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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 8 Jun 2008
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Questions on traveling through western africa...

Hello,

A friend and I are driving to Cameroon in a vauxhall nova.We're leaving in July and we're raising 1000 pounds for charity.

I no it has been asked in another thread but is there anyone who knows how much tarmac there is?I'm taking the coastal route as have been told there are good roads there,is this correct?We'll be going through Morocco,Western Sahara,Maurantania,Senegal,Guinea,Ivory Coast,Ghana,Togo,Benin,Nigeria and then into Cameroon.

Also,what will the conditions be like during the rainy season.I have been told that in some areas not matter what traveling in/on that its just not possable to get through,is this correct?

And one last things is there anything else I should consider?I haven't been to Africa before and any advice would be really helpfull.

Thanks for reading.
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  #2  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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I assume a Vauxhall Nova is a 2WD ?

You can definitely drive through Mauretania via Nioro du Sahel to Bamako, onwards to Ouagadougou and Cotonou into coastal Nigeria - 99% tarmac.

As far as I have read about entering Cameroon from the Nigerian South, this could be a muddy, 4WD only road. Had the same impression when reading on this forum about Guinea and Ivory Coast.

In Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal (if car is older than 5 years) you will need a Carnet de Passage. All countries (except Nigeria; not sure about Ivory Coast) will usually issue you a visa at the border.

My advice for your first Africa trip would be that you keep your itinerary and even your final destination open. You just go and adapt. I didn't bother about prior visas and carnet and didn't regret the decision.
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  #3  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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I'm taking the coastal route as have been told there are good roads there,is this correct?We'll be going through Morocco,Western Sahara,Maurantania,Senegal,Guinea,Ivory Coast,Ghana,Togo,Benin,Nigeria and then into Cameroon.

Also,what will the conditions be like during the rainy season.I have been told that in some areas not matter what traveling in/on that its just not possable to get through,is this correct?

And one last things is there anything else I should consider?I haven't been to Africa before and any advice would be really helpfull.

Thanks for reading.[/QUOTE]

Not sure who told you that the coastal route has good roads. From Senegal into Guinea is terrible and again from Guinea into Ivory Coast the roads are atrocious! The road is tarred almost all the way from Senegal into Mali and along to Burkina, then you could head south into Ghana and along the coast that way.

You'll be less likely to be bribed that way too, the Senegal/Guinea border isn't good for bribes (on the Senegalese side at Fongelembi) and again in Guinea things aren't good .. crossing into CI there'll be bribes asked for again as you'll have to enter into the old rebel zone!

Kira
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  #4  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelbug View Post
I assume a Vauxhall Nova is a 2WD ?

You can definitely drive through Mauretania via Nioro du Sahel to Bamako, onwards to Ouagadougou and Cotonou into coastal Nigeria - 99% tarmac.

As far as I have read about entering Cameroon from the Nigerian South, this could be a muddy, 4WD only road. Had the same impression when reading on this forum about Guinea and Ivory Coast.

In Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal (if car is older than 5 years) you will need a Carnet de Passage. All countries (except Nigeria; not sure about Ivory Coast) will usually issue you a visa at the border.

My advice for your first Africa trip would be that you keep your itinerary and even your final destination open. You just go and adapt. I didn't bother about prior visas and carnet and didn't regret the decision.
Thanks for the reply.Yes its a 2WD.

Where would be a good place to enter cameroon from?Can you cross near Mamfe?if so is this an ok area with a good road.

Yeah I have a feeling that we will have to adapt when we get out there,but it would great to make it to cameroon and to try and avoid any VERY bad roads in advance.

As mentioned above,would it be good to go from senegal into mali then burkina then ghana?
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  #5  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TT-Kira View Post
I'm taking the coastal route as have been told there are good roads there,is this correct?We'll be going through Morocco,Western Sahara,Maurantania,Senegal,Guinea,Ivory Coast,Ghana,Togo,Benin,Nigeria and then into Cameroon.

Also,what will the conditions be like during the rainy season.I have been told that in some areas not matter what traveling in/on that its just not possable to get through,is this correct?

And one last things is there anything else I should consider?I haven't been to Africa before and any advice would be really helpfull.

