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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 23 Jan 2011
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Traversing West Africa - carnet, visas, etc.

As I mentioned a couple months ago, I'm preparing to traverse West Africa to do a photo-documentary on Fulani culture.

Well we're about to depart, and we ran into some troubles with the Nigerian embassy. I won't get into details here, but we've put the story on our website:

PULAKU | the fulani photo-documentary project

In any case, I'm soliciting advice about the remaining countries in our itinerary: Burkina, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania.

I've done my research on all the countries, but I'm mostly interested in finding out if you know of any recent experiences and unexpected surprises.

As for Ivory Coast, we're only planning on touching the north of the country, far far away from potential conflict areas.

I've heard it's difficult getting a vehicle into senegal. Does the same apply for motorcycles? What can we expect?

Also, we plan on selling our 2 Yamaha Serows in Senegal in April. Should we anticipate a beurocratic mess, or should it be somewhat straightforward?

We don't have carnets because I've been led to believe all these countries allow you to pay the laissez-passer at the border. Am I mistaken?

I have the 5-country visa for Benin/Togo/Burkina/Niger/Ivory Coast. I'm planning on getting visas for Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania at the borders or in neighboring capitals.

Thanks for your advice! Please follow along as we hit the road!

Christoph
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  #2  
Old 23 Jan 2011
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I'm making my assumption based on this information:

Anybody have recent experiences with getting a bike into Senegal?

Carnet de Passage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thanks!
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  #3  
Old 25 Jan 2011
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Hi, dunno about the bike
but we were sneaking into Guinea and CIV last year without visas, just to have a look-see.
Sneaked out again same day, no problem. I thought visas were expensive, Guinea was 48000 CFA iirc. So we stayed in Mali-Burkina.
But what I wonder is how/where did you get your 5-country (visa d'entente) and how much did it cost?
Will be interesting to see if it works, but it should. I only heard that Niger didn't take it.
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  #4  
Old 25 Jan 2011
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We got our 5-country Visa D'Entente in Cotonou - 24 hours easy process.

In light of the safety situation in Niger, we're skipping that, but hopefully using the visa for Togo, BF, and CI.

cheers,

Christoph
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  #5  
Old 25 Jan 2011
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l'Entente Visa & Cote d'Ivoire

Last year I got the l'Entente visa from the Benin embassy in Pretoria. Before leaving Algeria I got confirmation from the Niger Embassy in Tamanrasset that Niger does accept the visa. Did hear about other border crossings where it was not accepted so I downloaded and printed the articles of the l'Entente agreement (edit: in French and English)and gave it to the border officials at Assamakka - that worked fine.

Entering Cote d'Ivoire at Tioboulounao (south of Kampti south of Gaoua in Burkina Faso) they had no Customs stamps and told me to ask at the next village. And then at the next and the next and so on until I finally got both entry and exit stamps when I left for Ghana. At Bouna (Cote d'Ivoire), still in the far northeast, a member of the unified peace force (probably disbanded now?) was instructed by his boss to sleep right outside my door because they thought the area still to be unsafe. I had no trouble though and did not even notice anyone looking at me strangely. Could be different now though due to the current political trouble.

Good luck!
Kobus
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Last edited by Gottoride; 25 Jan 2011 at 19:04. Reason: added detail
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  #6  
Old 26 Jan 2011
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Kobus! The rider who made it both in and out of Niger.
We came into CIV in February at the same border passage. The whole north was like a free zone with no government control (perhaps that's why they had no stamps).
If there had been unrest we didn't see any, only smiling people.
But we turned around and went back to Burkina before dark.
We paid 10000 CFA for Burkina visa but I heard they are now 40000.
If you're going through a number of countries with a full car it gets expensive.

So how much did the visa d'entente cost?

And can we find out where it can be bought? Anyone found it in Bamako? When you're in Burkina or Cotonou you have already paid for one or two visas.

Cheers
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  #7  
Old 26 Jan 2011
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Hi Priffe,

I just found a 2007 thread in which 'seanh' said that he got his from the Togolese Embassy in Ghana - did not say how much it cost. 'hed' paid 25,000CFA in Accra (thread from 2002). 'Gozell' got it from the Burkina Embassy in Bamako in 2003 for 25,000CFA also. 'BenW' also got his from the same embassy in 2005, but did not say for how much.

