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 Nov 2010
langebaan sunset's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: South Africa
Posts: 89
Rosso crossing Oct 2010

Hi folks

Me and the wife are on a trip South to Cape Town and had the pleasure of going through Rosso a few weeks ago (Oct 2010). Here is our experience;

The Rosso crossing is not as bad as people say as long as you "try" and stick to the following......

1) You can avoid it and there is a better crossing at Diama that is reachable when the rains finish. West Africa had suffered some late / heavy rains in Sept / Oct 2010 and we found the route to Diama closed / flooded. Thus if you have no other option Rosso it is!

2) The border / crossing is true African experience and most of the blogs / posts on the topic are right, so if you have read up on it most of what happens is no surprise and you can arrive "prepared". Keeping your cool is key and take your time - dont get rushed and be firm but polite with the "masses" that "welcome" you.

3) Chaos starts way before you get to the border heading South from Mauri. We were "introduced" to a "guide" 15km North of the border who "chased" us in a Merc. When I say chased, I mean he and his 2 mates drove at speed to cut us up and stop us several times to make sure we "knew" that "they" were our "chosen" guides for the crossing and the people to buy insurance from etc..... These guys seriously intimidate the locals and offers of "free" help were jumped on quickly!!! Attempts to shake them off (changing direction, going back to previous police post etc....) simply resulted in them turning around and chasing us the other way. Easy to escape on motor bikes - less so in an aging Land Rover or push bike. These guys have a well rehearsed routine - with each of them fully understanding French and English they will stand right next to you and listen to your conversations. Try and be polite and talk in private when you are on the move.

4) As soon as you reach The Blue Gates (they have erected on both sides of the river) crowds gather..... you have no choice but to go through them to start the processing. This ensures that Westerners are "greeted" by the right "gang" that happens to have first pickings that day / time. Just ignore the idiots / kids / beggers / scammers and drive through the gates....drive and do not stop and a few inches from the gates they will miraculously open for you...... WELCOME TO ROSSO!

5) Parking is just down by the river. Park up and lock all doors etc... if you are on bikes..... leave your partner with the bikes and walk in with all your paperwork. If you were solo this would be hard work to secure your gear....pick pockets and thieves are ACTIVE and alert to all your moves, with young kids acting as distraction artists (singing, begging etc...) while older, more skilled Oliver Twist types try door handles, locks, gangs etc.... etc.....

6) Police and customs are in on the scam..... they so not get involved in disputes and the "guides" are basically their slave / gimps that do their bidding (fetch tea, read out documents etc....) so kind of feel good about their position in the pecking order.

7) To avoid involvement of the "help" is a hard task..... even when (as we did) ignore all attempts of help, and handing our paperwork over to the police etc.... you realise that this gets given straight back to the "help". We accepted this and as we had not lost our cool with them things actually progressed quite smoothly and friendly.

8) While you keep your money in your pocket YOU hold slightly more power than them - its your cash they want - remember this and avoid handing money over in dribs and drabs. Make sure you state you will pay the "fees" when EVERYTHING is complete and all paperwork is back in your hands.

9) if you have more than 2 people in your group (we had 6 in our party) it helps to divvy up responsibilities. This helps create confusion for them and several people will stick with you to make sure where the "money is". Its kind of fun to keep this "show" going right to the end.

10) Ignore the B S""T info about needing insurance before you cross etc..... buy it on the other side. The "help" will cross the river with you and when you get to the other side a "handover" is made to "help" No. 2. Again, be friendly, don't loose your cool and work with the guy.

11) We bought a 6 month Carte Brun for 3rd party insurance for the Landy for West Africa Community Countries for 100 €. You will need to get this as its an easy bribe point at the numerous check points that exist on the way to St Louis. We got asked for it at least 6 times before St Louis along with a series of other items, like warning triangles, high vis jackets, fire extinguisher etc...etc....

