Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 6 Oct 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ghana
Posts: 12
From Ghana to Spain

My name is John, I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana finishing up his 2 years of service and I am planning on buying a motorcycle with a friend of mine here in Ghana and getting up to Spain somehow. The countries that I would be going through are Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco and eventually into Spain. I have been searching and searching on this site for the past couple of hours and have seen that plenty of people have done this trip from Europe, but I have not seen any posts about doing this in the opposite direction. I have tons of questions, but I figured that I have to start somewhere so I will start with some initial questions with my first post on this site.

Carnets
To go through any of these countries will we need carnets? I have read that Ghana and Senegal are the only ones that actually need them, but I have also read that many people do ok without the paperwork. Where can we get the documents as US citizens here in Ghana? Any advice regarding this would be extremely helpful. If it helps at all we would be buying the bikes here in Ghana.

Insurance
Where can we purchase this and do we actually need to purchase this? Are the ones that you get at the border sufficient?

Selling the bikes
We both plan on selling the bikes before getting to Spain and were wondering where the best places to sell them would be. I came across Mauritania and Mali as 2 places that we can do this easily. How easy would it be to sell the bikes in Morocco and would you recommend this?

Paperwork
Besides visas, licenses and passports are there any other documents that are absolutely necessary?

Bikes
Any suggestions for novice riders doing this type of trip? What type of bike and how many cc's?

License
I see that there are some people that are staying in Ghana and was wondering how easy it would be to get a moto license here in Ghana as well as an IDP. And where we can get these documents. We both do not have motorcycle licenses and were planning on going without them, but it looks like a good idea to get them. Have people had experience riding through these countries without a moto license, but had US driver's license and IDP?

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

Last edited by xjohnparkx; 6 Oct 2008 at 00:52.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 6 Oct 2008
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Limoux, France
Posts: 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by xjohnparkx View Post
My name is John, I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana finishing up his 2 years of service and I am planning on buying a motorcycle with a friend of mine here in Ghana and getting up to Spain somehow. The countries that I would be going through are Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco and eventually into Spain. I have been searching and searching on this site for the past couple of hours and have seen that plenty of people have done this trip from Europe, but I have not seen any posts about doing this in the opposite direction. I have tons of questions, but I figured that I have to start somewhere so I will start with some initial questions with my first post on this site.

Carnets
To go through any of these countries will we need carnets? I have read that Ghana and Senegal are the only ones that actually need them, but I have also read that many people do ok without the paperwork. Where can we get the documents as US citizens here in Ghana? Any advice regarding this would be extremely helpful. If it helps at all we would be buying the bikes here in Ghana.

Insurance
Where can we purchase this and do we actually need to purchase this? Are the ones that you get at the border sufficient?

Selling the bikes
We both plan on selling the bikes before getting to Spain and were wondering where the best places to sell them would be. I came across Mauritania and Mali as 2 places that we can do this easily. How easy would it be to sell the bikes in Morocco and would you recommend this?

Paperwork
Besides visas, licenses and passports are there any other documents that are absolutely necessary?

Bikes
Any suggestions for novice riders doing this type of trip? What type of bike and how many cc's?

License
I see that there are some people that are staying in Ghana and was wondering how easy it would be to get a moto license here in Ghana as well as an IDP. And where we can get these documents. We both do not have motorcycle licenses and were planning on going without them, but it looks like a good idea to get them. Have people had experience riding through these countries without a moto license, but had US driver's license and IDP?

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much.
I can't answer all of this but I'll have a go at some of it - Gilghana will probably do a better job!

As far as I know you cannot as a foreigner sell your bike in Morocco - probably better off selling them in Nouabidhou, Northern Mauritania - the last town before the border.

I think you'd probably get through Senegal without too much bother on a bike ... especially coming from the east, it's the border going south at Rosso that creates hell for people!

Paperwork - I presume seeing as you are already in Ghana that you have your Yellow Fever certificate - if not get one!!!

