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Krys's Travel log

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Welcome to my travel log! You will find here a lot more than in the travel reports, stripped from political correctness. Enjoy!

Log entries 121 - 130 of 1158 Page: 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Dec 18, 2011 09:00 PM Cameroon - in Limbe

Cameroon - in Limbe In Limbe. I took a short trip from the Seme Beach Hotel in Idenau to Limbe. I wanted to withdraw some more money for the car hire for the next three days. And I also wanted to check what I was missing by staying so far from the town.

As I walked to Limbe, I passed by the last lava flow following the eruption of Mount Cameroon. The lava had destroyed the road I was using, and they had to build a bypass. The site was open for visiting. It cost CFA1,500 to enter and CFA500 on top to take pictures. I did not enter, thinking that I could probably cover the site on the way back. Soon after the lava flow, I spotted a black mamba by the road. The snake was moving very fast, as I might have spooked it. Black mambas are generally aggressive and can attack when they feel threatened. Other snakes just run away. This one, but the road did want to attack me actually, as it started to move quickly from the roadside bushes onto the road. I managed to jump away to the middle of the road and the reptile gave up. Perhaps realising that it achieved its objective.

The only bank in Limbe whose ATM was giving money was the Societe Generale. And its ATM booths were fully air conditioned. Which was cool.

The beach in Limbe also had a nicely developed seafront with benches, which were in fact popular. Locals sat down, rested, couples held hands, traders took breaks. The beach had three sections. One for swimming or relaxing. The other was for fishing, fish trading and repairing nets and boats. And the last one was used as an extension of a fishing community. This is where boys played football. Just on the edge of the fishing beach, there were a couple of beach restaurants. I checked the Chez Charlotte. They had good, ice-cold draft lager, and a few items on the food menu. The spot seemed very popular with Cameroonians. The venue had a terrace with a few sturdy tables and a handful of plastic tables and chairs directly in the black volcanic sand of the beach.

I chatted to one of the local girls sitting at the table next to mine. She was from Douala. But she had moved to Limbe to pursue a singing career with a few of the venues catering for travellers, hotels, restaurants, bars and night clubs. She was rather nice, although I would have to say that I did not fully agree with her philosophy for life. We chatted long after sunset.

So, I eventually did not get to see the old lava flow on the way back.

Dec 17, 2011 09:00 PM Cameroon - Douala to Limbe

Cameroon - Douala to Limbe On the way to Limbe. Although I was prepared to brave public transport from Douala to Limbe, it took me too long to get organised with the money business, e.g. finding a working cash dispenser. So, I eventually picked up a private taxi from one of the junctions.

The trip took me via dense forest of palm trees, woods of very graceful looking trees, and never ending banana plantations. It was a very pleasant ride. The green scenery resembled forested areas of Europe, actually; a single lane road amongst green fields and the forests in near distance. The journey took just over an hour and cost me CFA15,000.

I counted about seven checkpoints, where the Police try to extract money from the motorists and travellers. Fortunately, I was not stopped once. Otherwise, the trip would have taken much longer.

I was a bit unimpressed that the hotel I booked was actually not in Limbe, but in Idenau, some 10 miles farther west. And there was no action around the hotel after sunset. Fortunately, it was Sunday, so the Seme Beach, which the hotel owned, was packed with people. They lounged in the shaded areas, sipping beers and soft drinks. Lads and a couple of gals kicked football, loads of people did some body surfing, and some of the locals dived into the nearby river, which in part run in parallel to the shoreline.

The sunset dimmed by the dust brought by the Harmattan wind all the way from the Sahara, looked like nothing else. It actually started to get seriously dark way before the disc touched the horizon. The chocolate colour sand of the beach reflected the sun and the sky nicely, particularly in the part washed with the waves of the Atlantic.

The hotel charged CFA35,000 for a two-room suite with two bathrooms. It was nothing special though, and it was clear that the hotel had seen much better days. It also had a good number of bungalows on the way to beach. By the way, the venue charged the non-residents CFA1,500 to use the beach, including infants and toddlers!

