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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 29 Apr 2006
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Smile africa route advice please (border crossings)

hi, setting off to capetown in september/october this year and im just looking for any helpfull advice on our route, it is

from u.k, through europe down to morroco, western sahara, mauritania, senagal,mali,burkina faso,niger,nigeria,cameroon, gabon, congo,dem rep congo,angola,namibia,s.a

does anyone have any helpfull advice on border crossings between these countries, anyone experienced any problems crossing these borders?

any advice would be massively appreciated;
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  #2  
Old 29 Apr 2006
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Cool

Hey,

I had no problems at all at the borders. The car was sort of checked at the congo borders only. Sometimes one of the officials just takes off with your passport, and you have to follow (or not). This can feel strange, but then they put their stamps and return the passport and off you go.

The Angola visum seems to be a bit hit and mis. Don't wait to long to get it.

Rob
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  #3  
Old 30 Apr 2006
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hello deebee,

as I dont know how much you have travelled, I will also give you some general advise.

As Robbert said, no problem. But it is good to be prepared for the paper game, and money is also paper.

First, avoid the border between Mauretania and Morocco, or at least avoid the Rosso border. We crossed 100km west of Rosso, at Dalbandin, but still it was the worst for us in East and West Africa 2004/2005.

General rules: Have a visa valid, have a vaccination card, have a paper that could mean that you have insurance, have mc documents (e.g. a carnet). Have your documents in order, all valid I mean, if possible.

Arrive at the border with plenty of time, best is weekdays around 10 am. Avoid weekends, if possible. Allways stay cool, never hurry, allways smile, relax.

speak ONLY english, even you maybe speak a bit of french, speak slow and polite.

Pay money only if this is the official way. E.g. for roadtax in Namibia.

And enjoy the paper game, but you cant allways be the winner.

As Robbert said, the visa for Angola is a bit tricky, try Libreville which is an easy place for visas (04/2005)

Enjoy your ride

Mika - now from Hamburg/Germany
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  #4  
Old 30 Apr 2006
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English only?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mika
speak ONLY english, even you maybe speak a bit of french...
Hey Mika, why english only? I'd use any language for some thea time chit chat.
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Old 1 May 2006
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hi Robbert,

because if they want to give you a problem it is more difficult for them (if english is not the language in the country) to get it across. Because most people can´t communicate that well in their second or third language. So, I do the tea time chit chat talk in an easy to understand english with using my hands for sign language. My way of playing the paper game ...

:-)

greetings

mika
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  #6  
Old 2 May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbert
why english only? I'd use any language for some thea time chit chat.
Chit chat is fine - any errors are hopefully laughted at.

With officialdom errors may lead to other things best avoided.

If I don't understand or don't feel confident in the other language ... I'd probably revert to a language where I do feel confident.
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  #7  
Old 10 May 2006
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Quote:
First, avoid the border between Mauretania and Morocco, or at least avoid the Rosso border. We crossed 100km west of Rosso, at Dalbandin, but still it was the worst for us in East and West Africa 2004/2005.

General rules: Have a visa valid, have a vaccination card, have a paper that could mean that you have insurance, have mc documents (e.g. a carnet). Have your documents in order, all valid I mean, if possible.

Arrive at the border with plenty of time, best is weekdays around 10 am. Avoid weekends, if possible. Allways stay cool, never hurry, allways smile, relax.

speak ONLY english, even you maybe speak a bit of french, speak slow and polite.
Obviously everyone has their own way of doing things, generally agree but I have to disagree about the French. In a previous existence I worked as an overland driver in Africa for one of the expedition companies so I've done a fair few borders! I would always use such French as I had when that was their language, it seems more polite to me. The basics - polite, patient (regardless! If they sense you are in a hurry the "fees" will escalate!!), helpful, take tea if offered, offer a smoke if you have any but also at many borders, enjoy it! I've found a lot of the guys, especially at remote borders, are bored and often curious about what you are doing so take the time to treat them like a human and chat. You have the time, they appreciate it and normally the "fees" dwindle to very little, if anything. Plus, if you are in the hut and you leave others by the bikes/in the truck be sure that they don't laugh, guards can feel the laughter is directed at them and then your problems increase.
So don't worry about them, they're just part of the Africa travelling thing.

NB, last time I was down there I'm fairly sure the Rosso border was between Mauritania and Senegal but I agree, it's not the best. I managed to speed things up the last time by getting a passenger to pretend to be ill, very ill!

nj
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  #8  
Old 16 May 2006
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hi,

oh, sorry, also the last time (and only time so far) I travelled in West Africa the Rosso border was between Senegal and Mauritania.

@ Northern Jack. Yes, the easiest border crossing in Africa was between Angola and Republic of Congo as I rode the bike with a broken leg in a plaster. Good idea to have one of your tourists pretanding to be sick.

For you it is different at the border crossings. You will come back another time with another load of tourists. So you will meet the same border guards again. And I assume you give them something, a little bit of money or a coca cola or a t-shirt. I dont agree with this little gifts, to make things easier.

But you are right it is more polite to speak French. But I still dont recommend it to travellers if they are not good in French, because if a problem comes up it is very difficult and rude to switch the language.

Enjoy playing the game ... different for everybody and new everytime

mika
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  #9  
Old 29 May 2006
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Some specific info - cross into Senegal at Diama. Very quiet the last 3 times I have done it and also a pleasant ride for a couple of hours. Also cross into Nigeria at Ketou (100km north of the coastal road) which is also very quiet and MUCH easier than the main border crossing. Easy detours which bypass two of the worst border crossings in Africa. Good luck.
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