Mount Fako Trek

As part of our school social activities, each year we had an excursion for sight seeing to some memorial places in our country. Last year we visited visited the Limbe Botanical Garden and the Limbe Wildlife Centre. At the Limbe Botanical garden we got to see trees and plants of high medicinal value. At the Limbe Wildlife Center we we were priviledged to see some wild animals that we had only seen on TV and read about in story books.

This year we were programmed to visi the Mount Fako. Its best to visit from November to December when the climate is friendly.This was to be my ever first long trek. I was  friegtened with the thoughts of the trek from the many scary stories I had heard about wild animals in the forest at the mountain. Also I was told the long trek was very tedious because we had to walk for long hours before we could get to the mountain. We had to trek for hours ascending.

Mount Fako, is situated in Buea, in the Fako division of the South West Region of Cameroon. It has a height of about 4040 metres. Mount fako has an annual event which brings together athletes from all over the world who come to participate and enjoy in the many cultural ambiance displayed during the festival. Most professional athletes could climb to the summit in about 4 hours. The temperature is very cold at 3°c. With a beautiful landscape. Its fauna and flora  are very rich. It is habitat for many plants and trees of medicinal value. Animals like chimpanzee, elephants, monkeys,antelopes, are commonly seen. Also a wide variety if birds and butterflies. Mount Fako is well known for its rare species of elephants which represent a great symbol for the natives. Mount Fako is very active and had its last eruption in may 2000. The foot of the mountain is covered with lava.

We had planning meetings with the school officials in charge of our tri. We were advised to buy very thick pullovers, socks, caps and gloves to cover us from the cold climate at the mountain. We were also advised to carry snacks and water. We were divided intotwo groups. 15 students in each group. Two buses were to be hired for the two groups.  We planned to take off at 6: 30 am. Necessary documents were already  prepared at the government delegation of the ministry of wildlife and forestry.

On the day of our trek we had a small delay. Not all students were in time so we had to wait. About five could not make it. Some sent their lame excuses of falling sick, at having pressing family issues to attend. But anyways we who were adventurous enough decided to go on for the trek. We left kumba at about 7:00 am. We got to buea at 8:30am with constant stops on the road for police control and for people to ease themselves. We assembled at upper farms Buea, where our four tour guides were already waiting. They instructed us on what to do as we climbed and alert us on the possible challenges we might face during our trek. We had to keep up with the speed so that no one was to be left behind, and if we had unnecessary items in our back packs which made it heavy it was best we leave them somewhere at Upper farms before we embark on the trek because as we climb higher it will be difficult and strainous and we would not have enough energy to carry the bags. And we could throe them up in the mountains. Some trends who had extra boots and heavy pullovers had to empty their bags. Also we had to keep up the pace to be closer together SK that others will not be left behind cos it is dangerous to walk alone in the thick dense forest. And we would make constant stops as a group so that we could rest and refill our stomach.

Our trek began at about 9 am. Our tour guides will show us memorial spots at mount fako. We saw caves and tents set up were some hickers and athlete usually sleep on their trip to the mountain.campsites were also set with burning fire so people who felt very cold could warm up. We stopped for some small chats and pleasantries with other visitors.

On that bright day we could see rays of the sun beam trying to conceal our eyes i used my left hand to try and block the sun reflecting in my eyes. As we got to hut one we could see beautiful view of the towns of Buea, Tiko, Limbe,  parts of Douala, the atlantic ocean and Equatorial Guinea. We also saw the crater of the last eruption from afar. Our trip was supposed to end at the hut two because only professional atlethes could make it right to the mountain top.

As we progressed I slipped fell and rolled for more than 6 meters down. I managed to grab a tree root that gave me support and two tour guides rushed to my rescue. They carried me and made me sit and rest. They examined me and wanted to call their medical team but  I boastfully told them I was okay, even though I felt some pains. We managed to continue  our trek.

At the next stop point for rest we could not see three of our team members.  We asked an athlete who passed by if he has seen some students they said they didn’t see them. Our guides called their office through a walkie talkie and alerted them of our missing friends. t made no sense for us to go for their search because we did not know our way round the mountain. We felt so worried and very disappointed our trip will be ruined by some  unfortunate mishappenings. As we descended with hope of finding and seeing our friends our teachers we so bitter and used offensive words.

Luckily after about one hour trek back descending the mountain and searching for our friends, our guide received a call from his colleague. Our friends had been seen. They had been chased by an antelope and they ran into the forest and missed their track but luckily they were rescued by some mountain guards. At about 4:pm we had finally descended and met at our bus parked at upper farms.  We were happy to finally return home. I was so excited to meet my family and tell them about our trip. I managed to get some souvenirs for myself and my family. My mum wanted some herbs and bark of trees and my sister water the living waters from the mountain. I also bought some art crafts of elephants and monkey which I intended to give my friends as gifts.

I plan to go back to the mountain this year. Last year it was reported in the national news that some forestry workers went to cut off a tree in the forest around the mountain. As they cut the tree with a cutlass water started coming out of the tree trunk. It was much water. I have tried to inquire about the incidence but could not get a concrete idea. So I will like to go carry out some findings because some people relate that incidents not to aircraft, others say its the gods of the land showing their reaction to some mishaps in the land. Others say its a good sign of good things to come in the future. I am just curious to know more about the tree which could ooze out water.

JC Nkeng

Trainee writer

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