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If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home. - James A. Michener

5 August 2019, Bifoun to Ndjole, 62.23km
Hotel Kevazingo 15,000CFA (R375)


Our pessimistic omelette-maker, when we told him this morning we were headed for Cameroon, said “Boko Haram”. Usually people mention the good food!
The first 20km of this long day were easy, the road undulating gently; the next 40km were increasingly exhausting, the inclines forcing us often onto our feet to push our stubborn steeds up steep gradients. But it sure was beautiful out there. Our road, quite narrow and on occasion potholed, rose and fell through dense equatorial forest with mountain views. Once an enormous stand of bamboo formed a tunnel of deep shade through which we cycled; often we passed between cliffs banked on both sides in ferns, their beauty towering metres above us. All day long we could hear birds singin’, callin’, cooin’, chirpin’, flirtin’. At one spot a troupe of monkeys bounded from tree to bush to bamboo, creating waves of motion in green, a male barking hidden from view. And butterflies at work and play, of course. For the first time today, though we have seen many logging trucks pass us by loaded with giant trunks culled from the forest, we heard two trees fall, the THUMP resounding from a distance to our quiet road.
Whenever we pass through a village, people want to greet us and we find ourselves, like celebrities, calling out “Bonjour” and waving to left and right. Usually this is a fund exercise in good relations between local and traveller; on occasion, when tired, it is trying.
Sadly, a few kms outside Ndjole, in all the pristine beauty of the forest, is the town’s rubbish dump where refuse is simply spilled on the roadside and down the mountainside. Unsightly, smelly and fly-infested. Refuse disposal is always an issue in third-world countries.
Charl was not well today. He was sweating more heavily than usual in the humidity, his feet dragging and his head drooping. At one point he called out to me that he had to sit awhile, and there vomited. Not sure what’s up so we’ll rest tomorrow.
Since northern Congo, we have begun to encounter a problem with online maps, whether Google Maps, Maps.Me, iOverlander or Ride with GPS. Quite often the GPS locator places us at a distance from the roads marked; quite often the distance between places is considerably less than the actual distance. Today, for example, iOverlander had placed Ndjole at around 40km from Bifoun; the route marker put the distance at 56km. Leaving Bifoun we found a sign declaring Oyem to be 364km from Bifoun; iOverlander put it at about 240km. This obviously makes planning a little complicated. We shall have to ensure we carry sufficient supplies for any eventuality.
An hour or so after having checked into our hotel, we were paid a visit by a policeman wanting to see our passports. He was brought to our door by our host. I asked if he was a policeman, not because he was dressed in a T-shirt, but because I had not clearly understood what was said, and he immediately showed me a photograph of himself on his cellphone, dressed in a blue uniform. He was polite and unofficious, taking photographs of our passports and checking our visas. We assume the hotel had reported our presence to his office. Because he spoke a little English, I took the opportunity to ask if there was perhaps a pizza restaurant in town, and much to my pleased surprise, he said yes. He gestured that he would be back and returned a while later having walked to the end of our road and photographed the pizza place so we could find it with ease. How very generous!

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


Breakfast in Bifoun
Breakfast in Bifoun
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Bifoun to Ndjole
Note: Distances on map incorrect - see text


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