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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 6 Feb 2003
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safety and current political climate

Four of us (three americans and a brit, all based in the US) are planning a 4WD based London-capetown trip starting in October of 2003.

Does anyone have a feel for the possible effect of the current US/Iraq situation on this trip? Will it make border crossings more difficult? What if the US does start dropping bombs?

Does anyone know of any americans who have done such a trip recently?

I realize that these are difficult questions to answer, but if anyone has any insights or advice, they would be much appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 6 Feb 2003
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As an Egyptian I can tell you that almost all of resentment and anger in the region is geared toward the US and UK political leaders and not the citizens. Surprisingly even the simplest man in the Egyptian streets understands this. You’ll find him angrily accusing Bush of being an Israeli agent while watching the news, then turn around with a big smile to greet an American tourist and probably try to sell him something . During all the previous engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan tourists and travelers where roaming freely around the country. Having said that you have to exercise caution and be sensitive. Also check with your embassy along your way as they issue warning and recommendation about traveling in different countries. Don’t engage in political discussion and if drawn into one simply take out side. Other than that I wouldn’t worry.

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A.B.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
ShortWheelbase.com – Jeep preparations.
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  #3  
Old 6 Feb 2003
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I agree completely with AB, be aware, but still go!

In the incredibly unlikely event that there is still military action going on at the end of the year, you might have a poorer (or even non-existant) civilian GPS signal as you get towards eastern Africa. This would probably be the most serious 'problem' you might encounter...

Sam.
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  #4  
Old 6 Feb 2003
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Agree with the others, think you will be fine. When we went trans africa during afghan conflict, saw quite a few cars with bin laden pictures hanging from the centre mirror - a different take on the fluffy dice. Heard one or two comments but seemed to be said for effect to see if they could get a reaction, not because they were pashionate or even interested about it. As an American, don't know how easy it is to get a Sudanese visa as I heard a few American passengers on different overland trucks were getting flown over. However the Sudanese people were by far the most hospitable along the whole of the trip. Think its probably perceived risk rather than actual. Can probably get visa as Sudan has been going to some lengths to work with the Americans but might be worth checking to start with as other than going through the Congo, it limits the options somewhat if you can't get through.
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  #5  
Old 7 Feb 2003
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I've been thinking about this one, as I should be off to Algeria in March (maybe April), probably just as things are underway in Iraq.

My thinking is that while in a democracy we do have some responsibilty for the behaviour of our leaders (as we've put them there) a lot of countries where we expect we might have a problem are less- or un-democratic, and therefore the average man on the street would not naturally assume that leaders' and citizens' views are in keeping - does that make any sense?

Or am I being optimistic and pushing my luck?
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Old 8 Feb 2003
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Well, it makes sense but I think it comes down more to the fact that 1) the people down here are very friendly, generous and tolerant (something that doesn’t rely well in the news which only covers corrupt leaders and extreme fundamentalists) and 2) you as a foreigner are regarded as a source of income. You buy stuff, hire taxis, stay in hotels and so on and these are thing everyday Arab will benefit from first hand and will do his best to keep it alive and well. And 3) we are sick of the way we are portrayed in the news and we’ll go out of our way to change that image.

------------------
A.B.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
ShortWheelbase.com – Jeep preparations.
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OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
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  #7  
Old 11 Feb 2003
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Thanks for all your replies. This is sort of what I suspected, but sitting here in the US it's hard know what's really going on sometimes.

Witt
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Old 12 Feb 2003
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Yes, I am not at all surprised at A.B.'s comments about the friendliness of the people "on the ground" (and also that travellers are a source of income!)
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