Who we meet on the road or lives in Nigeria said that we need to be so careful when we ride in Nigeria because of roads and traffic are a nightmare. Also, said that be careful to people. Of course, I scared a little after listen all stories. But sometimes people can be lucky or unlucky to meet wrong or right person. We learned about it in Nigeria. The country made us a surprise. (If you looking about visa detail or border crossing&bribe you can click and open another page)
Our first stop was Lagos. So, we leaved from Porto-Novo, Benin on Sunday and ride to Lagos in the less traffic. We passed the Idiroko border to enter Nigeria. We came in front of a building where is passport control and custom service. It is big burned building, broken windows and you need to go behind the building, which is like abandoned building. I was thinking welcome to Nigeria. 🙂 Anyway, police/military were so helpful. We leaved one hour later and started to ride, after 50 km you can understand how much drivers are crazy like they loose their mind or wants to suicide. Some trucks pushed us out the road and we hit some potholes very badly. We saw a lot of checkpoints. They have big wooden sticks to close road and stop cars. Also, some of them were talking a driver with a gun inside their hand ready to shoot. Nobody stopped us; no accident and we arrive to Lagos alive. J We stayed one of FS friends place. Unfortunately he was in a holiday and we couldn’t see him.
Incredible help from a local guy
After got rest a couple of days, we started to search rear tires. We couldn’t find them the last 4 countries but we need them before the Gabon-Congo road. We were thinking what we should do. One couple who we met on the road in Mali, they gave us a name which is Toyin. He is Nigerian and living in Lagos. We contacted him on messenger. He started to search it and gave some number to talk as well but we didn’t have any top up to call at the moment. He sent money on our phone for that. 4-5 days later, he found tires for us, one is second hand other one new. He barged to price and everything. Finally we could meet him but only 10 minutes.
We got the tires and met some other people, went to dinner with them and had a lot of fun. When we came home we remembered that we didn’t pay it. We wrote Toyin to ask how we will pay it. He said that he was happy to meet us and the tires are a gift for us to safe trip in Congo. We couldn’t find words to say.
We had another amazing memory as well in Lagos. We saw that our fork seal is leaking and we didn’t have extra one with us. We asked Toyin and Dele they asked in motorcycle groups how we could find it. Our size of fork seal in or around Nigeria, no way to find it! We got stuck in Lagos. 🙁
Philip, who is from Sweden and living in Nigeria, was in South Africa at the same time for work but he was so busy. He hired a taxi and gave him the fork seal size to look around to find it, 2 days later he found it. We knew that he was flying to Lagos but stayed only 12 hours and going somewhere else. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see him and meet. He gave our fork seal to security and we picked up there. We called him to say thank you and ask how we can pay it. He said that he was so happy to help us. And wish a safe trip for us. It was another surprise for us. He also, traveled by motorcycle and a lot of people helped him on the road and he believe to time to pay for that 🙂
Meeting this kind of people on the road is incredible….
Are you going to hurt/kill us?
2 weeks later, we could leave from Lagos. Our plan was follow the coastline and pass to Cameron as soon as possible. We passed many checkpoints on the road and nobody stopped us. We were happy for that. I suppose that if we don’t have any experience for the checkpoint we can’t leave from the country. They stopped us when we were going to Onitsha. One soldier/police was talking with Ferry; the other two were coming to me. I opened my helmet and said hello. They got surprised to see me because I am a woman. J They were smiling and trying to talk with me. The same time I heard a scream and I saw that Ferry grabbed the soldier by his shoulder. I can’t describe the soldiers face it was so scary. Ferry was telling “take your key from the motorcycle to me and give back my key to the guy. Our engine was on and he got the key because he didn’t like that. I saw his hand was going to the gun. I turned to the two soldiers but I was almost going to cry. I asked them “what did we do wrong? Why is your friend doing this? I am really scared now. The other guy was so angry. Who were next to me they started to talk to the guy to stop it and gave back the key. In the beginning he didn’t listen he was just screaming. And than he got a little calm down, gave back the key and took back his hand from the gun. I was telling two soldiers ‘could we go now, please? I am not sure about to next step now.’ Finally, they allowed us to leave. I am so lucky that it was our first and last experience for the checkpoint. When we were leaving they wanted to take photo with us and we learned that the soldier got angry because Ferry didn’t stop the engine when he was talking to the soldier. And he wanted to show power and took the key. We never stop engine when we stop any checkpoint and we never had problem before 🙂
We went to Onitsha and found a little cheap hotel to stay. We had time to walk around after that and had dinner. In the morning we hit to road again to Calabar.
