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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 6 Apr 2004
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Wet African info

Hey there, Just done UK to Ghana and back in a Land Rover 90 (Nov- Apr)through Maroc,Mauritania,Mali,B.Faso, if anyone is planning a trip and wants up to date info let me know, and ill try and help,- when im not trying to get the sand out of my Rover !!! Cheers. Grif, Land Rover/DR650 Overlander. Dragoman/Encounter Overland Tour Leader/Driver/Mechanic, and Bloody nice Bloke.

[This message has been edited by Gipper (edited 06 April 2004).]
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  #2  
Old 7 Apr 2004
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Hi
Would be very interested if you mailed me your trip report as I am due to leave the UK to begin my trans-africa on May 1st. I am particularly interested in border crossings, visas and baksheesh!

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  #3  
Old 7 Apr 2004
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Plan to enter Marocco late April, and head down south to Mauretania, Mali and Senegal on MC. Any up to date info on bordercrossings, Visa,s and local scams would be highly appreciated!

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  #4  
Old 12 Apr 2004
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Hey Griff,

I'm going to be doing the same trip in July/August, but carrying on to Nigeria - I'd like to hear your story!

Thanks

Ben
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  #5  
Old 15 Apr 2004
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Ok ill give you a paragraph or two here Guys, Maroc, no problems at all , Fuel in the North was 5.80DH, South 2.90DH average (10.77DH=1 Euro) officals as you leave are effecient and professional. In Mauritania you can either go in in on your Carnet or do an Engagement of Honour ( I did not have a Carnet for this trip) They may get you to do a currency declaration, argue the toss and dont do one, or if you have to, dont declare cash, as one slimey git there may try and weasel some Euros from you. On to Noadhibou, the mine field, it is fairly straightforward from just head to PK46 (a shack by the railway), the coords are on the atlantic route on this website, this is the best place to cross, the piste to it is also well worn, but does split ocassionally, just follow your nose and dont stray off the piste, there are local guides hanging out after the border ,but unless you are in a 2wd you dont need one. The route down to Nouadhibou is well worn with a couple of stops for douane, police etc. Camping Abba is quite good to stop at, and its cheap. I got insurance here, there are plenty of companies to choose from MAR, SAR, SMAI, it takes a little while and try a couple of places. I got insurance in 10 day blocks, its best to get it for a few more days than you need , as things like fuel shortages, delayed Visas, sandstorms happen a lot ! Money change, the Euro is King in West Africa, Take Dollars for further south, but in West Africa, no one wants them. Banks in Mauritania dont change TCs, change them on the black market, just ask most shopkeepers, dont even bother trying to use a credit card to get cash out, as you wont be able to - only of use in a couple of hotels in Nouakchott. I was getting $1= 270 UG, 1 Euro= 340 UG (barter high to start. Off to Nouckchott then, head through the Parc National, up to you either head inland a bit for the Car route, or stick to the coast for the scenery, though when you come to the end of the park on this route youve got a 50km dash down the beach at low tide, try and find the tide times at the camp site in Nouadhibou. Good place to stop in Noukchott is Auberge Menata, run by a french lady (Olivia) lots of French guys use this place to sell cars from Europe, but its fine, and in a good location.GPS co-ords N 18 05.590' W 15 58.639'. Entre le Bd de Gaule et BD Kennedy, 1500 UG / Night/person.
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  #6  
Old 15 Apr 2004
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Hey Gipper,

as you're just coming back from Africa, you don't happen to know if there's a decent Michelin dealer in Morocco or Ceuta?
I'm heading that way later this year and am in need of new tyres, but here in Belgium these are just way too expensive.
Any advice would be appreciated...
Greetings,

