we had entered Nigeria as tourists but they wouldn’t believe us and so they then asked us to pay  ‘baggage drop off tax’. We firmly told them we had no baggage and the very alcoholic smelling man started to try and mumble some other taxes we would have to pay and that Nick should go with him to see what this was all about. Now we would normally just drive away but we had another man standing with a nail board under our front tyre so we couldn’t go forward. Clearly they still had hangovers and they didn’t anticipate us escaping. Nick saw two large lorries approaching (I might add that we were stopped on a very fast dual carriageway) and told me to put the car in reverse and GO GO GO. We escaped tyres intact and some very surprised ‘officials’ who just stood and watched us leave!!
3) The route around Abidan in Nigeria is chaos where the Abidan-Lagos expressway dumps all the traffic into the middle of a market. Fuel tanker mayhem and a huge fire risk as there are many leaking fuel tankers!!

Nick & Vicki
Stonehenge to Cape Town 2010/11

We cook using the Trangia system


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