After Cameroon we went to Gabon, the country is less developed then Cameroon but that makes it a more special place as well. This country is one big jungle except for the capital Libreville what is a pretty modern city and extremely expensive to stay in.
When we entered Gabon a bit late because the border crossing took long time. We don’t like to ride dark especially when we just enter and do not know anything about the country. We started to look a place to wild camping. We were lucky again when we found a lake just next to the road but not visible. It was lovely place. In the night only one fisherman came to catch fish. 🙂 But he didn’t disturb us we told a little. When we wanted to hide our self always somebody could see us.
Really, can we see Gorilla’s?
We didn’t had a real plan to what we wanted to do and see, the only thing we knew was that it was a good place to go and see Gorilla’s. This is something really high on my list and I definitely want to do/see in Africa now it’s still possible. We try to get in contact with some people around a national park nearby Lope, this place is far away in the jungle and you get there through a dirt road about 150 km from the main highway. So first we needed to buy some supplies to go there, we went to a village to buy some food. As we still didn’t get in contact with the people from Lope we decided it was a better idea to get some rest before we go and we changed our road to Libreville for the next day (the extremely expensive city to stay).
(Note: Loango National Park is other option to see Gorillas in Gabon but a little expensive than Lope national park and so hard to go there by motorcycle because they don’t have road to you need to take some boats. If the rain season the road is so bad as well. Therefore we skipped it there. You can check Loango National Park where also possible to see elephants as well.)
She never scares before go to wild camping!
As we changed our plan last minute and it was too late to go to Libreville. We looked for a basic hotel and found one, they wanted 65 USD. It is expensive, our daily budget 50 USD L so we decided to look for a wild camping spot again. We found a road to go in and look a place to camp. Unfortunately, nothing! It was already sunset. We looked around and look like the road is not use for a while. We can set up the tent on the road, why not… A couple of hours nobody passed, which is great so we started to cook. “Ferry look! There is a light like a truck.” Yes, it was a truck and carrying more then 50 people to a village, which is 5 km far where we opened to the tent.
One hour later a car stopped they can speak English and invited us the their home to stay but we already open the tent, ate and where getting ready to sleep. Really, it felt like we where next to a main road. We saw three more cars during the evening. Somebody open a tent on the road towards a small village is a little unusual, so everybody wanted to stop and talk with us. I must admit this was the first time She was scared to camp wild. It wasn’t because a lot of people past and see us or that we where close to the village, no because of the jungle. Gabon has real jungle and we don’t know what kind of animal can come face to face with us in the night. This situation is okay for me because I don’t go out middle of the night for pie. 🙂
Next day early, we had breakfast, collect the tent and leave. We passed the Equator line in Gabon. There is just a old sign next to the road, if you wouldn’t now it was here you will easily miss it. We knew and stopped next to the road for some photos and to think a little bit about this special moment. When checking the sign for signatures my eyes fell on some small text. Our friends Nicholas (we met first time in Bamako – Mali) and Olaf (we met in Togo) placed a small hello for us! This was so cool to see, somewhere around the world someone write down your name and saying hello. We where so amazed and happy to see this 🙂
When we arrived early in Libreville luckily we found a place at a church for a bit normal price, it was not cheap but the money is used for a good course so we where happy to pay it (18.000 cfa, 30 euro).
Let’s go! Gorillas are waiting for us…
Here we got in touch with the people to spot the Gorilla’s. After 2 nights we decided to head towards Lope National park and try our luck to see the Gorilla’s, we entered the dirt road got 50 km and camped next to the road we didn’t see any car during the day time that we ride here and in the night several trucks passed us. It was also a rainy night.
Next day morning we headed further on the road, we really enjoyed it because all the beautiful views along the way. After 60 km on the road suddenly the mud started this was not only because of the rain from last night, I passed both our motorcycles through 2 parts of the slippery mud then the 3rd one showed up. This one was more serious, she walked through it and got half way to her knees in the mud. All this was in 3 kilometers, we talked a while with each other and unfortunately we needed to make the decision to go back. We didn’t know what was coming more last 40 km and if the rain keeps continue next 2 days we never turn back. It was a hard decision but sometimes you need to think about your own safety as well.
A surprise was waiting for us in Lamberene to motorcycles.
We camped again next to the road somewhere and the next day we went to a nice small city called Lamberene, we found a hotel in an old hospital on a nice location at the river. When we were riding to Lamberene first stop on the road, we saw some red points on my arms a lot, which was look like measles. Of course, we didn’t want to think that way. We had a good shower and sleep in a nice and comfortable bed, we really needed this.
