Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
The presence of extraordinary guests marks this weekend since it was this Friday that my parents arrived for the first time in Cameroon to visit me.
After a Friday resting and acclimatizing to the heat and humidity typical of lands in the intertropical zone, we left on Saturday morning for Kribi, a beach resort located in the south of the country, which I have already mentioned in this blog.
The world belongs to those who get up early
A very early departure marked this morning’s trip to make the most of the sea and the Lobe waterfalls. The advantage of leaving early in the morning is also to escape traffic jams at Douala’s exit, which can easily waste a lot of time.
Leaving early in the morning, we were lucky with the traffic but a little less so with the road checks since, this time, we were stopped at the three usual places. Fortunately, I always travel with all my documents, and apart from a waste of time, the consequences were not other. In total, we must have lost about forty minutes.
We arrived at the hotel around ten o’clock, leaving a good day of discovery and fun ahead of us. We checked into the rooms, dropped off the suitcases, and went to have lunch in a restaurant that we had already spotted but had yet to experience, and that goes by the name: Idodo.
Braised fish, waterfront, and good times
The restaurant is on the seaside at the foot of the Kribi lighthouse and next to the Batanga memorial. A delightful light breeze will refresh you throughout the meal. You will find the restaurant at these GPS coordinates: 2.939652212871706, 9.904044711390968.
In addition to good cuisine, based on braised fish, seafood, fried plantain, and miondo, you will find a delightful decoration on the theme of the sea, all with your feet in the sand and with a view on the sea.
We had an enjoyable time together and in the company of unexpected guests: little lizards who entertained us.
A place steeped in history
Previously, I mentioned the presence of the Batanga memorial, the only witness to the tragic story that unfolded in these places. I will tell you more about the historical episodes in these places.
But before that, I must specify that I could find only very few sources mentioning the facts. My primary source was this article (in French) published in the Jeune Afrique newspaper and redacted by Martin Ndendé.
The story takes place at the beginning of the 20th century, during the First World War, otherwise known as the Great War. As a German protectorate since 1884, Cameroon was involved in the fighting that tore Europe apart at that time.
Caught between the allied forces and the Germans, the Batanga, an ethnic group originally from Kribi, were used as human shields by the Germans.
To end the massacre of these local populations, the allies (French and British) decided to evacuate the city and lead the people to safety far from the fighting. Nevertheless, this evacuation was not without pain since many Batangas drowned while trying to reach the ships by swimming. We were on May 27, 1915.
The Batanga people who managed to join the Allied ships to evacuate were transported to the southwest, a region of Cameroon that then belonged to the British. These refugees then worked as enslaved people in the tea plantations.
At the end of the conflict on the Kribi coast, the French and British authorities decided to repatriate the Batangas to their native region on February 14 and May 9, 1916.
Canoe trip on the Lobé and visit of the waterfalls
After this dark parenthesis in the history of Kribi, let’s return to the lighter subject of the course of our day.
After lunch, we left to visit the Lobe falls in a canoe and enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea, with water at the ideal temperature.
It was only at the end of the day that we left this emblematic site of Kribi and went back to dinner around a good portion of crabs and prawns.
For the occasion, my wife had organized with the restaurateur a lovely little evening around the fire with musicians and dancers. We then went to bed after this day filled with emotion.
Breakfast with the feet in the water and departure for Douala
Wake up at 6:30 am and morning run for my father and me. A 14km run at a relaxed pace, nothing better to burn the fat accumulated the previous during the seminar that we had organized with colleagues to present our vision for this new year to our customers.
Unfortunately, there are no tracks to run on in Kribi, so we ran all along the road without being bothered by cars. Fortunately, Kribi is very quiet on Sunday mornings.
After the run, we all went to have breakfast at the Tara hotel by the beach and enjoy these last moments by the sea before our return to Douala: reading on the deckchairs for my parents and processing photos and videos for my wife and I.
Once we fully recharged our batteries, we left the room, handed over the keys, and went to the “Debarcadere” to taste a last braised fish before hitting the road.
We had a great time there, entertained by the various street vendors, musicians, and other artists who came to earn enough to survive.
A performer particularly caught our attention with his guitar and singing talents.
He interpreted a lot of classic French artists, George Brassens, George Moustaki, and many others.
It was a perfect moment, which made us forget the intense heat of the midday sun, which beat on the sheets which serve as the roof of the “Debarcadere”.
Two hours after being seated, we left, satiated, and very happy with this excellent weekend that we had just spent on Kribi. We arrived in Douala three hours later, without incident and without having been arrested during police checks.
It was a great weekend and a perfect first contact with Cameroon for my parents!