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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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  #1  
Old 8 Oct 2010
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Algeria/Niger closed? Change route?

Hello
I had an email back from the security company in algeria confirming that northern niger is closed. Given that I am planning on travelling from Tunisa to Ghana - this was a critical part of the route. I am now not sure what to do exactly. (And have completely planned this route!!!!)

Any advice on an alternate route would be appreciated. Is there somewhere to cross from Morocco and come into west africa that way - through Mauritania? The things I have read say that Morocco is closed borders but i see threads that contradict this?

I eventually need to get the vehicles to Kenya - Am I better to just consider coming down through Egypt/Sudan/Ethiopia/Kenya and give up on West Africa all together? Is it ever likely to get any better/safer in Niger? Any idea on how long or hard east africa would be?

It is getting to crunch time for me to decide because I of the time it takes for visas between now and when I travel in March.

Sorry for all the questions. I am just in a bit of disarray.
with thanks
Vickey

Any advice ont his would be much apreciated.
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Old 8 Oct 2010
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There is a good chance that Niger closure is just the usual 'barn door after the horse has bolted' reaction and it will be open again by March, but overall it's not a good year to be visiting the central Sahara!

Am I better to just consider coming down through Egypt/Sudan/Ethiopia/Kenya and give up on West Africa all together?

Yes because you can plan that route with confidence (rumoured new civil war in Sudan nowithstanding. One imagines that will be mostly in the south anyway).

Is it ever likely to get any better/safer in Niger?
Much more so as things stand. East side has no AQIM scourge. Come to think of it I am not sure how you would have got from west Africa to Kenya without going down to Botswana at the very least.
It comes and goes (as is the way) but trans Congo or Chad to Darfur are regarded as much of a risk as north Mali.

Any idea on how long or hard east africa would be?
I have not done it myself but it's the easiest way overland to Kenya unless you start in SA. The difficulties are merely bureaucratic (visa acquisition - see this) + the Wadi Halfa ferry dance and some find, the people in Ethiopia.
But apart from the safari aspect on the east side, many travellers say Sudan people and Ethiopia landscape and culture are highlights.

This is a good blog - recently finshed - there are many others.

Ch

I have recently edited trans Africa routes so am brimming with secondhand expertise.
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Old 9 Oct 2010
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Thanks Chris.
My car is in Manchester and I am trying to bring it down and combine that with my dream of getting into Mali. I own a safari company in kenya so am OK with the difficulty in Sudan as we do work there (and have unfortunately been involved in the Darfur UN project)

I have put so much effort in to the planning of central sahara I am somewhat reluctant to let that go - so off to consult with the others in the travelling party. Looks like a route change is in order. Thanks also for the links.

Again - your advice is greatly appreciated.
Vickey
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Old 9 Oct 2010
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Well in that case take the Atlantic Route, do Mali (as far north as Timbuktu if they let you), then cross Chad for Sudan if you have help/know-how in Darfur.

If you stick with Atlantic for the moment, then there is a good chance Niger will re-open by March and you can switch back to that way, via Alg.

North Niger became especially risky earlier this year - banditry rather than AQIM - they came later. But they are mostly based in north Mali, which from Alg I would not consider for a long while.

Ch
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  #5  
Old 9 Oct 2010
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I'm just back from Tam (about 3 weeks ago). The border opens and closes irregularly, but is generally not closed for long periods.

If you want sure (which involves much less stress) then go East coast, otherwise get all the visas and cross your fingers!

Regards, Sam.
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