12-Feb-2006 -- Sunday, 6 a.m. Matthew my driver and I left Abuja. This time it was the confluence 7N 6E that I wanted to visit. On 8 May of last year, on the way back to Abuja from the Confluence 6N 6E, we took a small detour to find the closest possible point we could drive to by car. The point we discovered was the village Afuze, which is only 5.2 km to the Confluence.
To get to Afuze from Abuja, we took the A2 to Lokoja, Okene, and then to Auchi. At Auchi we drove through the town onto the road leading to Afuze. The trip went very well with not much traffic on the road and we were there just after 10 a.m. We off-loaded the bike and not before long, I was on the way. I found a small tarred road leading into the direction of the Confluence and followed it. It was a pleasant ride on this road lined with cashew nut trees and I thought to myself: "This will be an easy one." Well, I was wrong, as I had to find out in due course.
I drove along this nice road, which was leading me to a partly collapsed house with a magnificent view over a valley. I was 1.9 km away from the Confluence and the slope was so steep that there was no way, not even to carry on on foot. I turned around and eventually found a passage leading down this slope. I managed to get down and followed the small footpath, which lead parallel to a riverbed. The river did not carry water but the banks were very steep and totally overgrown and I had to get to the other side. I drove up and down along this riverbed and tried several times to cross this riverbed with no success. The closest I got to the Confluence was 1.3 kilometres and this was too far for me to carry on on foot, bearing in mind that I had heavy Enduro bike boots on and they are no fun to walk in. I had no option but to abandon the idea to get to the Confluence this time and went back up this steep slope.
The heat and the steep climb-up of the slope took every thing out of me and I was really happy as I reached the top again. At the top I took a slow ride back through the cassava fields to the main road. I followed the main road for several kilometres and crossed now for the first time the riverbed over a nice bridge. Once on the other side, I started searching for a path leading into the bush. I tried several times with no success and virtually on the last attempt, I found a promising way in more or less the direction of the Confluence. I followed this way and found a path leading in the direction of the Confluence, which I followed very eagerly. This path led me again as close as 1.2 km to the Confluence and ended in a cassava field with no chance to get further because there was another overgrown riverbed. However, from this position I could see a path on the other side of the river valley leading in the direction of the Confluence.
What a strenuous task it was to get out of this cassava field and back to the turnoff! Eventually, I found the path, which I saw from the cassava field, and it was leading me close to the Confluence. It was an extremely hot day and around the Confluence several little bushfires had started. Luckily, there was no wind and the patch where the Confluence lay had caught fire days before, the new grass was sprouting already. However, it is not a nice feeling to hear all the winnowing noise around you from the fires close by. Needless to say that I was quick to make the necessary pictures, and left. I was happy as I got back on to the main road.
From there it was only a couple of kilometres to the parked vehicle. By this time I had done 54 km on the bike in difficult terrain. It was very frustrating to come always so close and then have to turn around and find a new way over and over again. I was exhausted and thirsty, I was longing for a cold Star beer to quench my thirst, and of course, to celebrate that in the end I managed to get to the Confluence. On the way back close to the place where I parked the vehicle, I saw that interesting bush bar where I intended to drink this well-earned cold beer, but first I would go to the vehicle and change into some casual cloth and load the bike onto the trailer. Well, I was wrong again. As I got back to the vehicle, my driver informed me that several times the police had been there and inquiring about me and when I will return. Usually this is not a problem but it takes time and more time, a great deal of nerves and at the end a donation of some beers for the boys, then everything is fine again. I was definitely not in the mood for this game. We loaded the bike at a record breaking speed and returned back to Abuja.