Dec 16, 2011 09:00 PM Cameroon - Arrival

Cameroon - Arrival Arrived. The flights on the Swiss were smooth. The wait at the Zurich airport was boring. And the E terminal, although attractive by architecture standards, was empty in terms of shopping!

Douala airport, after 19:00 hours was almost completely shut down. There was nowhere to change money or use an ATM unit. The taxi drivers were keen to take a white tourist for the ride, though. The normal price was CFA2,500 but they kept asking CFA4,000. One just had to be firm and ensure there were no other passengers taken; for security reasons. 

The ride was short. This was perhaps owing to a lack of traffic at that time of night. The hotel, Prince de Galle, was not bad at all. The room was clean and spacious. The bath was modern and included a bidet, which was a standard in most better hotels in Cameroon. The bar downstairs was cool, but not very lively, and it seemed that it was frequented by 'working girls'. The large suite on the fourth floor cost me CFA90,000, which was a bit extravagant, I have to admit. I stayed in much better places around the world for a bit less...

Dec 10, 2011 09:00 PM Cameroon & Gabon - Gabon route

Cameroon & Gabon - Gabon route The South African Airways flight from Douala should land in Libreville at about 11pm. I will be staying at an expensive hotel in the centre with plenty of time to sleep in and relax.

It is challenging to have anything planned for travel in Gabon. Information on the net is poor and unreliable. One travel agent advised me not to go to Gabon, because of the hotels and lodges being closed at short notice, etc. How bizarre? So, I will probably spend a day in Libreville browsing through travel agents to see what I could do in the New Year.

My current plan will definitely take me through to the 2 January 2012. After the second night in Libreville, I will transfer to Pointe-Denis across the estuary, for four days. The giant turtles should be laying eggs on the beach at night. That's one attraction. There are two national parks in the vicinity. Perhaps I will venture there.

Then, my plan is rather vague. People on Facebook and CouchSurfing suggested I should go to Port Gentil. It is an oil city, but apparently it also has excellent coastline with very attractive beaches.

The last leg of the trip will hopefully take me to beaches and national parks north of the capital. I might go up to Cap Esterias for a couple of nights. And that would be it.

Dec 09, 2011 09:00 PM Cameroon & Gabon - Cameroon route

Cameroon & Gabon - Cameroon route According to the airline's schedule, I will be landing in Douala at about 7pm. It will probably be just after sunset. Since there is no twilight near the equator, it will get dark very soon. So, there will be no time to do any exploring in the city. Reportedly, Douala does not have much to offer to a tourist. But on my last day in the country, I might make plans to arrive early for my flight to Gabon to have a brief look of the city.

The current plan is to leave Douala the very next day after the arrival. Destination: Limbe. Limbe is a small harbour town at the foot of the active volcano Mount Cameroon. It is West Africa's highest mountain. The proximity of the volcano makes the beach sand almost black. The plan is to spend two days in Limbe.

Then, hopefully in a hired car, the wheels should lead me to the famous Ring Road mountainous region, dotted with small kingdoms, fiefdoms and sultanates. If all goes to plan, I should be staying overnight in Bamenda, Kumbo and Foumban.

The next mini chapter will be the capital city of Yaounde. Literature suggests that a regular tourist will have little to do there. Well, we'll see. One night there.

The last sector of the trip, the Christmas sector, should take me to the white beaches of Kribi for the whole three nights and three days.

Dec 01, 2011 09:00 PM Cameroon & Gabon - visas ready!

Cameroon & Gabon - visas ready! Cameroon and Gabon are amongst those countries of Africa, who have image that obtaining visas to enter their territories is the hardest or least convenient. Information posted on the Cameroon High Commission in London website is misleading. It indicates that one of the documents required to accompany the two copies of the application form for a tourist visa was the legalised invitation letter from a contact in Cameroon. This in fact is NOT required! Only visitors (and not tourists) have to submit this invitation. Tourists must provide copy of their return ticket, hotel booking and proof of funds (at least €1000). Also, the visa is ready within 24 hours and not within 48 hours as stated on the website. The cost is £59 (50,000 CFA) for a multiple entry three month visa, which is exactly what would citizens of Cameroon pay and get when applying for a UK visa.

