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Old 7 Nov 2012
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Logistics - Buying Bike in Mali

Hey guys/girls,

Hope you are well. I'm a travel writer/photographer from Canada. I have a fairly massive following on social media and own a travel magazine (Vagabundo Magazine).

I'm in Mali right now and just had an idea to do something a little bit crazy, and maybe a bit stupid but I'm not sure how it would work. The people here all cruise around on little power-k scooters, which only cost about $800. I'm considering buying one and trying to drive it all the way to Cape Town. I know what you're thinking "why I scooter!?!?!". Well, because everyone does the motorcycle thing for 1, and 2 because I don't have a big budget... I really have no budget.

Anyways, my questions are logistical.
1) Bike registration: can a foreigner get a Malian plate on the bike here and use it all the way until SA?
2) Licence: I just have a Canadian Driver's Licence. Is that going to be good enough??? Is it possible to get an international licence here if not?
3) Borders and insurance: what's the usual procedure? Do I need to pay some insurance or have some sort of proof that I'm not selling the bike in the country?
4) Anything else??

On another note, if anyone knows someone who would be willing to sponsor the initial investment on this project (about $1000), you'd get a tonne of exposure out of it. It looks like Samsung might be sponsoring it, but I'd rather a more travel related or grassroots sponsor. Basically, sponsors will get their name shot out to my 35,000 some followers on twitter, 6,000 fans on facebook, etc. etc... They'll also get ad space in my travel magazine and a couple posts on my travel blog (which receives about 1000 unique visitors each day).

Ok, I'm done now that this is the longest post ever.

Cheers in advance for the logistics answers

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Old 9 Nov 2012
ydv ydv is offline
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1. I believe you can do it without registering the bike. I have done it from Cameroon to Namibia so coming from Mali would be similiar I guess. The only thing I had was hand written small piece of paper with my name, bike details and stamp of the shop.
2. Same as above - I have had a driving licence, IDP as well. Nobody bothered to ask. Maybe I was asked once for the licence, back in Cameroon, but I am not sure.
3. Borders are no problem, sometimes you have to fill a paper or pay some small money and get another paper. Only at the Namibian entry gate I had to wait for an hour because they insisted that I must have a registration - finally they let me in without. I also had a story back in my head about selling the bike "in another country" but the only place that I use it was again Namibian border (I told them the bike goes to Mozambique, while I left it in Namibia).
4. Just go, it's much less complicated that it seems Remember to tight all the crucial nuts everyday. Consider buying a bike with bigger wheels, not a scooter (will handle bad road better, and it is not more expensive - 800-850 USD for 125cc).
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Old 14 Dec 2012
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1 and 2 i can't help you out much, but i would strongly recommend a different bike. one like this. it is the most common bike all over africa and you are going to find spares alot easier. especially compared to the power k which i saw the most of in mali and not many more the further south you go.
something like this

Google Image Result for http://whiteafrican.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/motorcycle-taxi-liberia.jpg

oh god a bad link sorry

also insurance you can usually get at some borders for west africa you will need what is called a brown card. then if you have your insurance papers you can bluff your way through quite a few countries claiming it covers all of africa!
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