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30th Oct 12’ Lagos – Onitsha, Nigeria

November 1, 2012

290 miles (5019 miles to date)

This morning, my taxi driver picked up from the Lagos hotel to go and withdraw more money then went to apply for my Congo visa. I had sourced the address from Horizons Unlimited, but when I arrived the building looked derelict. First of all, the sign above the embassy read DRC which would have been the incorrect Congo anyhow, secondly the security guard informed the taxi driver and I that they had relocated to Abuja.

I jumped back in the taxi and asked the driver to take me there. He looked at me with a surprised expression and said “but Masta, Abuja is far; a flight journey away in Northern Nigerian”. I couldn’t believe that this little mistake could cost me the journey south as there would be no other safe way around the Congo, overland.

I called my wife and asked her to locate another Congo consulate. Within minutes, Kerry text back advising there was a consulate in Cameroon and Gabon so the panic was over.

The taxi driver drove me back to the hotel where I hurriedly packed. Because of my temporary Cameroon visa only being valid until the 6th November, I couldn’t afford to spend another day in Lagos. My limited Cameroon visa has put me under real pressure to get in and out before it expires otherwise I could be liable for arrest, beside, I wanted to escape Lagos as quickly as possible.

Before leaving, the hotel accountant changed my Naira back to Euro using the market but he returned with a two hundred euro note, which made me suspicious as I had never seen one before. I couldn’t wait any longer so had to trust it was genuine. I’m sure I will find out when I change it to CFA in Cameroon.

I was dreading trying to get out of Lagos because of the traffic and its many bridges, one of which was closed, The Fourth Bridge if I remember correctly. The GPS didn’t help as it wouldn’t offer an alternative other than over the closed bridge. I passed the same Police Officer three times in the space of two hours and he began to get frustrated at me asking for directions. It took me two and a half hours just to find an exit out of the city which by this time I began to loathe Lagos.

My idea of this adventure was wild camping in remote areas but the visa applications have drawn me in to such busy cities, the next one being Yaoundé in Cameroon where I have to apply for my Gabon visa before this Friday otherwise I may overstay stay in Cameroon. I will not have to time to apply for my Congo visa, as well, so will have to keep my fingers crossed that it can be obtained in Gabon.

The roads are relatively well sealed leaving Lagos heading East for around one hundred miles until the roads works begin which creates carnage. There is no correct carriageway or direction to travel in, it’s every man for himself and all try to find the smoothest section of road. The towns and villages along the way are congested with taxis and mini buses. When passing through I sometimes have to stop in traffic or at traffic lights where people go about their business until someone recognises I’m a foreigner and shouts “white man”, everyone then crowds around preventing me to pass. I sometimes wonder if a less expensive bike would bring the same attention as my spaceship.

Approaching Ontisha, it’s now dark and I haven’t reached my planned destination. The locals won’t use their headlights and it’s raining making other vehicles difficult to see until there heading straight towards you, this is why Steve, you shouldn’t ride at night member, lol.

I see a sign for a new developed hotel but couldn’t find it so I ask a local who jumps on the back and gives me directions for free!

It must have been a five star hotel worth five star prices but I didn’t care, it was a luxury I feel I have deserved. It has wi fi and even hot water so I bath myself using the bucket, hit water and soap provided. I take the opportunity to re energise myself by feeding up on Goat Spaghetti Bolognaise. The protein definitely helped.