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Adventure in Cameroon (Kamerun)

This is a living article. It starts prior to trip, and we will amend it on the go.

As it happens we from Anfibio are in good and long term contact with fellow adventurer Dominik Szmajda from Poland. Some readers might remember his guest post from Congo in our Blog.

Our partnership had always been subject to team up for an actual trip together, which now seems going to happen. His expertise in Central Africa (and other regions pf the world) will lead Sven to the heart of Africa: Cameroon.

Country side of Cameroon


Idea and plan

Why Cameroon? Well, if there is a desire for tropical rainforest in Africa, Cameroon comes into mind as one of the more stable countries in the area, but still being far from a tourist destination. Moreover, there are no harmful larger animals. 

Kind of local transport we expect.

Based on Dominiks previous guiding of the upper and lower Nkam, we decided for an unfamiliar territory for this trip. We will try to explore the Makombe river basin, a tributary of the Nkam with about 150km in a remote tropical rainforest setting. There are no road crossings until the finish (Yabassi) and the put in (Makanan) is to reach on foot, however, the gradient is moderate (250m) and there is one exit option half way (Yingui). 



Dominik explains:

“In early December 2019 (beginning of dry season, high water level), we paddled the last section of the Nkebe River and the lower part of the Nkam. At the end of January 2020 (late dry season, low water level), with another group, we paddled the upper Nkam (without the canyon that begins just after the Ekom waterfall). 

Ekom (Nkam) at low and high water level (late and early dry season) to estimate the volume of the river. 

This time we want to explore the Makombe River and the lower section of the Nkam River. The Makombe River is the eastern tributary of the Nkam River and it flows through an area even more wild / remote from civilization. I have never paddle on it, I only saw it only at the estuary to Nkam in 2019. See map of previous exploration of the upper and lower Nkam at low and high water:

I did not find a trace of any similar expedition in the area of the Nkam River and its basin. Nkam / Makombe river runs through a fairly wild rainforest, but this area is not protected (any reserve/national park). Thanks to this, there are no formal or legal obstacles. 

Welcome to the jungle! Satellite image from Makombe river basin. Source: Bing Maps/TomTom

On the other hand, these forests will be intensively exploited (deforestation), so these are probably the last years to see the local nature in such a state.”

Clear and muddy water mix up, a scenario we expect on Makombe half way (out of satellite images)


Preparation and company

Vaccination, Malaria prophylaxes, Visa application in person and flight permit, PCR test – there are quite hurdles to get to Cameroon. 

Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory, others are recommended. We updated our Typhus, Hepatitis A and Menigokocci. To get a Visa you need to visit the embassy in Berlin and present vaccination, flight and hotel reservation, passport and photos. 

Papers and forms is the norm!

We will be a company of five – three Polish and two Germans with Dominik, Sven, and friends.

Nkam gorge as explored in 2020


Packing list and equipment choices

Packing for a trip is always challenge, even more given the fact that we will be in a remote tropical rainforest setting for eight to ten days. Everything, including food, has to be chosen wisely and packed before departure.

Equipment for the trip, total weight: 26 kg, for reference see [numbers] below

The following list is just a small pullout of the equipment packed. The complete packing list and food plan including detailed pictures can be downloaded HERE

Camping [1]

Kitchen [2]

Clothing [3]


Personal hygiene
 [4]

  • Toothbrush (travel size), 13 g
  • Organic soap: Trek & Travel, 30 g
  • Sun protection, 90 g
  • ... Total weight: 639 g


First aid 
[5]

  • Malaria medication, 15 g
  • Desinfection, 45 g
  • Medical gloves, 12 g
  • ... Total weight: 247 g


Repair
 [6]


Electronics
 [7]


Documents
 [8]

  • Passes (passport & vaccination pass etc.), 75 g 
  • Notebook, 80 g
  • Map, 40 g
  • ... Total weight: 225 g


Packraft & paddle equipment
 [9]


Safety
 [11]


Food (
800 g / 2500 kcal per person per day) [12]

  • Breakfast (cereal, milk powder), 1.200 g
  • Lunch (bread, cheese/sausage, fruit bar, nuts, chocolate), 4.200 g
  • Dinner (Travellunch Trekking food), 1.850 g
  • ... Total weight: 7.200 g


Transport [13]


This is just a small pullout of the equipment packed. The complete packing list and food plan can be downloaded HERE.