As for engines etc, I have no idea but surely on your US licence you can ride up to a 125cc??? So no need for a motorbike licence?! I asked ages ago (not even sure if it was on this forum) about buying a bike in Guinea - I was thinking of buying a cheap Chinese one ... which should do for your trip plus there are so many in W.Africa that getting hold of parts would be easy!

Have fun!

Kira
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 6 Oct 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ghana
Posts: 12
Kira,

thank you so much for your help. i did read about rosso in senegal in the forums and was going to avoid that crossing. hopefully gilghana will see this post, otherwise i may have to look for him on the forums and stalk him. again thank you.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11 Oct 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 543
Licence probably not a big issue

I have done the route you are planning in reverse and was never asked for my drivers licence. Typically if you are ever stopped by police / gendarmes, they will only ever ask for your passport. Whilst it would be definately preferable to have a motorcycle licence, you can probably avoid it. Not having one does however potentially expose you to bribery in the event that you were asked for it.

I personally think IDPs are worthless in Africa. In the odd event that you need another official looking bit of paper to impress a bored official they might come in handy, but your US drivers licence should generally be sufficient.

You will need third party insurance. Easiest thing is to buy an ECOWAS Brown Card from an insurance company in Ghana before you leave. You can also buy local insurance at every border, but this will be more expensive than buying a single Brown Card. The brown card doesnt extend to Morocco or Mauritania (although it can be bought in Mauri, but seemingly is not valid there) so you will need to buy insurance at these borders.

All the countries on your list can be done without a carnet. Dont bother with one - instead just buy a laissez passer (temporary import permit) at the border. Despite the official proclamations about needing a carnet for Senegal, you can definately enter on a motorbike without one.

With the exception of entering Ghana from Togo, I have also never been asked for a yellow fever vaccination. Possibly Ghana is a bit stricter on this than other countries? Still probably worth having just in case.

cheers
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 13 Oct 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ghana
Posts: 12
Thank you very much for the info Matt. I will look into the ECOWAS Brown Card. I will be sure to post my experiences on this forum so that if anyone wanting to do the same trip can use it as a reference.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 13 Oct 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Horncastle,Lincolnshire,UK
Posts: 222
Contrary to Matt's experience, I was often asked for my driver's license in Morocco, Mauretania, Senegal (particularly round St Louis) on my last trip (end 2007) and on my previous trip to Mali too. I suggest you make loads of copies of your license and get them laminated (in French the word is 'plastication'). However as 99% of officials there don't read English frankly you can drive/ride whatever you like and no one will be any the wiser whether your license covers you or not.
I don't know what happens with a US IDP or a Ghana one come to that, but my UK issued one actually said I was licensed to ride motorcycles (when I'm not) and my wife's IDP covered her to drive trucks (when she's not) so if you're worried it would be sensible to get an IDP and you never know it might give you a motorcycle license and more besides...... Incidentally, Senegal is the only country (to my knowledge) in West Africa in which it is a legal requirement to have an IDP. Not that any of the corrupt cops round St Louis ever asked for it.

Q
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 13 Oct 2008
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Limoux, France
Posts: 354
There's a few needing IDP in Africa, I know Cote d'Ivoire is one; I've just got my French IDP which is valid for 3 years which was a nice suprise!

Kira
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 15 Oct 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 543
Sounds like it must be the "luck of the draw" with licence checks in Morocco, RIM and Senegal.

As Quintin correctly pointed out, there is a very dodgy checkpoint heading south out of town from St Louis, about 15kms before Zebrabar. I have been through that checkpoint several times on a bike, but never been asked for a licence. I have also gone through it in a car several times, and each time the driver has been asked for a licence. Maybe they realise from looking at the sorry state of my bike that I dont have the cash for a bribe!!

