The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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Just tried to get a Sudanese visa from Addis Ababa today on my American passport. It took five seconds for the man here to give it a no-go. He said visas for Americans are only issued in Washington.
1) Fly the bikes to Cairo (anyone with advice, I'd be much obliged)
2) Go through Djibouti/Yemen/Saudi Arabia (but is this even possible for Americans as well? Plus, we are two bikes, with one of the drivers being a woman. I seem to recall problems with women drivers in Saudi Arabia...)
3) Try sending our passports home so that our families can try to arrange visas for us (we have two sets of passports...no worries).
P.S. Our japanese friend just finished his application today with a personalized letter from his embassy. They told him to come back in 10 days and maybe his visa application would be approved. No guarantees, of course.
in late 1999 i flew my bike from cairo to addis with lufthansa. had lots of hassle at cairo customs. read my website... must be possible to go the other way.
was on brit passport. as my man tony is a great supporter of your men bill and dubya's foreign policy (then bombing of asprine plant in khartoum, now "war on terror") you won't get a sudan visa anywhere, ever (IMHO).
there is a south africa couple i know (johan and charmaine on a beemer) who are also in addis at this minute. they were contemplating djibouti to saudi to egypt... having said that your usa passport probably closes those doors too.
I dont know if you have been watching the reports it is not necesarily the safest place to be. I am planning a RTW trip and the Africa portion I am planning on avoiding Sudan. Might be wise just to skip it, not the safest place right now.
I crossed into Sudan from Ethiopia in late Sep 2004 and then returned through Sudan from Egypt about 7 weeks later. Im a south african, so i cant comment on visa availability for the rest of you, but i can saythat Sudan was, provided you miss out the West and South, absolutely safe and full of the most friendly people in Africa. Yes we all know there is a war in Darfur, but Sudan is a VERY BIG place and the conflict is avoidable. In fact even if you got your Michelin map upsidedown you could not accidentally wander into Darfur as there are numerous roadblocks preventing tourists from these areas.
However thais was 4 months ago... things change fast in Mamma Africa, thats why we love her.
PS I got my second Sudan visa in Aswan in a couple of hours for $100.
Thanks for all the input. Spoke with Sudanese consolate in DC. They said it is perfectly acceptable for the embassy in Addis to issue the visa and they don't understand why there should be any problems. In fact, they want the name of the person we spoke with and his number so they can speak with him. So tomorrow morning we're off to politely ask for the man's name and number. Keeping our fingers crossed, and trying to step on as few toes as possible.
Still going to continue with setting up a shipping agent to Egypt, just in case.
my vote for friendliest people in Africa goes to the wonderful folk in Djanet, southern Algeria. Sudanese are nearly as lovely, but not quite. for happy-go-lucky, Malians and Mozambiquans come next.
good luck with your visas!
If all else fails, I seem to recall that a guy named George who owns a hotel in Khartoum named "Acropolis" (or something like that). I know he fixed the visas for some people having trouble with the Sudanese embassy in Ndjamena, Chad while we were there. The deal was that they had to stay in his hotel a couple of days.
Do a search, and you might find the Acropolis' contact info.
Btw, the Sudanese are known to be the "friendliest" people in africa. However, having been there about a month, and having gotten some insight from some people there that understood arabic (without the locals knowing), we got the impression that not everyone is as genuinely friendly as they might appear... The problems people face with their embassies is one obvious example (although we got our visa within 24 hours). Nice things might be said to your face in Sudan, but not so nice things might be said behind your back if you know what I mean. The point being; racism towards westerners is alive and well many places in africa. I'd say the people in Darfur for example were amongst the least helpfull we came across in africa actually. And we experianced this quite a few times when we got stuck in deep sand in the middle of villages! Which was in sharp contrast to what we expected, having heard of the Sudanese helpfullness and hospitality. Just something to keep in mind.
The Acropole Hotel's email address is acropolekhartoum ([a-t})) yahoo dottt com. George is a nice guy, very helpful.
You may be interested to know that the Bradt guide to Sudan is out in a few weeks. Bit of self-interest here, as I'm the author, but hopefully it will be of use to people here as I've tried to make it as user-friendly for those with two (or heaven forbid - four) wheels in Sudan.
Incidentally, if you look into the Saudi option, you'll need an onward visa (eg Jordan, Egypt etc) in your passport before you can apply for a Saudi transit visa. But you will run into problems for the female members of your party. Women under 40 are refused visas unless accompanied by a male relative. If you're married but have different surnames, you'll probably need your marriage certificate to prove your status: a ring isn't enough.
So, still having problems getting the visa. Consolate here is definite no. Consolate in DC not responding calls (maybe because of Eid). Consolate in NY just said to get in touch with Acropole. They wanted to be helpful, but their hands are tied if we're not even getting a response from any of the consolates.
Suggestions? (especially from Americans who have gotten into Sudan recently)
Look for Stephanopol.. (i think thats his name) hes an aussie i met in Malawi in about June '04 who came through Sudan. Drop me a line if you can find him on the hub, ive got his mail address somewhere
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, our visa applications weren't even being accepted at the embassy in Addis, and the consolate in Washington wasn't being very helpful either. Plus I just got a job offer in the U.S., so I'm going to round out my motorcycle travel in Ethiopia and then fly to Egypt...without the bike. Sniffle, sniffle.
Matt: I'm out of Addis now, but I'll be back in a month. If you still want me to ask, just let me know.
[This message has been edited by nishiki1 (edited 03 February 2005).]
I spent the Christmas / New Year period working in South Sudan, and encountered a surprising number of American citizens there - all of whom were working for various aid agencies. You might want to contact the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya for better advice, as Kenya is the primary gateway to South Sudan. But, having said that - as recently as 2 weeks ago, one still needed a SPLA travel permit, in addition to a Sudanese visa issued by the Khartoum government. I know they have made peace, but some things take a LONG time to change.
If the US embassy in Nairobi gives you any good news, then try applying for your visa through the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi - they must process hundreds of visas for Americans each month. But - keep in mind that all of those are for professional (aid-related) purposes. There is NO tourism in South Sudan, none, nada, zero.
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