Thanks for reading.
Not sure who told you that the coastal route has good roads. From Senegal into Guinea is terrible and again from Guinea into Ivory Coast the roads are atrocious! The road is tarred almost all the way from Senegal into Mali and along to Burkina, then you could head south into Ghana and along the coast that way.

You'll be less likely to be bribed that way too, the Senegal/Guinea border isn't good for bribes (on the Senegalese side at Fongelembi) and again in Guinea things aren't good .. crossing into CI there'll be bribes asked for again as you'll have to enter into the old rebel zone!

Kira[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the reply,really helpful.

So the road along the coast from ghana to nigeria is OK,is it tarred?Also are there any sections of this route that are not passable during the rainy season.We'll be in a 2WD car.Also are there any boarders that should be avoided?Any that are 'easier' to get through than others?
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Old 9 Jun 2008
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For an idea of the Mamfe border (Nigeria - Cameroon) have a look at Transafrika - Kamerun mit dem Expeditionsfahrzeug

Piste




Doesn't look like 2WD-territory.

Senegal and Ghana require Carnets de Passage and I found both borders a hassle. You can avoid both countries by taking the Route de l'Espoir from Nouakchott to Ayoun-el-Atrous, then into Mali at Nioro du Sahel, onwards to Bamako (all tarmac).

Then I'd suggest to take the road via Djenné to Dogon country and onwards via Ouahigouya to Ouagadougou. Mostly tarmac or good laterite. Dogon is one of the most interesting sights in West Africa.

Then you can head south into Togo and Benin until Cotonou. Or you go via Niamey into Benin. Both routes are - on the stretches I did - tarmac or good laterite
.
The coastal road from Accra is good tarmac.

Nigeria is supposedly one of the toughest countries in the world (although I personally made only good experiences in Lagos - by air). As you will hardly make it into Cameroon with a 2WD, you might want to miss Nigeria altogether.

BTW: Bamako, Ouaga and Niamey are good places to sell your car.
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  #7  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by Travelbug View Post
For an idea of the Mamfe border (Nigeria - Cameroon) have a look at Transafrika - Kamerun mit dem Expeditionsfahrzeug

Piste




Doesn't look like 2WD-territory.

Senegal and Ghana require Carnets de Passage and I found both borders a hassle. You can avoid both countries by taking the Route de l'Espoir from Nouakchott to Ayoun-el-Atrous, then into Mali at Nioro du Sahel, onwards to Bamako (all tarmac).

Then I'd suggest to take the road via Djenné to Dogon country and onwards via Ouahigouya to Ouagadougou. Mostly tarmac or good laterite. Dogon is one of the most interesting sights in West Africa.

Then you can head south into Togo and Benin until Cotonou. Or you go via Niamey into Benin. Both routes are - on the stretches I did - tarmac or good laterite
.
The coastal road from Accra is good tarmac.

Nigeria is supposedly one of the toughest countries in the world (although I personally made only good experiences in Lagos - by air). As you will hardly make it into Cameroon with a 2WD, you might want to miss Nigeria altogether.

BTW: Bamako, Ouaga and Niamey are good places to sell your car.
It really doesn't,I'm getting the impression that this rally isn't doable.I think a telephone to the organisers is in order,its looks like there sending us into a dead end.Whats Chad like?could I miss Nigeria and go via chad,or is this going to be the same as nigeria?I'm getting slighty concerned about all this.Do you think it would be doable in a 4x4 at this time of year?

Sorry for all the questions,but I'm getting the impression that the organisers have not reseached and that it may not be possiable.

Thanks again for all your help everyone.
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  #8  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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yes, the Nigeria- Cameroon border to Mamfe is a bit rough, however you could do it in a 2WD depending on the weather.

If you were with other cars its easier especially if you don't mind twatting your vehicle, or waiting it out.

from my experience in April 2007 the Mamfe area was very bumpy but dry enough to tackle slowly in a 2wd. a bad monsoon could have made it a very different story.

thats the adventure
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  #9  
Old 9 Jun 2008
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Love The Photos

Great Work. Hope That Doesnt Happen To Me Mind. Safe Travelling, As Always
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  #10  
Old 10 Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by hurcomb View Post
yes, the Nigeria- Cameroon border to Mamfe is a bit rough, however you could do it in a 2WD depending on the weather.

