Suchbegriff eingeben


As introduced in previous post, our very own Sven among partners went to Africa for a maiden packrafting trip down Cameroon's Makombe River.

Mysterious Makombe

In total, they have pack rafted about 180 kilometers on three rivers, originally on Makombe, continued the Nkam River just as planned (Makakan to Yabassi) and added the Inboubou tributary as a side trip upstream.

However, they struggle to compress the trip in one post. There was white water, calm water, jungle, elephants, beach, forest, off-road driving, hiking and boating after all.

Sven says: "Best river trip ever! A tour without compromises and full commitment. To our knowledge even a first descent - a river that most likely no one had ever paddled before.”

Enjoy some introductory pictures and trip report below. There is even a sneak peek into Anfibio 2023 launches. 

Team and People

Our group was a Polish-German community of five with occasional local contacts. We enjoyed the transnational camaraderie, the non-ego, tolerant atmosphere, which certainly contributed to the success and good memory of a truly extraordinary trip. It just all came well together, the company, time and likewise mindset.  

Left to right: Dominik, Frank, Kristof, Sven and Lukasz

The Cameroonians we found unobtrusive, calm and friendly. We never felt unsafe or taken over. There even remain contacts back home.

Lokal contact along the river, temporary fisherman 

Thanks goes to all contributing, especially Dominik for the initiative, encouragement and providing the experience and base trust for the general setting, which without the commonly planned adventure had never happened.

Pack your raft

In terms of our journey, the road trip, all transportation, and backpacking nothing came as planned.

(1) Once we landed in Africa, we learned the road near our put in was closed. We found a well-worn Toyota Hilux  and willing driver promising an detour of 6 hours, which turned a 13 hour drive.
Inside, the five of us and the driver, with an extra person on the back to negotiate prices for going through the so-called gates, or checkpoints, which are not always fully legal. There were perhaps 15 of them along the 200-kilometer stretch, and we didn't stop at all of them; where weapons were visible, we had to make a stop. At others we drove through and quickly disappeared over the horizon, avoiding unnecessary harangues, while the insane off-road part was still ahead of us.

Insane road conditions

(2) All paths, tracks, bridges and huts as shown in maps near the river did not exist (anymore). High resolution satellite images also deceived us. The former logging slopes were visible, but unpassable (overgrown, washed out etc.). In fact, it was much easier to hike in mature forest with high trees (rather than bushes) or "go" upstream tributaries. 

Mostly impenetrable jungle

Any case our ambitions for land transport were limited. Nevertheless, we explored side valleys and traces of old camps much further than planned. An unexpected 5 m high waterfall at Inboubou was our turning point.

Our most remote spot, the Inboubou water fall.

Calm waters through the jungle

The Makombe, Inboubou and Nkam can be like a panorama road, at least in parts. A gentel flow, slight breeze, tempered water and off the bugs is the best state to be there! Except for the upstream excursion on Inboubou, it is quite a relaxed recreation.´

Inboubou paddling upstream

On the entire river we did not pass a village, a working bridge or even any litter, just pristine jungle. Admitted, classic sights are difficult to spot in dense forest. So even elephant poo becomes an attraction.

Clear traces of elephans


Camp live is a major part of the trip experience of course, be it among jungle trees (to be cleared),

Jungle camp!

sand banks (watch for floods), raised beaches (to be preferred) or logging camp (at the start). Typical group tasks are fire (cooking), filter (water) and filming.

Beach live!

White waters

Flowing and falling water never disappoints. Especially the confluence of Makombe and Nkam and waterfalls hold special importance to us. 

Makombe and Nkam unite.

All white-water paddling was challenging, but manageable. With the pleasant water and air temperatures it is a relaxed paddling anyway.

Since it was an unknown river (without description), we only had as indicators the elevation profile, the satellite images and occasional statements of locals.

The forecast from the elevation profile was largely correct. The sections with increased gradient (upper reaches, 1st canyon) were also the major white water parts.

