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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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  #1  
Old 31 Oct 2003
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Trans-African Visas

Hi
I'm planning a trans African trip and instead of going through all the schlep of trying to get visas here in the UK I was hoping to get them on a country by country basis as I travel through to the Cape.

I travelled around sub-Saharan Africa with very few visa problems as I normally pick them up in the previous country (such as Harare,Zim, for Mozambiqe visas) - so could I use this method for North/West/Central/East Africa?
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  #2  
Old 31 Oct 2003
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I'm sure people will be able to help if you say what nationality you are and which countries you intend to visit. As a starting point try Chris Scott's site, www.sahara-overland.com. The Country Info page has lots of visa info.
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  #3  
Old 1 Nov 2003
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British and the basic route is:

1. UK

2. Europe

3. Morroco

4. Mauritania

5. Mali

6. Niger

7. Nigeria

8. Chad

9. Sudan

10. Ethiopia

11. Kenya

12. Tanzania

13. Malawi

14. Mozambique

15. South Africa

16. Namibia

17. Botswana

18. Zambia

19. Zimbabwe

And maybe Burkina Faso; Uganda and Cameroon. (Using am overlanders route as a guide)

Don't worry as I'm on it, it's just that I thought I could not bother with any visa, start at Morocco and just wing it from there.

Thanks
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  #4  
Old 2 Nov 2003
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I don't know about the West African countries, but for Sudan and Ethiopia, I got my visas in Cairo within 24hrs. I'm sure they'll have embassies in Niger where you could get them.
11. Kenya, border $50 (free for us South Africans ) Carnet stamp free for motorbikes

12. Tanzania, border about $30 I think, Carnet stamp free

13. Malawi, don't know

14. Mozambique, don't know

15. South Africa, border, free

16. Namibia, border

17. Botswana, border, free

18. Zambia, border

19. Zimbabwe, don't know

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  #5  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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In my Lonely Planet West Africa guide book from 1999 it say that you can get the visas for west africa on the road. However it states that it does require some planning. It also say that normally you'll need to get the visas before entering the specific country (and not at the border). There is a list of all embassies in West Africa in there. This book is a little outdates, but if you get the newest version you'll have all the info there.

For Morocco you can get the visa at the border.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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Many thanks - apart from the LP books can you recomend any of the other good travel guides? In the past I have dismissed them but perhaps I need to re-asess.
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  #7  
Old 4 Nov 2003
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What guide book you want to use highly depends on what information you are after.

I find the LP and the Rough guides the best (not sure about Africa though, only been to Morocco so far) since they focus on low budget travelling. I usually only use the guide book to get an idea of what to see and on some practicalities and then mostly as a hotel guide while travelling; so if it got plenty of low budget alternatives for accomendation then I am happy. I do understand though why you don't like them. The LP guides are all the same. If you have read one you have read them all.

Regards,
Spakur
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  #8  
Old 5 Nov 2003
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It is possible to pick up all of your visas for African countries along the road. But be aware of the fact that there may be no embassy or consulate in the country you're in for the next country in line, which would mean that you have to backtrack, and get another visa for the country you just left. For example, there is not embassy of Tanzania in Malawi, so when coming from the south you'll have to get your Tanzanian visa in Zambia. For this reason I try to get as many visas as I can before leaving home. This saves me a lot of time and hassles on the road. You will have a lot of the latter without having to worry about visas. It's your choice: I believe in doing as much research as I can on the countries I plan to visit. That's where this website comes in handy, so does the LP, even though the latest editions may be somewhat outdated.
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  #9  
Old 7 Nov 2003
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Hey Bundubasher!

Well, we didn't meet as planned last fall, but I'm sure that you'll have a great trip anyway!
We got all of out visas enroute, exept for Sudan, which we got in Norway before departure. I expired of course, but was then easier to renew in Chad. Better than waiting for a month there as some did...
All the other west african visas were obtained in the nabouring country, or in some cases the country before (as mentioned, not all countrys have embassies with there nabours) without problems. Most only took half a day. We did plan ahead a bit, and got our Ethiopian visa in Ghana, but it didn't seem a problem to those who got it in Khartoum instead, so it wasn't important.
One visa which was nice to have was the "Visa Touristique Entente". This covers Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Niger and I think Ivory Coast (which went to hell right before we were supposed to go there, so we had to skip it...).
All of the above embassies are suposed to issue this visa on request, but some pretend not to know of it. It certainly saves both time and money. We got ours in Ghana, since thats where we found out about it at the Niger embassy. It still saved us time and money even if we only used it for 3 countrys.
Once we got to the Kenyan border, all visas southward were obtainable at the border crossings, exept: Mozambique which we had to get in Malawi.
We also found that it was the ex-french countrys that were most keen on the Carnet. Non of the east and southern african countrys even asked for it. I know one guy who drove from Cape Town to Sudan without one, and had no hassels at all.
Quite often, when stopped at "regular" checkpoints in west africa, the police demanded to see the carnet. Probably looking for a chance to squeeze us for money. Which they of course never got

All in all, I feel that getting ahold of visas was part of the trans-african experiance, and I'm glad we got all but one while underway.

Good Luck!

Erik D.

www.dunia.no

.


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  #10  
Old 7 Nov 2003
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Forgot to mention that all of the guide books we had were rather useless. We literally threw The Roughguide - West Africa away as it wasn't worth its weight in toilet paper...
LPs books had in our experiance most correct info (at least most city maps were somewhat correct) and the Footprint books we saw others had didn't seem too bad.
The problem with most guide books is that they cater to the backpacker crowd, who can stay anywhere in a city regardless of safe parking, and don't really need streetmaps to the same extent.
A lot of the places mentioned in Bradt, Africa by road, don't exist anymore. As to be expected after a few years in africa. Things change quickly there as you of course know from your time in Zim.

Erik D.

www.dunia.no

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  #11  
Old 7 Nov 2003
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Most excellent Erik! Thankyou very much for that info as I may be off in March - insha'allah. I'll mail you off-line to catch up with all the gory details!

Glad you made it back but I doubt if you are!

Stay well

enzo
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  #12  
Old 20 Nov 2003
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Getting your visa along the way is no problem in West Africa - in fact it's even often the only way as a lot of visas need to be used within one or two months. Only drawback is that in most cases you HAVE to go to the capital and stay there often two days. Visa for Cameroun can be more of a problem since they don't have a lot of embassies in West Africa, unless you go via Lagos in Nigeria - wouldn't be my favourite choice.

LP gives best info re embassies etc but always check for latest addresses on the internet. Also most places to stay that I found in LP are pretty usefull even if their main readers are backpackers - almost everywhere in West Africa they have possibility to safely park your bike.

jef
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  #13  
Old 21 Nov 2003
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Hey Jef,

As you wrote, most of the places in capitols mentioned in LP have parking possiblities for a bike. But it isn't always so easy for a car... Like Enzo has
In fact, we really wished that parking would be mentioned more in LP and other guidebooks. But again, backpackers usually don't care.

Erik D.

www.dunia.no

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