Out of Cameroon by a Thirty Second Miracle!

by | Mar 12, 2019 | africa | 6 comments

tsetse-fly-bitesWe had a fun night in Garoua, Cameroon all considering.  We were trapped there yesterday after being bumped off our CamAir flight that was to take us to Douala where tonight we are scheduled to catch our international flights home.  We shared tsetse fly bite misery and drank some beers and had a very good meal at the Plazza Motel.




Plazza-Hotel-garouaThis morning we left from Garoua to Maroua in the north of Cameroon to catch a 5 PM CamAir flight (be sure you read yesterday’s blog).  It’s a four hour drive to Maroua but regardless of the flight being at 5 PM, we left at 9 AM to be first in line for check in.


driving-in-africaWe planned to make the drive with two vehicles but we have too much stuff and too many of us.  Instead of there being just the four fishing guests, the Tourette Fishing crew of Keith, Stu and Greg are also headed home.  Luckily Koen, the man behind the Cameroon fly fishing scene, graciously offered to drive us in his car giving us the needed third set of wheels.  Otherwise we’d have looked like this truck in front of us today!


CameroonI rode with Koen.  Along with was Jako and Nick.  While most the guys were dreading the four hour drive, our vehicle embraced it.  For me it’s an opportunity to see more of Cameroon.  A chance to see a part of this world that very few Americans will ever see.


food-vendor-africaIndeed the drive was enthralling.  The people.  The way of life.  The landscape.  The culture.  We all enjoyed the drive as expected from the minute we left Garoua to the airport in Maroua.


fly-fishing-africaWhen we got to the airport we were not first in line as we hoped.  In fact there were a lot of folks which lead to an immediate scare. Instead of the flight leaving at 5 PM as scheduled, like yesterday the time had been changed to 2.  It was 1 PM and we were considered late!  These changing to earlier times are crazy!  Unheard of!  But this is Cameroon.


Maroua-AirportThe good news however was that the plane was late.  And also that they had room for us.  Miracle!  So, we got all our baggage on the trollies and in line and then kicked back and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  With very little information on what the status of our flight would be.



For me there’s constantly something to do.  I worked on my blog.  And as always, someone had some sharpies and I drew on Stu’s computer and Nicks phone case.  A few more hours gone.


At 4 PM a plane landed.  Perhaps the 5 PM flight was on as scheduled all the time?  We were stoked, but only for a minute.  Soon we learned this plane was first going to take locals to Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.  Then it would be back for us around 8 PM.


fishing-cameroonAre you kidding?  If the plane returned at 8 PM we likely wouldn’t leave until 9.  Would that be enough time to get to Douala to catch our international flights?  Some of the guys had a 10:30 PM flight to Brussels while Jako, Nick, Mark and I were on Air France to Paris at 11:55 PM.


The Brussels guys gave up right there on the spot and cancelled their flights and rebooked.  They got extremely screwed by the airline and their new tickets back to the US ranged from $3000 to a whooping $6000!  These prices struck me, Jako and Nick with utter fear.  Luckily, we all have some sort of travel insurance that would surely fix this down the road.



When the plane left to Yaoundé, we were certain it was gone for good.  In fact, I was ready to call Delta and rebook my flight for a few days from now.  But Nick talked me into waiting till the last minute.  Then the electricity in the airport went off.  There we were in complete darkness.


We suspected that this was it.  We were trapped in Cameroon forever and ever.  But the one CamAir employee that remained, assured us all was good.  At 8 PM the flight would return to get us.  AND that the flight to Douala was only 1 hour and 20 minutes.  At least Jako, Nick, Mark and I would make our 11:55 PM Air France flight.


This time the waiting was excruciating.  We twisted and turned.  I tried to concentrate on my blog but was continuously distracted by the thought of rebooking my international then trying to sort out insurance.  We all know how fun that is.


Africa-travelAt 7 PM the lights came on.  The plane was in the air from Yaoundé.  The CamAir check in desk opened and we checked our luggage and headed into a tiny gate.  We all got hosed on bag weight and some of us paid bribes of around $10.  Not bad if it all got to Douala.  Then at 7:45 in the distant skies was a flicker of plane lights.  Could it be?


Truly it was.  The plane that left at 5 actually came back for us.  It officially landed at 8 and we thought we were going to run out and climb aboard.  But no.  Naturally it filled up with passengers in Yaoundé and we had to wait for the slowest deboarding in history.  We started boarding at 9:10 PM.


Jeff-Currier-Tourette-fishingNo doubt it was relief to get on a plane to leave northern Cameroon.  But things looked grim for making our Air France flight.  Wheels went up at 9:40 PM and landed in Douala at 11 PM.


We had luggage to collect and we know that can take long.  Also our next flight was international so technically the check in counter should be long closed.  But the four of us ran off the plane full speed for the Air France counter instead of the carousel.  It was a long run and took another ten minutes.  Our sweaty dirty bodies arrived there at 11:10 only to be told by one lingering clerk that we missed the flight.


Knowing our plane was still at the gate (we saw it), it was time to beg and throw down credentials which for all of us is pretty high with Air France, the major partner of Delta.  I asked the clerk to look me up and she did and said, hmmm. . . . as long as you have no bags, we’ll let you run to the gate.  Could we abandon our bags?  Nick said yes.  I want to go home.


Mark said no.  Jako and I were on the fence.  The Air France lady told us we had 30 seconds to decide.  Bingo.  Brian and Bill missed their flight to Brussels.  They could collect our bags and fly them back to the US for us then ship them to us.  Even if they paid extra baggage fees it would be cheaper than us rebooking.


Brain and Bill weren’t with us to ask if this was ok.  But we had fun this week together.  They had to understand.  Mark said he’d head to the carousel and tell the guys the plan being that he wasn’t leaving.


fishing-AfricaWe got our tickets then sprinted through about five check points, emigration and to the Air France door by 11:40 PM.  On board we were!  The smelliest, sweatiest long flight of our lives began and we didn’t care at all.  Not so sure about the lady sitting in front of Jako however. . . .


Now in the air I’m as exhausted as ever drained by two days of extra unneeded stress.  I ordered not one, but two glasses of red wine and already took a sleeping pill.  I’ll rap this trip up tomorrow during the next segment of this long flight home.  We’re going home!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Jack L. Meredith

    Jeff, you are one tough son-of-a-gun! I am out of breath just reading this because it reminds Suzanne and I about a couple of trips we took not 1/5th as bad as this and I said “never again”! I’m glad “granny” didn’t have to go thru all that s–t and it just goes to show you how these places take advantage of you when things get tight which is probably more the norm then the exception.

    Glad you are home safe until next time?

  2. Mike Dougherty

    And, and, and your bags? Hopefully they’ll be home by the time the Fork opens. With baited breath

  3. Tad Einloth


    I hope you brought no tsetse flies home with you.



  4. Jeff

    I too am glad Granny wasn’t on this one. She would have been eaten so bad by the Tsetse flies that there would be nothing left of her. Funny thing, that was Brian’s leg. Mark was chewed to death also. I’m not sure about the others but I wore shorts the entire time and have about four bites. I lucked out! Just in case I brought any home all my stuff – which arrived today – is in the garage for a good freezing for the next few days. It smells good too by the way! More good stuff to come. Its fishing and travel season. . . . .

    Thanks everyone for reading about this unreal adventure!

    See you on the Fork Mike!

  5. howie

    Dude, what an adventure. Great read!

  6. Lance Tomar

    And no one understands why we do this all the time! Have to admit, this blog even wore me out.. cool trip. Jeff

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!