On a serious note, if you are stopped without a licence, you can probably talk your way out of it, but it may require a bribe. Clearly the better solution would be to have a licence, but I still think it is doable without.

cheers
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 18 Oct 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ghana
Posts: 12
Thank you to Kira, Quintin and Matt for all the advice.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer they load you up with immunizations and shot whenever they can. My WHO card is almost full actually (yellow fever included) so I don't think that will be a problem for me. I guess being a volunteer for over 2 years has its perks in immunizations and malaria meds (not that you really need the malaria meds).

We both sent away for the IDP from AAA in the US and should be arriving before we leave Ghana.

I did some research here in Ghana about the ECOWAS Brown Card and it will cost about US $91 for 3 months of insurance, which I though was not bad at all. It was $16 for the insurance in Ghana and $75 for the ECOWAS Brown card.

I plan on selling the bike in Mauritania and making my way by public transport to Spain through Western Sahara/Morocco. I read in the Sahara Overland book that selling the bike in Mauritania was legal and one of the easier places to sell the bike.

We have not bought our bikes yet, but we are looking into one of the Made in China 125cc bikes or possibly a name brand used 250cc bike. What would you guys reccomend? We are novice riders. I have ridden moped and dirt bikes before, but never motorcycles. I actually started learning how to ride 2 days ago and I am getting the hang of it. I will need a lot more practice though to be more confident on the roads.

I will post more info about this trip as I find out more and during the trip. Hopefully this thread can help others that want to do the same trip.

Thanks again everyone.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 20 Oct 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ghana
Posts: 289
better late than never...

Really should have seen this earlier.
The IDP you are getting from the states so that should not be a problem, otherwise it is easy to get one from DVLA in Ghana. The only thing else you might need (but from feedback on this thread it seems that bikers get a lot less demand for various papers than drivers!) is the International Registration Certificate for the vehicle. I suspect on a small bike it is not an issue, or one easily solved! Ecowas insurance I have bought from Enterprise Insurance and found them nice and easy to deal with. Regarding the bikes, well I have bought a few second hand bikes and cars and been involved in the purchase of numerous, and what I would say is that if it has been used in Ghana then use caution... For your trip the cheap China 125cc would probably be just the job. Hope you have a great trip and have fun learning to ride in Ghana - I did too and get shivers when I think about some of the stupid wheelie attempts after Star
Gil
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 20 Oct 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 543
Selling in Mauri

If you plan on selling the bikes in Mauritania, make sure you go and see Tidjani from Garage Sahara for advice / assistance. Contact details are in the post below;

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...uakchott-35735

A couple of pointers to be aware of re: selling in Mauritania;

1. There is no market for small cheap Chinese brand bikes. Unlike other West African countries, Mauritania does not have a small 125cc bike / moped culture. You will not see them anywhere.

2. Your target market will be expats or wealthy Mauritanians. Expats will probably prefer something bigger from a Japanese manufacturer, like a 600cc dirt bike, so taking a smaller bike may limit your options here.

3. You will definately have more success trying to sell a 250cc Honda than a 125cc Chinese knock-off.

4. Given the above, if you still want to go for a 125cc Chinese option, Mali might be a better option if you want to sell, as there are plenty of small Chinese bikes around in Bamako.

Good luck
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 21 Oct 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ghana
Posts: 12
Matt, thanks for the help again.

Gil, thank you for your help as well. We have not purchased bikes yet, but we are planning on buying them in Accra as soon as we sign on the dotted line saying that we are no longer property of the US govt. Do you have any recommendations on where we can buy bikes in decent shape at a reasonable price? And also where we can get supplies like helmets, gloves, etc. Just want to buy the helmet and gloves to be safe.

And where can we get the International Registration Certificate? We are going to be considered Residents of Ghana according to our passports and will be for another 2 years so we can always lie and say we are going to go back to Ghana for our work, etc.

