The Road Chose Me – Cameroon Beach Break
A beachfront interlude on the South Atlantic
In the South of Cameroon, the beaches are lined with palm trees, the sand is perfectly white, and the ocean is perfectly warm. The beachside paradise of Kribi is one of Cameroon’s most famous, though as usual there is virtually nobody around and I have the place to myself.
I set up under a couple of palm trees on the sand, only thirty yards from the surf. Just outside town are the famous Lobé Waterfalls, unique because they drop right into the ocean. I spend the afternoon scrambling over the rocks and getting as close as possible to the raging water.
One day in paradise turns into two, and when I have my second coffee at 11:30 the following morning, it turns into three. Finally, I drag myself away, only to hop south to the next beach paradise.
The village of Ébodjé is tiny, and immediately friendly people direct me to the turtle research center and their beachside camping. The research center even has a small display with information about the seasonal turtle hatchings.
At 10pm in the warm evening air, I walk along the beach with a local, in the hopes of seeing a female turtle laying eggs. I have come one month too late, though there is still a chance, he says. As we walk we chat on and on about life in Cameroon, the turtles, politics and everything in between. After walking for hours and hours, we rest on a log before making the return walk, occasionally getting hit by waves from the now high tide. It’s a beautiful walk in the warm night air, and even though we don’t see any turtles, I have a fantastic time.
In the morning my friend excitedly says some eggs have hatched, so I walk back over to the research center to have a look. To improve the survival rates they move eggs into a fenced area, and around a hundred of them hatched overnight. The baby turtles will be kept here for a couple of days before being released on the beach. It’s important to let them find their way into the water so they have the memory of where they must return to lay their eggs later in life. I am mesmerized watching the turtles swim endlessly, almost like the Energizer Bunny.
For breakfast my new friend cuts open a coconut he collects from the beach and brings down a fresh mango to share.
Is this paradise? I think so.