The Gabonese Embassy in London does not have a website. With a tourist visa application (single copy only), Gabon authorities require a copy of a return ticket, proof of address (a utility bill is ok), hotel booking and a proof of funds (at least €1000). It takes 5 calendar days (not working days) for the visa to get issued. It costs £60 for a single entry one month visa.

Personnel at both consular sections were polite and efficient. No superfluous questions were asked. Gabonese Embassy accepted cheques and cash. Cameroon High Commission - only cash, and change was almost never given, though.

The diplomatic missions were not too far apart (CM at Holland Park, GA at Gloucester Road), and logistically it makes more sense to apply for the Cameroon visa first - their open at 09:30am - collect it the next morning and hop to the Gabonese Embassy in time to lodge the application before 1pm. Gabonese visas can only be collected between 1pm and 3pm. Cameroon visas can only be applied for in the morning. When I visited both of the offices, there were no queues.

Oct 03, 2011 06:00 PM Travel reports from 120 countries!

Travel reports from 120 countries! I have just published a travel report from my trip to Nicosia in Cyprus, which is the 120th country I submitted a report on. A nice number, I think.

I am also writing a report on Pafos in the southern tip of the island, but it will have to wait a little, until I am satisfied with the content.

I have material, and already written script for a 121st country - Kosovo, but Globosapiens has not yet created Kosovo as a country. So, I will wait until it is created!

Sep 25, 2011 06:00 PM The travel history 1985 - 2010, a quarter of a century of travel

The travel history 1985 - 2010, a quarter of a century of travel I have been asked a few questions about my travel record and how I had managed to visit so many countries to date. Well, those who asked got their answers. Yet, all those still interested are welcome to visit my personal website. I just added a page with Travel History. It contains key routes plotted on the physical map of the world spanning 25 years of my travel. It also contains the total tally number, which at the end of 2010 stood at 135. Now, it is slightly more still.

The website is being redesigned to be more tablet friendly and there could still be a few irregularities creeping from the previous black style - mostly the photo pages of each individual country. I will be changing these in due course.

Sep 22, 2011 06:00 PM So, fast can you travel?

So, fast can you travel? Apparently, it was announced today, it might have been recently proven that the speed of light is not the maximum speed that you can reach in the Universe. And that there are apparently particles that can overtake light. If that was the case, then a myriad of destinations within the Universe would suddenly become much closer than Mr Einstein thought. Perhaps, if the rest of the Theory of Relativity were true, time travel could also therefore be more possible than thought before. Now, that would be something. Our Globosapiens could soon become Cosmosapiens. ;)

Sep 13, 2011 06:00 PM South America - so how much did it eventually cost?

South America - so how much did it eventually cost? The holiday in Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Barbados was 22 days long exactly. Everything, excluding the flights from London to Foz do Iguassu and from Barbados to London, cost £3,415, based on average exchange rates for the period. In local currencies it was:

BRL 4,082
EUR 223
SRD 2,347
GYD 69,837
BBD 482
GBP 840

The most expensive item of the trip was the very first (of the holiday) night at the Hotel das Cataratas for BRL719. I spent BRL884 that day. The second most expensive day was Tuesday 23 August 2011, when I spent BRL700 mainly on the hotel and partying with the Cariocas and fees for visiting the sights of the city.

My overall budget was £3,447, so I managed not to spend £32. But the situation over the period of the holiday looked differently. On the first day, I was £35 over the budget. The next day, I was not spending at all, so I was £20 under the budget. As soon as I got to Rio, I started overspending again. A visit to Salvador made it worse. I only started to recover when I got to Olinda. I was in black again when I reached Georgetown in Guyana. That was because I could not get to the Kaieteur Falls, which was budgeted for. And the river trip I bought instead was some £50 cheaper. More details can be found on the graph beside.

I hope you will find it useful when planning your trips to Brazil and the Guyanas.

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