Over in western Africa, a troubling report came in this past month from subscriber Jean Pierre Menu, who says his safari to Cameroon this past January was marred by the sudden appearance of armed men in his camp, who proceeded to threaten and bully him, his girlfriend and his PH. The safari was in a camp in northern Cameroon operated by Club Faune in Paris.
By publishing the following description of what happened, I do not want to imply that Cameroon is dangerous, as it definitely isn't. I simply think episodes like this need to be brought to light. Also, I think the episode points up the wisdom of renting a satellite phone any time you get off the beaten track. Jean Pierre Menu writes:
"I had a serious problem with agents of the Ministry of Nature and Forest on my safari to Cameroon this past January. One morning our camp was invaded by heavily armed men, with one officer. He interrogated me, trying to find something wrong with my papers (visa, licenses etc.). He even accused me of entering the country illegally six months ago, when, actually, I had entered only 48 hours before. The officer confiscated my passport and the passport of my girlfriend (who was there only as a tourist) and declared my safari suspended.
"Fortunately, I had an Iridium satellite phone with me, which my PH used to contact high-level persons back in Douala. As a result of that call, I had my passport back two days later. We were told later that the officer and his men had acted illegally by threatening us and confiscating our passports. I'm told the man was admonished for his conduct. All I know is, if I had not had a satellite telephone with me, I would have lost a lot of time on my safari...."........(continued)