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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 4 Mar 2003
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Chad to Ethiopia via Sudan

Has anyone taken there bike through Sudan recently? I'm finding it imposible to get a visa. First I applied in London four months ago and didn't get an answer, and now I've just been told by the Sudanese Embassy in Senegal that Visas will not be issued to those travelling overland and that motorcycles will be refused entry at the border if a visa is obtained by claiming you will fly into the country. Does anybody know the truth of the matter? Any suggestions on the best place to apply (again) for a visa. Many thanks, Ed
PS I'm a British passport holder.
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  #2  
Old 6 Mar 2003
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My guess is that if you head to the consulate in either Ndjamena or in Nigeria, that you will have minimal issues getting a visa. Whilst its always possible that the situation has changed, whilst this issue continues to exist, there seems to be a steady stream of trans african traffic coming through. Don't know why the UK embassy wasn't keen, the Senegalese one may well be because its quite far removed, that very few trans african travellers would try and get their visas there. Where as in both Nigeria and Chad, they are used to the travellers. Only my guess but we were told it takes weeks to get a visa, we rocked up in Ndjamena and they gave us one in 2 hours, equally here other travellers saying they got visas very quickly.

Good luck
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  #3  
Old 8 Mar 2003
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You can get your Sudanese visa from the embassy in Abuja (Nigeria). It is issued in 24 hrs. You should have your Etheopian visa already (you can get this in London or en-route in Accra) to prove that you are "in transit".
Our experience is that the London embassy is a waste of time.
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  #4  
Old 29 Mar 2003
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just had my visa refused in abuja, border too dangerous. i reckon they only let so many through at a time. p.S. british passport.
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  #5  
Old 30 Mar 2003
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As a suggestion, try Ndjamena. Don't think embassies coordinate. If its a directive from Khartoum then your stuffed but if its a local decision by Abuja consulate then may have luck elsewhere.
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  #6  
Old 2 Apr 2003
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Hi,

I obtained my sudanese visa on the spot in Geneva 6 weeks ago, stating i was overlanding from Chad. I'm now on my way (in Algeria) and my parents got a call from the embassy telling that the border is now closed for saffety issues in the Darfur area. They even told my parents I could claim the money I had left as a guarantee (that's how they do in GVA when you intend to bring your vehicle into the country). So I would say it looks a bit like a Khartoum issued stuff. I'm still wanting to try and will go to the border since I hold the visa. Maybe if we are a big enough team they will set up a convoy??? Union makes force, folks. Think of it and see you in Abeche or N'Djamena! Séb
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  #7  
Old 3 Apr 2003
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Hi there,
I hope to be in Abuja on about the 25th of April, will try for the visas there. otherwise I will be in Njamena about the 5th to the 10th of may, keen to hear any more news as I have a truck with 10 passengers.
Thanks
Bo
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  #8  
Old 10 Apr 2003
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just heard back from a friend with a truck trying to get sudan visas in ndjamena, theyre not having much look im afraid. sounds like the borders dodgy again.
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  #9  
Old 14 Apr 2003
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Go to http://www.cambridge2capetown.com/ they were holed up for 3 weeks but got through. Patience is the name of the game. Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 23 Apr 2003
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Hi Again,
Im in abuja an have just been refused visas for the sudan as well. they sugessted i try in njamena as they will have a better idea.
Mavis any idea how your friends got on there?
rumour has it that the sudanese and chadian govts are taking measures in the area, and it is declared a milatary zone by the sudanese. the guy in the embassy seemed to think things were better there????? who knows i guess ill have to try in njamena anyway.
thanks
bo
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  #11  
Old 24 Apr 2003
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Hey 'bos'
I am here in Khartoum with Carl's friends from the overland truck, so naturally they got through.
Here's Paul to give you a first hand account:

