Life in Kribi, 9 - 12 November 2011

Kribi Travel Blog

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high end brand store (drove by at night & it looked like red light district Amsterdam)

This post describes a few of the experiences in Kribi in the period from 9 through 12 november 2011. I put them in one journal, because it was a mix of tourism and family visit, and will keep to the more touristy aspects (with one or two exceptions).

If you stay in a self-catering accomodation in Kribi, there actually is a "boulangerie", where you can buy most things you need. From fresh bread and pastries (many French style) to eggs, canned and bottled food, water, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. It is definitely a boulangerie, but a small convenience store at the same time. Location: main road inside Kribi town.

Fish and fruit are available at stalls almost everywhere. And there is a daily market in the town, existing of two streets that are closed off for vehicles.

Kribi, main street
Very colorful. The people are overall friendly and nice, and not pushy. Use your common sense though and watch your belongings as you would do anywhere.

In the late afternoon and evening, the area around the fish market becomes a big place of eateries where the local people gather. Right at the little fisherman's harbour. Fresh fish of all kinds, depending on the catch of the day. This is one place to have dinner, another one is along the road to Edea, just out of town, opposite the Framotel. A very nice terrace right at the sea, where you may have a refreshing breeze. They even have a grill kitchen where they can make you local beef dishes.

All along the sea front and in the main street are eateries, also for breakfast. Getting French or western style breakfast with eggs and bread is no problem.

highway to border with Equatorial Guinea

During our stay, the most consumed drink was beer. There are several local brands like Castel, and Yseberg. The drink to bring for people you visit is definitely whiskey. Highly appreciated. Wine is available but not many people drink it, and some of it is imported in carton boxes via Equatorial Guinea. We found that bottled water is available everywhere.

Jo and I were lucky to be picked up often by relatives and driven around in the area. Just outside of Kribi is the main road south, into the forest to Grand Batanga, and further south to the border with Equatorial Guinea. It is a red gravel road, in the dry season easily doable with a 4x4 drive, but apparently in the rainy season hardly accessible. It is a forest road, and we saw many forestry concessions, where logging at small scale took place.

FSC Forestry Project
Along this road we also visited a little village at about 30 km south of Kribi, where the few people make their own palm wine. They were happy to show how they chop open a tree trunk and put a plastic bag around it, to cathe the juice from the trunk, that then ferments inside the bag. You can actually smell it, even though all you see (if you would not know this) is a chopped down piece of palm tree with a plastic bag laying there. The people were kind enough to let us taste this palm wine which is sweet but tastes good actually.

Along this road some of the logging people explained about the different kinds of trees there. We walked into the "brousse" (bushes) and I walked into a hole, with quite some scratches and small wounds as a consequence.

desinfection with whiskey, so sorry about this, guys :-)
"Of course" we did not have any desinfectant or betadine with us, and in the tropics that can be nasty. But... we still had one of the bottles of whiskey there, and these very gentle people were so nice to sacrifice some of it as a replacemeht desinfectant. Once again: so sorry about this guys, but merci!

The immediate area along this coastal road has already been logged, but the procedure is that they need approval to take an "x" percentage of the various species, and leaving other trees intact. Just a little off these roads and logging side roads, there is just forest.

Close to Kribi, along this road, there are many small beaches, each named after French seaside resorts, such as Boulogne, Cannes, etc. These are small enclosed beaches which are private property even though you won't see many houses or hostels as soon as you get further from town.

our apetizer, snails on a skewer

On this road, we saw just a couple of huge logging trailers of which you wonder how they can drive this road! Back in Kribi we spent most of the time with Jo's relatives.

One morning we visited one of the mayors of a subdivision of Kribi at his home. He was the highest ranked official we would meet. But more so, an important relative, and that translated in the type of whiskey. In his house, which is also the office, we were kindly invited to have some of it with the family. We justified ourselves at this time of the morning with the excuse that this was not early-morning-drinking. Of course not; this was just a dégustation! 

North of the city, about 25 kilometers from Kribi, is where the station de péage is, the tollway station.

North of Kribi
A favorite place for the forest people to sell bushmeat to the drivers. A little further is the new natural gas fired power plant which is almost ready to be taken in operation. On the coastal side of the road, there is a side road leading to the new gas storage, just off the beach in the forest. Surprisingly, efforts are made not to make this spoil the beautiful beach there. The French company GDF is one of the partners in this project, together with Chinese partners. We walked along this gorgeaus beach, when a small fishing canoe had just arrived to sell their catch. We had no idea to whom, but sure enough some of the Chinese people came quickly from between the forest, to make certain they would have the first choice. Not all the local people like that so much, understandibly.
Beach, about 30 km north of Kribi

Although the neighbourhoods around Kribi are almost all built along non-paved roads, some of the houses are actually beautiful, especially those that have been built by people who live or have lived abroad.

One evening we were driving through the town center, and there was one shop (the Paco Rabanne shop) that had red and purple lights on, and in front were three tall ladies in sexy dresses, two of them white, one brown. That first night I could only guess this was the local red light district. The next day, when we went to the "boulangerie" opposite of it, I saw that these ladies were actually plastic dressing models, and that the shop was not a brothel, but the local version of a Paco Rabanne brand ladies wear shop. You see how biased one can be, coming from Holland, having Amsterdam in mind?

On the Saturday, we finally spent some time strolling the main road and the market, and sitting with a cold beer.

fresh fish delivery
That evening we had a delicious dinner with with wine with Jo's relatives outside their nice house, and later that night we would go to the local night club.

I had no idea what to expect, except that it had to be hot and sweaty. Big was my surprise when we entered into a modern, airconditioned club, where the local African music made it difficult not to get on the floor. It was crowded with many young and also not-so-young people. The ambiance and furniture and lighting was surprisingly luxurious. It turned out that this was just one of the two clubs. This one was full with people, the other one (where we went to have a look) was completely empty, but also modern and luxurious. But because there was literally nobody there, we did not stay and went back to the olther one immediately.

how to make palm wine...

In the back of the club, the wall was one big mirror, and many of the people very much liked to see themselves dancing. The rythm was really infectuous. One of the ladies was different from the others. She danced more wildly and was laughing and screaming in a somewhat eery way. She seemed to live in her own world. One of the guys told me that she definitely was one! I asked: "she is one of what?" They explained to me that she was a siren, a mermaid, Mami Wata! "See", he said, "she has no feet". He sounded so convincing, and I could see no feet really (because of her dress) that I believed him, of course. Sirens are an important phenomenon of the Kribi / Grand Batanga area, because in May there is the Grand Fête de la Syrène in Grand Batanga.

furnitute shop (with clear message for the election)
One day, I definitely want to see that....

Still impressed that I had seen my first siren, we suddenly found out that it was already almost morning. The club was closing and we headed back to the resort. We had had a great time... and this was a nice final to my short stay in Kribi. 

 

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high end brand store (drove by at …
high end brand store (drove by at…
Kribi, main street
Kribi, main street
highway to border with Equatorial …
highway to border with Equatorial…
FSC Forestry Project
FSC Forestry Project
desinfection with whiskey, so sorr…
desinfection with whiskey, so sor…
our apetizer, snails on a skewer
our apetizer, snails on a skewer
North of Kribi
North of Kribi
Beach, about 30 km north of Kribi
Beach, about 30 km north of Kribi
fresh fish delivery
fresh fish delivery
how to make palm wine...
how to make palm wine...
furnitute shop (with clear message…
furnitute shop (with clear messag…
bed made to order
bed made to order
Small artisan sawmill
Small "artisan" sawmill
welcome to the forest
welcome to the forest
Kribi
photo by: westwind57