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Old 26 Mar 2001
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: San Francisco, USA
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Agadez-Dakar routes and details

I'm trying to plan out a loose itinerary for a Saharan trip next year, and I plan on doing the widely travelled Tunis-Agadez route, but my choice of route from Agadez to Dakar I'm not so sure about.

I've been reading up on C. Scott's website, researching Lonely Planet books, and spending a lot of time staring at my Michelin 953. It looks like Agadez->Tahoua->Birnin-Konne->Niamey->Ouagadougou->Bobo-Dioulasso->Sikasso->Bamako->Tayes->Tambacounda->Dakar might be a good route and doesn't seem to be horribly dangerous, though I'm still unsure about the Tayes area, as I've heard the Malian fringes of the Sahara can be very bandit-ridden. Has anyone taken a route like this? It seems most people take the detour to Timbuktu, but I've never heard anyone say it was really worth it, and it sounds rather dangerous.
Also, as far as I know, none of the countries I'd pass through require a carnet de passage, which I'd really like to avoid having to arrange for, though I'm not sure yet about Senegal.

Does anyone have a suggestion about this route - how much time it'll take to do it (Hopefully will be done Jan-Feb to avoid rainy season), what the best and worst parts are?

Also, I'll be doing it on a Honda XR650L, which I'm finding will be quite a challenge to fit a huge quantity of fuel on, since the Acerbis 5.2 Gallon tank is the largest tank available (190 mile range, including reserve). I plan on using Jerricans to extend my fuel mileage, but as the XRL has a weak subframe and is known the break even in the absence of a hundred pounds of luggage being bounced around on the pistes, I'm trying to avoid using jerricans except when absolutely necessary. That said, I believe the longest I'll have to go without fuel will be between Tam and In-Guezzam. Is there any petrol available between those two towns? The 953 doesn't indicate any wells along that piste either, is this the case? Currently my copy of Sahara Overland is on loan, so I can't look it up at the moment.

And the last question: After shiping the bike from the U.S. to England and flying over, etc, I'm going to be on a very tight budget. Any estimates on average daily cost of living in those parts? How often will I have to pay for a campsite?

I think I'll have roughly $2000 US to do the trip, and my current conservative estimate is that I'll average $30 a day after food, visa costs, border bribes, camping, and the other inevitable disasters. Any commentary on the issue of budget is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for all your help,
Wright Bagwell
Wright Bagwell
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