The opportunity to post updates to this diary very much depends on 1) having the time, and 2) having reasonable internet connection. Both are generally in short supply, which does affect the regularity somewhat. Sorry!!

manioc flower for sale along the road to Duoala

We are on our own now. Mayou left yesterday, as we reckoned that we are travel-savvie enough to take the bus to Douala on our own, and spend our last days in Cameroon there. Are we? I have reserved tickets for the 8 am bus. The lady next to the hotel, who provides breakfast, didn’t turn up, so we leave for the bus station at 7.15, to have our now familiar omelette and baguette there. The bus is ready, and the omelette takes ages, so we get a bit nervous. Silly we. Just before 8 we rush out the restaurant to catch the bus. Which is still closed. At 8.15 they start accepting the luggage, but the bus is by far not full enough to leave yet. In any case, we are fully parked in, with cars and motorbikes all around. As by a miracle, by around 9.15, the area in front of us slowly starts clearing. But not until a quarter to 10 are we actually leaving. Give me Alonso anytime: departure 6 am sharp.

street scene: Bafoussam, a fairly important city in West Cameroon, where we stayed a few nights

Most of the roads in this part of Cameroon are actually quite good, perhaps the result of road toll that needs to be paid at regular intervals. A toll station is great fun. To make sure the driver doesn’t speed through, the road is blocked with very unfriendly-looking spikes, which will tear apart any tire. The tax is usually no more 500 CAF, less than 1 Euro, and the road is in any case blocked by a swarm of sellers, all in official yellow shirts, it seems, that try to get rid of mangos, avocados, drinks anything really. A bus is a particularly welcome target.

a road toll station, with many food sellers ready to harrass the bus

and they do have some mean tools to make you stop!

a good road, through green countryside, mostly palm country

Despite the toll, there are still quite a few bad patches in the road, especially the closer we get to Douala. We have crossed the mountains, where the economy is dominated by bananas, pineapples, bananas, papayas and bananas. The houses have changed from the stone and mud to typical wooden houses, often with attractive verandas and painted in pastel colours. Closer to the city palm trees, and palm nuts, play a role – which ultimately produce palm oil, I think -, as well as manioc flower, sold in plastic rolls neatly stacked along the road. For part of the route we follow an old rail track, but that doesn’t seem in use anymore.

the typical houses, wood, with veranda

a whole row of them, in a small village, and manioc drying

banana plantation, with bananas being protected with blue plastic bags

banana transport

palm nuts in transport to the many processing facilities

and this is one of those facilities

there is even the remains of a railway track, colonial times no doubt, not being used anymore

And then we arrive in Douala, through a predominantly industrial area on the north side of the Wouri River, and across the bridge we drive into the seemingly endless ‘emboutillage’, the Douala traffic jam. Had we already picked up some delays at leaving, we now spent another hour reaching the bus terminal. Where we arrived towards 5.30 pm. A full day’s travelling. Not different from our overland truck experience!

Next: Douala

the bridge over the Wouri river, and a view of Douala’s port – the weather is hot, but cloudy, for most of the way

and the view from our balcony, Douala at a quiet moment of the day

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