Friday, November 15, 2019

Mauritania to Senegal: Diama

On the ride to Diama, we had a very long day and I dropped the bike twice. Because of the nature of the day, we hadn't rested. When we arrived, my lady Angelika was hobbling from an injury from the falls and, frankly, I was too tired to think clearly.

Because of this, I used a fixer here. It seemed worth it not having to think or queue - he did most of that for us.

Perhaps, bearing this in mind, what follows may be of use anyway.

There was no obvious corruption (but see above). The whole process on both sides took about two to three hours.

I'm unsure of exact costs, but I think I paid 400 Ouguiya twice on the Mauri side - one for passports and one for motorcycle documents. There may have been one more payment, but I can't recall it. All more or less straightforward. The fixer (young lad named Ghoulame), steered me through it. He was easy to work with. 

On the Senegal side, I think two payments of €10 - visas and vehicle - and, I think, €80 for four months insurance for Senegal, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire. (I just looked at the certificate and can't see the payment recorded, so maybe I paid over the odds.)

The motorcycle 'permission' is for five days in the country. We intend to be here for three weeks and I'll have to go into Dakar to have it extended - perhaps more than once, since it may be the case that the maximum extension is a fortnight. 

Given all of the above, and bearing in mind the horrible reputation of the alternative Rosso crossing, it didn't seem too bad.

Ghoulame, made things easy, leaving us sitting in the shade while he sorted the vehicle registration and the insurance - and organising a taxi to take Angelika on to the hotel. I gave him €20. He may have made a mark up on one or two other items, but at that point I was past caring.

That's how it works, I suppose. But we got though reasonably easily and quickly.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Côte d'Ivoire visas in Nouakchott

On iOverlander

18,09185, -15.98210

Forbidding iron gate. Calm compound within.

Lovely, slightly bumbling tall, greying chap deals. His secrerary was ill when we went. Perhaps she is normally in control. He never seemed totally sure of what to do and we ended up completing the paperwork for him - his ledgers as well. We think his eyesight may be going.

We got it done but it took patience and tact. He was happy for our input.

Two, three month, multi-entry visas, 1000 (€25) ouguiya each.

2 hrs 30 minutes.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Mali visa in Nouakchott

Super simple and straightforward.

Malian embassy is on iOverlander.


Short application form, 1,600 ougouiya each (appx €37), two hours later returned to collect passports complete with three month, multiple entry visas.

Pleasant, dignified and helpful official.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Western Sahara to Mauritania

Leaving Morocco
All fairly straightforward and efficient. Officials are friendly and helpful.

Took 60 minutes or so.

No Man's Land
For a not-very-experienced off-road biker on a big, heavy bike it was intimidating. About two miles of undulating mixed surface (forget any notion of a road) - rock, soil, sand. There is no one actual track, but a variety of possibilities which you'll choose according to your vehicle. Motorcycles will avoid the sand, while trucks will seek even terrain and 4x4's do what they want. There's lots of activity, though, and you're unlikely to get lost or be ignored if in trouble.

Entering Mauritania
We didn't use a fixer, but wondered afterwards if one might have made things quicker.

The process is fairly straightforward and there are many people willing to give advice. The various processes take place in offices in sequence.

1) Get passport stamped
2) Apply for Visa. You have to queue outside the Visa office, waiting for them to take your passport inside. After a while (90 minutes in our case) they call you into the office and put you through a computerised application process. €55 per person- they don't like old or soiled notes. This whole stage - including a break for midday prayers, took the longest. They don't operate on a first come basis. You just have to live with that.

Waiting for visa application
3) Customs clearance for your vehicle. Leave the visa compound and there is another compound on your right. Find the right room and there is a 15 minute form filling exercise for this process. €10.
4) Opposite this compound is a shop selling motor insurance. We paid about €6 for 10 days.

We took about five hours from arriving at Morocco border to leaving Mauritania customs/insurance area.

The road leaving the Mauritania compounds is mayhem with trucks crowding in on each other. It was difficult to find a path through - but we did! 🙂

Friday, October 4, 2019

Morocco (Ceuta)

Ferry from Algeciras. - 83.60€. Straightforward to book and a quick crossing - 1 hour.

Through the border in about an hour including customs, immigration and buying bike insurance*; 93€ for 30 days from Compagnie D'Assurance Transport, the first booth on the right outside the customs barriers. (You have to ride 100 mtrs, park and walk back around the railings to get to it.) I've no idea if the rate is good or if the emergency numbers given will help in an emergency. Let's hope we don't find out.

(*Easier and quicker than Kaliningrad!)

As you approach the border (follow the N352), there's a sign directing you up a hill to what seems to be a holding compound for cars waiting to cross to Morocco (there was a sign saying 'One hour's wait'). If you're riding a  bike, you don't need to go there - at least the chap on the gate sent us back down the hill straight to the border post.

Exit from compound 

Insurance booth behind white fence to left 
Lots of sorry chaps about asking for money. 😥

We were told three times by different people that the small, 4x7 cm 'Admission Temporaire' we were given for the bike at customs is 'Very important' and that we must be able to produce it upon leaving the country.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


We entered Kaliningrad 24th August courtesy of the easily obtained evisa - get it from here: (*But see below.)

Note that you also need to complete a customs declaration at the border. There are versions in English available, but we had to seek them out.

The officials there seem to feel that one vehicle per 30 minutes is good going. Three and a half hours it took us, but otherwise OK.

(We are Irish and German passport holders. Although the site lists the UK as a country that benefits from this facility, it also says; 'The countries not expected to benefit from this new Russia electronic visa are United States, Canada, and the U.K. due to the tense political relationships with Russia.')

Thursday, February 14, 2019

W Africa visa schedule: rough plan (2019)

Below is the visa info I compiled before leaving on the trip. We are 1 German lady and 1 Irish gent. Mostly the info is appropriate for Europeans generally.

I will report on the progress when we reach Africa and begin to put it to the test (Early Oct '19).

This information comes from a number of sources.

1) