The town of Ouesso looks quite differently from most towns we’ve seen before. Small houses are encircled by neatly swept spacious courtyards with flowery bushes. The Wildlife Conservation Society office is unable to provide us with information on visits to the nearby Parc National Nouabalé-Ndoki, a police officer in town is clearly hoping he could fine us for not having insurance (which we did obviously) and breakfast in a restaurant downtown is expensive. But we didn’t encounter nearly as much hassles as anticipated and the overall atmosphere is agreeable, so by the time we leave for Brazzaville, we feel more at ease, even hopeful.
The first stretch of road isn’t all that good though. While the weather gods prove merciful, we still fail to reach the first town before dusk. Even if we have sufficient food and water, camping in the wild doesn’t seem like a good idea: the beautiful and dense forest we’ve been riding through is part of a national park, which means it’s probably filled with wildlife. So we ask in the first village in miles if we can camp there.
For the villagers of Epouma it goes without saying that we should. If it weren’t for the continuously moaning horny goats and Chinese roadwork trucks passing through the village at regular intervals – why do they need to transport “sand” in the middle of the night anyway?? – we would have had a peaceful night.
With no restaurants or respectable shops to buy food and no running water, it is much less appealing, but we don’t want to ride further. We need some time to finally clean the air filters. To our dismay the air boxes are very dirty as well, a result of following the bad advice of a local Yamaha mechanic. He suggested not oiling the filters to try if this would help mount the idling speed.
Totally in distress Nicolaas makes a phone call to our Yamaha dealer in Belgium to ask for advice. Somewhat reassured about the potential damage, we go to bed without a decent shower or meal.
Next day we get up at 4 in the morning. It’s still pitch black when we descend on foot to the nearby watering hole to look for elephants. We find a lot of recent tracks but return to the camp without actual sightings.
Well, at least we have an early start. But the road to Brazzaville is potholed and slow and I’m struggling to keep awake in the midday heat. At last we see Brazzaville and the Congo River in the distance.
Some of them have been less lucky: not all roads towards Brazzaville are as motorable as ours… We’ve found a safe, comfortable and cheap haven for the next couple of days. Nicolaas takes the time to adjust the valve clearance of the bikes with the help of a local BMW mechanic and we recharge our batteries before we cross the river to Kinshasa.
|For more pics see album"New colonialism"|