In southeast Cameroon, the sun rises by 5:30am and sets by 6:30pm, which makes sense being so close to the equator. In the morning, we left Lomié as the sun was rising; we have a long journey to Lobeke National Park today. We stopped at a small town for breakfast, and our guide explained that a lumber milling factory opened up here recently which provided good jobs and decently priced lumber for people to build their homes, which we noted were different from the stick and clay homes we have been seeing. We also watched a man make roof thatching by stitching raffia palm leaves together, and we commonly saw this type of roof on many homes.
After about five hours of driving down bumpy clay roads, we stopped in a town called Yokadouma for a quick lunch, which was a traditional meal of rice served with peanut leaves, peanuts, onions, potatoes, and a dessert of cooked plantains. We hit the road again, and still had about three more hours driving to Lobeke. About a mile outside Mambele, the town that serves as the entrance to the park, we came to a standstill. A logging truck had broken down, and another truck had tried to pass it but got stuck in the mud. If we had waited for them to pull the truck out of the mud, it would have taken all night, so our driver went through the brush around the trucks. Success!
We reached the main office of the World Wildlife Foundation, which maintains Lobeke National Park and Camp Kombo, their camps for ecotourists and researchers. We were happy to reach the camp after traveling for so long in the car, and also happy to see that the three other people staying at the camp were American. Two of them are with the Peace Corps and have been volunteering in Cameroon for a year and a half, the other was just visiting.