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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 Post By Stephen Matthews
  • 2 Post By Chris Scott
  • 1 Post By Surfy
  • 1 Post By priffe
  • 1 Post By Surfy

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  #1  
Old 22 Mar 2020
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Morocco to Cape Town

Hi,
My girlfriend and I would like to travel Morocco to Sth Africa.

We previously cycled China to Ireland. Well that was the plan anyway. We never got to Ireland as I was knocked off my bicycle and suffered severe head injuries in France, so closebto home(6 months in Hospital and 8 days in a Coma). As a result I have been advised it is highly unlikely and not advised to attempt any further long distance cycles. Hence my options IF we decide to do this is buy a 4*4 and drive - camping along the way.

Just looking for any advise people have. We were thinking of buying a vehicle in Germany and selling it in Sth Africa.

Our preferred route

Morocco
Maurantia
Senegal
The Gambia
Guinea Bissau
Guinea
Sierra Leone
Liberia
Ivory Coast
Ghana
Benin
Togo
Nigeria
Cameroon
Equatorial Guinea
Gabon
The Congo
Angola
DRC
Namibia
South Africa
Lesotho
Malawi
Can you advise on the following;

We plan roughly 2/3 years, can be longer if needed - what do you think? We do not want to just drove through places and want to do a little exploring.

Is it possible to get Insurance to cover all Countries along the way?

Is it dangerous in some Countries?

What will our main obstacles be?

Is it possible to get Visas along the way.

What vehicle do you recommend? We are happy to camp putside where possible and stay in hostels/hotels where not.

Many thanks for your help.

This is just a planning/dreaming stage so a long way off just yet.

Mike
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  #2  
Old 23 Mar 2020
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Lots of questions here! I've added my thoughts to some to hopefully point you in the right direction.

I spent about 9 months (2018-2019) going from Morocco to South Africa on a motorcycle. I explored South Africa, Lesotho, and Malawi after this. I was probably the slowest of the others I met on the road.

All visas purchased on the road. You'll need to read up on the Nigeria visa, which is tricky. I hear Equatorial Guinea is expensive and/or very difficult to get.

For insurance, see https://overlandingassociation.org/insurance/

Dangerous? There is an increase in terrorist activity in the Sahel region. Don't think this will affect you but useful to know because of your route's proximity to Burkina and Mali. Cross at Banyo/Gembu from Nigeria to Cameroon to avoid conflict in Ekok.

Have you considered the rainy seasons and your route?

I have no experience of 4x4 but my choice would be something that looks low key and doesn't advertise that I'm a tourist with money.
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  #3  
Old 23 Mar 2020
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Also, I was advised not to wild camp in Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa.
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  #4  
Old 23 Mar 2020
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Up to you but even if you need to dodge the Sahel, at least 5 of the countries on your list can be avoided to save on visa hassles (not all 5 require one in advance).
You will still see more than enough of West Africa.

See this recent post wrt visas:
https://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hu...3-6#post608463

You cannot sell a foreign vehicle in RSA without paying huge duties (unless you are from there). Plan to ship it back.
Might be possible to sell/transfer to other travellers, but I rarely hear of this in SA (unlike South America).

Most people settle on a 4x4 station wagon with a roof tent.
Cold won't be a problem on this route, rain might be – and so will insect-proof ventilation.

Many of your questions might be answered in my OLH book.

Last edited by Chris Scott; 16 Apr 2020 at 09:49.
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  #5  
Old 24 Mar 2020
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Originally Posted by Stephen Matthews View Post
Also, I was advised not to wild camp in Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa.
What was the reason?

Surfy
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  #6  
Old 25 Mar 2020
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Multiple people living in the region advised against wild camping in Nigeria because of previous incidents with tourists who wild camped and had issues. I'm hesitant to disclose what I heard, so instead I've found this online news article that seems to match the story I heard. Note: hotels are cheap outside of Lagos.

For Cameroon, I think the reason was the civil war. When I applied for my Cameroon visa in Benin, they asked which land border I would use because the Ekok border was closed at the time, which is where the trouble is.

For South Africa, there is increasing racial tension.

My experience has been that people can sometimes speak negatively about their neighbouring countries—in Europe and Africa—however, I repeatedly heard the same advice (don't wild camp) from multiple people well before arriving to Nigeria and South Africa.

I certainly do not want to discourage anyone from visiting these countries or Africa! There are all sorts of risks in any country. Probably the largest risks in Africa are the animals and other vehicles on the road. Friends hit animals and I was knocked off by a vehicle.

