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6029 king Stephen



Member Since: 11 Apr 2015
Location: Sittingbourne, Kent
Posts: 74

United Kingdom 2005 Range Rover Vogue SE 4.2 SC V8 Java Black
FFRR in Cameroon

Finally, the container with our FFRR arrived in Yaoundé, Cameroon last Wednesday having spent about five weeks clearing customs in Douala Port. The truck with the container was parked on a busy truck park that also doubles up as the place where driving schools introduce learner drivers to their cars for the first time. It is easy, if you are not watchful, to get run over!

The trailer with the container on it had a pair of cranes either end of the container to lift it off the trailer and place it on the ground next to the trailer. When the crew tried to use the hydraulics, suddenly there was hydraulic fluid gushing out of a split pipe on the trailer. Everything came to a standstill and in addition to the two crew, there were now about 20 more drivers who were offering advice on how to fix the problem but despite trying to tie a cloth round the pipe, it still leaked. Another driver offered an hydraulic pipe off his lorry for hire but at over £100 this was too much. This was bartered down to a more reasonable £30 but the pipe was too short so for the same hire fee, the split pipe was taken away to be cut into two pipes with connectors and these were fitted to the trailer and nothing leaked. By this time the crowd had grown to arond 50-60, with some demanding payment for the hydraulic fluid that had leaked onto the floor and others suggesting that the truck moved to another part of the truck park away from the learner drivers - this was considered a sensible idea and so the truck was moved. The container was then off loaded and placed beside the trailer. After checking the paperwork and being given the key to the car, they then tried to remove the pin that secured the doors in the closed position. Nobody had any bolt croppers so the the bolt was literally bashed with a hammer and long metal bar until it gave up the fight and came off. The container doors were opened and there was my FFRR waiting to be unloaded. The chocks securing the front wheels were bashed off next and then suddenly another group of people wanted the container to be closed, reloaded back onto the trailer and taken to another area away from the truck park. After having spent over three hours getting this far, I was not prepared to just give in now. Opening the doors again, whilst the men argued amongst themselves, one of the crew drove the car out of the container, once the battery had been connected and it started first time!

I then drove it to my workplace, following a colleague in his Jimny where another colleague took the FFRR to the local car wash to restore it to its rightful glory. Almost three months in a container with the two front windows down meant the bodywork was very dusty and there was a fine layer of mould on the interior.

About two hours and £10 later, it came back with sparkling black paint and smart tan leather interior and was the envy of my work colleagues who said it was the best thing in the car park. I drove it home after work and my wife was also pleased to see it.

The driving in Yaoundé is generally thought to be abysmal because nobody indicates, taxis are a law unto themselves and just stop whenever they feel like it and the vehicles don't have working lights. It gets quite lethal at night because nobody seems to put on their lights, insisting that they can see in the dark. There are no pavements so people walk in the road and invariably, they are wearing dark clothes. However, after spending some time driving here you realise that, like most other places, driving is a kind of game and if you know the rules of the game, it is not so stressful. A local colleague told me that to drive in Cameroon, you have to have patience. Yes, they don't indicate and yes, there is plenty of tooting of horns and because there are no lines painted on the roads, there are no lanes for people to get into. Hence why at a junction for two lanes, people create their own third lane by using part of the road that belongs to traffic coming the other direction. It is almost impossible to get to any speed in town, my average is 9 mph with an equally frightful 9 mpg! The tooting of horns is not aggression but simply a means of letting other know you are there. It is very similar to driving in Paris. Of course there are accidents, most cars have dents, scratches or worse - I think somebody somewhere is making a lot of money by buying unroadworthy cars in Europe (cars have to be LHD) and importing them into Cameroon where people can't afford to pay for a decent second hand car.

