February 19, 2018

Limbe Botanical Garden

It's a park, not a botanical garden. There is no signage, no tree name, no flowers, no attempt to educate. The site has a lot of potential though. A nice place to wander.

Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary

More of a zoo, than a wildlife sanctuary. The grounds are a bit rundown. This place need a complete renovation.  There a lot of different primate species including silver back apes, drill monkeys, and chimpanzees.  

February 18, 2018

Seme "Black Sand" Beach

Probably some of the softest sand I've ever felt. 

We paid 2000 CFA entrance.  Included a "free" beer. 


Stefano's first time on a horse.

"Black Sand" Snowman

Stefano showing off his new swim suit for "sports illustrated" swim suit issue. 

Our taxi driving suggested this restaurant. The meal was very typical African - cassava greens, dried fish, meat and some fatty skin thing.  The starches included "fufu", rice, or white sweet potato potage.  Having already tried the other two previously, I ordered the rice. 

February 13, 2018

Slave Museum, Calabar, Nigeria

I always thought the Af-Am pilgrimage back to the motherland was a thing.  But it appears it's not.  The pilgrimage tourist oriented places here are extremely lacking, like this museum.  I didn't learn anything new from the museum.  I only learned that West Africa in very lacking in terms of tourist attractions for Af-Am venturing back to the motherland. 

The museum staff was very African.  Entrance was 200 Nigra and I gave the guy at the front desk 500 Nigra. He said they didn't have change.  So I said whatever.  This happen all over Nigeria. Nobody has change. 

Entering the museum, there was signs stating "no pictures". I asked the tour guide if I could take pictures.  He said "no" at first, and then "yes" but if I didn't it very fast.  He walked me very quickly, through the entire museum, not explaining anything. I took pictures. He kept guard to make sure none of his fellow staff members saw me talking picture, then he quickly asked if that was enough.  

I said no. I would like to look more closely and read the exhibits explanations. After a "sigh" he allowed me to do this and also provided his own explanations of the exhibits. When we reached the end of the exhibit the second time, he asked if I would like to give him a tip. I told him he could have the 300 Nigra change that the guy at the front desk guy owed me. Then he asked me to return to the front desk to tell the front desk guy that the change was his, and not property of the guy at the front desk guy. lol   

February 11, 2018

Chimps - Pandrillus

This is the third time, I've viewed chimpanzees on this West African leg of this trip.  This time it was at Pandrillus in Nigeria.  This is the second "rehabilitation" sanctuary that we visited. My biggest beef is that they aren't "rehabilitation" sanctuaries.  They are more like permanent "zoos" in the natural habitat.  No chimps at ever released back into their natural habitat.

Drill Monkey - Pandrillus

One of the only things we did in Nigeria other than drive and search for our Cameroon VISA was visit the Drill Monkeys. 

Bananas for days!! 

February 06, 2018

Back Roads of Nigeria

The majority of our nine days in Nigeria were spent driving and seeking our Cameroon VISA.  We headed north in Benin and crossed over to Nigeria into a very rural area.  The roads were extremely poor. One day we spent the entire day driving only to cover 80k.  Because of the road conditions,  we arrived in Abuja a day late the Cameroon Embassy was closed to public on Fridays.  As alternative, we headed south to Calabar to a Cameroon Consulate where we eventually got our Cameroon VISA.  The drive south also required us to backtrack.  As a result we didn't see or do much in Nigeria except drive and over night at camps and hotels.   

Filthy! Five days of "bush" camping with no showers! 

February 03, 2018

Village on Stilts - Ganvie, Benin

"Ganvie is a lake village in Benin, Africa lying in Lake NokouĂ©, near Cotonou. With a population of around 20,000 people, it is probably the largest lake village in Africa and as such is very popular with tourists. The village was created in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries by the Tofinu people who took to the lake to avoid Fon warriors capturing slaves for sale to European traders. Making the shallow waters and islands of Lake Nokoue a haven, the Ganvie villager are often referred to as "water men."" per Wikipedia

February 02, 2018

Slave Road, Ouida, Benin

Stefano and I hired a tour guide to walk us down the "slave road" from the "slave market" in the city center to the "gate of no return" near the ocean port and explain the stations along the way. 

1. Slave Market and to the left was the Branding Building

2. Where the "Tree of Forgetfulness" once existed.  The future slaves were told not to remember their past, only the future...

3. Next, the cemetery where the bodies where buried in a large hole after spending a few nights in the House of Darkness.

4. The "Tree of Return" - representing the "spiritual" return of the slaves to West Africa after their death.   The guy in the yellow shirt, pink pants, and white shoes was our tour guide. 

Two of the stations along the slave road symbolized the African woman's involvement in the slave trade.  African women helped capture "potential" slave from other tribes. 

The "Gate of No Return" 

Random Take Aways from the Tour: 

Seven Major Stations on the "Road of Slaves"
1. Slave Market
2. Marking or Branding House
3. Tree of Forgetfulness
4. House of Darkness
5. Cemetery 
6. Tree of (Spiritual) Return
7. Gate of No Return

Top Six "Gates of No Return" in West Africa
1. Senegal
2. Angola
3. Benin
4. Elmina
5. Congo
6. Gabon