7 May 2015
From Bamenda to Ekok (Nigerian Border) with Ease. My recent experience.
The people who had the practical taste of this road some years back will remember it for the way the road tortured them and not in the context I am about to write. Many passed through the road without knowing the beauty surrounding it because their minds were focused on when they will ever reach their destination. The situation on this road then was akin to life in the Stone Age. That is now history.
The difference between 2006 and 2015: Just like emerging from the Stone Age.
Now when you take off from Bamenda, you can relax while your car cruises on a smooth road and enjoy the tantalizing beauty of the grass field area with its endless hills. The beauty is enhanced esp. on a clear sunny day during the rainy season when nature reveals the secret beauty of greenery.
As you approach Batibo which lies on the boundary between the Savannah region and the forest region, you start noticing a mixed type of vegetation with grassy hills sandwiched between forests. After Batibo, you have a steep meandering descend to Widikum which marks the real beginning of the forest zone coupled with its hotter climate.
The accessibility offered by the new road has encouraged hundreds of people to open large farms in the forested area between Widikum and Mamfe particularly in the area called Kendem. The forest is being eliminated to make way for farms of Palm, plantains etc.
I could not resist the temptation to pack the car and walk on the bridge over River Manyu . The river below the bridge is now a shadow of the river I saw some 25 years ago. I think I will not be wrong if I guess that this giant river has lost at least 60% of the volume I knew then.
We got to Mamfe later in the morning and visited the river port which used to serve as the main commercial liaison between the then West Cameroon and Nigeria. Today, you can find mostly smaller boats that ferry people and goods to remote riverside communities and Nigeria. Others are involved in the illicit but lucrative business of moving petroleum products across borders of the two countries.
Mamfe is resurrecting from where it was buried over three decades ago from inaccessible roads to the two cities of Kumba and Bamenda. Mamfe will occupy her real place when ongoing work on the other artery (Kumba-Mamfe road) ends.
We took off from Mamfe shortly before mid day for Ekok. The driving was enjoyable as this road has fewer bends than the one from Bamenda to Mamfe. We stopped at the bridge at Akwen (near Eyumonjock) and went down to the riverside to enjoy the beautiful scenery. We passed through Eyumonjock without noticing as the new road veered off the town. While I was expecting to see Eyumonjock, I instead saw a sign welcoming us to Ekok.
By the time we were visiting, the land border between Cameroon and Nigeria remain officially closed. The border was closed during the ebola scare. I can only guess that it still remains closed due perhaps to security concerns. Whatever the case, we Africans are used to crossing closed frontiers.
On our way back, we branched into Eyumonjock and visited Lake Ejagham. It is one beautiful lake that remains hidden in this part of the country.
The Bamenda- Ekok road that used to be a nightmare to travelers is now a road to drive and have leisure and fun.
Related Cameroon Travel Stories
Visit to Lake Nyos & Other Lakes http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/161214.htm
Visit to the North Region http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/176077.htm
Njei Moses Timah