12) When the helper gimps have finished with the paperwork the fun begins. There are some legit. fees to pay, ferry ticket, passivant etc...but the rest is fake. Here is what we paid as a guide (per couple / vehicle).
  • Ferry ticket 23€
  • Passivant, processing, tax 25€
  • Insurance, 6 month Carte Brun 100€
  • "Help" fee 21€
For sure we got ripped off but also we got off lightly compared to what other people have paid in the past. The insurance alone probably saved us at least a few fines on the way to St Louis.

13) Bear in mind we avoided all the smaller scams (parking fees etc...) and bar one of our mates getting his hat nicked and me getting my pocket felt (a kid stole my ferry ticket receipt HA HA HA), we were finally let out of the Blue Gates in Senegal side at approx 8pm (dark by now) having started the process at 3pm (way too late). We then had a 120km drive in the dark to St Louis.....It was dark and the crowd was intimidating but we stuck together and got through it.

What would we do different next time / advice we would offer:
  • Go to Diama for sure - but we cut it too fine with the rains - check the weather situation in advance - ideally with Zebrabar people.
  • Catch the earliest ferry - we made a bad choice because of the closed road to Diama and so ended up on the last ferry (fools)
  • Unless you speak absolutely fluent French and insist on speaking with the Chefs at each post and probably use a line along the lines of reporting them when you get to Dakar, it is better to work with the "help" - I sensed that no one wants to rock the boat at Rosso so this is probably a futile strategy - so agree a price for the lot before you start and ONLY pay it when you get THROUGH the gates.
  • You do hold some power and its your cash they want - withhold it for as long as you can - if you can go as a group it helps.
  • You dont have to worry about your documents going missing as you can stick with the paper chain - just hold your nerve and keep your eyes peeled
  • Dont do what one of the people in our group did (a traveler we met along the way) and tell them that you are "scared", this helps transfer power to them and probably a racking up of more fees on the "scam meter"
  • Going there with a "I am going to not pay a single bribe" attitude is probably going to rock the boat. Softly, softly works best.
All in all - Rosso does exactly what it says on the tin! Its sorry looking, poor place full of people trying to make a quick buck. It looks like one or two main gangs hold control and they work with the officials - I am not sure how you could change this.

Its a real shame as Senegal is a nice country and this is "introduction" is just a let down which you quickly get over, especially over a bottle of wine discussing the revenge scenarios you might employ should you ever pass by on the river in an "Apocolypse Now" style gun boat and an unlimited amount of ammunition !! ;-)

Enjoy it and good luck !!

Nick
__________________
Langebaan Sunset - Africa Overland
Website Twitter
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 21 Nov 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 129
What if you get there dressed as a Mauri? A good strategy maybe?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12 Dec 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Spain
Posts: 31
reading a blog from other overlanders they say a new law started in June this year making people register in Dakar (within24hr) if there vehicle is over 5 years old. i.e. get your carnet stamped. Does anyone know if this is still true?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12 Dec 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Madrid
Posts: 338
I got Dakar in march on a very old bike and didn't register it.

Definitely, Diama is the best option. I got not problems at all. No help, no bribes, no thiefs. Good sandy piste. Easy, friendly and quick crossing. From the border to Saint Louis, nice short ride.

viajes de invierno. Barcelona-Dakar
__________________
www.miquelsilvestre.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 13 Dec 2010
Titbird's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Back in Europe
Posts: 171
Most people we met on the road to Bamako, had to go to Dakar to get a stamp, but there are lucky ones who get through. No logic.
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
Crossing Libya October/November 2010 - Want to share a guide ? Whos about ?? *Touring Ted* Travellers Seeking Travellers 4 24 Jan 2010 23:15
Crossing Kazakhstan & Russia April 2010 yoav_baum Travellers Seeking Travellers 0 30 Oct 2009 11:07
Rosso Border? qwer1234 sub-Saharan Africa 10 18 Feb 2006 00:32
Senegal Rosso or Maka Diama scotta Sahara Travel Forum 2 6 Jul 2004 22:11
Problems in Rosso border Francisco Figueiredo sub-Saharan Africa 10 1 Sep 2003 01:09

 
 


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 10:52.