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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
Roaming around Gabon is breathtaking. Jungle, beaches, rolling hills, wildlife – Gabon has it all.
Locals are extremely friendly – and refreshingly very respectful. Even when stumbling across my campsites locals are very content to shake hands and continue on their way, rather than stare for hours and beg constantly, as I have come to get used to.
More and more frequently I see bush meat for sale on the side of the road, hanging from sticks. This is quite literally anything locals are able to kill and hope to sell as food. Reptiles, snakes, eels, fish, rats, bats, rodents and even monkeys are all sold on the side of the road. I asked the price of the monkey, and was told 10,000CFA (about $15USD), though I expect there is a lot of negotiating room in there.
No, I didn’t buy anything, especially not monkey – eating monkey and bats is one possible way to get Ebola.
Coming through a monster pot hole on a broken and cracked road a truck driving in the other direction at breakneck speed kicks a massive rock into the windshield of the Jeep. It doesn’t come right through, but it’s extremely close. Little pieces of glass covered me and the whole front area, and now the windshield where the rock hit is soft when I push gently on it. Luckily it’s right in the middle, out of my eye line.
Given that I’m thousands of miles from Jeep parts, there is nothing more I can do than put some tape over it to keep the rain out and continue on.
A few hours later, I have already forgotten it’s there.
After days inland with intense heat and humidity I venture to the coast, just south of Loango National Park and spend a couple of days camped under a palm tree. The ocean is still bath-water warm, though the massive waves smash into the shore and make swimming intense.
I move towards Mayumba National Park in the extreme South of the country, right on the border of Congo and on the ocean. This is an extremely important nesting sight for turtles, though again I have arrived at the wrong time of year. I won’t get to see big ones laying eggs, or little ones hatching. It’s a supremely beautiful area nonetheless.
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