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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 5 Mar 2003
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Niger Chad Sudan Ethiopia Sudan??

Is this route possible?
Is it sensible as far as acquiring Visas?
Anyone done it?
Anyone got any advice

Thank-you very much.
Aubrey
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  #2  
Old 5 Mar 2003
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Did it last year, quite a lot of travellers do it, its by far the most popular trans africa route, the only other alternatives are to stick to the east coast (not the true trans african experiance as you miss all of west and central africa), Ship from say Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Gabon - lot of hassle and not necassary, 3) go for the hard route and go through DR Congo, Angola, etc. Much more serious.

In terms of visas, pretty easy to get, we got a Niger visa in Accra in an hour, our Chad visa in Niamey within 4 hours, our Sudanese visa in Njdamena in 2 hours, our Ethiopian visa in Khartoum in 48 hours (24 to get a letter of introduction from the UK embassy, 24 to get the Visa),

The only bit I would query is when you say Sudan - Ethiopia - Sudan, if you are planning come back via the way you went then no problem, also possible to loop up to Djibouti and through Eretriea, (can't go direct from Ethiopia - Eretriea ) - Sudan. However southern Sudan is still a war zone and whilst it is possible to get through, its back on par with the Congo, Angola, etc.

Only Visa that is really an issue is Sudanese, we got ours very quickly but others have been stuck for a while. Some travellers seem to prefer going via Nigeria as a better place to get the Sudanese visa.

Last year 7 of the 12 big overland truck companies sent trucks trans africa on a similar route - Mali, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, etc.

Its a good route.
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  #3  
Old 5 Mar 2003
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do you hold a UK passport, Toby? I'm planning to come the other way from South Africa to Algeria and have been getting unsettled by all the dire warnings of waiting weeks to get visas. eg Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria. I'm particularly restless about the Sudanese one because transit visas require that you already have the visa for the next country. did you have contacts in Sudan to help get the Sudanese visa when you didn't already have the Ethiopian one? thanks for any further help.
Richard
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  #4  
Old 6 Mar 2003
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I'm on a UK passport as was one of my companions, the other was on a Kiwi passport. Also coming through at the same time, 1 Dane, about 10 Dutch in different groups. Another Dutch and English couple and a complete mix on the overland trucks. There is a lot of poor information given about the routes.

1) Sudanese visa is supposedly very straightforward in Addis Ababa, (apparently they don't like issuing them further south because they think you might try and cross straight from kenya - southern Sudan (this also might be bad information, just comments another traveller made)). In Addis, requires a letter of introduction from your embassy - just something unique to applying in Addis and takes about 48 hours. Didn't need further visas for countries beyond. At the start of 2002, the Sudanese government made changes to the process of getting visas to encourage more tourism and seems pretty straight forward to get. I believe the Chad visa in Khartoum is a 24 hour period.

Occasionally there are problems but these seem to be very isolated. Met to Dutch motorcyclists who had come all the way from SA, through Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad and then the Nigerian Consulate took a dislike to them and would give them a visa. Eventually the French Ambassador in Ndjamena (Because the was no Dutch one, the French looked after it), rang their opposite number on the Nigerian side and he went and fixed his consulate. Visa was issued.

Point is whilst there is always the possibility of an fairly isolated issue, getting the visas normally is pretty straight forward. The longest we waited to get a visa processed was 48 hours and most such as the sudanese one, were done on the spot. Best bet, ignore most of the information and just go for it, most of it isn't accurate.

On the contact side, didn't have any contacts along the route, just rocked up to the consulates, nice and respectful and they were all really keen to help.
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  #5  
Old 6 Mar 2003
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many thanks, Toby. there's a wicked irony in the best advice being to ignore (much of) the other advice ;-)
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  #6  
Old 6 Mar 2003
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Hello All,

Cannot agree more with Toby. I did this route earlier this year and end of last year, I really loved it, had no problems and am now in Uganda, heading further south. I was on a RSA passport, which is a big benefit in North and West Africa (lost of free visas) but actualy a liability in Tanzania and Uganda (expensive visas).

Have fun all and Just do it !

Heye
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  #7  
Old 15 Mar 2003
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Hi Richard

I went the same way as you intend last year. There is no trouble getting Sudan visas in Addis (SA passport). You need a letter from the embassy which takes a day to arrange and is free (unlike the UK). The visa takes around 48 hours to arrange and cost $40 if memory serves. It is not possible to get in Kenya. It is theoretically possible in Asmara (Eritrea) but they need to send the app to Khartoum and it can take 6 weeks. I waited 4 weeks then gave up.

A permit for the vehicle is also no trouble (no Carnet required although helpful) as long as you have the papers.

There was also a need to have a tourist permit which you get once you are in Sudan. This has fallen away I believe but may be worth checking.

Email me if you need any other gen (N Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, W.Tanzania etc. )

Cheers
Tarry

Quote:
Originally posted by RichLees:
do you hold a UK passport, Toby? I'm planning to come the other way from South Africa to Algeria and have been getting unsettled by all the dire warnings of waiting weeks to get visas. eg Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria. I'm particularly restless about the Sudanese one because transit visas require that you already have the visa for the next country. did you have contacts in Sudan to help get the Sudanese visa when you didn't already have the Ethiopian one? thanks for any further help.
Richard



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  #8  
Old 24 Mar 2003
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As you come across the border in to Sudan from Ethiopia, they automatically charge the money and give you the tourist stamp. This says that you don't have to register with internal security and you can just travel around (it may be in Arabic rather than English so you won't necassarily be able to read it).

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