Next day, we saw the red points are on my leg as well and she also has some. Now, it was scary and time to think about measles. First, I called my mother to ask about it. My mother told me I passed measles but very light. What does it mean light? Here is nice and next-door is a big hospital so we stayed one night more search about the measles and learn more. If anything happened we can go to the hospital. Next day, we were still healthy and what was writing on Internet about the symptoms we didn’t have. When we met other overlanders again we learned to who passed same road with us they had same thing as well.
Also we had the great idea to change our tires in Gabon, as we are staying a extra night in Lamberene. The reason we choose to do this in Gabon is that we had a new tire and a second hand in Nigeria, which we carried until here . 9000 km to Cape Town from Nigeria. So we needed to wait as long as possible, the road from Gabon to Congo is a muddy dirt road from 280 km so we needed to do it before that, that’s why this was our best option.
The thing we didn’t know was that there are no motorcycles in Gabon. This is some government rule they try to explain us but we didn’t understand why. Now the challenge to find a place to do this, we stopped next to the road at a tire shop to do the job. We told him we would help changing them, so I got my tire of and placed the second hand one on my motorcycle. This went pretty smooth even though I did most of the job.
Now we went for her tire to change, she got the new one. Of course this is more challenging, together with the local guy we managed to change it. He was a bit rough with putting the tire back on what concerned us both a little bit, so I jumped in to do the job. We finished it and put the tire back on, put air in and waited a little bit. Checked the pressure and it was totally gone, we had a hole on inner tube. So we got it off again and repaired the hole, now we put the air in and waited. Again a flat tire, she got really angry and upset as the guy didn’t know what was happening. He called another tire repair place, this guy did do the job before on motorcycles and managed it pretty easy. In the mean time it started to rain, we where not so happy about the whole thing. I placed here fixed new tire on the motorcycle in the rain and we left the place. This was a good lesson for us to not just do this job at the first tire place on the road, next we will do it ourselves or find a proper place to do the job. Do you have any idea how much we paid? When exchange USD maybe nothing but behavior really terrible. We were thinking that we are stupid! He said 5.000 CFA to change both tires. Most worked I did but no problem, he can take it… But end of the day He said that we have to pay 7.000 CFA. Why? Because he repairs her inner tube which he made a hole and other guy came to fix it. Also, we had to pay him. After 5 hours later, we didn’t say anything. We were enough tired to try to fix her tire three times.
Last stop N’ dende before hit the Congo road….
It was time to head towards N’dende and makes our way to Congo (Brazzaville), here is a 280-kilometer long dirt road waiting for us. We learned from some friends who passed here before us there are some bandits on the road, they stopping you with road blocks and want money to pass, luckily our friends didn’t have any big problems but it’s something to be aware of. Also they told us it’s going to be hard, a lot of mud so the road will be slippery.
Our last break on the road before arrived to N’dende one local person came to the road from the jungle. We were surprise to see him who also surprise as well. He waved his hand and pass but he turned back after a few meters, whoa had also a rifle. What happened next? He came next to us, said something but we couldn’t understand. He got some mandarin from his back and shows us. Still, we didn’t sure to he wanted to sell. No! he was trying to say the mandarin from jungle and wanted to we tried. He ate first and than gave last three mandarin. We gave cake to him and She wanted to have a photo with him.
We arrived to N’dende pretty early and went out hunting for shopping, basically water, a lot of water. As this road will be 280 kilometers it will take us 2 or 3 days to pass it. We went to a shop, started talking a little bit with the owner who wasn’t local so we where interested where he was from. He told us he came from Mauritania to Gabon and started a business here, we told him we passed there as well and to what places we have been. This goes all in French what is not our best language but with some body language we always get there. After buying all his water bags total 8 liter (this is not enough for us) he packed a six-pack of 1.5 liter bottles and gave it to us as a present for a safe journey. Sometimes the people can surprise you so much, a wonderful surprise for us and we could really use this.
What we saw in Gabon it was so bad and made us really upset!
The thing we noticed in more countries is that they sell the animals they catch in the wild they sell them next the road by hanging them to show. In most countries we see a lot of different animals hanging next to the road like bush rats, martyrs, small deer’s or some kind of big rabbits. Now in Gabon this is a little different, we did see a lot of monkeys, which are really different kind of we never seen before 🙁
We are always careful with eating the street food in these countries; with the knowledge that Ebola comes from monkeys we decided to only eat meat out of a can. Besides monkeys we also see small crocodiles for sale and some unidentified animals. For the local people this is normal and the only meat they can find to eat.