A week ago Carrie, Derek, Christy, Yoscha, and I went to Mount Nimba for a 3 day 2 night camping trip. Last year I went to Yekepa to check out Mount Nimba, but didn’t have a chance to camp up there. You can read about that trip, and how to get to Yekepa/Mount Nimba here. The GPS tracks of where we hiked on this trip are here in Google Earth and GPX format.
One of the biggest changes I noticed when arriving this time was that Mittal Steel, the company that currently owns the iron concession that includes Mount Nimba had put up new check points and gates. The security guards were all very friendly and helpful. We had to go from the check point, to the security office, to the main office to finally get permission from a gentleman named Mark Wynn to camp on the mountain. It was a bit of a hassle, but better that they knew we were up there and that they wouldn’t come kick us out. Plus there’s a gate and guard post on the road up the mountain so we needed their help.
We set up camp late Friday afternoon and the best part of it all was that it got cold. Like so cold that I had to wear a jacket. Not just that, I’m sweating in Monrovia, so lets turn the AC down and pretend to be cold, cold that expats some times think they feel, but like real 50 degree cold. I didn’t really have a thermometer, but it felt around high 50s or low 60s. It was awesome.
When we woke up the next morning we were in the clouds. It wasn’t just fog, but at 4000+ feet we had hit the clouds and had about 50 yards worth of visibility. Not to mention 15mph winds and some rain. All this further kept the temperature down. It was so nice to hike in Liberia and not sweat.
After waiting till 10am we headed out despite the lack of visibility. We were hoping to summit the nearest peak we could see from our camp, and to also hike along the mountain ridge. But with visibility so short we just blindly followed the road until it ended, and then just kept climbing up slippery slopes, holding onto rocks and vegetation, until we reached the top of the closest peak. Going up was easier than following the ridge we found.
At one point the clouds cleared and we saw how far up we were. This was awesome. We could also see some mining equipment and a large lake left behind from previous mining efforts in Yekepa.
Around noon we found our way to the top of the peak. The clouds finally lifted and we could see camp a little over a kilometer away.
After lunch Carrie and I took a lower road that we saw from the first peak and followed along the ridge. We didn’t leave till 2pm, so we turned around at 4pm so we could make it back before dark, but it seems that this would lead along the base of the ridge. If you look at the Google Earth file of our hike this
route is in red. I checked our route on Google Earth and it seems that were were just two and a half miles from the intersection of the Liberian, Guinean, and Ivorian borders. I’d love to go back and reach that point.
We spent that night on the mountain and then headed back to Monrovia the next day. We stopped for lunch in Gbanga at some Bangladeshi restaurant. Unlike the Bangladeshi restaurant in Monrovia, B-First, 13th Street, Sinkor, Which is awesome, this place sucked. It took them an hour to serve our order and even then the chicken was still raw. So don’t eat there.
Road condition were good on the trip. Ellen will be heading up country for the July 26th celebration and so they’ve begun fixing the road from Kakata to Gbanga. And the road from Ganta to Yekepa was great. It seemed to be newly grated. No need for 4×4.