May 15, 2016

Hints and Tips for Ghana

Red Tape: Visas are required for British Nationals. We got our visa in Ouagadougou it took 24 hrs and cost 26000 CFA. Getting into Ghana was a hassle and took two hours at customs, but it was September 11th. There were also curfews in place in Tamale. ghana Fuel Costs: Diesel 2000 Cedis per litre Road Quality: Generally good tarmac all over the country Money: Cedi 12500 cedis = £1 Beware the largest bank note is 5000, a trip to the bank results in leaving with a plastic bag. There are Barclays and Standard Chartered Banks in all major towns. There are also ATM's in Accra Highlights: Mole National Park. It is difficult to get to without your own transport, but a beautiful park with some wildlife.  The Coast West of Accra: The beaches are tropical, and the old slave forts are worth visiting. Places to Stay: The campsite at Mole National Park cost $1.50 and you can overlook the water hole. Alaska Beach Resort in Busua, is a quite beach resort on a beautiful stretch of coast next to Dixcove. Ko-Sa, is further along the coast towards Cape Coast, more expensive but very peaceful. Kumasi: The Presbyterian Guest House, you can camp in the grounds cheaply. Accra: The Salvation Army in Osu, is cheap, clean, with good facilites and in a good area Useful People: None Tips: It is cheap and a wonderful place to relax, it is well worth spending a couple of weeks here.
April 28, 2016

Hints and Tips for Sudan

Red Tape: Visas are required for British nationals. Currently all visa applications are referred to Khartoum, the process takes atleast three weeks and most are rejected. A person or company giving an invitation into Sudan helps, see helpful people. Entering Sudan is a lengthy process, it took us 4 hours. Countless forms had to be filled in and then signed by different people all over town. One of these forms was an alien movement document, which lists all of the towns you are likely to visit. We paid 4100Dinar for the document, the document is issued in Khartoum for free. Fuel Costs: Diesel 80 Dinar per litre in Khartoum. Prices tend to increase as you move further away from the capital. Road Quality: The roads around Khartoum are good quality tarmac. The roads in the west of Sudan near the Chad border can only be described as donkey tracks. Money: Sudanese Dinar (SDD) 256SDD = $1 Black Market 270SDD = $1 Visa does not exist in any bank nor can you change travellers checks. Cash preferably USD are the only option Highlights: The friendliness and generous hospitality of the Sudanese people. The pyramids at Meroe north of Khartoum. Places to Stay: We bushed camped on the journey from Chad to Khartoum, in the desert near Meroe’s pyramids and on the journey to Ethiopia without any problems. In Khartoum we camped at a youth sports acadamey about 10Km South East of the city. The GPS position of this campsite is 15 31 42 N 32 36 22 E Useful People: Midhat Mahir, gave invaluable help and advice on obtaining our Sudanese visas, also helped with formalities in Khartoum. We advise overlanders to contact Midhat if they have any problems with Sudanese formalites. Tips: To save time when on the road make at least five photocopies of your alien movements document so that you can give the police a copy at each check point. You are supposed to buy a photography permit but we experienced no problems without one, just be careful in towns when taking photos if you do not have a permit. If you really have no option the DHL travel office may give you a cash advance with a visa card. They did give us the black market exchange rate!! sudan The Route from Chad to Sudan The main route across Sudan through El-Fasher as marked on Michelin 954 is currently not safe to use due to bandits. Everyone suggests the alternative route as outlined below. Al-Geneina go to Zalinger. This takes approx. 4hrs on dirt tracks Zalinger go to Nyala. This takes approx. 3hrs on old but reasonable tarmac Nyala go to Ed Dien. This takes approx. 5hrs. The quickest route is to follow the railway line. Most of the time reasonable tracks can be found, sometimes it is necessary to drive along the line or to make new tracks. In places be careful of the bog next to the line. Ed Dien go to An-Nahud. This takes the most part of a day. There is a major route but the ruts caused by the trucks make it impossible to drive on. Reasonable sandy donkey and cart tracks can be found that go in the right direction, these are preferable. An-Nahud go to Khuwei. This takes approx. 3 hrs. Again there is a very rutted route, we found a reasonable route that the locals tend to use, which went considerably North of track. 5 miles after Khuwei the tracks converge and new tarmac takes you to Khartoum. Very Useful GPS co-ordinates of the villages. Al-Geneina: N 13 25 82 E 22 24 87 Zalinger: N 12 54 84 E 23 29 23 Nyala: N 12 03 86 E 24 51 86 Ed Dein: N 11 26 83 E 26 09 93 Gabesh: N 12 09 48 E 27 21 15 An-Nahud N 12 40 81 E 28 24 41 Khuwei: N 13 05 33 E 29 14 02
March 26, 2016