Clearly some gradient!

However, the satellite images were deceiving. On one hand the number of rapids was not anticipated. The 1st Canyon one could discover for example none. 

On the other hand, older structures (camps, paths) have been overestimated. The clearly visible trail that bypassed the 1st canyon was simply not passable (overgrown). And then, surprisingly, there was the 2nd canyon and the very challenging final section on Nkam.

All in all, it was significantly more white water than expected. Not necessarily much more difficult, but continuously to the end. 

Make sure what is around the next bend!

The intense analysis of the satellite pictures gave a false picture. In the end, you still enter unknown territory. That is to be reminded. 

The statements of the locals fishermen (who come down to sections of the river from their villages 20km away), are to be taken with special caution. You can't rely on it in both senses (passable/impassable).

Considering the remoteness of the location, our attitude (it was not supposed to be a sporty white water trip in the first place) and rather light equipment (for hikes and the journey), we paddled “chicken line” (paddler's slang for the most simple unspectacular line, often detouring lager river features. We have scouted a lot but did not have to portage much. 

Gear talk 


We used three Anfibio Revo XL, a MRS Alligator 2S XXL and a Sigma TXL (self-bailing converted/retrofit).

You probably expect us to say that, but the Revo boats were a delight, they performed like a blast. Of course, this is a self-compliment, but some aspects came unexpectedly just great.

Not so unexpected a self-bailer is the way to go in such a climate. Scouting an unknown river with easy exit/entry also helped. The bailing (water flush the bottom hose/VenturiTube) simply worked fine. Never to dump a boat! Even drips from paddle and feet entry do not accumulate. This is a relieve and mind free paddling. 

The self bailing fleet

The inflatable floor gave a firm, buoyant and high base providing good visibility, a stiff boat and almost no water in the boat.

There was no notable difference in speed to the (decked) Alligator and even the (longer) Sigma TXL did not outpace.

The backrest however really required exact positioning to align with the seat, otherwise giving too little lumbar support.

As from the color scheme, a sneak peek into a Anfibio 2023 version.


Ventilated mesh inner tents (such as from BigAgnes) are ideal. A rain covers was hardly needed (only for light drizzle in morning hours). 

No need for sleeping bags, but plenty fresh air.

We did not use our hammocks as would have liked to do. Trees just did not come well in place on our river beach spots. A silk bag was all that needed to cover ourselves.


We relied on fire for cooking, but there were days it was hard to get a fire going. A back up alcohol stove is worth taking. 

Gravity system water filter 
Our food plan (800g/day) exceeded the need in warm/humid environment. We did with 500g a day.
The Sawyer Mini-Filter amazingly serve our whole group with +20 l daily (by gravity system).


The two strict sets of wet/dry clothes we choose long sleeved for fly/bee/sun protection. Surprisingly, there was no mosquitos. Thus, little sun cream and bug dope we needed. But plenty of plaster/wound cover is advisable, as they do not hold exceptionally long in moist conditions.

Long sleeved, but always damp.


LifePatch and AquaSure serve fine for repair on bags, sleeping mat, inflatable floor and one small boat hole. Other kit parts remained unused. 


We used 70-90 l backpacks, which was adequate, but on limit. Can’t say if dry/wet vs classic (UL) packs with liner to prefer. 

One can never have enough DeckPacks (as bowbag, heckbag, floorbag or hand luggage).


Despite heavy duty equipment (SLR, Drone - in general a burden) most footage we took on phones in the end. The higher end stuff turned out extremely sensitive (fog, magnetic irritation).

Gadgets in the jungle. Setting waymarks on a satcom. 

See our full, gram-true equipment list here. In addition to the above saying, we could have spared Nr. 1.3 and 1.4 (Hammock and extra Mosquito Net) and clothing Nr. 3.3, 3.6 and 3.11 (rain jacket, long underwear). All we had taken was generally appreciated. There were no big fails.