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  #1  
Old 23 Apr 2001
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Shipping agents, airlines in Dakar (to the US)

I'll be arriving in Dakar sometime around Christmas this year and I'd like to ship my bike back to the states. Can anyone recommend an agent (sea or air), and also - is it much cheaper to ship from Dakar to the states than it is to ship from the states to London?

I'm also flying out of Dakar back to the states, but I have no idea exactly when I'll arrive. Since buying a plane ticket on short notice usually costs a fortune, how do most people deal with this sort of situation? Buy the ticket ahead of time and do everything in your power to make it to your destination on time, or suck it up and pay a lot for the ticket when you're ready to go?

Figuring out how much it's going to cost to get me back home is going to determine how long i'll be able to stay ;-)

Thanks!
Wright Bagwell

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Old 24 Apr 2001
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Wright

For your query re shipping agents in Dakar, there is now a Horizons Unlimited community in Dakar. Suggest you send them a mail.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/com....shtml#Contact

From a brief search on the web, I did find some possibilities:

"OTAL is a worldwide shipping and logistics specialist focusing on trade to, from and within West Africa. The company is one of the largest and longest serving liner operators between northern Europe and West Africa. OTAL's seven vessels provide weekly sailings...including Dakar." They have a website http://www.otal.com/usa.htm and a toll-free number out of Canada: 1 888 745 8881.
They also list a Dakar agent:
OTAL's Agent - Dakar
Antrak Senegal
51/53 Blvd Djily Mbaye
BP 3181
Dakar
Tel: + 221 8224949
Fax: + 221 8221600
___________

SEFCO - Export Management Company, Auto Overseas Shipping - the page does mention shipping vehicles weekly from the US to Dakar, and has contact details for a quote. http://members.tripod.com/~sefco/index-3.html

As for the airplane ticket, tactics vary. We usually try to book approx. a month in advance to get a decent rate, assuming that's close enough to time that we should be reasonably sure we'll make the plane. Another option is to look at RTW tickets which allow for overland portions, and have a validity of one year plus flexibility on dates. A site worth checking for this is BootsnAll, which caters to backpackers and has a travel planner you can enter any oddball route and it will find you a price.
http://www.bootsnall.com/cgi-bin/gt/tripplanner.shtml

When are you leaving, or are you already en route? I had thought it wasn't until next year, but your post says end of this year in Dakar. Is that your starting point too?

Cheers

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Old 25 Apr 2001
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Thanks Susan,
Didn't see the HU communities on the site, thanks for pointing it out.

I'm not en route yet. I'll be shipping to London from San Francisco in the fall, riding across Europe and ferrying to Tunisia, then going to Tamanrasset and Agadez before heading west to Dakar, arriving sometime around Xmas.

Well, that's the plan anyways. My plans have been changing weekly it seems as I find out more about how much things cost versus how conveneint or inconvenient they are, and when I can find people to ride with over there. My original plan was to go with C. Scott, but I simply can't afford it after the fortune I'll spend just getting my bike and body to Africa, so now I'm considering going along with Andy Pag's Rallie du Hoggar, which has a modest cost of entry. Alas, there's no set date for that yet so that's tough to plan for.

I thought I would have plenty of money saved, but it seems that between insuring myself, my bike, flying it over there and back, and flying myself there and back, paying my bills while I'm gone and storing my things while I'm gone, I won't have but a few dollars left over to actually do the trip! So I'm trying to determine the absolute cheapest way to pull this trip off, which may mean cutting the length of the trip down and returning to Europe for a good round-trip plane ticket deal and possibly a good round-trip bike shipping deal. I'm also considering shipping the bike by sea to save money, but I've heard so many stories about things being several weeks late, so I'm unsure if that would be wise, at least for getting the bike there. If it comes back to the states late, that's no tragedy.

Thanks so much for your help!

Wright
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Old 25 Apr 2001
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Wright

I know the feeling exactly. We headed off on our first trip in 1987 from Vancouver to Central America expecting we had enough money saved to go around the world. We ran out of money in Panama! Actually, we had enough to get to South America, but then we'd be broke in South America, which didn't appeal to my conservative accountant persona. It was a real shocker to discover how much things cost. I must admit we travel very slowly, which adds a lot to the cost, but we've now learned we either have to expect to spend more money and save accordingly, or reduce the length of the trips. On the other hand, we're also not the most thrifty travellers on the block, as Greg Frazier will attest to.

One possible suggestion is to spend as little time as possible in Europe. It will consume lots more per day than Africa will. For Africa, you also don't need bike insurance, and medical insurance might be cheaper too.

Not sure you'll get any deals on round-trip shipping of the bike. Think you're better off shipping it back by sea, but to get it over there, unfortunately flying is the safest option. Even when sea shipping into developed countries, you can get nasty surprises, like the dock strike we encountered in New Zealand which delayed us over a week getting the bike out.

Don't give up, though! It is worth it.


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