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16 August 2019, Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon, 60.9km
Motel Sispens 8,000CFA (R200)


We are in Ambam, Cameroon, but it was a close call. When we entered Gabon, we were taken aback to find that immigration, tasked with stamping your passport, is 50km beyond the Congo-Gabon border post we had used. Leaving Gabon, immigration is in Bitam, 31km before the Gabon-Cameroon border.
We strolled through Bitam’s market and were at immigration soon after 08:00. The official behind the desk spoke no English, but we managed to communicate that we were en route Ambam and Yaoundé, and required an exit stamp. He took our passports away, returning shortly and pointing to the stamps he had entered. It did not occur to us there was any reason to study these more closely than we did, but there was…
Arriving some hours later at the border post on the main highway into Cameroon and beyond to the capital, we were told that our exit stamps were for another border post altogether, one on a secondary dirt road to the west. Why? It completely befuddled us. Surely the default stamp would be for the primary post? And surely if you give a foreign tourist an unusual stamp, you should find a way to communicate this, no matter how difficult?
So there we stood at the south side of the bridge that crosses the tranquil Ntem River, stressed and in broken discussion with a policeman and an immigration official. They tried to persuade us to backtrack to the road to the other post, but we said this was impossible on a bike. They tried to persuade us to backtrack to Bitam and take it up with immigration there, but we said this was impossible on a bike. They made a call and then relented. Thank goodness… So we left Gabon and entered Cameroon, where the border crossing was simple and no-one bothered to check our bags.
It was a hot, humid, hilly ride, a TripleH ride. Through forest subtly different, less dense, but just as pretty. The bush here is unruly, growing into the road, at times making the road as narrow as a country lane. There were two gendarmerie roadblocks before Ambam; at both our passports were checked, but the process was friendly and efficient. No bribes requested, no funny business, just a normal day in Cameroon. At one of the stops, an official was drinking palm wine. He got upset when I wanted (thoughtlessly) to photograph a taxi jam-packed with bananas. One must be careful at police posts and bridges.
It should be illegal to build a town at the top of a hill! It is a tiring way to end a long day on the bike. So we took a break halfway up the hill, then continued on foot into the market where we bought local sims and data before finding our hotel.
A new country! Always a thrill…

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above… 


Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Leaving Bitam, Gabon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Bitam, Gabon to Ambam, Cameroon
Ambam
Ambam
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