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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 15 Sep 2003
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London to Nairobi

I want to drive a 4WD pick up truck to Nairobi for my father in law. He is a subsistance farmer in the Kenyan Central Highlands. My wife and I want the adventure of the journey and the truck will be inavaluable to him. My wife is Kenyan which complicates visas in Europe but this is not insurmountable. However, try as I may I can't seem to figure out a way of safely avoiding Sudan. Anyone got any ideas or recent experiences to share? Is Sudan REALLY a no go area??? My work has taken me to Saudi in the past and I know even getting a Saudi work visa is 3 mths for a male and impossible for a female - so I reckon this is not an option. (We are school inspectors and last visit had to take an all male team) Is there a ferry from Egypt to Ethiopia, or down the Red Sea and East African Coast??
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  #2  
Old 15 Sep 2003
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You mentioned taking a pickup. In some states pickups are commercial vehicles and draw unwanted attention from cops. I'd avoid them and go for a van-body if I were you. Just a thought. I suppose many van bodies are just tops added onto pickup beds anyway (my Landrover for example) so you could have the best of both worlds....?
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  #3  
Old 17 Sep 2003
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Sudan is really cool, not a problem. really friendly hospitable people, definitely worth a visit and most certainly not a "no go" area. The two problems are 1) avoid the south but then this has been the case for the last 10 years. Central and northern Sudan seems fine. 2) if crossing from the West then there has been recent problems with the border area and it has been closed for most of this year. It was fine when we crossed last year. However there has been fighting between rebel groups and security forces.

If you are coming down from the North then it should be fine. Also Saudi could be an option. Friends last year got a 3 day transit visa crossing by ferry from Saukin to Jeddah then driving up to Jordan.

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  #4  
Old 17 Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by freerockspirit:
My wife and I want the adventure of the journey and the truck will be inavaluable to him.
My work has taken me to Saudi in the past and I know even getting a Saudi work visa is 3 mths for a male and impossible for a female - so I reckon this is not an option.
Is there a ferry from Egypt to Ethiopia, or down the Red Sea and East African Coast??
Regarding Saudi, I found this at the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree. I guess going by ferry Aqaba-Jeddah-Eritrea is smooth if it works out. And since you and your wife is married, she should be able to get a visa, travelling together:

Transit-visa seems to be the only thing available and even this has many restrictions.
One guy I met had applied for transit-visa in Eritrea, as the ferry connection involves a change of ferry in Jeddah. He wrote that he was going to Aqaba, Jordan, and got his visa. In Jeddah instead of taking another ferry he stayed there a night or two and went by bus to Jordan. 3 day transit-visa usually means 3 nights and four days.

By scott_filtenborg
Posted: 21 Aug, 10:28am
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Jan
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  #5  
Old 18 Sep 2003
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Thanks for all your helpful information. I'm pretty much set on the Jordan saudi Eritrea route now, though it will be sad to miss the Upper Nile and Egypt. However I'm still stuck on this business of "Carnets" - whatever they are and "deposits to the value of the vehicle etc" that i read folf on here talking about being required. It all sounds horrific - and I can't believe it's true. Any advice????

Peter
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  #6  
Old 18 Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by freerockspirit:
I'm pretty much set on the Jordan saudi Eritrea route now, though it will be sad to miss the Upper Nile and Egypt. However I'm still stuck on this business of "Carnets" - whatever they are and "deposits to the value of the vehicle etc" that i read folf on here talking about being required. It all sounds horrific - and I can't believe it's true. Any advice????

Peter
It's true. Carnets are a pain in the a**.
Best advice is to avoid Egypt with car altogether. If you leave the car in Kenya, why don't you stop over in Cairo when you fly back, and do a bit of tourism without car?!

Good luck,

Jan
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  #7  
Old 19 Sep 2003
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Carnets aren't that bad, just something that has to be arranged. To sum up if you had gathered from the other posts or from books such as sahara overland. A carnet is a document issued by one of the member motoring organisations (RAC in the UK) guaranteeing against you taking a vehicle or motorbike into a country claiming to be a tourist and then actually selling it, thereby avoiding the import taxes or restrictions that should be met.

Different countries set different rates, the lowest is probably equal to the value of the vehicle going up to some such as Pakistan where I think its 480%. Up to each country as to what rate they require.

