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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 13 Apr 2010
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East to West - possible?

My first post. I've been lurking for a long time.

I'm planning a trip to Africa in August on a KLR650. I'll be starting in South Africa and going up through Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania. Volunteering for a bit in Malawi, diving in Mozambique, meeting up with a friend and Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro together.

From there, I want to go to Morocco. Morocco has been #1 on my destination list for a long time. So, the thought was to cross over to the West somehow. Researching this, it seems somewhere between crazy and impossible. Going north to Egypt and heading west doesn't appeal to me. Even without the ferry hassle, Egypt and Libya are such bureaucratic nightmares, especially Libya since I'm American. DRC, CAR, and Chad look really sketchy. I'm up for some adventure, but I'm not sure the reward justifies the risk.

So does anyone have some recommendations? Should I just backtrack all the way to Zambia and start up the west coast? If I did that, I might turn around in Tanzania and skip Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan, which would be a shame. I was looking forward to those countries.

Thanks.

-Jake
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Old 13 Apr 2010
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"not sure the reward justifies the risk"

About right. CAR would be unpleasant to say the least, just meet a Chinese guy on a bicycle who went through there. Robbed at every checkpoint until he had nothing left. An aid worker who worked in Bangui warned against travel there to say the least. Armed robbery is common on all borders with CAR to give you a flavour ;-)

DRC, well lets just say the Bradt guide doesn't say it is completely impossible, but you wouldn't do it solo to say the least.

Chad might be possible.... but you need to check what areas/borders are open and allow for the fact that this might change when you are there.

Otherwise do everything you want to do - just fly back to Namibia/Zambia and then go up the West Coast. One of the advantages of having a motorbike is you can easily stick it on a plane ;-)
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  #3  
Old 14 Apr 2010
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West to East

Am interested in info about the DRC/Chad/Southern Sudan Crossing also.

I am looking at doing a West to East crossing next year but almost no info on CAR or any of the other two members of this axis from people who have been there (and survived to post about it).

I have a brother currently serving in Sudan and when I sent him an email to check the road conditions for me, he freaked out and called me like 10 times within an hour. Says I should not even think about it.


Still searching for info for now.
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inyang

Port Harcourt, Nigeria
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  #4  
Old 14 Apr 2010
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Thanks for the advice. I hadn't thought about a plane at all. I'll have to consider that.

Looking at the map, it looks like I can head south to Zambia and only have to backtrack through Tanzania. Plus, I would get to see more of Africa!

It would be:

South Africa
Mozambique
Malawi
Tanzania
Kenya
Ethiopia
Sudan

*turn around and head south

Uganda
Tanzania
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Botswana
Namibia
Angola
etc...
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  #5  
Old 14 Apr 2010
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Unless you have good drugs or bundles of energy and patience that would be easier.

The catch to doing the West Coast is getting the visa's. You need to figure out now where you can get a visa for Angola, DRC, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Nigeria - as your route might well have to change to get the difficult ones on that list (Angola, Gabon and DRC when you are coming down).

Angola is very tricky....

If I meet the American I meet last week who worked in Bangui for 6 months I'll try and get some specifics from him.....
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Old 14 Apr 2010
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East to West options

Hello, I would deffo avoid CAR at all costs atm, having spoken to some Swiss who were there recently, it certainly seems like a wise idea to avoid it.

Other options:

1. Crossing the Congo from either a. Uganda or b. Lubumbashi (s. DRC nr. Ndola, Zambia).

2. Across Sudan and Chad then either Niger or Nigeria

For the 1st option, look at my other post in the same topic (reverse direction) - http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-to-east-49659
Of the two routes in the DR Congo I have outlines, with a motorbike, DO IT FROM UGANDA. This is much better than overland from Zambia. I believe Peter and Kay Forward did some of the crossing in 2000 (though they went northwards to CAR. At the time, tension in CAR was O.K(ish), now, just don't risk it. http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/forwood/democra1.shtml This will give you an insight to the border and the roads as far as Kisangani.

Option 2.
I am planning to do this route with my 18ton MAN chassis camper later this year following a trip in Libya, the Egyptian gilf kebir and Sudan. Chad, at the moment, is about as stable as it is going to get. There appears to be a thaw in the tension. I understand that Klaus Daerr did the reverse of this route a few years ago (when there was more tension in Chad), he went from N'Djamena to Khartoum after much hassel getting a Sudanese Visa.

As you are American, I am not too sure on the regulations on obtaining visas. I know that both the DR Congo and Sudan allow US Citizens in though you may experience hassels and delays in obtaining a visa for Sudan.

Good luck with the trip! IMO, you ought to do the Chad crossing. Fuel can be sparse at the best of times in DR Congo and there will no doubt be a hell of a lot of hassel there. Chad is an amazing place (not been yet though!) and the Tibetsi and the Endenni in the north are well worth a look if you are up to it.

After Chad, there are again, 2 options:

1. Exit via the Lake Chad route into Niger and then cross into Mali and Mauritania then up the old Spanish Road to Morocco through Western Sahara.

2. Exit Chad into Cameroon (briefly) then cross into Nigeria and travel along the Atlantic (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, W.Sahara, Morocco).

I think that option 2 is certainly better for you. The Lake Chad route and the crossing from Timbuto to Atar in Mari is very sandy and the distances are long with intermittent fuel. The Atlantic route is mostly tarmac (off piste there if you really want it though) and the distances are good, as is fuel.

Hope this helps!
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  #7  
Old 16 Apr 2010
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I've heard rumours from several sources that it's much easier to get Angola visas in Windhoek heading north, than anywhere when you're trying to head south. A warning about getting visas in Luanda: Noone knows where the embassies are as lots are moving about at the moment. For eg: My Czech friend was trying to get a Namibia visa there as he was told he couldn't get one on the border. The Czech embassies in UK and S Africa did't have a useable phone number or address! There are no taxis there so it's tricky getting around, although the locals are VERY helpful, which is how we eventually found the place.
It's worth the trip though. Highlight of my trip. Visit Angola before the new chinese tar washes away (approx 2011!)
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Old 17 Apr 2010
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Thanks for all the great information.

The more I think about it, the more I don't want to go through the center. I get exhausted just reading the trip reports of DRC and Chad. I'm sure there is an upside, but the hassle just doesn't seem worth it to me, IMO. Maybe I'll change my mind when it comes time to do it. A lot can change in six months.

So, the question is, where would you fly to from Khartoum? Anybody seen a good website that has a comprehensive flight schedule for Africa. I haven't found any.

Thanks.
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  #9  
Old 17 Apr 2010
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Cheap Flights from Khartoum in October - Skyscanner USA

This should start you off. Just have a play with the months and see what comes up direct or indirect to everywhere.
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