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31st Oct 12’ Onitsha – Kalsina, Nigeria

November 1, 2012

207 miles (5226 miles to date)

I’ve tried to stay positive whilst riding through Nigeria but it has been a challenge. Now I’m further East and escaped Lagos the people are much friendlier and the traffic less. In fact, the roads are clear; it’s just a matter of avoiding the pot holes which creep up on you. Road diversions are frequent from Onitsha to Ikom. The opposite carriageway is normally permitted and accessible if the road ahead is water logged. At the moment it hasn’t rained much so the dirt road diversion are easy going compared to the Ghanaian roads.

As soon as I leave my Hotel just West of Onitsha, the roads takes me over a bridge to cross the immense Niger River.

Just East of Enugu, for the first time in Nigeria I feel it’s safe to stop for a coffee break which is actually hard to find in West Africa. I sit down by a road side shack as the shop keeper goes to buy me biscuits. There’s a large canopy out the front made from corrugated steel which hides me away from the crowds. I sit and watch the village un noticed and feel relaxed knowing I’m far away from Lagos.

Check points are becoming more frequent again and the Police uniforms are now camouflaged with bullet proof vests, hats and armed with the familiar AK47’s. The Soldiers/Police are extremely friendly and more often than not just wave me on and wish me a good journey. Normally, a few miles after the check points I can just make out a camouflaged bunker made from the same red dirt the roads are made from. The soldiers hide with two hands firmly gripped on their heavy duty machine guns in preparation to gun down run away vehicles who fail to stop.

Today has been a mixture of road surfaces from pot holed, sand, gravel, tarmac or brand new tarmac but has still made for slow progress because of the diversions. I was hoping to enter Cameroon this evening but thought best to locate a hotel near by the border and attempt the notorious Ikom – Mamfe Border crossing tomorrow, notoriously known for its road surface.

I’m still concerned my Cameroon Visa and Angola Visa will expire therefore considering alternative modes of transport or may even run the risk of an overstay in Cameroon hoping the border guard doesn’t notice the expiry date.

I have 367 mile to attempt in a day and a half so I can submit my Gabon visa Friday afternoon and just prayer they will authorise that day or Monday morning at the latest.

The hotel is a big difference to my five star last night. When the lights are turned on, if the electric comes back on that is, cockroaches the size of my thumb skittle from under my bed and make high pitch screeching noises. There are cars coming and going so I wonder what kind of business is being run from the room next door. An early night and early start is required to try and get to Yaoundé by Friday afternoon.

Today has been a good day where I have seen another side to Nigeria.