There are three key ways of getting the carnet. 1) you have to put up a deposit equal to the largest amount required. Hence if you are going to use it in 4 countries with values of 100%, 200%, 250% and 480% you would have to put up 480% for the carnet. Upside is providing you bring the vehicle back and return the stampted up carnet, it doesn't cost you anything, downside is you have to potentially tie up lots of cash with the motoring organisation for the duration of your trip.

You can take and insurance policy out against the carnet. Firstly single indemnity. You pay an insurance preminum to the insurance company and they in turn guarantee to pay up the money if the issuing organisation claims on it. So for example if you go to Sudan, they claim you didn't export the vehicle when you leave, you can't prove otherwise and the money has to be paid, the insurance company will pay out. However they will then chase you for the money. It doesn't remove the responsibility, just saves having to deposit your cash with the motoring organisation.

The third option is to get double indemnity. Here the insurance company not only guarantees to pay up if there is a claim, it also guarantees not to chase you. This assumes you not committing fraud, ie if you take the vehicle into a country, it gets stolen, the country claims and hence the motoring organisation pays out, the insurance company will pay and not chase you. However if you take the vehicle in and sell it and expect the insurance company to pay, you are then committing fraud and are liable. Downside is a bigger premium, up side is you don't have a big liability if you lose the vehicle and again you don't have to deposit a large amount of money.

Summary, Option 1), you have to pay out alot of cash but get it back providing there isn't a claim. Option 2), you tie up alot less cash but still have the liability and you don't get your premium back. options 3) you have to pay an even bigger premium but you have no liability.

Example, on at declared vehicle value of £10k, going into countries that require a 300% deposit, option 1, deposit £30k but get it back, option 2, premium of say £700 not refundable plus still have liability, option 3, say £1400 but no liability.

Note.
1) The declared amount of the vehicle has to be reasonable for the type of vehicle but keep it as low as possible. The insurance and carnet doesn't give anything to you so there is no point really talking up the value. However it must be realistic because if you had a carnet for example for £1000 and you had a vehicle that looked like its worth £30000 then you may get refused entry on the borders. However if imagine a 5 year old defender could be worth £4k - £10k, you might as well claim its worth £4k. (Its not normal insurance where you would get the pay out, the money goes to the claiming country, you don't get the money).

2) Even though you may have no intention of losing the vehicle, you could. For example if it gets stolen and you can't prove it, even worse if you are somewhere really remote and it gets stuck or burnt out and you can't recover it, you may end up losing your money, even though you have done as much as possible to avoid the siutation. Hence especially when you are in a group with share responsibility, if the money is claimed, trying to get £7k per person out of several people may be very difficult.

Hence, personally I would look at option 2, the premiums aren't that big and its piece of mind.

The other alternative is fake carnet, plus side is that its cheap and because its fake, no one can claim on it. Risk is if you get caught you can lose your vehicle and get locked up, fined, chucked out the country etc. You need to make sure you have a good one if you choose that path. Did meet some travellers with some excellent ones, couldn't tell the difference.

[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 19 September 2003).]
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  #8  
Old 20 Sep 2003
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RE fake carnets - BIG but here:

The border guards can - and DO - sometimes fax the AIT to confirm the serial number of the Carnet and the details - if they don't match, a GOOD outcome is they toss you out of the country, bad is you go to jail for as long as they feel like, and keep the vehicle. They aren't stupid - they know all about fake carnets.

Remember the border guards mantra: "This guy IS trying to put something over on me or smuggle in something, all I have to do is figure out WHAT he's trying to do!"

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  #9  
Old 20 Sep 2003
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One other minor detail:

The biggest problem you have is that the whole point of the carnet is to guarantee that the vehicle leaves the country - and since Kenya requires a carnet to enter, you have a significant problem - if the vehicle doesn't leave the country, you break the rules, and the carnet will be forfeit. The only way out is to pay the duties and taxes at the Kenyan border on entry instead of entering with the carnet. That sounds like a $$ nightmare, but I don't see a legal way around it. Doesn't mean that there aren't "ways around it" in the traditional African way, but that's up to you, with some local help.

Perhaps an alternative is to just buy him a vehicle that's already there and bring a pile of spare parts?

