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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 11 Dec 2011
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Angola: Bike storage for 1 year possible?

Hello,

we (2) are considering to ride from Namibia to Europe through western Africa in several trips (did the same down to SA the eastern route). First focus would be Angola, where we would like to park the bikes for 1 year.

Is it possible to leave the bikes in Angola or will we get troubles when leaving without? Does anybody know a good place to store the bikes?

Does somebody have experience to get 30day visum in Europe and then enter by bike from Namibia?

What is the situation for the countries further north?

Thanks,
Oerg
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  #2  
Old 11 Dec 2011
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Hi Oerg,

As far as I remember, there were no stamps in the passport indicating that I brought a bike into Angola. But the true test is to leave the country and without the bike to see if the customs and immigration computer records are connected in any way, (and whether they actually care if they care even if they are). Most riders are on a tight timeline (typically 7 day transit visa from the north) so I'm not sure that many have had to leave their bikes there before to test it out.

Next thought was, why did you pick Angola? It's a pretty short hop into Angola from Namibia and you would be in Luanda before you know it. I was looking at countries to leave a bike on the way up on the west coast and the main considerations were: length of ride that would fit into a fixed block of time, convenient country to fly in and out of, and ease/cost of obtaining visas. Angola is interesting in many ways, but I'm not sure I would use it as a stopping point based on the above factors unless you are planning on hitting every country on the way up or want to really explore the backroads there.

In regards to a place to store your bike, there is no Jungle Junction type place that comes to mind. There are a few locals and expats that have big bikes and they are a very friendly and helpful lot, so you might be able to connect with one of them to store your bike in their garage. There is a small bike dealer in Luanda as well, so that would be a place to explore to see if they would store your bike for you for a fee.

Happy planning.
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  #3  
Old 18 Dec 2011
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Hi mountain Man,

thanks for the feedback. We are typicaly travelling quite slowly and I think Angola should have enough to see for a couple of weeks. We have 4 weeks time, ~1 week will be "wasted" in Namibia, then having some spare time to get the bikes parked means that there is not so much time left. We did the same way of travelling from Ethiopia to SA, it took us ~6 months in steps.

On the other hand, do you think that Congo or Gabon would be better for a stop?

If we go off the main roads, do you have an idea of the road conditions? Much sand to be expected (the only weak point of my friend...).?

Oerg
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  #4  
Old 19 Dec 2011
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I lived in Luanda for 3.5 years (and in fact will be heading back in January)
There's more than enough to see to easily spend 2 weeks in the country, in fact you could spend a lot longer than that.

Language will be interesting, once you get outside of the major cities there's not too much English spoken, Portugese isn't too hard to pick up though.

Bike storage wise, I can ask some of the guys in our office there for their suggestions if you'd like, though I think you'd be better riding on through, many of the good things to see in Angola are a ways South of Luanda and you'd have to backtrack to be able to leave the bikes there.
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  #5  
Old 20 Dec 2011
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Hi Derek,
we are travelling south to north so Luanda should be a perfect stopover.
If you know somebody who can store the bikes that would be great.

Do you have any recommendations what not to miss on our way up from Namibia?
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  #6  
Old 21 Dec 2011
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Let me look back through the places I've been and also speak to some of the guys who've spent longer in the country than me as I've not overlanded as far down as Namibia so there's bound to be some things I'd miss..... give me a few days and I'll put something together for you.

It's truly a fantastic country and a real shame that they don't make it easy for tourists.

I was actually in the Angolan Consulate here in Dubai yesterday and I asked them about your best bet for getting an extended visa (most overland visas are granted for 5 days only)
She recommended that you use one of the registered tourist companies in Angola and get them to issue you a formal letter of invitation, this should get you a 30 day visa.
The only issue is that that visa will need to be put in your passport the country that the passport was issued in

A friend of mine owns one of the oldest travel companies in Angola, I'll have a chat with him when I'm there in January and see if there's anything else he recommends you do.
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Old 21 Dec 2011
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As a result of a crash in 2010 I had to leave my bike in Angola and return to collect it 2 months later. I entered from DRC without using either a carnet or laissez passer.

Leaving Angola without the bike was no problem as there is no stamp for the bike in your passport.

Leaving Angola the second time (towing the bike) was more difficult as I did not have a laissez passer. I was delayed leaving at Oshikango border post for an hour or so whilst customs tried to work out what to do, but in the end they gave up, and I was able to leave without too much of a problem.

Therefore although your laissez passer will be expired when you collect the bike a year later, you can probably get by without one, provided you are prepared to have the odd negotiation with the traffic police if stopped.
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  #8  
Old 20 Jan 2012
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Traveling in Angola

Derek,

I'm planning on being in Angola this August/September for 4-6 weeks. Can you tell me if there are any problems entering the country on a carnet? I'll have typical letter of invitation, visa stuff etc. Only other thing is my Cruiser is RHD UK spec. Will that pose a problem in LHD Angola?

Cheers,

David
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  #9  
Old 20 Jan 2012
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David,

do you have a good adress where to get an invitation. The contact I had up to now wants 400$ for it, which seems a bit greedy for me.

We plan to be there from the 2nd week of August for 4 weeks coming from Namibia, which plans do you have?

Oerg
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  #10  
Old 21 Jan 2012
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Oerg,

$400 sounds crazy man! I didn't realize people were selling invitation letters... Sounds like a racket to me. I have some missionary friends in Menongue and Lubango that I'm going to visit. Because of their position in the country, they only issue invitation letters to friends less they wind up in trouble with the gov't.

I'll be out there early August for 4-6 weeks. Where are you going to be?

David
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  #11  
Old 23 Jan 2012
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David

Can't advise reference the carnet I'm afraid, though there are plenty of foreign plated vehicles entering Angola, especially South African overlanders coming via Namibia.

RHD is an interesting one, there are plenty of RHD cars in Angola, especially in the north of the country and I have seen several cabinda plated RHD pickups in Luanda itself, however all new vehicles sold are LHD and RHD is, I'm told, technically illegal.... like everything in AO though there are ways around these issues, it's just a matter of cost!

Derek
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  #12  
Old 23 Jan 2012
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Hi Derek,

did you already have the chance to talk to your friend of the tourist company? What does he suggest?

Would he be able/interested to send me an invitation for the visa?

Thanks,
Jörg
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  #13  
Old 24 Jan 2012
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Entering with a RHD on foreign plates on a temporary import permit was fine. I doubt you will have any significant hassles with a RHD unless you want to permanently import it.
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  #14  
Old 24 Jan 2012
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Derek & Matt,

Thanks for the info. My Cruiser has a UK plate and registered there. I'll bring it into Namibia on a Carnet and travel to Zambia, but guess I'll just do a TIP in Angola. I figured RHD wouldn't be a problem for 4-6 weeks, but long term that may be an issue.

As you said though Derek, things are always changing. TIA!

Anyone have recommendations on RORO shipping? I'm looking to go to Walvis Bay.
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