Sorry - all the above is pretty old, but it seems like the Burkina Embassy in Accra is the place to go.

In Pretoria I paid R450 (roughly EU45) for sixty days, multiple entry - no hassles anywhere.

PS. South Africans don't need visas for Togo or Benin but there is no representation for Niger here, so this visa REALLY made a big difference in my case.

Safe travels!
Kobus
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  #8  
Old 26 Jan 2011
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Yes, that is about what I could find out, not much up to date. If the cost is then 25000 for all four one could save 100000 per traveller with the visa d'entente!?
+ saving time, waiting for one visa instead of five.
I shall ask around in Bamako next month.
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  #9  
Old 27 Jan 2011
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If your bikes are registered in Benin, you do not require a carnet in the rest of West Africa. All you need is the lasseiz-passe issued at the borders.

Oh, maybe that immigration official had a bad experience at some other embassy too, just a thought.
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  #10  
Old 28 Jan 2011
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Thanks for all the advice.

I got my Visa d'Entente in Cotonou for 25,000 CFA. I live in Benin, on a 3-year work visa, so the VE was an easy decision.

I'm still looking for specific advice about getting the bike into Senegal. I hear they are very stringent. Anybody have specific experiences?

To make things more complicated, we're planning on selling the two Serows once we get to Dakar (though we certainly won't mention that when we first cross the border). Any advice on selling in Senegal?

Thanks!

Christoph
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  #11  
Old 29 Jan 2011
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bike into senegal

hi all,
I passed the border from mauretania a few days ago 80km east of rosso. no big hassel there.
they were asking for €250 per verhikel, but after some diskussions we agreed on €50 per car and €20 for the bike.
but they gave us 48 hours only!

they are killing tourism in senegal! now I'm in the gambia. they were asking for €50 at the border, but by "misunderstanding" I gave €15 which they finally akzepted. they gave me 10 day for the bike, but it should be easy (costing some €) to extend it at customs.

good luck and see you

calzino
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  #12  
Old 31 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulaku View Post
Thanks for all the advice.

I'm still looking for specific advice about getting the bike into Senegal. I hear they are very stringent. Anybody have specific experiences?


Christoph
Four of us crossed into Senegal from Mali on motorbikes in April 2010. There was no special process, ride up to the customs shed, register the bikes (show your ECOWAS brown card insurance and registration docs) and pay for the laissez-passe which was about 10,000CFA or so. We actually rode into Senegal and had to turn back after 5km when we realized we had passed customs and immigration!

You have not answered the question on your bike registration, if registered in Benin, you should have no issues.
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  #13  
Old 31 Jan 2011
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Thanks guys - that's just the info I was looking for.

Yes, the bikes are registered in Benin with CDEAO insurance, so it looks like we shouldn't have much trouble. Now we're just waiting for our license plates to be issued - we've been waiting 3 weeks so far!

cheers,

Christoph
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  #14  
Old 8 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
For Namibia and Southafrica you definitly need a carnet to enter those countrys. About Senegal and Ghana i researched the same.
I can't comment on Ghana, but we have recently got bikes (without a carnet) into Namibia, Senegal and we'll find out about South Africa in a week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
To get the Visa for Nigeria (the worst country in my trip where people tryed to robb me ad pull me off my bike) and Angola was a big problem but finaly i got them with lots of patiens at a very unfriendly embassy.
We got Nigerian visas in Bamako, Mali and Anoglan visas (transit) in Abuja, Nigeria without any problems. And also encountered no problems at all in Nigeria... aside from the general standard of drivers. I'm sure there are some horror stories, but don't get too scared by it all.

Good luck with the trip
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  #15  
Old 15 Feb 2011
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I also made Europe-Capetown without a Carnet. A bit tired of pointing this out , but a carnet is not required. CAN be used , but is not compulsory.

Only country bit picky abt this is Senegal -but there are lots of ways to circunvent this-.
Also at Namibia/SouthAfrica you need to buy a temporary import permit (was 80US?) for a bike

Rest of countries of the west coast route don't know , don't care abt carnets. Indeed It will cost you money to persuade them to stamp it.


*Recently -last November -drove a LR Discovery in Cameroon . (from London , via Lake chad) , also without carnet . Plan to resume my trip to SA , and then all the way to Tanzania without carnet . As lots of other people have done.*
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