We have so far only been out of Yaoundé once to visit a place called Ebogo which has a large river and an old tree, reputedly 1200 years old which can only be accessed by canoe. We opted out of the canoe trip and walked our dog instead. The road once out of Yaoundé was not too bad but the danger here is that people drive too fast for the conditions, overtake on blind bends or crests and there is evidence of past accidents (some horrific) littering the roadside along the route. I am not sure if they are supposed to be a deterrent for other drivers or just haven't been collected yet. The road (track) from the main road to Ebogo and the river was untarmacked generated a lot of fine red dust (the back of the vehicle still bears testament to this) but sadly was smooth enough and not too rutted to enable us to slow down and shift to low range and raise the suspension! The main rainy season is imminent and lasts until mid November so we might get the chance yet.

The decision to buy a FFRR for Cameroon was a wise one - the roads do have some rather large craters and dips (forget pot holes) that can almost swallow a Toyota Corolla taxi whole. We plan to do some more excursions and hopefully see some wildlife and get the opportunity to do some serious off road driving, similar to what we did in Ashford before the car was delivered to Wembley for shipping.

Regards,

Steve

Post #343091 18th Aug 2015 2:37pm
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Mr Tee



Member Since: 13 Dec 2010
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Glad it arrived on one piece, keep the updates coming, especially of rainy season!

Post #343093 18th Aug 2015 2:50pm
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verydisco



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Great story!

Do you have some pictures to share with us, including of the L322 exploring the local backcountry?

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Post #343094 18th Aug 2015 2:50pm
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stan
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enjoyed that, good luck Steve... Thumbs Up .



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Post #343096 18th Aug 2015 2:54pm
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wackyjim



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Sounds like a great adventure...good luck Thumbs Up The forums premier drug dealer and human trafficking consultant


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Post #343104 18th Aug 2015 3:47pm
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ebajema



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Sounds very familiar to Nigeria Wink. Good luck over there and I hope to see plenty pictures !!!! MY 2010 5.0 SC Galway green and sand interior!!
Have the Faultmate MSV2 Extreme to be tinkering with the settings etc. !!
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Post #343228 19th Aug 2015 8:21am
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shalz



Member Since: 28 Jan 2013
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Kenya 2011 Range Rover Vogue TDV8 Santorini Black

Welcome to the real home for FFRRs ... Looking forward to seeing pics Thumbs Up

Been too scared to take my FFRR anywhere worthy to date... Sad MY11 Vogue 4.4 TDV8 - "African Queen"

Post #343240 19th Aug 2015 10:25am
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6029 king Stephen



Member Since: 11 Apr 2015
Location: Sittingbourne, Kent
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United Kingdom 2005 Range Rover Vogue SE 4.2 SC V8 Java Black

Will hopefully get some pictures up to show vehicle and landscape of Cameroon. We went back to Ebogo on Saturday, without our dog this time as we wanted to have a trip in a dug out canoe up a really wide river called the Nyong to go and see a giant tree that is also the oldest in Cameroon at 1,200 yrs old. The river itself was totally black with zero visibility but apparently is reasonably shallow at 2m (just over 6 feet). When we arrived at the bank to get out of the canoe, we were greeted by loads of ants that happily bit my wife's feet. We then had to walk along a narrow path for about 5 minutes when suddenly, this ginormous tree appeared. It looked like something out Jack and the Beanstalk. It was absolutely massive, allegedly taking 24 people hand to hand to go round it, which we could believe looking at it. No idea what kind of tree it is but we were told that it is the only one of its kind in Cameroon.

I have been told that during the Ice Age, a thin belt across Africa including Cameroon, from South Nigeria down to Northern Gabon was not affected because it includes the Equator and was too warm to freeze. Consequently, there is wildlife found in this area that existed before the Ice Age and is not found anywhere else in the world.

