26-Jun-2005 -- Sunday 5:30 a.m., my driver Matthew and I had an early start from Abuja. My aim was to get to the vicinity of 8N 8E, and if possible, visit the Confluence. It is rainy season and the Confluence lies in the flood plains of Benue River and it might as well not be possible to reach the Confluence.
We travelled on the A234 to Keffi and then further to Akwanga where we turned off onto the A3 to Lafia. At Lafia we turned off to Doma. Outside Doma on the path to Udeni, we parked the vehicle and offloaded the bike. I carried on riding the bike in the direction of Iduma. The path was in a terrible state, badly washed out and lots of patches of waterlogged surfaces filled to the size of swimming pools. Driving under these conditions required a lot of concentration and stamina. Outside some kilometres from Iduma, I stopped and took out the GPS from the back bag and mounted it on the bike. I was 10.5 km from the Confluence and there was a path in front of me, which lead in the direction of the Confluence.
I followed this path and before long I was in the middle of the flood plains of the river Benue. The villagers planted rice in this area and this small path leading through the rice fields was well maintained with a lot of little bridges. 2.4 km from the Confluence however, the rice fields ended and the path was flooded. However, there was human traffic because there was a village in the distance and people were wading through with their bicycles on their shoulders. I enquired several times on how deep the water was and got many different answers. It was suggested that I should turn around. One answer was that there is a lot of water but it never gets deeper than knee height. This answer suited me and I decided to try it and carried on. I got slowly closer and closer driving through this flooded land. Occasionally, I got onto dry land again but only for a short distance. Sometimes I wondered if this guy was right with his knee-deep water level idea.
Eventually, I got as close as 160 meters and the path was again on dry land. A couple of meters off the path the land was flooded again with 20 cm of water. I managed to ride as close as 20 meters to the Confluence. If you look at the pictures of the Confluence you only see a wonderful green meadow and nobody will expect some water. But believe me, there is a lot of water underneath this green grass, which can be seen a little bit on the picture of the GPS.
I was driving back through the flood plains confidently most of the time till I hit something under the water surface and I came off and made a nice big splash. Luckily, I managed to lift up the bike quickly and got it running again after a short while. I continued this time a bit more careful through the rest of the flooded land. On the way back to the vehicle I turned off and had a short look around at Udeni.