Sunday 20 March
And yes I have to start with the train tickets. After hours of negotiating with people who had couchette we still were not succeeded to get those terrible wanted things! Later we met Nina and Anouk. They’re students of University Nijmegen and continue the work of other students also in Benoué National Park. They had a contact address in Yaoundé, so she arranged the couchette tickets very quickly. For us applied; as soon as possible. So I went to their contact person and explained the situation. She brought me to the director (a she) and in no time the director arranged a 1 couchette for Anouk, Nina, Marjolein and me. But we managed to do so by setting up the situation dramatically and by giving her a bribe of 5000 CFA. Also the contact person bought 4 tickets for the bus going further to the north. The trip will be done like this: Yaoundé-Ngouandere by train (12 hrs), Ngaoundere-Maroua (8 hrs)
So on time the train (Saturday, 18.00 hr) left Yaoundé. The journey was magnificent, since you could see the landscape changing from tropical rainforest into a more like savanna. Next morning we got breakfast and we packed everything. The train arrived (in Ngaoundere) next day (Sunday) in the morning (09.00 hr). We raced from the platforms to the touristique bus to get there on time. Well, we managed to get the big bus, we left Ngaoundere at 10.00 hr. Very on time! Summarizing the bus trip was absolutely terrible, fatiguing and annoying. Anyway it was great to see the landscape even more changing and the temperature rising. There’re very less trees and the land becomes more sandy. Very hot and arid. Near Garoua, crossing the Benoué River, I saw some hippo’s and predatory birds. 18.00 hr we finally arrived in Maroua! Erik and Janneke (our field supervisors) picked us up at the bus station. The place were I stay in Maroua is at the CEDC. The building consists of the dortoir (for students), administration, offices and a library. The Sunday evening we were showed around in the dortoir. The kitchen, the living room and the bed rooms. I got room E4, near the WC and douches. After putting my stuff in the room, we did go somewhere to eat. The name of the restaurant was Bao Bap, which has excellent food, for low budget. Erik and Janneke also showed us around Maroua. We returned to the detoir and with the remaining energy I unpacked my stuff and then I went sleeping.