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Gabon, Page 2
April 09 - April 11, 2004

Preparation ] Europe ] Morocco Page 1 ] Morocco Page 1a ] Morocco Page 1b ] Morocco Page 2 ] Mauritania ] Mauritania Page 2 ] Mali ] Mali Page2 ] Niger ] Cameroon ] Gabon ] [ Gabon Page 2 ] Congo ] Congo Page 2 ] Angola ] Angola Page 2 ] Angola Page 3 ] Angola Page 4 ] Angola Page 5 ] Angola Page 6 ] Namibia ] Namibia Page 2 ] Namibia Page 3 ] Namibia Page 4 ] Namibia Page 5 ] Namibia Page 6 ] Namibia Page 7 ] Namibia Page 8 ] Namibia Page 9 ] Tanzania Page 1 ] Tanzania Page 1a ] Tanzania Page 2 ] Tanzania Page 3 ] South Africa Page 1 ] Botswana Page 1 ] Botswana Page 2 ] Botswana Page 3 ] Botswana Page 4 ] Botswana Page 5 ] Botswana Page 6 ] Botswana Page 7 ] July 22 ] July 25 ] July 29 ] August 03 ] August 09 ] August 16 ] August 24 ] September 5 ] September 11 ] September 12 ] September 21 ] September 25 ] September 29 ] October 03 ] October 09 ] October 15 ] October 19 ] November 04 ] November 13 ] November 20 ] November 29 ] December 9 ]

Country Facts: Gabon Scroll Down the Page for updates made on: 04/19/2004
Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 196km


 Eggplant Parmesean

Near Latoursville, Gabon

 09 April 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 17233km

Hot, Sunny Humid 101(F) degrees

We set off this morning at around 8:30, trying to escape a swarm of bees and flies that descended on our camp this morning. Graham discovered that his right shock tower has broken loose again, and at the same time Slade found a loose hub on his Land Rover. We stopped for an early lunch and set about making repairs. Graham removed the shock completely and tied the axle up with a piece of strap to prevent it from dropping too far and the spring falling out. Shortly after we got moving again, we encountered a log bridge with a makeshift barricade across it. Two guys came out and demanded money let us cross. We ended out giving them 2000 CFA for our four vehicles, which in retrospect was probably a mistake, but we did get across. The road improved in the afternoon and we enjoyed a beautiful drive along the river through lush, green forest until we found a place to camp about 40 km from Lastoursville. Graham and Connie borrowed Slade’s shower, which is a pressurized lawn fertilizer (the kind you fill with fertilizer, then pump up by hand and spray. It makes a great shower) We cooked dinner and sat around the camp fire chatting and looking at the stars. Graham and Connie have decided to name their car “Thokalossi” after a sort of gremlin reputed to exist in South Africa. The story is that some people believe that these creatures (small, like gremlins) exist and bring bad luck. If someone is experiencing a bout of bad luck, they will start stacking their bed on top of bricks, because if your bed is high enough, the Thokalossi can’t get you. So Thokalossi means “The gremlin under your bed.”

What's left of Thakalossi's shock tower

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 204km


 Spaghetti Bolognaise

Near Moanda, Gabon

 10 April 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 17437km

Cloudy, cooler, 93(F) degrees

This morning was very foggy and quite beautiful, but once again the bees drove us from our camp in a rush. We enjoyed more of the same good track we had yesterday and after stopping for lunch to fix a tire and tighten a hub on Rafiki, we made it to Moanda by about 2pm. We filled up with fuel and water, and after a quick shampoo at the gas station water tap we were on our way south toward the Congo border. We stopped for the evening in a level spot created during excavations from the road. Our new friends cooked a wonderful meal and we spent a nice bug-free evening chatting.

The wonderful feeling of clean hair! From left to right: Krissy, Connie, Vicky, Jen

The locals get baths, too.

