Nigeria - Abuja
Day 111-115 (24-28 January) – Sheraton in Abuja
We camped at the Sheraton hotel. 2500Naira (about 12.50Euro) for 5 days but they never bother to check after the first payment so we paid 12.50 for 10 days. Why would the Sheraton allow overlanders to camp on their property? Good question. Niels was chatting to the Manager one night and he mentioned that they used to have a problem with armed robbers coming over the boundary wall at night. Then he allowed a dog kennel to keep their dogs on the property (which are housed next to the camping area). We can imagine that is also about the time the Sheraton decided it might be a good idea to let overlanders camp in the back lot as well….
Abuja is a surreal town. It was newly built following the Biafran war and the relocation of the capital from Lagos (to Abuja). There are HUGE wide very well maintained roads, street lights, large houses and shops, just general city planning since seemingly the city was just plinked down once it was decided on. Our first week was consumed with obtaining visas. Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Angola all in one week (amazing!).
Waiting for visa in Abuja, with little to do, gave time for Niels to finally replace the A-bar bushes on the support of the rear diff (you can still follow?). It took some force, hammering and sawing but the new once fit perfectly! And the car drives much much better!
Issued same day after asking very friendly. N 17.500 from one month visa
Republic of Congo visa
Applied in the morning (they stop working after 14h) and pick up next morning. N15.000
Drop off on Monday, Wednesday. Pick up on Wednesday and Friday. $30. A lot of waiting, bring a good book. We brought ours on Wednesday and picked them up on Friday around noon (waiting from 10am).
The next 5 days were consumed with Senna having malaria. Fortunately, there is a good hospital in Abuja and we were (next to) the Sheraton. Although nothing can take away the pain of having a very sick child in a tent. We must have washed everything twice and didn’t get much sleep! After these 10 days in Abuja we were very ready to get back on the road but it was also difficult to get back in the car especially in anticipation of the police and the roadblocks. 500 meters out of the Sheraton we were pulled over by security. These guys usually wave us through but today this guy wants “water”. We offer him water but then he says “No, I mean water (wink, wink)”. We play dumb and then start calling him by his name which is printed on his uniform. As we say “what a nice name you have, we’ll definitely remember it” he waves us on….