Good luck!

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  #10  
Old 20 Sep 2003
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Thanks Toby and Grant and Jan. Excellent help. I'm grateful especially Toby for your long and learned reply!!!

Why don't I just pay the necessary levy for imorting the LR (value GBP5000) into Kenya? I can't imagine this would be much would it??? I guess I still need either the carnet or the liability cover for each country I go through on the trip right Toby? I guess I would take your advice and go for your option 2

Visas: Anyone advise against getting visas locally for the onward leg in the following countries: Turkey> Syria>Jordan>Saudi>Sudan>Eritrea>Ethiopia. My wife will be flying to London from Nairobi to join me for the trip. The other alternative is to spend a couple of days in London flogging round each embassy or consulate - but I notice that some of them aren't represented in London. Oh well...I think this is the last bit of advise and I'm all set.

Proposed departure date is November 20th to arrive Nairobi for Xmas. Any views on those dates also welcome. OK now I'd better do my bit and be helpful to folk who are enquiring about how to wash on Kilimanjaro etc.... ;>)

Peter
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  #11  
Old 22 Sep 2003
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You might want to give Foley's a ring (www.foleyspecialistvehicles.co.uk, or something like it) - they have a branch in Southern Africa and I'd assume are importing stuff regularly. They may be able to advise on importing.
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  #12  
Old 23 Sep 2003
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Peter,
You would need a bit more than a couple of days around London emabassies to sort out your visas.
I suggest that you get your Sudanese and Ethiopian visas in Cairo though.
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  #13  
Old 25 Sep 2003
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You might want to get your visas before simply due to the speed with which you want to go down - leaving 20 Nov to arrive by Christmas. Normally I would go for getting them on route, quite often it is easier. However on those timescales you won't really have enough time to sit round in capitals waiting for visas.

Also on Grant's point, the carnet guards against illegally importing vehicles without paying the duty, therefore I believe the solution is either to leave the country with the vehicle getting the carnet stamped on the way out or alternatively getting the carnet stamped by the import authority showing all dues have been paid and therefore the carnet can be discharged. It may take a bit of messing around but I think its possible.

[This message has been edited by Toby2 (edited 24 September 2003).]
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  #14  
Old 25 Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Toby2:

Also on Grant's point, the carnet guards against illegally importing vehicles without paying the duty, therefore I believe the solution is either to leave the country with the vehicle getting the carnet stamped on the way out or alternatively getting the carnet stamped by the import authority showing all dues have been paid and therefore the carnet can be discharged. It may take a bit of messing around but I think its possible.
Toby is quite correct - it can be done (probably). The real question that we haven't really addressed in this thread is "how much is the duty"

As noted earlier, in Pakistan it was 480% of the value of the vehicle. That means that the duty is £24000. Yes you read that right. I DON'T know what Kenya's duty is - it could be as low as zero - but since they insist on the carnet, that's unlikely. Someone in Kenya should be able ot find out what it costs and what other paperwork/costs / bribes is involved in importing a vehicle.

The RAC can tell you what the carnet rate for Kenya is, which should be the same as the import duty rate. If you get a different rate from Kenya for importing versus the carnet rate, check carefully before you believe EITHER.

Yes you need the carnet en route regardless of the final disposition of the vehicle.

Note: Toby's comment: "Different countries set different rates, the lowest is probably equal to the value of the vehicle" is NOT correct. That would mean the duty rate is 100% of the value of the vehicle, or in your case £5000. Not true - it could be as low as 5% or even less of the value.

Note2: IF the vehicle is legitimately destroyed/stolen, a police report can normally be obtained with full details, and the police report should be accepted by the customs authorities in the country to stamp the carnet discharge. It may be useful to go with the police to visit customs. This has been done a number of times, and is not normally a problem.

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  #15  
Old 25 Sep 2003
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Reading Grant's reply triggered a memory from when we were in Nairobi last year. I met an Australian working down there running the ARB set up that had been newly established there. He had brought his Landcruiser 78 with him which had all the kit on it, partly as his vehicle, partly to show off what kit ARB could sell to prospective customers. He mentioned something about sending it back to Aus I think because the Carnet was about to expire and either the costs were to big or there was another problem with importing it.
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