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.

Like Tree10Likes
  • 2 Post By chris
  • 3 Post By colebatch
  • 1 Post By lbendel
  • 4 Post By roamingyak.org

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 24 Aug 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1
Warning about Lonely Planet Thorntree Forum

to LP!
I would like to report my negative experiences with the Thorntree here.
About a week ago I posted something there about my extremely negative experiences with the Cameroon embassy in Berlin regarding my visa application in order to warn other travellers about this. When I revisited the Thorntree, I found out that my post had been removed by LP, I did not receive any notification from LP why my post had been removed. From this I can only conclude that the information on TT is highly unreliable as I am sure there are many other instances when posts have been removed.
I went to the Cameroon embassy in Berlin 3 times and they lied to me each time I went there. On my first visit they told me I need a return flight and a hotel reservation for 1 night in order to get a visa, when I came back with this they demanded a hotel reservation for 3 nights, when I came back with this they demanded a hotel reservation for the whole of my stay in Cameroon in every single town. It was quite clear to me at this point that they were just trying to annoy me and that they would have thought of something else if I had indeed brought such reservations. I should also add that on top of the travel time I waited around 1 hour each time I went to the embassy because the staff there spend most of their time not working.
So my advice to all travellers is: Avoid the embassy of Cameroon in Berlin!
Just for the record: I have been to more than 100 countries, I have NEVER been asked to supply a hotel reservation to get a visa for any of those countries,which goes to show how absolutely ridiculous it is to even ask for something like this.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 24 Aug 2013
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 20
Perhaps it is just shows that you are a lucky holder of a nice passport? Say, for me to get most (not all) visas I need to provide a thumb-thick sheaf of forms, often in triplicate, including return tickets, hotel reservations, bank statements and notarized confirmations that I actually work where I say I do, etc.

So I wouldn't be so generous with blanket statements of what is ridiculous :-) even if I'm all for cutting down on the red tape everywhere.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 24 Aug 2013
brclarke's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 509
Have you written to LP and asked for an explanation? Maybe it is not censorship but a simple case of a technical glitch with your account?

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
__________________
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 24 Aug 2013
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,973
Or you complained so vigorously that it appeared offensive to at least some readers. Thorntree mods remove posts without notice, usually based on complaints received from other posters. If you care, contact the mods directly--although don't hold your breath.

FWIW, I've had to provide hotel reservations, and this is not unusual. Neither is waiting around for hours while embassy employees appear to have nothing much to do. But when the rules keep shifting from one day (or even one minute) to the next, it often means someone is looking for a bribe of some sort. It happens.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 27 Aug 2013
chris's Avatar
Probably out riding
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: God's Own County
Posts: 2,257
Interestingly the identical post to http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...y-beware-71975 that I posted on the LP Thorntree has also been deleted....

Everything about LP stinks. And their guidebooks are utter garbage too.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 28 Aug 2013
colebatch's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: London / Moscow
Posts: 1,728
Said it before, will say it again ... those books are nothing more than ballast ... or kindling if you can keep them dry.

There may be some areas of the world where they are useful, but for the parts I go to, they are total rubbish. If the info isnt a decade out of date, then its plain false.
__________________
__________________________________________________ ________________
"Do NOT go wherever the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail"



Sibirsky Extreme - Adventure Motorcycling Guide to Siberia and Mongolia - on Facebook

Click here for Sibirsky Extreme Trail DVD Trailer

Last edited by colebatch; 13 Hours Ago at 20:28.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 28 Aug 2013
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 465
Cameroon

Quote:
Originally Posted by steadhamp View Post
to LP!
I would like to report my negative experiences with the Thorntree here.
About a week ago I posted something there about my extremely negative experiences with the Cameroon embassy in Berlin regarding my visa application in order to warn other travellers about this. When I revisited the Thorntree, I found out that my post had been removed by LP, I did not receive any notification from LP why my post had been removed. From this I can only conclude that the information on TT is highly unreliable as I am sure there are many other instances when posts have been removed.
I went to the Cameroon embassy in Berlin 3 times and they lied to me each time I went there. On my first visit they told me I need a return flight and a hotel reservation for 1 night in order to get a visa, when I came back with this they demanded a hotel reservation for 3 nights, when I came back with this they demanded a hotel reservation for the whole of my stay in Cameroon in every single town. It was quite clear to me at this point that they were just trying to annoy me and that they would have thought of something else if I had indeed brought such reservations. I should also add that on top of the travel time I waited around 1 hour each time I went to the embassy because the staff there spend most of their time not working.
So my advice to all travellers is: Avoid the embassy of Cameroon in Berlin!
Just for the record: I have been to more than 100 countries, I have NEVER been asked to supply a hotel reservation to get a visa for any of those countries,which goes to show how absolutely ridiculous it is to even ask for something like this.
I say skip Cameroon entirely. Been to 30 African countries and Cameroon was the worst for us! Not the people themselves but the police are the worst, they make the Nigerian police look like amateurs with respect to corruption! The aggressive violent kind of corruption.

