First to Obudu Cattle Ranch
The first part of my Christmas holiday involved seven of us, Beth a volunteer in Kano, and her man Dan, who visited from the UK, Heather from Kaduna, me, Richard from Lafia, Lucy (also from Bournemouth) who lives in Dutse, where she is seriously deprived of female company and alcohol, and Sarah, a Dutch volunteer who lives near Calabar.
|Intestine road - view from cable car|
|Clearly something was funny!|
Then to Athi
Athi is a drill reserve, the drill being a monkey, related to a baboon. It provides a habitat for monkeys that will eventually be released into the wild, these have often been intercepted when people try to smuggle them across borders, its also houses some rescued chimps. It is also a rather wonderful place to relax and chill out, as you will see from the pictures. There is no mobile phone reception there, but we did get a daily alarm call from the pit latrine, unfortunately Beth managed to drop her phone in the poo! Needless to say at seven the following morning it sang from the depths!
To Akpap Okoyong for Christmas!
Dutch Sarah bravely invited six Brits for Christmas to her little village Akpap Okoyong, it took us a while to learn to say that. The village is also known as Mary Slessor village, she was a Scot who campaigned for the end of the killing of twins, traditionally twins were seen as a bad omen and had to be killed at birth.
|Fixing a throttle cable in the dark, with the engine running, no wahalla!|
|Pancakes and Bucks Fizz for breakfast on Christmas Day|
|My poem from Secret Santa|
Boxing Day off to Calabar
So next to Calabar, for the carnival and the route to Cameroon. I liked Calabar, compared to other Nigerian cities; it seemed much cleaner and calmer. There are litter bins, no okadas; and good public transport. The carnival was fun but not quite up to my expectations, the atmosphere was great though, lots of Nigerians out to have fun, and as it was purely carnival no fear of “trouble” unfortunately that came later, to Abacha Barracks on New Year’s Eve.
Cameroon was fun, but brief, three days climbing a mountain, two on the beach and back! The mountain was great, really hard work, we started at 1100 metres above sealevel and reached the summit the next day which is 4095m, so basically it was a steep steep climb. It was beautiful though and very interesting being an active volcano, last erupted in 2000. As we walked through the lava flow, some was just ash, the more recent, but other areas, had started to host their own habitats. Some of it reminded me of a coral sea bed. I asked our guide whether there were local beliefs about the mountain, he said that they used to sacrifice albinos to the mountain when it erupted, now they sacrifice goats instead. The guides are mostly former hunters, and have been trained as guides to give them an alternative livelihood. Bush meat itself is not bad, we got to eat some unknown species, likely to be rat or squirrel, yum! but it includes threatened species such as chimps and gorillas.
|We made it 4095m above sea level|
|Is this the sea or the ocean?!|
Differences between Cameroon and Nigeria
OK a big disclaimer, I have spent six days in a very small part of English speaking Cameroon and nearly 12 months in Nigeria. However it seemed quieter, ie not the Nigerian insistence on turning up the volume so loud that everything is distorted, “horning” for no apparent reason, nobody shouted Oyibo, Baturi, or Onyocha (Nigerian terms for white person) or equivalent words, apparently they don’t have such words in Cameroon. Pepe was optional in Cameroon, but the people were less friendly, I think. I didn’t get to taste much Cameroon food apart from fish and plantain which was very good, but is also good in Nigeria. There was of course the spaghetti omelette!
|Choosing fish and prawns for lunch|