Lucifer's highway

in

We managed an early start from Ambriz, anticipating a long day of bad roads, and we were not disappointed. We averaged 24 km per hour for just over 9 hours, which included an enforced passport and visa inspection stop. We 'negotiated" for 45 minutes with a uniformless official, who eventually wanted us to pay US$ 150 for some imaginary offence - but refused to issue us with a receipt! So we took our chances, and simplygot back in the car and drove off!

  Our Angolan farewell roads as we came in , we will leave!!

The road from Tomboca quickly deteriorated, living up to its nickname of Lucifer's highway. The road was mostly only as wide as the car, with thick 12 foot bush on both sides, interspersed by thick jungle where the light hardly penetrated, and deep clay pools of water streched for metres. The vegetation of the coast was a thing of the past, with a true "Jungle Book" feeling emphasized by many small villages, where we were greeted by smiling faces. Despite the lack of electricity, running water and many other things we consider necessities, it was surprising to see how clean and well dressed all the locals were. We did notice that it seemed that all the work was done by the women and children, whilst the men sat and "discussed affairs".

 

We bushcamped that night between villages, and had a great steak braai, complete with potatoes and salad (our last salads). In the morning we were surpirised (again!) by a baker selling his wares, as he walked from village to village. We bought some fresh rolls there and then. it appeared that our latest baker spoke French, something we had noticed more and more as we got close to the border, and even the towns had a local and a French name.

 Our early morning visitors. Note how smartly they are derssed in the middle of nowhere !

The drive to the border was on a track that did not improve until just 5 km from the border, a tarred airstrip heralded a "grand" tar road into the Angolan town of Noqui, on the banks of the Congo River, and then over the border with DRC into Matadi, by Angolan standards a huge, bustling  modern (ie has running water and electricity!) port town.