Limbe and surrounds

               

Limbe Botancal Gardens Guesthouse  in the light of day proved to be run down, dirty and a close cousin to the cramped quarters we had experienced in Matadi, despite the fact that it was situated on the beach..

We decided to pack up and explore the town for alternative accommodation, but not before finding out that the town of Boue, ½ an hours’ drive away, had a Nigerian Consulate who might be persuaded to extend our visas, which would allow us to catch our breath before heading to Nigeria.

 Tropical plants spill right into the oceanBoue the German influence

At Boue we managed to obtain new visas – at twice the cost of the original ones, and experienced for the first time the polite requests for money as a thank you present, with absolutely no attempt to disguise the request for a bribe. We managed to depart with most of our money intact, and on the way out of town also sourced a local MTN sim card. We bumped into a local called Hansel, his German name linking him to the past of the area, when it was a German colony. This is also noticeable in the local architecture. Hansel, a qualified Zoologist, gave up a full time job in teaching at Varsity and is now in charge of teaching 100s of peasant farmers new farming techniques. He was a typical example of the ever friendly Cameroonians who is always ready for a chat and swapping stories. We both felt that this is a charity worth supporting as he is desperately looking for funding, unfortunately we lost his details so if you read this Hansel, please contact us.

 HanselPark hotel MiramarRare glimpse of Mount                                                                                                                                                                 Cameroon, an active volcano and the highest peak in West Africa

We later returned to Limbe and booked into Park Hotel Mirimar, consisting of a restaurant and a series of chalets right on the seafront – and with its own swimming pool! Wow, what more do you want, even if it takes time to get used to the sand and rocks being black from the nearby Mount Cameroun, still an active volcano. Very reasonable, and with hot water and cold beers, we decided to stay here for the weekend, to prepare for the last of the bad roads heading into Nigeria.

 The Drills, only 3000 left in the wild worldwideBoth his parents were killed by poachers and he is now being                                                                                                                                                                     bottle fed by the keepers

 

The big boss of the Gorilla group and Stew helping to feed the animals!

We visited the Wildlife Sanctuary, where we saw gorillas, chimpanzees, and other local endangered types of monkeys, included the odd looking Drill and mandrills.  We met Chris and  Megan, volunteer workers in the Sanctuary, and Stewart later  joined them and a few locals, including one called Bama, for a drink at a local hangout on the beach. Bama is very proud of the similarity between his name and the US candidate and to celebrate this, he promptly offered to purchase Stan when we finished our trip!! Might just take him up on that.

Black sand beachesPicture time

Being English speaking, Limbe was instantly one of our favourite new destinations, especially once we’d found a reliable and reasonable internet café that stayed open until 10pm. The place is like a little separate “colony” even down to the British style plugs and proper loafs of bread, the first we have seen since Luanda.There is a strong Christian influence in the whole area, with every 3rd building being a church of some sort, with fantastic names such as  “The Deeper Life Church”  and “The True and only Church of God”!!

THIS is for my grandchildren to show them how we did washing in my day!!!!Limbe harbour

 We spent time swimming in the pool, and Stewart was delighted to find the tv had Supersport, and managed to watch some rugby. Annaliese decided to “do” her hair, which she did very successfully – that is if you live in Benoni!!, So, if you notice a complete bottle blond anywhere, in fact we do not think there is any trace of colour left in her hair,.,,,,,you know who it is.!!!! Stewart is fast becoming a star motor mechanic and traced the reason why the fan system was not working, to a burnt out fuse.

Cameroonians just LOVE having their pictures taken and “official “ photographers are everywhere, specially at the beaches where they have permanent requests for pictures whilst the locals pose on horses, doing push ups etc.

 Some examples of local food, mashed cocaplant and fresh fish

We also drove up the coast to “Mile 11” beach – so named as it is 11 miles out of town, where we spent some time lazing by the beach and watching the locals running up and down, exercising and stretching, and swimming in the sea.

 

Staying at the same hotel we bumped into David and Megan, who were taking a break from doing some volunteer work in an area just outside Limbe. It was  good to meet and speak to other  people experiencing Africa, specially as David was the first Mormon we have ever met and as he quickly pointes out, Annaliese is the first Afrikaner he has ever met!  

 Our first Mormon friend, David and WendyBrave Wendy and Rob who gave us loads of info

Whilst still at Miramar, we noticed a mud spattered Landcruiser  in the carpark, and upon closer inspection, tracked down Rob and Wendy, 2 fellow explorers who were traveling around Africa in the opposite direction to ourselves. It was great to compare notes, and to exchange information on routes and places to go.Even more so as they were the first couple we met who did exactly what we did, down to giving up jobs and selling houses. They had driven for a day and a half down from the Nigerian border, a distance of 300km or so, and told us tales of  muddy roads that were depressingly familiar. We had been warned this section of the road would be tough, and it seemed it would be so as 65km took them 13 hours! So unfortunately it turns out that the stories we heard about the worst road in Africa is true! The overnight torrential rainfall did nothing to lift our spirits, but spending time with Rob and Wendy soon did. We had a lazy Sunday lunch of seafood on the beachfront, and spent Sunday comparing cars and notes in anticipation of leaving on Monday when we sadly have to say goodbye to stunning fellow travelers as well as a lovely, quaint Limbe.