Nigeria was a country where I'd heard lots of good and bad things compared to other countries. I was slightly apprehensive. My experience in Nigeria was awesome! Very friendly people who like chatting. There are some areas to avoid, such as Boko Haram heartland in the North East, but Nigeria is a cool place.
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  #7  
Old 25 Mar 2020
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Hey IrelandtoCapetown,

Rode that route on my bicycle in 2012-2014. So doable, but as you are well aware things change very fast. It would be difficult to give you any kind of advice now not knowing how things are going to be shaping up for the next year or more.

I wildcamped a lot in RSA and felt safe, but it is easier to do it discreetly on a bicycle than with a motor vehicle.
The only country where I didn't feel comfortable to do it was Nigeria. Too many people carrying guns everywhere.
In West Africa the way most people do it is get to a village before dusk and ask anyone with local power or clout where you can spend the night. They'll find you a place to camp.

As far as I am concerned I think the biggest threat in Africa is bugs carrying diseases. More than anywhere else on this planet.

L.
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Old 25 Mar 2020
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Biggest threat in Africa by far is road accidents.

Last edited by priffe; 25 Mar 2020 at 19:23.
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  #9  
Old 27 Mar 2020
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Originally Posted by Stephen Matthews View Post
My experience has been that people can sometimes speak negatively about their neighbouring countries—in Europe and Africa—however, I repeatedly heard the same advice (don't wild camp) from multiple people well before arriving to Nigeria and South Africa.
This was the experience of our trip, everyone suggest - dont to drive further, because the next country is dangerous, the people bad.

Wildcamping is not for saving bucks, it is a way to live. And necessary because you often don't have any infrastructure, if you leave the most used tracks...



At this bordercrossing we didnt see any (normal) fuel station for over 1200km.. Hotel also not...

In urban areas of africa it is not a good idea to wildcamp, in remote areas it will be saver that your hotel... If you like you can read my article 1x1 of wildcamping (using google translate).

The key is to stay hidden. To move if you got detected or feel uncomfortable with a location. We did use offline Google Satellite-Imageview to get such remote places. Did starting early looking for a wildcamp-spot each day.

It is to early to speak about security on the route, I guess it need 2 Months before the corona situation get cleared. 3 Months till the borders are open again. And the situation in most countries of that route can be completely different then.

At least Nigeria - will never be the savest country in the near future.. It was the only one where also Police&Military stopped us (at Checkpoints) and told us that it is not save - and we should be careful. Wasnt helpful to feel comfortable..

Surfy
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  #10  
Old 16 Apr 2020
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With the current global situation going on and foreigners all over Africa being targeted and stigmatized as potential "corona transmitters" importing the virus from Europe, I would definately not start any overland journey until things have "normalized" which is more likely to be a year from now then 3 weeks.



Borders anywhere can close indefinitely any time, you might get stuck and most probably the majority of countries have stopped issueing tourist visas anyway.



Ugandan president Museveni has just announced some days ago that any border guard letting people into the country for a bribe will be charged for attempted murder. Definafelty worst time for any kinda overland travel now.


All the best for you guys out there already on the road !!




Cheers,
Chris
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  #11  
Old 5 May 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfy View Post

At this bordercrossing we didnt see any (normal) fuel station for over 1200km.. Hotel also not...
There's a nice Total in Mbang and another one Ouesso, 800km of driving. In 2016 around half was piste, the other half brand new nice tarmac. As for hotels there are plenty if you're looking for them. I found one in Souanké, right in the middle between Mbang and Ouesso.
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  #12  
Old 29 May 2020
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Hi

Generally your route is well-trodden these days, some parts are far muddier than others.

The myth of Nigeria being dangerous is just a myth, as with the whole region you should NEVER drive at night and ALWAYS speak to the village chief to ask permission to wild camp ...

I live in Cote d'Ivoire and have been in the region for more than 15 years now, I have a group on FB, West Africa Travellers which gives a lot of up to date information

As for selling your vehicle in RSA, it's not possible BUT you can often find other travellers willing to buy and continue their journey, an option for you!

If you need assistance with other ideas please let me know.
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  #13  
Old 29 May 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Matthews View Post
Multiple people living in the region advised against wild camping in Nigeria because of previous incidents with tourists who wild camped and had issues. I'm hesitant to disclose what I heard, so instead I've found this online news article that seems to match the story I heard. Note: hotels are cheap outside of Lagos.

For Cameroon, I think the reason was the civil war. When I applied for my Cameroon visa in Benin, they asked which land border I would use because the Ekok border was closed at the time, which is where the trouble is.

