Trip feedback? Gibraltar to Capetown by Car

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Trip feedback? Gibraltar to Capetown by Car

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1. Posted by frenchtoast (Budding Member 4 posts) 37w Star this if you like it!

We are looking to do this trip by 2-3 cars and wondering has anyone taken this route and knows of pitfalls and things to watch out for?
thx!

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2094 posts) 37w Star this if you like it!

I'm surprised no one with knowledge of this has replied yet.

I vaguely think the Morocco - Mauritania section is a problem, due to people who'll kill you. I think also political issues re the dispute over ownership of Western Sahara. I could be out of date on either of these though! But I recall reading that the Paris - Dakkar rally had become incredibly dangerous.

Edit after doing some Googling... yes the rally moved away a decade ago due to security concerns about Islamist terrorists.

The WS - Mauritania border is apparently very dangerous, there is an unsealed driving route through the minefield (!) . I think that would be enough to put me off. Definitely one to do some thorough research on to figure out the current situation.

The Foreign Office advise against all travel within 25km of the WS - Mauritania border and much of the rest of the country.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Jan-2020, 23:07 GMT by AndyF ]

3. Posted by frenchtoast (Budding Member 4 posts) 37w Star this if you like it!

Andy - thanks for the reply. I did read in my research that it was dangerous and then upon further research found that it was a bit old. Nevertheless, I did more research and found many to have done that specific stretch finding it perfectly safe in more recent times. Then I came accross this https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/africa/mali-uk-self-drive-holiday-africa-morocco-western-sahara-mauritania-a8874711.html - so that was more positive relief for this section.
Each country and border brings its own challenges, but I am hoping that country by country we get very detailed on what exactly to do and where with local and remote backup support it should control the risks as much as possible.
Lets see if anyone else comes up with any thoughts...

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2094 posts) 37w Star this if you like it!

Yes it's hard to know what's current. Will the FCO no travel warning be a hurdle to getting valid vehicle insurance?

5. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1407 posts) 37w 2 Star this if you like it!

You shouldn't encounter much difficulty in traveling from Marrakesh to Guinea-Bissau, which I did in 2015. The guide I traveled with, Alberto Nicheli of TransAfrica, based in Lome, Togo, continues to do that trip. You can track the itinerary on my 2015 travel map. There have been some route adjustments (see the TransAfrica website).

You will need to get all the required paperwork necessary to get your vehicle across borders, including insurance. Please note that customs officials are wary of those bringing vehicles into their country with perhaps the intention of selling them. Also note that the vehicle and its contents are subject to examination. As you travel along the route you will be subject to the payment bribes. Some border crossings are better than others. According to my journal the Western Sahara-Mauritania border crossing took several hours. As a U.S. citizen I obtained my Mauritania visa at the border. I got the Guinea-Bissau visa at the consulate in Ziguinchor, Senegal.

Ease your passage through borders by making several photocopies of "la liste," a sheet with passport information on all the people in your vehicles. Doing this will help forestall having officials, including those at numerous checkpoints, to manually record that information for each individual.

I have visited other countries in West and Central Africa, including Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, etc. I have plans to return to the region.

There are minefields in some locations, particularly in mountain passes. Generally, however, minefields are posted, including in southern Senegal. It would be wise in some places to hire local guides to accompany you, particularly if you veer off the main roads. It is easy to get lost in the Sahara. Please also take care when traveling on roads subject to shifting sands. Know how to navigate vehicles in the desert.

It is important that you understand the weather in places you plan to visit. During the wet season many roads are impassable and you could be delayed for days.

Contact Travellerspoint member askgudmundsen, who now has a southern Africa road blog. He has traveled extensively overland in West and Central Africa. Send him a message for his insights.

Sorry I can't be of further assistance at this time since I am currently on the road.

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jan-2020, 04:42 GMT by berner256 ]

6. Posted by frenchtoast (Budding Member 4 posts) 37w Star this if you like it!

That is really useful. 5 years ago is fairly current - some of the stories are from 2007-2009 so great to gear a more recent view!

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5737 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

It seems to me that maybe the biggest issue would be the part through central southern Africa: DRC and Angola. Mainly because of the roads (DRC) or getting the right paperwork in order (Angola), but that is just based on reading, not on first hand experience.

Also, stay as far south as possible in West Africa. Even the border regions in the south of Mali, Burkina Faso etc are not safe (anymore).

Not sure about Nigeria, but seems more like a bit of bureaucracy and maybe corruption (bribes) than any major issues (again stay as south as possible).

Sounds like a great trip!

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jan-2020, 18:55 GMT by Utrecht ]

8. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1407 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Frenchtoast, I hope you received the private message I sent you earlier today.

I forgot to mention there is a ferry from Dakar to Ziguinchor, southern Senegal, that takes vehicles. It bypasses The Gambia. If interested, I recommend taking the Aline Sitoe Diatta, which I did. There is a Guinea-Bissau consulate in Ziguinchor where you can get a visa relatively quickly.

Please be aware that obtaining visas for some countries might be problemmatic when you're on the road. Find out which ones before you embark on your trip. Also, look into the Visa Touristique Entente that allows tourists to visit countries of the Conseil de l'Entente, which are Togo, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger. It lasts 60 days; and is good for single entries.

9. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1111 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Apparently Angola is difficult to get a visa, a lot of people get rejected much to the chagrin of burgeoning tour operators. Equatorial Guinea can also be finicky with visas but you are more likely to get a yes than Angola. When you plan your DRC detour make sure you aren't travelling in guerrilla (not the good kind) territory. They still have armed militia roaming sections of their forests.

10. Posted by frenchtoast (Budding Member 4 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

thanks Teoni - we will be sticking to the main roads - nothing risky is being sought after here! the safest way down is the only way down for us! We am to get all the visas (or as many as possible) before leaving!