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But still not clear where's best to get a Niger visa, if travelling south Tunis>Algeria>Niger>Nigeria>Cameroon>........SA. An old CS post from 2001 says it's possible in Tam, but is this still possible?
And though not the right forum, how about Nigeria? Or MUST I get that here in UK? Found a lot of posts about how easily available in Bamako...... And think if I can get to Abuja I can sort out most of the rest.
This from a post by "Famous Walker" in Dec 2009 on Sahara Travel Forum (italics & bold print = my emphasis):
Attempted to cross In Guezzam - Assamaka a few days ago. Had obtained Nigerien visa at the consulate in Tamanrasset, 3 days waiting, 4500DA. Asked the consul if the border was open and if the situation on the Assamaka-Arlit-Agadez route was ok. The answer was reassuring: there are no more convoys Assamaka-Arlit, so it must be relatively safe. There are still convoys Arlit-Agadez, twice a week.
Search for Famous Walker & PM him for more info. Think he may still be travelling - not sure though.
How are your other visas coming on? Got Algeria yet? I was told to collect mine next week Thu! Then I'll apply for the so-called l'Entente visa at the Embassy of Benin. But I'm duplicating info from our previous correspondence!
could I ask if you are travelling on SA passport? If so, did you apply in SA for the Algerian visa? And if so, did you need usual invitations/guides etc?
If on a SA passport, did you apply successfully outside SA for the Algerian visa?
Yes, I travel on an SA passport and did apply in Pretoria. I also needed the guide agency's invitation - they e-mailed to me but also faxed it to the Embassy in Pretoria. I was told that you can apply for the Algerian visa only in your home/citizenship country and have heard of no-one who'd been granted the visa elsewhere.
Hi Ian - reply to your question a few posts above "And though not the right forum, how about Nigeria? Or MUST I get that here in UK?"
Another South African - search for "Ons4" on HU said the following:
"In Accra we were lucky that some fellow overlanders gave us the coordinates for the new Nigerian High Commission because all the guide books were wrong. Here we started getting our first taste of overpriced visas, $78 each, $ 312 for us 4, ouch"
I'm trying to get in touch with him again - spoke to him last year - so if I'll ask him about it too and let you know.
Ahhh, just spoken to guy at Nigeria embassy, explained what I wanted to do, very helpful he said "no problem" just pop in - no appointment - don't need invitation, previous country's visa etc., as their website suggests. Just an itinerary etc. Can it be that simple?
So looks like I can get Niger sorted in Tam, guess 3 days exploring round there no great hardship - which only means Algeria needed in advance - have emailed Tanezrouft and Akar Akar and awaiting response.
Or am I missing something?
One other question - if I'm only going once (quite possible), which route's best through Alg - El Meniaa/In Salah or BOD/Illizi/Djanet? Was going to do Djanet in 2003 on a road bike just before the kidnappings.
I got my Niger visa in Tam, no problem at all. It wasn't cheap at 4500 dinar, and it did take three working days. The official explanation was that my details had to be faxed to Niamey, and that it takes Niamey three days to respond.
All that was around Dec 10 2009. The Niger consulate is at N22 47.132 E5 31.880, next door to the Malian one. There will be lots of Algerians queuing there too. You can safely (and free of charge) park at the roundabout 50 m to the west, there's some government office next door so there's always a uniformed and armed guardian hanging about.
This is what Yves from Tanezrouft suggested to me - the numbers indicate the days, 10 in total in my case:
" ok, maximize the offroad portion. So I think it is the following:
1. Oran - Ghardaia
2. Ghardaia - Timimoun
3. Timimoun - In Salah ( a long day, may be 1.5 days)
4,5: In Salah - Old Hoggar piste
5,6: Old Hoggar piste - Assekrem
7: Assekrem - Tam
8,9,10: Tam - Tassil du Hoggar (east of the road) - Ain Guezzam
>From In Salah most of the mileage could be offroad.
Also, the itinerary has some buffer, the last 3 days could be done in 2 days."
So, I suppose you could alternatively also go straight to Tam from In Salah, submit the application for Niger and do the Old Hoggar piste to Assekrem & back while waiting for the visa - if you're allowed to travel with only a copy of your passport and fiche?
You're right, the Nigerian visa sounds quite easy, but perhaps that's because it's in Britain and not in SA where there's a bit of animosity between South Africans and Nigerians. About the Nigerienne visa - on a South African passport I'd rather do what I can before leaving home. It will completely ruin the trip if I don't get it en route because then I'd have to turn around, go back to Spain and enter Morocco and do the tarmac stretch (apparently) almost all the way to Senegal. Not an option.
Let me know how it goes. Also, PM me your approximate dates if you can.
Forgot to mention. The three days I was waiting for my Niger visa my passport was me all the time. You don't have to deposit it at the consulate. So, I was free to explore the pistes around Tam, which I did, including sections of the route to Assekrem.
I also believe that the Tam-Assekrem road can be done without a guide, officially. Best doublecheck that in Tam of course.
Old Hoggar piste is nice and passes some gueltas/springs - good if you're on a heavy bike (looks like you are). IMO tho, the road over the Fadnoun: Izi to Djanet is great and then Djanet to Tam via Assekrem (Route A6 in the book and on the cover) is the real thing not a deviation, as are any number of options between Djanet & Tam. If that adds up to extra days and you survive it on the GSA then you won't regret it as like you say, you'll only do it once.
... in SA where there's a bit of animosity between South Africans and Nigerians...
I dont think you got exclusivity on that one, bro!
Hmmm, that sounds interesting (also had emails from Yves today). How much is he quoting for that?
And not sure where the 'Old Hoggar piste' is?
***EDIT*** Chris : Actually was replying to Gottoride (Yves) itinerary - but still not sure where the 'Old Hoggar' is! I did always fancy the Djanet/Tam route I must admit - but was on a road bike last time I nearly went to Djanet. That aside, how do the actual highways (or rather the landscape alongside) compare, going straight to Tam or via Djanet? I must dig out my copy of SO!
OHP runs east of the current TSH, starts 80?km south of In Salah and rejoins just before Arak, a nice track along the Immidir escarpment. It's on the kml I posted earlier - the east side of the northern loop shown.
Ahhh, I see it - got a few wells shown on the Mich map.
But I know what you mean - it is a "deviation" as opposed to the "real thing" (= necessary). A bit like riding a RUPP in UK when there's a perfectly good road doing the same job! Albeit a bit longer... But somehow not quite as satisfying!
Thanks, Chris, for the reply. Also thought the last leg could be done without the guide. Will find out in Tam. Thanks for the other info too. I suppose I can change the itinerary as we go. Do you think there's other places I should rather try to see? - a bit difficult if you've never been there to know what you might be missing out on...
Apparently the DRC visa can be a tricky one en route. I haven't heard from Jean Visser of "Ons4" (Us4 or The 4 of us) yet, but in his travelogue you'll read that they could NOT get it in Nigeria and finally had to get the SA ambassador involved in Cameroon - apparently the problem was corruption in the embassy. So I'll get that one in SA before I leave. Apparently you can state your entry date on the application and then the visa becomes active only on that date.
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