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 70.8km


Chicken Tikka Masala and crepes with crème anglaise

Bakoumba, Gabon

 11 April 2004

Camped at the Lekedi Park entrance


Odometer: 17508km

Hot, Clear, Humid, 95 degrees(F)

Had a leisurely start to the day. Urs redid the timing on the Pinzgauer and then discovered a fuel leak in the top of one of the carburetors. Luckily he had a spare carburetor, so a quick change was made. We hit the road and made it to Bakoumba, the last major town in Gabon, by about 10. Of course it is Sunday so no one was at immigration control. We walked around to find customs and were told that the customs officer had ‘gone traveling’ so we should get the carnet stamp from the gendarmerie across the road. The guys found a shop selling beer and decided to stock up. Eventually the immigration officer showed up and dutifully noted exit details in all passports since he didn’t have an exit stamp. Then it was off to the gendarmerie. The officer there was most contrary. He didn’t like the lack of an exit stamp in the passports and told us it would cause trouble later. He then told us the border was closed, but he could let us through for a fee. Elsa argued for a long time with him about visas and open borders, and eventually he agreed to call the Secretariat who could authorize him to open the border for us. So we packed the man and Elsa and Graham into Toki and went to find the Secretariat. Unfortunately he was not at home, so we went back to the gendarmerie brigade. We settled in for a long stay, with Witt trying to fix a rattle in Rafiki’s bonnet and Urs swapping tires around on the Pinzi. Soon enough the officer got bored and told us we could go through. The border had magically opened! We drove out to the last gendarmerie checkpoint where we were told that the border was closed, but that the officer had a key to open the gate. They searched our vehicles, and then we packed two guys with AK-47’s into our convoy and one guy who wanted a lift onto Rafiki’s roof rack. Then off to the real border. The road out there was quite good, but was going through some pretty thick jungle. The border itself was marked by two locked gates and a distinct lack of road on the Congo side. The officer at the border reaffirmed that the border was closed and told us we could only get through with a letter from the regional governor. So after much debating we decided to try a different border after going back to the immigration officer to check us back into the country. So back to town and another stop at the immigration office. The officer told us again that the border is open and that we should have been let through. He got on the phone and called the govenor. While he was on the phone the Secretariat showed up. He took over the phone call and got authorization from the govenor that we could cross. Of course, no one had told us until now that the Congo side is closed every Sunday, and that it would be closed Easter Monday as well. So Elsa and Vicky went with the Secretariat to get a letter and the rest of us had lunch and made plans for the two days we were stuck in Bakoumba. At this point the chief of the border control showed up and told us that we should stay Monday night at the border so we could cross first thing on Tuesday (and also so that we could give him a ride to the border post). So, with plans made for onward travel, we decided to spend the intervening time at Lekedi Park, the hotel and camping for which is in Bakoumba. Off to the hotel and a swim for most. Lots of washing was done, followed by a meal of chicken tikka masala and crepes.

Camping in a road building mistake

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 0km


Chicken Potjie

Bakoumba, Gabon

 12 April 2004

Lekedi Lodge


Odometer: 17508km

Rainy, Cooler, 85 degrees(F)

Since the Congo side of the border is closed on the Monday after Easter, we decided to spend the day in Lekedi National Park which happens to be nearby. We all piled into a couple of Toyota pickups and spent the morning driving around the park. We saw some buffalo and impala as well as a family of chimpanzees that live on an island in a lake in a park. These chimps used to be kept as pets or tourist attractions, but now lead lives of leisure in the park, being fed bread and bananas every day to amuse the tourists. We also saw some wild pigs, Mandril monkeys, and an ostrich. The afternoon was spent at the lodge relaxing, swimming in the pool, and reading. Slade and Graham made a wonderful chicken Potjie and Urs created a gigantic fruit salad which we drowned in custard for desert. We got our first good rain storm this afternoon, which left the evening nice and cool.

Be sure to click on the right arrow...there are more pictures!




Crossing the Border into Congo

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