Thanks again for all the help.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 24 Oct 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ghana
Posts: 289
Hi John,
Sorry I can't really advise on the purchase of second hand bikes so much. I bought a Honda once from a local chief and a yamaha from a DFID employee. Been much more involved in cars (which I should have made clear). Once you have bought the vehicle you go with the current owner to the DVLA with a picture and make the transfer of ownership form. You can also at the DVLA get the International Vehicle Registration Certificate which is a green passport sized document - they won't be bothered whether you are resident or coming back. As I said it would seem that MBs don't get troubled for this so much, but in a 4x4 vehicle in Ghana/BF and BF/Mali I have always been asked for it. For safety gear I cannot really advise - I have no idea as I had a cheap helmet and some work gloves and that was it. You could always call these guys near Accra and see if they can help:
Home Page

We did recently buy a little (China made I think, but a Yamaha) Yamaha YBR125 which cost us c1,243 on the road. Was bought from 'Autoparts' I think... I had a shot on it and it was no road burner but it has been pretty durable after a few months use and abuse. I do know a general trader (Lebanese company) who can source just about anything:
kobruco(atyahoodotcom) His name is Mr. Ghazi Mouhamed and I am pretty sure he would be able to source cheap (but probably new) bikes. Lost his number, but you would find it easy in 'Surf' or another Ghana Directory - company name is 'Kojo Bruce'.

Gil
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 6 Nov 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Accra
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by xjohnparkx View Post
Matt, thanks for the help again.

Gil, thank you for your help as well. We have not purchased bikes yet, but we are planning on buying them in Accra as soon as we sign on the dotted line saying that we are no longer property of the US govt. Do you have any recommendations on where we can buy bikes in decent shape at a reasonable price? And also where we can get supplies like helmets, gloves, etc. Just want to buy the helmet and gloves to be safe.

And where can we get the International Registration Certificate? We are going to be considered Residents of Ghana according to our passports and will be for another 2 years so we can always lie and say we are going to go back to Ghana for our work, etc.

Thanks again for all the help.
John, the Nsawam Road or Pigfarm areas of Accra have plenty of used bike sellers. You can buy new Yamahas in Japan Motors for just over $1k. They sell helmets (Asian origin) also. I have never seen a pair of gloves for sale in Ghana in 12 years so if you need bike gloves I suggest you get them abroad and have them sent to you.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 22 Nov 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ghana
Posts: 12
So as promised I will try and update on this trip that I am taking with another Peace Corps Volunteer.

We bought our bikes today. They are Yamaha Serow's. We spent 1500 GHC on them or around US$1260. We went with one of the Peace Corps staff who knows a lot about bikes and is friends with a lot of those dealers in that area. It seems we got a good deal after comparing the prices from all the dealers in that area. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention we bought it in the Caprice area in Accra.

We actually found some riding gloves as well. They are cheap Chinese made ones that cost us 7 GHC. They wanted 10GHC. Hopefully they last us the whole way. The gloves were also found in the Caprice area. They have the full gloves or the ones with the fingers cut off.

First time on the bike I popped a wheelie (by accident). Didn't realize how light and fast the bike was after learning to ride on a 125cc Chinese made Sukida. We will get the bikes registered on Monday at DVLA as well as take care of insurance and international license. We hope to leave Accra this Tuesday or Wednesday for Kumasi.

The helmets that they were selling at Japan Motors was around 90 GHC. You can find the EXACT same ones for 40 GHC in the Caprice area. We ended up buying our helmets for around 30 GHC.

The price for the bikes in Japan Motors was kind of ridiculous. They wanted around 4000 GHC for a new 125cc dirt bike type motorcycle.

Wish us luck!

And I think I will keep updating on this thread. Hopefully it helps out anyone wanting to do the same trip.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Banjul to Ghana willking7 sub-Saharan Africa 0 9 Sep 2008 21:50
Selling car in Ghana Lotjamie sub-Saharan Africa 1 3 Oct 2007 08:11
UK to Ghana ianrichards121 sub-Saharan Africa 9 12 May 2007 19:37
How long to get from spain to ghana? accidental Sahara Travel Forum 1 14 Oct 2005 14:30
Ghana by car imalouli sub-Saharan Africa 3 11 Apr 2002 22:25

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:02.