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Old 29 Jul 2003
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Belgium
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West Africa: Carnet - Temp. Import Permit - laissez-passer

In the LP "Africa on a shoestring", they say : "In most West African countries, South Africa,... a Carnet de Passage (CDP) is not needed. Now I have several questions:

1: What are those "most" West Africa Countries? (We're leaving on the 1st of october with a Toyota landcruiser to Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauretania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Niger).

2 : Is it possible to travel the above countries without a CDP at all?

3 : What are the consequences if we do it without CDP? Do we have to buy (more expensive) permits at the border? Is there bound to be a lot of hassle about it? Do we have to make other preparations before we leave?

4 : What exactly is that "laissez-passer" and/or "Temporary Import Permit".

General Question : we are leaving in 2 months and were about to buy the CDP, but now we here all different stories about doing it without, so we just want this solved so we can make a final decision. Any experiences...?

We thank you already for you help!

Wim & Nicole
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Old 30 Jul 2003
chris's Avatar
Probably out riding
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: God's Own County
Posts: 2,294
IMHO the LP "Africa on a shoestring" is complete bollocks. Too expensive to buy just for it's principle uses of cigarette paper, toilet paper or putting under your m/c sidestand. As you're in a car, it won't even be of use for the later If you don't smoke either...

I found the Footprint Handbooks to be much better than LP.

Try a key word search of the HUBB and visit the trip planning section (link on the left) and you should find some of the answers to the questions you have,
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Old 30 Jul 2003
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Wel thanks Chris,

I browsed through the Hubb, and as always when we have a question, no straight answer can be given (most likely because there are no straight answers in Africa!).
Half of the people say : You do need a Carnet (especially for Ghana), while the other half says : Oh no, you don't need a Carnet, just talk your way in!
Being adventurous, we could just try, but there's a catch :
After one year we want to leave the car behind in Ghana for 1 to 5 months (we fly back to Belgium and return to Ghana to continue our trip), so we don't want to risk loosing lots of money for not having the right paperwork.
We also want to stay an average of 1 month per country, and a laissez-passer seems to be valid for only 10 days (extendable but with hassle and paperwork).
Also Ghana seems to be a difficult country to let cars in, fearing they sell the car!
Having read the HUBB now, I'm starting to think it might be best to buy the Carnet and just use it. I think we're up for some surprises in Ghana, no?
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Old 31 Jul 2003
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: God's Own County
Posts: 2,294
i really don't know anything about west africa, never having been there. my trip was from cairo to capetown down the east side. have a trawl through the 'sahara' and the 'sub-sahara' forums. many of your questions have been covered in some way or another.

a cdp however would make a few things easier (except in egypt, where nothing is easy, no matter that paperwork you have/don't have ) luckily for you, you're not heading there.

my personal piece of advice is to go to south america, where, once you're in, you need very few stupid pieces of paper. but i'm biased

good luck,
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