It's true that there is a lot of military activity in the area, we were passed by over 14 HEAVILY armed army patrols in one day when we got close to the border in Chad, and woke up to gunfire in Adre too, but can only assume it was nothing serious. We were attacked by a sword wielding bandito who wanted to try it on with a 16 ton Bedford at 50Kph, meant nothing to us of course but be careful on a bike. Abeche Police and army are total criminals, demanding lots of money to return passports, let us into the town and then out again, we gave them nothing and used the "sorry but I don't speak any French old boy" routine, thus being able to understand their conversations and give nothing away, got through without giving them anything eventually despite being told we would be made to wait 5 hours if we wouldn't pay and threatened with a truck search.
Going around Abeche isn't really an option as you have to go to an office in the town itself to register and get a stamp in your passport which they check at the border, the guy in that office was ok and I used him to get rid of the idiot army guys who were still hanging around to extort money. Stonings were regular in the towns along that route too.
If you still want to do it, then the Sudan side of the border is where it got ridiculously hard, firstly all the Sudanese people we have dealt with really are incredibly nice and helpful, including the police, immigration and customs officers. The border formalities took an entire day though as they are very thorough but no extortion or deliberate problems at all.
The route we took was El Gernina to Zalinge (VERY difficult rocky mountain track 7 hours) the next day to Nyala and beyond, register there and follow the railway, it's not marked on the map but you can't go wrong....just stay next to the railway. The trouble is though that the whole route through babanusa to En Nahud and then El Obeid is very deep sand and lots of tracks which don't all go to the same place so getting lost is possible, we lost a whole day looking for the track north from Babanusa. Tarmac begins about 100Kms before El Obeid and is PERFECT all the way to Kosti, thereafter it's good tarmac with occasional rough patches.
when you are very close to Babanusa there is a good road which crosses your track and also the railway, it's not on the michelin map and goes north for almost 100Kms to reach a desert locked oil rig!!!!!! just cross it and hopefully you will reach Babanusa.
We drove from 7 til 7 with one stop a day for 11 days to reach Khartoum, though El Genina, Zalinge, Nyala, Babanusa, En Nahud and El Obeid looked like great places to rest in.
We carried hitch hiking soldiers when we could and travelled only in good daylight hours, on a bike this will be incredibly hard at the least but at least if you have the time to stop the people are fantastically hospitable all the way.

We applied for air travel only visas and bought airline tickets from Ethiopian airways to prove it which we refunded afterwards, it took one morning for the visas to be issued. Sudan airways were a bit wise to the whole deal and wanted cash payment, Ethiopian was by card, Tchad Evasion the travel agent at the end of the same road can also issue tickets.
Otherwise we had a letter and personal introduction from the Sudanese Arabs league in Ndjamena and he couldn't sort it (came with us!!!) and the consul got married in his house???? Visa issue overland from west Africa was stopped only 5 weeks ago due to the bandits/rebels.
Best bet in my opinion is to remember that the road to Adre is by FAR the easiest part of the journey...
Good luck,
Paul
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  #12  
Old 24 Apr 2003
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Couple of extras - 1) might be easier on a bike, took us 11 days in a landrover dealing with bad fuel that kept requiring the fuel system to be stripped and cleaned and a two day stop in Costi as by that stage we needed a replacement fuel pump to be sent down from Khartoum. Reckon with good fuel we could of driven it in about 6 days and we weren't driving for ridiculous times.

However main point is on a bike, there was a suggestion from other travellers on bikes that one can ride the railway tracks. Because there is sand covering on lots of them, they smooth out the sleepers. There aren't many trains although don't cross bits that you can't get off on. (there are some trains and sods law says they will turn up on the bits you can't get off on). 4x4s and trucks have to drive in the thick sandy tracks each side of the railway.

Oh and don't use credit cards at the Ndjamena Novotel, 2 of our group had their cards copied there, the details are sent up to France and were used in Europe and the States, both ended up with £20k on their cards. Was quite a smooth operation.

[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 24 April 2003).]
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  #13  
Old 25 Apr 2003
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Thanks for your help!!!!!! it is much appreciated, I will head to njamena.Has anyone tried the direct route to el fasher (not going to Nyala???)
Any GPS co ordinates???
Cheers
Bo
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  #14  
Old 25 Apr 2003
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Yeh met other travellers that have done it but three significant advantages when we did it of going to Nyala 1) at last half of the road from the border to Nyala is fairly good tarmac. Seems strange to have a good piece of tarmac with just tracks connecting it but what ever. 2) if you go to Nyala you can pick up the railway. 3) there was talk of bandit problems near El Fasher and it being safer near Nyala, we never saw any signs of any problems although the military were a bit edgy.
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  #15  
Old 28 Apr 2003
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Saw a brief mention in weekend newspapers of a clash between Sudanese security forces and rebels at El Fasher that left approximately 30 people killed, about 20 of them rebels. Was only a very brief reference but worth taking note of if you are travelling through the area.
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