Original Touring Africa Diary – Garoua to Yaoundé

We headed for a Toyota garage in Garoua which we knew stocked Yamaha parts and could possibly help with Anne and Reiniers falling apart bikes. Once we were on the street of the garage, we stopped for a quick chat to let the bikes go first since they knew the name of the garage. As we were about to leave a serious looking officer walked over to us and demanded our passports. Thinking this was a normal police check we handed them over but after 10 minutes of not knowing what was going on and no sight of the officer, Milan walked into his office to ask what was going on. It turned out he was going to fine us for stopping in the middle of the road. After a lot of hot air from Milan and Reinier had been exchanged with the officer and possibly a lot of foul language, we left the station with Anne receiving a warning for the wrongful parking. It makes no sense at all we know!

We found the garage just up the road where they ordered the parts they needed with pick up in Douala. We found a so-so hotel in the town, the only one open out of the 3 available, ready to carry on the next morning. As we were getting new car insurance with AXA, we got a call from Reinier that Anne had fallen off her bike. It turned out that in the rain, she had slipped and her bike had fallen on her foot. We caught up with them in the hospital and after a lot of waiting, buying medicines, bandages, etc etc, Anne was allowed to leave with her broken leg. Being Africa it seems they do not stock anything in the actual hospital, the patient/friend has to take the list of items the doctor writes down to a pharmacy in the town and buy them over the counter. We went to four pharmacies before we found crutches for her as well….. This caused a bit of a crisis to their travels. What to do next?

After a lot of discussions they decided to courier their bikes down to Yaounde and they would take the train, then see what to do once they were there. While they were packing together their belongings and separating what they needed and didn’t need in the coming weeks, Milan decided to add to the fun and get malaria again. We went to a clinic to get tested but at that time of night (19:30!!) they couldn’t do tests anymore, but the nurse was sure it was malaria and said he should start with the treatment and come back if it doesn’t get better.

Coartem it was and a very feverish Milan spent the next few days in the room. Not getting much better and starting to get kidney pain we decided to take him to hospital and see what the experts say. He didn’t want to go to the same hospital Anne had been to – too many fat mozzies and looking like it was a Russian hospital from a 100 years ago. We took him to a private clinic where he was put into an air conditioned room, had blood taken to run tests and eventually had a drip stuck into his hand with quinine, painkillers, vitamins, antibiotics etc.

After 2 nights in hospital he was allowed to leave, but had to continue taking quinine tablets for some days. Still feeling quite weak the next few days we took it easy to get down to Yaounde. Anne and Reinier hopped on a bus to N’Gaoundere where they would catch the overnight train to Yaounde. We met them there for some lunch and waved them goodbye, before carrying on another 30km’s to stay at a very nice place called Ranch De N’Gaoundaba. The next day’s drive was really beautiful through the rain forest, it was just getting denser and denser. We stayed overnight at Hotel Montagnia in Bertoua, and carried on early next morning to Yaounde. The only place you can camp in this city seems to be the Presbyterian Mission (N03°52.770, E011°31.344), which is a bit unfortunate because it’s run by a witch and her family and they lock the bathrooms in the evening which can cause certain issues, you can imagine. Nonetheless we could camp in their large garden which was away from all the traffic and noise of the city. The next day we thought we would get up early to do some visa shopping at the Gabonese embassy and the DRC embassy. Unfortunately it was Assumption that day and everything was closed, so we spent the weekend with Anne and Reinier and went to the restaurants in town to eat pizza’s, pasta, Indian, Chinese… yumm!

At this point Anne and Reinier had decided to fly back to The Netherlands to let the leg heal and continue with the trip once it was all ok again. A bit sad to leave Africa like this but happy to definitely come back on better terms, they decided to leave their bikes in storage for the coming months and pick them up a few months later.

Come Monday and we decided to attempt another shopping excursion at the embassies. ‘No problem no problem, pay a little extra and it will be done express for you’ – great lets do that so we can hit the road again! For DRC it was easy but the Gabonese were at this moment of our trip the rudest and most useless we had ever encountered, little did we know it could get worse! We wanted to pick up our passports in the afternoon but unfortunately the lady who stamps the visas was not there, she would be back later. When later? Just later, you just have to wait like everyone else. We waited for 3 hours out on the street with everyone else until we got fed up and decided to come back the next day. We came back the next morning only to be told the same thing again. We waited for a few hours again, got fed up so went to have some lunch and do some emailing while we were waiting. By the time we got back to the embassy our fellow visa appliers where not on the street anymore so we thought something must have happened. We walked in and were given our passports back by the gardener. Very happy but oh so fed up with their politics we went back to the mission and decided to leave Yaounde the next morning.

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