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Africa by car?

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Africa by car?

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31. Posted by chrismors (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Yes that was my understanding too, would be great if I could get in touch with your friend if possible to get some info on the ground?


32. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Yes, we're communicating with each other via Facebook, which I finally joined last December at the urging of family and friends. It's been a useful tool. I'll be happy to relay questions to him.

If you're driving in West Africa, it would be wise to stick to the main roads, unless you're accompanied by locals, or hire a guide. There are areas that are mined. You see the warning signs.

A GPS is useful; but you still can get lost. Locals can help. One tactic of the drivers that I've hired in Africa is to give a lift to someone who knows the way. Often there aren't any signs; and only locals know the landmarks that will get you where you want to go.

[ Edit: Edited on 29-Apr-2016, at 02:57 by berner256 ]

33. Posted by TeamScrumptious (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I am likely to be travelling down to Dakar next late July/August, need to know what to look out for. I have maybe a few vehicles in convoy..... Should I get a guide or are the roads pretty obvious, as they seem to be throughout most of Morocco?

What are the state of the roads like south of Morocco to Dakar, Senegal?

We will have GPS, and using GAIA as the system in the vehicle, will this suffice?

Advice required.

34. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Take a look at my Travellerspoint map for 2015; and some of the photos.

You'll have no problems if you stick on the main roads, which are very good. Be careful, though, as sand can shift onto the roadway; and you'll need to slow down to avoid an accident. But if you go off road, it's wise to pick up a local guide. Some of the areas in Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal are mined. We drove in one mined area in Mauritania, then put the Toyota Land Cruiser in reverse to get out, not wanting to turn and veer from the track that we took in.

We followed part of the route of the old Dakar Rally. At several points, there are piles of rocks that help identify the route. But it's easy to get lost. While a GPS helps, you really need to pay attention to landmarks; and tracks in the sand. You'll also need a compressor, as you'll probably have to deflate your tires while traveling in some parts of the desert; and reflate them later. The Sahara isn't all sand; and there are some rocky places. Very rocky places.

If you're traveling with others, you and your companions should prepare and make numerous photocopies of "la liste." Check my previous posts about this. Otherwise, you'll spend needless time at the numerous police and military checkpoints along the way; and it will be an invitation to pay bribes. Also make sure your papers are in order, including insurance. The reality is this: You will pay bribes; and you will encounter scams. But make it easy on yourself and your companions. Prepare and make copies of "la liste."

You can get a visa to Mauritania at the border. It's cheaper to pay for the visa in euros (120) than in U.S. dollars (144). Euros are the preferred medium of exchange in much of West Africa. Note that vehicles and contents are now scanned electronically at the border, so don't have anything inside that can get you into trouble.

Anticipate fuel needs; and expect that not all fuel depots will have supplies. So carry extra. Also, have spare tires.

If you want to go further south, we took a ferry -- the Aline Sitoe Diatta -- from Dakar to Ziguinchor, Senegal, bypassing the road through The Gambia, then continued from southern Senegal to Guinea-Bissau (there's a consulate in Ziguinchor where you can get a visa). The ferry accommodates cars; and is comfortable. In Guinea-Bissau, we left our vehicle at the Hotel Mar Azul in Quinhamel to take a boat to the Bijagos archipelago, visiting several islands. Some have no docks, so you'll have to jump into the water to get onshore. There are few tourists in Guinea-Bissau. Most of them are sport fishermen, as the waters are teeming with fish.

I flew from Bissau to Casablanca on Royal Air Maroc (the alternative was to return to Senegal, either by road or by flight to Dakar). My driver-guide, left his Toyota Land Cruiser with an associate in Bissau, then flew to Lome, Togo, where he is based. He regularly travels the route; and has been taking visitors throughout the Sahara for more than 30 years.

P.S. There were quite a few camper vans staying at a park for them in Dakhla. Some of the people were regulars from Europe.

[ Edit: Edited on 30-Apr-2016, at 04:42 by berner256 ]

35. Posted by TeamScrumptious (Budding Member 20 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Berner256

I will take all these points on board, I do intend to do this journey in my Fiat Punto.
As I have driven in to Mongolia via the Stans and back to the UK, also had a recent trip to Morocco during the Spring Edition of the Maroc

So next year I plan to drive from UK to Senegal via the Arctic Circle.

These are a list of the countries I will be going to.

Countries to cross

UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, France, Monte Carlo, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal

The last ones are the African ones.

So if anyone wishes to join me then please let me know....

Thanks for the advice again, I will take on board your experience.

36. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Best of luck on your journey. Please share your experiences; it will be of great help to others.