If you were with other cars its easier especially if you don't mind twatting your vehicle, or waiting it out.

from my experience in April 2007 the Mamfe area was very bumpy but dry enough to tackle slowly in a 2wd. a bad monsoon could have made it a very different story.

thats the adventure
So true,that is the Adventure.Which after a week of having major douts about the trip have come to the conclusion thats why I chose to do it in the first place.If we make it,spot on, if we don't ,we gave it a bloody good shot.

Thanks again to everyone for your wise words.

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Old 11 Jun 2008
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Chad is not a good alternative to Nigeria- 1) you have to go round lake chad which will be hard work in a 2wd vehicle without clearance- sand as apposed to mud so doable but will probably get stuck alot. 2) its quite a hard country - we got mugged a couple of times, its reasonably unstable, if look in the news there has been rebel attempts to seize power over the past few months - still perfectly doable and if you wanted to go there then fine but if its solely to avoid Nigeria then I would suggest its a bad option.

Also may want to consider avoiding Ivory Coast - it still has its problems. Again if you wanted to visit it then probably fine but if its just something along the way then you are probably better going from Mauritania - Mali - Burkina Fasu - Ghana.

As to you last post - its supposed to be an adventure, can't have it to easy but it is doable. We met two Irish lads in a clapped out Ford escort who had set of from Ireland with no real plan other than to go and do some climbing, got some funding off the Irish climbing council and the British equivilent and had ended up just wandering down to Mauritania (pre coast road ). They weren't sure where they were going, they therefore had no knowledge on visas / routes / etc but last we heard they had got through to Nigeria. They were also travelling with a chicken that they had bought to kill and eat but didn't have the heart to do it.

Have fun.
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Old 11 Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by Toby2 View Post
Also may want to consider avoiding Ivory Coast - it still has its problems. Again if you wanted to visit it then probably fine but if its just something along the way then you are probably better going from Mauritania - Mali - Burkina Fasu - Ghana.
Please don't give bad press about CI (Ivory Coast), it's safe at the moment, very welcoming and getting back on it's feet ... found it far easier going than Ghana, less police hassle than Togo ...

There's few tourists in CI at the moment due to propaganda from western press ... but it's a wonderful country to visit especially now before all the Club Med tourists start heading back there!

Kira
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Old 11 Jun 2008
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sealed roads or not/bribes

Well, all sealed till Senegal, I'd say all Senegal is sealed, You would have to get from Tambacounda to Koundara in Guinea, I suppose the Senegal side is sealed but do'nt know for sure, from Koundara the Latharite piste is doable to Boke in a 2WD, preferably during dry season. Taxis go all the time. Alternatively: Ziguinchor (Sen) into Guinea Bissau doable but you would have to come out at Koundara (Gui) as well. directly south ionto Guinea noway in a 2WD. Then Boke to Conakry to Mamou to N'zerekore is sealed, tarmac Kissidougou to N'zerekore has problems every year when whole bends are being washed away. Then N'zerekore to border CI is pretty much fine WHEN DRY! cannot comment on journey to Man, CI, but thereafter should all be sealed, all majors in CI, roads in CI are so much better then elsewhere, majors to Ghana and furtheron is sealed, Nigeria and furtheron cannot comment.

Whether you pay bribes is up to you and your ability to deal with people (also applies to CI Rebel, "froces nouvelles" held territorries). I never pay any but then of course get ripped off at customs at times.

Rgds Manfred, in Bamako
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  #14  
Old 12 Jun 2008
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I’m doing the same trip as Bacon but my route is Morocco-Mauritania-Mali-Niger-Nigeria-Cameroon in a Suzuki SJ which is 4WD but 970cc. Is it better to enter Cameroon from the north via Banki-Mora? Or is it going to be the same hassle once heading south to Ngaoundere?
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Old 22 Jun 2008
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Nigeria Situation

Take care with attempting to travel through nigeria. While the roads may be Tarmac they are murderous. Drivers are suicidal, armed robbers common especially around lagos, you are target especially if you are Oyibo. Take very great heed of the Foriegn Office advice with respect to the Delta region. Tensions remain high and kidnap for ransom remains common. The FCO offer no support to citizens entering the region of their own free will without their own or corporate security. Risks aside th people can be great and you will be sure to be the focus of attention wherever you go
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