The drive to Ebogo was pretty much the same as last time, except this time we did not go past the turning. It was the same untarred road that has some ruts in places but also signs of concerete in other parts. I am still itching to do some proper off roading where we have to engage low range and elevate the suspension and hopefully now that we have entered the heavy rainy season - last until November when we go into the dry and dusty season into February - there will be opportunities to have some fun. We are hoping to travel down to Kribi - South West of Cameroon - in late September/early October for a week. There are supposed to be some really fantastic white sand beaches there. However, I checked a website prior to coming here and I discovered that Great White Sharks pass down the Cameroonian coast as part of their migratory route, so I may give swimming in the sea a miss! I'm a bit over obsesssed about sharks, even when we were in Alicante having a swim I was keeping a shark lookout for any dorsal fins! I've read somewhere that the mediterranean is the Great White's nursery before they migrate south to Southern Australia before they loop back.

My fuel consumption has risen a bit by taking longer runs out of the city. During the first week in Yaoundé, my average was around 9 mpg and looking today, it has risen to 14 mpg. Fortunately, petrol is slightly cheaper here at around 72p a litre. I even tried using it in sport mode last week for some childish sprints away from the lights with Toyotas that were creeping past whilst waiting for the green light. Like France, there is no pre-warning amber light before it changes to green which can be a pain if you are second or third car back (on the grid) and the first driver hasn't noticed the change. There are soon some toots from further back and then we're off!

Mainly city driving this week although, hoping to go to a primate centre on Sunday just out of town.

Regards,

Steve

Post #344084 24th Aug 2015 10:05am
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heppsen



Member Since: 14 Feb 2012
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Germany 2012 Range Rover Vogue TDV8 Santorini Black

Great to read the FFRR made it into Cameroun.
let us have some pics and have a good life down there.

I hope the FFRR saves you nerves and gets you out of all troubles save.

The first scratch will be the hardest, after that all others just add character... Thumbs Up

regards
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Post #344705 27th Aug 2015 10:35am
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6029 king Stephen



Member Since: 11 Apr 2015
Location: Sittingbourne, Kent
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United Kingdom 2005 Range Rover Vogue SE 4.2 SC V8 Java Black

Took a trip on Sunday to an ape santuary about 90 minutes away where the final part of the journey is 6 kms of untarred road. I got my wife to take several pictures of the road ahead and I'll post them on here, once I have read how to do that. Also took a couple of the car at Ebogo in its natural habitat! Still itching to raise the suspension and into low range but nothing so far.

Did have the pleasure during a heavy rainstorm (now is the wet season) on Sunday to leave the road, going down a 6-8 inch drop to be off the road and then drove alongside the road, overtaking the queue of traffic before rejoining the road and nipping into a gap! Much to the annoyance of a couple of coach and taxi drivers but they all do it, so no feelings of remorse or guilt. Very Happy

Steve

Post #345467 1st Sep 2015 11:42am
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ebajema



Member Since: 24 Mar 2011
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Hahahaha used to do the same in Lagos sometimes, raise the suspension and go "offroad" through the deep puddles passed the traffic jams Smile I loved that use of the FFRR in daily driving in places like that Smile MY 2010 5.0 SC Galway green and sand interior!!
Have the Faultmate MSV2 Extreme to be tinkering with the settings etc. !!
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Post #345589 2nd Sep 2015 2:42am
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6029 king Stephen



Member Since: 11 Apr 2015
Location: Sittingbourne, Kent
Posts: 74

United Kingdom 2005 Range Rover Vogue SE 4.2 SC V8 Java Black

Hopefully some photos of the road to Mifou where the ape sanctuary is situated.

Regards

Steve

Post #349526 26th Sep 2015 7:40pm
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6029 king Stephen



Member Since: 11 Apr 2015
Location: Sittingbourne, Kent
Posts: 74

United Kingdom 2005 Range Rover Vogue SE 4.2 SC V8 Java Black

Another try




Post #349528 26th Sep 2015 8:18pm
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Haylands



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England 2002 Range Rover Vogue 4.4 V8 Epsom Green

Looks like a pretty good road, that one... hows the FF handling it all...?? Pete
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Post #349541 26th Sep 2015 11:17pm
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