Terrible road and helpful or so angry people. How much we where lucky?
We arrived to Lagos begin of April but we started to ride again after middle of April. Therefore, we caught the beginning of the rain season. We took the main road to ride but when we arrived in a small village there was no way to pass the road! The road is under the water, deep and muddy; nobody tried to pass. We asked some people which road we need to take. They show us a short cut, which was soft sand. Good thing was just 10 km. 🙂 we arrived to the main road again and it was looking very good. After 50-60 km later the tar road collapsed and only, huge potholes. We saw some motorbikes were passing very tiny road next to it. We tried same thing but with our side bags we couldn’t pass as it was to small. One person came to us and said that he could help us to pass from another road. We didn’t sure to follow the guy or not because no other road around but we didn’t have any option more as well. We told him that we don’t have any money with us just we wanted to go Calabar. He thought a little and said that he could help us just we need to follow him.
He was talking about another road right! There isn’t another road just we have to pass private properties where they grow vegetables or cooking. Who saw us when we were passing they were screaming behind us or running. Believe me, it wasn’t a good experience. We were fighting with mud to ride and angry people running behind you. We managed it and turn back to the main road, which was look like tar road again. Who help us said that ‘no more problem. Just keep continue’ Really, are you serious!
20-25 km later we had to stop. The road collapsed and had one big pothole, which is totally mud, and 4-5 meters deep. We saw local people were passing next to it or inside. They were taking everything from the motorcycle and carrying the motorbike. Get out all bags tried to push motorcycles and than carry bags. Never happened for us because we don’t want to leave the bags or the motorcycles. If we turn back we have to pass again private properties but we never find the road. If we tried to pass from here we have no idea what was next. What should we do? We stopped the motorcycles and start to think about what to do? Of course, again a local guy came and said that I can help. Again same conversation we don’t have money? Are sure after that road is ok? Where will we pass from a private property?
No option more! Kept continue the guy. He was in front, Ferry behind and I was last. I got stuck in the mud. When I was trying to move I heard some sounds from intercom, which were not good sounds. I just opened the gas and went very quick behind. Of course, we were in the middle of someone’s private property and the guy was keeping Ferry’s in front tire between his legs and screaming badly. Ferry was so calm down and trying to explain why we were there. Just we were following a guy who said that he could help us. We didn’t know we were going to his place. We needed to do something but what. At that moment the guy came back and wanted to explain the owner…. Etc. Owner didn’t want to listen but his voice was going calm down, look like. I was just behind Ferry but he didn’t see me just focus him. One old woman was sitting in front of the house. They speak English so we can talk with her as well. I opened my helmet and waved my hand with smile. Yes, she saw me and came. Shake hands and looked inside my eyes, which is very important for them. We saw this in a lot of African countries. They want to see your eyes. I just said ‘ so sorry to disturb you. We didn’t know the place is private. You know the road how much bad. It’s my fault. I couldn’t pass there and somebody offered to help us to pass the hole and keep continue our road. We are not bad people. Please tell us what we can do.’ Anyway it was a sensitive moment and tears came to my eyes, couldn’t keep them. She just smiled and went to talk with her grand son. He was still screaming and not looking around didn’t want to talk anybody. Finally, she pulled his t-shirt and showed me without say anything. Ferry and I got surprise because he stopped to scream. We were so curios for the next step. He came to me and very polite ‘this is private property. You can’t pass it. Look what they did our plantations.” He was right but we didn’t have any change more. I told him the same thing what I told to his grandmother. A minute just silent and he said that “Please, keep continue” Yes we did runaway. 🙂
Finally around 5 pm we arrived to Calabar and found a hotel very fast to stay.
Calabar is a nice green city
The next morning we went to the Cameroon consulate to apply for our visas. Here we met Kevin and Emma from Australia and they were on the road for two years. The consulate said that we could get the visa in the afternoon. So we stay one day more in Calabar. Kevin and Emma came to the same hotel. We walked around the city center during the day and in the night we got dinner with the 4 of us. People were nice and street food was really good. Around the city look like doesn’t belong to Nigeria 🙂 We decided to be together a little in Cameroon. And next day morning we hit to road.
Note: We would like to share a lot of photos like other our articles but Ferry didn’t feel safe, therefore we could’t use camera on the road 🙁