Cheers,
Noel
Toyota Off The Map
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 29 Aug 2013
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by noel di pietro View Post
I say skip Cameroon entirely. Been to 30 African countries and Cameroon was the worst for us! Not the people themselves but the police are the worst, they make the Nigerian police look like amateurs with respect to corruption! The aggressive violent kind of corruption.
Hi Noel

Too bad that you had such bad experiences in Cameroon.

I watch the sitation on the westcost, read any german and english language Blogs that i can get, and use sometimes Google Translate for Blogs in other languages.

There are many older and much more newer Blogreports from Cameroon (also i wrote a blog) - without such experiences.

Just because you had such a experience, that means not that that is the same experience other travellers usually had there.

When you mean your Blog entry from 2011: Thats looks like an "usual" case of a bribe scenario - nothing who sounds too crazy?

Surfy
__________________
Trans-Africa with a Land Cruiser 200 http://transafrica2012.blogspot.de
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 29 Aug 2013
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfy View Post
Hi Noel

Too bad that you had such bad experiences in Cameroon.

I watch the sitation on the westcost, read any german and english language Blogs that i can get, and use sometimes Google Translate for Blogs in other languages.

There are many older and much more newer Blogreports from Cameroon (also i wrote a blog) - without such experiences.

Just because you had such a experience, that means not that that is the same experience other travellers usually had there.

When you mean your Blog entry from 2011: Thats looks like an "usual" case of a bribe scenario - nothing who sounds too crazy?

Surfy
We are no novice travellers or naive and we know about bribary but when they are shouting through your car window with machine guns pointed at your tires from both sides of the car, then it's not a 'normal' case of bribery anymore! One time I got stopped for speeding while I was driving 25kph over a massive speed bump. We got fined and I lost my internation car registration papers because we said we did not have all the money and had to get it ($ 10,- but that is not the point). 100m down the road I got stopped again for driving too slow, we were holding up traffic, which wasn't there btw, etc. We didn't get fined on that occasion but it show how powerless you are against "local law". We managed to get 6 fines in the whole of our 60.000 km trip in Africa, one in Morocco (which was justified) and five in Cameroon which were all bogus! When they take away your passport and / or drivers license sometime under thread of a gun, to make sure you pay the bogus fine, then you don't feel too welcome anymore! We even went to the dutch Embassy the consult what we could or should do about it! Other people got locked up for 2 days until they were reported missing in Yaounde because they were not carrying their passports on them (passports were at an embassy for Visa processing, duhh) and I can go on and on! You have 2 types of police in Cameroon, with green uniforms (gendarms) and blue uniforms (police). The green guys were the worst!

No Camroon was a nightmare (for us) albeit that we also heard of people who enjoyed it. We found ourselves in some kind of negative bubble in Cameroon all the time which was cleared as soon as we entered Gabon! After that the Congo's and Angola were a blast, no problems at all with local law enforcement!

Normal people in Cameroon are friendly though as in most of Africa.

Cheers,
Noel.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 2 Sep 2013
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Iceland
Posts: 90
we also had problems with fines for not carrying passports or authenticated copys, but this is not a new problem....decades old....but i will say Nigeria was far worse, they tryed to Jack us 2 times in Nigeria but only 1 time in Cameroon
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 2 Sep 2013
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: London
Posts: 505
It is the law to carry either your passport or an authenticated copy of it (with entry visa and entry stamp) whilst in Cameroon. We were arrested at 2am in the morning for not having ours with us and taken to the local station (Douala).

2 hours of waiting and smiling and humouring them and making a general nuisance of ourselves and they let us go with a warning!

But worth noting for people going through in the future.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 7 Sep 2013
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 107
I've travelled all across Cameroon, South to North. I have been stopped by a cop only once, bogus reason, easily turned down. I would say it was generally easier than most other African countries. And I've met many other travelers who've enjoyed their stay there. Most have had to deal with some request for "cadeau", etc.. which is par for the course in Africa. Usually you can talk them out of it with a little patience. All part of the experience.

I believe the embassies are trying to replicate the harassment that their own people get from European countries. Maybe the Germans are particularly not welcoming to Cameroon tourists ? I've had to purchase 2 Cameroon visas : one in Brazzavile, it was a breeze, no paper asked, they couldn't care less. Another one in France, and they required a return flight ticket, proof of employment and revenue, etc.. this is just retaliation. A PITA for sure but fair enough if you ask me (just like the Senegalese who've reintroduced a visa for EU citizens).
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 9 Sep 2013
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 95
I´ve been riding around Cameroon for over a month last year and totally loved the place !

Getting the visa in Calabar / Nigeria was pretty straightforward, money + photo was enough and I picked up my stamped passport the next day.

Depending police I only had a bad experience on the border ( Ekang ) where they demanded 50 Dollars to let me enter. Maybe timing couldn´t have been worse arriving one day before chrismas but I made it very clear to them that i´ve already payed at the embassy and they´ll get nothing from me. There was quit a bit of shouting involved on both sides, their point was "no money - no entering" so I picked up my guitar and sat down in his office, smoking cigaretts and jaming for 2 hrs until they got fed up with me. Even managed to get the immigration officer to make a photo of me and the border sign !

