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Hiking to the Oku Crater Lake

posted Mar 1, 2010, 7:13 AM by Reinoud Vaandrager
This Saturday I hiked to "lake Oku" with Brynne and Amanda. Lake Oku is a beautiful crater lake surrounded by the Kilum-Ijim rainforest and is around 5 hours of hiking away from where I live in Belo.

The Oku crater lake

The trek to lake Oku

So we started early that day by hiring 3 motorbike riders that could take us the journey uphill to the drop-off point near lake Oku. From there one of our bike riders was willing to guide us to the lake during a 1.5 hour hike through the forest.

Brynne and Amanda hiking through the forest.

The lake itself is quite a spectacular view, and is considered quite safe in comparison to some other lakes such as Lake Nyos that are also situated on the Oku volcanic plain. (A pocket of magma  lies beneath the lake and leaks carbon dioxide into the water, changing it into carbonic acid and killing all animal life once in a full moon)

Hurrah! We reached the lake :)

By the time we reached the lake we ran into a class of schoolkids (class 6) that were on a field trip to the lake. They had a great teacher who explained them all kinds of facts about the lake (for example that all the plants around the lake are medicinal, but that they don't really know what each plant will cure exactly. or that you cannot swim across the lake because the circular flow of the lake will suck you down in the center). They all went into the lake for a group picture and after that we had the lake to ourselves.

They came from the deep...

Interesting bugs and critters roam the forest around the lake...

After the lake we though we had enough time to reach the nearby village of Oku, since our driver had told us that the village was only a stone's throw away. Asking for more details he told me "45 minutes!". So 1 hour of hiking later we asked another passerby on the road to get the answer "1 hour".. hmm. Finally we just decided to have a nice picnic along the road with a great view over the Oku landscape and enjoy some slices of bread with crunchy peanut butter from Bamenda and Beef Jerky from Alaska (courtesy of Amanda's husband).

The view of Oku from our scenic picnic spot

During the 5 hour trek back to Belo we ran into a small rural "village" with one bar where all the local men hang out to do ... well nothing really.. just hang out. This got us quite upset because all along the road we encountered women and grandmothers working on the farm and carrying heavy loads.

There was also a really cute puppy there that looked like it was about to pass over into dog heaven. Amanda quickly embraced the pup to prevent it from meeting this fate by feeding it some delicous left over beef jerky. Once the dog got a sniff of the Jerky it totally came back to life!

Cute puppy enjoying Alaskan Beef Jerky (TM)
In the background men doing... nothing.

At some point down the road we passed by another motor taxi, and we were able to get a lift back to 3 corners in Belo for 700CFA (about a euro) with all three of us on the back seat of the motorbike!