Day 65… Monday 5th June
The mechanic arrived early and confirmed it was a gear box problem. He drove Greta and us to his garage (first time for him driving a right hand drive vehicle) and fixed it the same day. Far cheaper for car parts and labour in Africa. We got a yellow taxi back into town and purchased pink card insurance to cover Greta for Cameroon, Congo and Gabon. Manged to get a sim card and Wi-Fi data. Spent the afternoon chilling. More thunder and lighting storms in the evening with several power cuts. Our hotel is slightly rustic but there is a working shower with cold water – small blessings apart from a cockroach.
The car had been performing quite badly over the last couple of days, struggling to get up hill in anything other than second gear. Noisy and weak, she had lost more and more power over the last few weeks but was completely wrecked by the appalling Nigeria to Cameroon border route. Given the poor condition of fuel in this part of Africa I had assumed it was partly / wholly related to the oil and fuel filter. The hotel manager’s mechanic brother was with us by the time breakfast arrived and after a check over of the vehicle he had assessed that the clutch was damaged. This matches with how difficult she has been to change gear in recent days.
Marcel the mechanic quickly drove us to where he works, some form of large communal garage site. Given the job would take several hours we chose to have faith that the work would be done correctly and left the car with him, always in the knowledge that if things go wrong we have our passports, money, and the appropriate paperwork to discharge the car through customs. Thankfully he turned up several hours later having informed me that he has had to replace a couple of parts to fix the issue, thankfully with new ones, which has resulted in vastly improved performance.
At least the majority of the known bad roads are now behind us and we can progress on southward knowing that Greta is a little healthier.
On a lighter note, we found that you can buy live chickens from the market ready to take home for dinner. And the town has a quirky looking museum (main photo).