Koen
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Old 19 Apr 2004
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Hey Koen, didnt see any Michelin dealers in Ceuta, but there are Two in Algeceras,(goto Michelin Spain website and look under 'Donde Comprar ?'for address's) and Spain is probably the cheapest place in Europe for Tyres. If you are after XZL (M+S) pattern, I would get them before you hit Morocco, unless you can set something up with a dealer there before hand, if you are after XS (sand) pattern , you MAY get a good price at the Ksar district in Nouakchott, as everyone in Mauritania (and most of West Africa) uses 7.50x16 Michelin XS or Bridgestone Jamal (copies) - though you'd spend a LOT of time bartering !!! Cheers, Gipper.
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  #8  
Old 19 Apr 2004
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OK Guys,More info - Generally the Douane/Gendarmes/Police are not trying to fleece backsheesh out of you at every turn, but they will normally ask for a 'cadeux', up to you what you say, but remember theres another overlander behind you, so dont upset them too much ! also allow extra time for driving in Mauritania, as the checkpoints are plentiful and it can be slow going. Nouakchott, top place for your Mali Visa, cost 2000 UG (6 Euros). There were fuel shortages (long queues and rationing) when we returned, and this happens quite often, so have a little flexibility with your schedule through Mauritania. Diesel prices in March 04 were 113 UG/L in Nouakchott and South. Nouadhibou 99.5 UG/L. MAKE SURE YOU FILL EVERYTHING UP IN MAURITANIA AS FUEL IS TWICE THE PRICE+ in MALI. As i said we didnt go to Senegal, we headed East to Ayoun, down to Nioro, this route is being improved to asphalt, but at the moment its pretty slow and rough, and not particulary scenic. We came back Kayes to Kiffa, and this was a more enjoyable route, softer piste and harder to navigate(Gps), but nicer scenery, with the transition from Mali Sahel to Sahara. Admin is easier this way too, the Douane at Kiffa are friendly, and heading into Mali is no problem, you can then pick up insurance at Kayes,- make sure you get insurance at the first major town, as the police like to check -especially on the way into Bamako. The Mali officails are pretty good and they may try it on for an extra 'tax', but normally they dont bother. We then went Nioro to Segou, then up to Tombouctou, not really any scams up here, just the usual 'guides' everywhere, the ferry prices are set and arent too bad, and municipal taxes occasionally (Djenne), depending if the guy is awake or not! If you are heading East of Tombouctou, then there is a real security threat, with bandits in this area,(see other info on Algerie Kidnappers/ Terrorists on this website) and also in Eastern Burkina (Our Italian friends were threatened and had there Nissan 4x4, passports,and money taken from them, Nr Gorum Gorum, Feb 10th 04 - Not Nice) If your heading out this way take precautions, like bushcamping well off pistes, stay only one night, set up roof tents at last light and leave early, discipline at night - no camp fires, careful with torches and noise.
WE then headed through Dogon country (very scenic, nice people) down to Burkina Faso, no problems with formalities, Burkinsa has a modern infrastructure, and most officials are very helpful, Ouagadougou is a great place, bustling ,busy and very cosmopolitan. If you go into Burkina on a Tourist visa, applied for AT THE BORDER, it costs 10,000 CFA, but this gives you only 7 DAYS, you then have to extend it in Ouaga(free of charge- it then becomes valid for 3 months multiple entry) at the Immigration office, but you have to leave your passport over night, and pick it up the next afternoon.(unless you want to pay the dude 5000 CFA to 'speed' things up !) More to follow.
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'09 Suzuki DR650
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'95 Defender 90 300 Tdi Overlander
http://gipperstravels.blogspot.com/
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  #9  
Old 19 Apr 2004
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Hi Gipper,

thanks for the info. I think i'll take your advice and buy the tyres in Spain (XZY 7.50R16). I don't want to end up in southern Morocco on my old rubbers, and have to take the ferry back to Spain only to get tyres. I already contacted a spanish dealer and the price is indeed only half of the belgian price.
I'll have the whole month of august in Spain before getting to Morocco so that gives me enough time to accomplish my target of finding the best dealer for the tyres('accomplish my target?' i need to get out of this office soon, my language is deteriorating fast).
Greetings,

Koen
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