Tree sales on the street…even in Limbe its Christmas
Its an exhaustive and exhausting day of travel to Aba. The minibus gets stuck in a go slow (traffic jam) caused by road improvement works a little before the Niger bridge, though the roads are generally in a useable condition. Its another smoggy day; the sky and sun masked by pollution. Its noticeably worse in Nigeria; my eyes burn and run. The Niger River is wide, still to split into smaller streams, and dull in colour.
For the most part the police wave us through after a quick glance at the passengers. I don’t see any money changing hands; it seems to have calmed down a lot since before Lagos. I finally reach the depot in Aba after 8.5 hours sat in the same position save for 5 minutes stretching my legs early on.
The southernmost road in the Delta region runs south-east from Benin City, first to Warri, for which I have written “worst of violence here” and nothing else in my prep notes. The road then travels to Port Hardcourt, and hour from Aba. I went for the safer option of crossing the Delta in 1 day, to Aba.
Another dull, eye stinging drive to Calabar. I wander around Duke Town: its one of those places with mud roads and shanty-like housing that at first makes you feel wary and unsafe but is actually very welcoming with everyone saying good morning. The smog ruins the views over the shanty dwellings, Cross River, and old churches (of which there are many).
Next morning I’m awake at 4.50am to reach the ferry terminal for the sailing to Limbe, Cameroon. Everyone is very helpful as ever, and I’m given a seat to wait out boarding behind the woman selling pre-stamped yellow fever vaccination certificates. At 8.05 (departure time said to be 7) we head out, towards the mouth of the Cross River, and the Atlantic for the 5 hour journey.
On arrival to country number 15 we pass scenery that reminds me of Surrey. I even spot a postbox with ER on it.
Cameroon, over the past month, has become a major milestone for me. It means I have traversed Nigeria, entered Central Africa leaving West Africa behind, I’m heading south again, I get to switch to a new map, and its Christmas!