As somebody has already mentioned, you HAVE to carry your passport with you all the time 24/7 in Cameroon, its the law ! I just went to a police station with a photocopy of my visa + passport main page and for a little fee ( 1$ ) they stamped it and its a perfectly legal way to identify yourself at any control. They are very strict on this one, friends of mine from Douala also got arrested in the night because of not carrying a passport / legalised copy.

cheers,
Chris
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23 Sep 2013
roamingyak.org's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Portugal
Posts: 1,060
Oh good - a bitching session about the police in Cameroon!! ;-)

I did a 3 year trip around Africa (West then East) and found Cameroon was spoilt by the police. I was stopped over 25 times, always because I had a RHD vehicle, it ranged from mild amusement to insistence that I was paying them 50 Euros as importing a RHD is illegal in Nigeria and Cameroon (not when in transit though). The English speaking parts were friendly enough and the borders professional (March/April I think?).

Cameroon shoots itself in the foot with tourism by making visas hard to get - hardly any embassies doesn't help.

Many checkpoints in Africa were quite friendly and helpful - but not in Cameroon where many checkpoints were clearly just uniformed robbery. At one when driving with friends I had the nicest and most helpful guy, and behind me my friends were being grilled like they were the last piece of fish on earth. It's a tiring lottery.

As general advice for those following in our illustrious foortsteps:

Watch the body language of everybody at the checkpoint and decide how to play it from that, but generally something like this worked: Get your head and arm out of the window, greet them in a local language before they get to the front of your car/bike (to let them know your not an arrogant racist idiot), start and own the conversation, be smiley and very polite, slightly loud, make jokes, keep repeating "tourist" "transit" "Gabon" with a confidence that says its fine, all normal, if they keep going on about RHD, ask them distracting questions about their family and culture (making a human connection is vital - if they are being robotic its a problem), when they ask for something you don't want to get into just ignore it and quickly ask another question, smile and so forth, repeat until they give up. Then close the conversation, thank them for their time and prepare to drive off. I always leave my foot on the clutch and in 1st gear, waiting for the opportunity to close the conversation and move off. Not many were strong enough to stop me doing so, usually a bit dazzled at how friendly Kiwi's were ;-p

In others words, present yourself as if your experienced, well organised, not going to be easily intimidated and a waste of time if they want anything. (Mindset: your made of teflon, nothing sticks to you, you have an answers for everything and will soon be on your way having made some new friends).

Don't ever hand over real documents!!! Colour photocopies before you go, have a whole bunch in your sun visor. First mission in each country is to photocopy your passport photo page along with your visa and entry stamp onto one sheet times 20. In Mamfe get your passport witnessed 2 or 3 times, then only ever hand over that copy at a checkpoint. When asked I handed over a real IDP (I had 5, never lost one), insurance was always stuck to the windscreen in the middle, they had to read from the outside. Then just photocopies. If they are being difficult then they ended up with 15 photocopies of everything under the sun, each handed over one by one, upside down, back to front with then aim of causing confusion and making things difficult - but remembering to smile, joke, laugh and use local language…. Many cops are not actually cops, often its the cousin of a cop, especially in the countryside, so many can't read very well and will just say ok, ok, enough… off you go….. Surprisely almost none of them ever asked to see the original documents, insist the photocopies are fine if they do and start pointing out the relevant details on each photocopy...

If it's all a bit serious, have a sheet handy with embassy phone numbers, names of the tourism minister and so forth. Say things like yes, yes, no problem, but I will just check with my embassy and use your phone to start calling. Pretend somebody answers if you don't actually call and then ask the officer for his name and station chiefs name and phone numbers at the request of your embassy. This sorts most of the arseholes out pretty quickly.

Drunk, power crazed wankers with guns pulled out at you is a different story. They have given up their legitimacy as officers of the law if you haven't done anything serious. I had this twice in Mauritania and twice in Kinshasa. Not much fun. Do your best. I got through Mauritania by successfully judging body language as he approached and refusing to wind down my window more than an inch and playing really dumb (Sir, is this the way to Mali?") for 20 mins. I figured he would fire a warning shot before taking aim seriously, but he didn't.
DRC with luck that some good cops turned up after delaying each time. Two machine guns to the throat and the question of "Do you have dollars?" is perhaps the most difficult question I have ever been asked. (I replied, "No I'm from New Zealand mate, we use the Maori down there ah" which still makes me chuckle as I was absolutely kaking it.

Simply put some people are better at this charade than others. Whatever you do don't sit there as they approach like a meek victim. They sense that.

I don't pay anything and really resent others that do - 10 minutes of bullshit is the longest I have ever been held up. Playing Slayer really loudly sorted that one out.

Find a nice place to stay for 2 weeks over Christmas if possible, avoid driving.

On average the police in Cameroon give a lot more serious hassle than most other countries based on my own trips and reading others stories over the last 15 years. Grit your teeth, then smile and get on with the charade….. ;-)
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
Web site and forum niggles and suggestions rockwallaby Website Feedback 15 5 Sep 2013 06:56
Lonely Planet. Tenere99 TRAVEL Equipment for Sale / Wanted 0 24 Dec 2011 14:50

 
 


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 10:22.