Nigeria

Land Rover AFRICA Magazine - - FEATURE -

The Nige­rian of­fi­cials were ex­tremely friendly and cour­te­ous and ad­vised us on the best route to Abuja. We then headed off to­wards Ibadan and were stopped nearly 10 times within a dis­tance of 15 km, all by dif­fer­ent of­fi­cials to check and recheck our pass­ports. Be­cause of this slow pace, we opted to camp wild though all po­lice had ad­vised against it. We found a school in the bush and parked in the play­ground for the night. We woke early and headed to­wards Ibadan where we stopped to visit Mapo Hall, built in 1923 by the Bri­tish to ad­min­is­ter the Western area of Nigeria. We were given a very in­for­ma­tive tour of the build­ing. Our guide ex­plained the his­tory as well as the pol­i­tics be­hind it, even letters writ­ten by the Bri­tish gover­nor to the “Bale” about lo­cal is­sues dat­ing back to 1917. All these letters had been left on top of an old fil­ing cab­i­net in a dis­used room. Abuja is prob­a­bly the new­est, shini­est city in Africa. In fact, it could be a Euro­pean city with its tall glass clad build­ings and wide streets ( if it wasn’t for all the rubbish!). The traf­fic is less manic than in other cities and it has a good feel about it. We car­ried on to the Sher­a­ton where they al­low over­lan­ders to camp at the back of the ho­tel. Here we met Dave and Natalie ( a South African and French cou­ple) who were do­ing the same route in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, in the same ve­hi­cle as ours. How­ever, their ve­hi­cle had seen bet­ter days. Dave had some in­ter­est­ing sto­ries to share. He had done a few trips through Africa on a mo­tor­bike be­fore, and his Landy was as loaded as a bush taxi. He even had a Be­douin tent on top. We stayed at the Sher­a­ton for an­other five days and ap­plied for the fol­low­ing visas: Cameroon ( within 12 hours, 50 000 CFA Francs, and they only ac­cept the West African CFA); An­gola ($ 30, three work­ing days); and DRC ( ex­press, N25 000). Dur­ing our stay, a cou­ple of bik­ers from the UK, who were on their way to South Africa, ar­rived. They in­tended to re­turn up the east coast over nine to 12 months. We planned to leave Abuja early in the morn­ing but de­cided to res­cue a six- mon­thold puppy from the ken­nels run by lo­cals next to the Sher­a­ton. He was very ner­vous and fright­ened. But ev­ery day he did bet­ter and it was a de­light to see him slowly start to be­have like a dog of his age should do. We vis­ited Jos mu­seum and zoo, the vil­lage Bisichi next to the old tin mines and the house where my fam­ily and I lived that is now a ruin. We were al­most scammed by some­one who had been rec­om­mended by the ken­nel owner, pre­tend­ing to be a vet. He asked for a ridicu­lous amount of money for the travel documents for the dog, which we had now named Niger. How­ever, we man­aged to find a proper vet, got Niger vac­ci­nated and col­lected all the pa­per­work nec­es­sary to cross Africa. The chip­ping and pass­port we de­cided to leave un­til we got to Namibia. The time had come for Niger to say good­bye to Dan­juma and his fam­ily and start our drive south to Ekok and the Cameroon bor­der.

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