For South Africa, there is increasing racial tension.

My experience has been that people can sometimes speak negatively about their neighbouring countries—in Europe and Africa—however, I repeatedly heard the same advice (don't wild camp) from multiple people well before arriving to Nigeria and South Africa.

I certainly do not want to discourage anyone from visiting these countries or Africa! There are all sorts of risks in any country. Probably the largest risks in Africa are the animals and other vehicles on the road. Friends hit animals and I was knocked off by a vehicle.

Nigeria was a country where I'd heard lots of good and bad things compared to other countries. I was slightly apprehensive. My experience in Nigeria was awesome! Very friendly people who like chatting. There are some areas to avoid, such as Boko Haram heartland in the North East, but Nigeria is a cool place.
South Africa has nothing to do with "racial tension" some places are just dangerous. Where did you get the idea that it's got anything to do with race?
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  #14  
Old 10 Jul 2020
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South Africa is safe in general

No one wants someone else to get hurt so I think most advice given is always on the side of caution. In general South Africa is a safe place taking common sense precautions.

Its always safe until it isn't.



Camp sites charge anywhere between R150-R350 ($10 -$20) per night for a site for 2-4 people, that is with electricity, showers, toilets ...

In cities or towns you could safely sleep over at a garage/petrol station for free in a vehicle if you needed to, simply by speaking to one of the attendants that work there overnight. They will even watch over you at night, have had to do this on occasion.


You could wild camp in rural areas although I most likely would not recommend it , which is a shame because we have such a beautiful country.

There has been an increase in murders of farmers with gov doing very little to put it to a stop. 552 attacks in 2019.


The vast majority of people will welcome you and happily help where they can.
Safe travels !
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  #15  
Old 10 Jul 2020
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Our preferred route - notes where we have personal experience:

Morocco - fine no problems
Gabon - no concerns
The Congo - no problems, access roads can be tough.
Angola - Some tensions in Cabinda, however I wouldn't worry too much. Roads improving (south of Luanda for example now has an excellent road, they deteriorate further south, personal contacts tell us that corruption is now a bigger issue in the south. I've never had a problem with corruption (anywhere in Africa).
Namibia - safe and worth lots of time to explore.
South Africa - haven't had any problems - main highways very good, others can be good. Lots of good national parks.
Malawi - good roads, slow going because of population density. How are you going to get there?

I suggest including Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. If you're going to Malawi you could also head into Tanzania, maybe, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya...

Can you advise on the following;

We plan roughly 2/3 years, can be longer if needed - what do you think? We do not want to just drove through places and want to do a little exploring. Our experience with similar travel is to plan on 170 Km/day on average - some days as much as 500 Km, others no movement at all, just enjoying places.

Is it possible to get Insurance to cover all Countries along the way? Possible but very expensive. We've bought legal minimum at borders.

Is it dangerous in some Countries? As others note, road traffic accidents - can be, however never drive at night, drive defensively, and take local advice. Stay away from the inland areas in West Africa. Some cities have some street crime to use SA and common sense.

What will our main obstacles be? Make sure your vehicle is one for which spares are available. Note that there are some myths here - for example those who tell you that you can find spares for Toyotas everywhere are only partially right - unless it's a new vehicle the dealers will be able to get spares from Japan and it'll take two months. You can find some, but not all, spares from local shops, but take care to get OEM. You can ship in via agencies (amayama.com for example), but it may still take 1-3 weeks and you need an address somewhere. If you have a vehicle which has not been sold in the countries you visit, spares can be a major issue. Police checks are not a problem if you obey the rules and have the proper papers, however some people are intimidated by checks.

Is it possible to get Visas along the way. Depends on your passports and where you go. For us, for example, we had to get some visas before leaving home, or at certain specifec consulates (we had to fly to the USA from South America to get the Botswana visa, were supposed to fly to Brazil for the Namibia visa, although they bent the rules and allowed us to get the visa in the UK. We could have obtained all our visas by mail/courier, but by the time we would have received the last one the first one would have expired!). Some visas are e-visas and work fine, others are VOA and no problem. You'll have to check every country.

What vehicle do you recommend? We are happy to camp putside where possible and stay in hostels/hotels where not. We now use a Mitsubishi Montero, converted to sleep inside, and it's great. On our last Africa trip we used a Series 80 Land Cruiser, also converted to sleep inside. Nissan Patrols are also excellent. Any of these would be good option. If you can afford a Gelandewagen (and don't need any spares) it's another good vehicle.

Have fun!
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