Hints and Tips for Morocco

Red Tape: Visas are not required for British Nationals, entry is reasonably simple. We encountered middle men who for $10 helped fill out all the appropriate forms. There are several police checkpoints on route, they asked us for money but a smile and a joke with a polite no meant we never paid. Morocco Fuel Costs: Diesel cost 5.7Dirham per litre, however it is 2.85Dirham per litre in Western Sahara Road Quality: Drive on the right, all major routes are good quality tarmac (even to the boarder) Money: Dirham There are several banks that take visa and there are ATMs Highlights: Marrakech with the souks and the market square after 5pm when the food stalls set up. The new Mosque in Casablanca The Atlas Mountains, we enjoyed the Cascades d'Ozoud and a nearby Lake Places to Stay: We found no problems with Bush Camping all over Morocco Marrakech - Camping Feradaous 13 km along the Casablanca road, with friendly staff and reasonable facilities We failed to find a reasonable campsite in Casablanca, but the youth hostel is ok and there is good secure parking nearby. Useful People: The tee-shirt and sticker seller at Feradaous was very helpful, although Jay Clean is expensive. Tips: Making a form containing all passport details, profession, address, and parents names, copies of which you could give to the police would save a lot of time at checkpoints
February 26, 2016

Hints and Tips for Ethiopia

Red Tape: Visas are required for all British Nationals. We got our visa in Khartoum. We had to get a letter of recommendation from the British embassy, which cost $62. The visa itself cost another $63. Fuel Costs: Diesel 2.72 Birr in Addis Ababa. If you are travelling south to Kenya it is best to fill up in Addis as fuel near to the Kenyan border is very expensive. Ethiopia Road Quality: There are gravel roads throughout the highlands. These roads are very hard wearing on tyres, and very windy, therefore progress is slow. The road from Desse to Addis is tarmac but not great quality. The road south from Addis to the Kenyan border is good tarmac. Money: Birr 8.6 = $1 The black market rate is slightly better than the bank rate, but the difference is negligible. Visa cannot be used in Ethiopia and don't take any Ethiopian money out of the country, even near the boarder the rate is terrible Highlights: The monasteries on lake Tana were very interesting. The Blue Nile falls near Bahir Dar were spectacular The monolithic churches at Lalibella were very impressive and well worth the long journey. Places to Stay: Bahir Dar: We stayed at Ghion Hotel where most overlanders camp. It is well set up and very good value. Our camp overlooked Lake Tana. Lalibella: we camped in the car park of the Seven Olives Hotel. Useful People: Endalew Moges one of the forty official guides in Lalibella we thought that he was very good. Tips: Our boat trip to the monastries on lake Tana cost 50 Birr per person, so barter hard. Our guide, who showed us around six churches in Laliobella, cost 30 Birr per person, again barter hard.
February 26, 2016

Hints and Tips for Mali

maliRed Tape: Visas are required for British Nationals, we got ours in one day in Nouakchott and cost $7.50. Insurance is necessary, a Brown Card can be bought to cover 16 West African countries, we found it very useful and stopped many potential problems. Fuel Costs: Diesel 350CFA per litre Road Quality: The road to Bamako was terrible, however a new road is under construction and should be completed in a year. The road east to Mopti is good tarmac. Other roads are good dirt roads. Money: West African Franc 1$ = 642CFA Black Market (near the BMCD bank) 1$ = 675 CFA Visa transactions are possible in the BMCD, but we had problems. Highlights: Djenne, the mud town, with the largest mud mosque in the world Dogon Country, 12th century mud hut villages dotted around a cliff, well worth a visit. We spent a day but you could easily spend a week. Places to Stay: No problems with bush camping in remote areas. Djenne - Le Campement, you can camp, there are good facilities and an excellent area to relax, the staff especially Oumar the garcon de chambres are very helpful. Useful People: No-one in particular, however the guide we used for Dogon Country was good. Tips: Barter hard for a boat ride on the Niger at Mopti. Allow time for at least a couple of days in Dogon Country, and don't bother buying collanade.