Date: 12th May 08
Location: Leconi, Gabon
Weather: Scattered clouds and sunshine, thundery, 32°c
Status: Problems with Kees truck sorted, all persons ready for the next country.
After a good nights sleep in the police yard, everyone gathered up their things and slowly ready readied for the off, we filled with fuel and stopped at the shop to get some baguettes and avocado for lunch and then found the road out of town towards the Gabon/Congo border.
Drove for 30kms until we came to the border post and had all of the documents stamped and signed out of the 15th country of the trip so far, back in the vehicles and the road immediately turned from good tarmac to soft sand….great another day waiting for the truck!
It turned out to be all good though and we made the 30kms across the border to the first of the Congo’s towns to have our carnets and passports stamped to show our arrival. Now normal procedure is to offer a copy of the passenger manifest to the official which they then take as this includes all of the details required from each passport and saves a huge amount of time but this awkward individual wanted to hand write all of the details down from everyone wasting an hour of hour precious time! As soon as he was through we made our way to the customs to have the carnets stamped and then this guy wanted a CFA2000 donation per vehicle to allow us through all because he had a photocopy from 1998 which he insisted was the new law….figure that out!??!
Left the town finally and arrived at another weak looking bridge next to a ford and it looked like we had another rebuild process on our hands, Kees was convinced he wouldn’t make the bridge so I offered to drive the ford first to check its depth and suitability….so off I went. Got about 2/3rds of the way across and the wheels bogged down until I stuck fast. No amount of forward and backwards would get me out so I had to use the winch for the first time on the trip, unwound it to the nearest tree and started to wind it in but couldn’t get the clutch to stop slipping, bloody disaster!
In the end Patrick made it across the bridge once we’d rebuilt it and Kees crept across so was able to tow me free from the sticky mess. Must have a good look at the winch tomorrow then!
Drove for another 20kms until we came to the town of Okoyo as the sun went down and camped up in the yard of the local police again….although this time there was no-one there to protect us, hope were ok then!
End of day location: Okoyo, Congo
Distance covered: 125kms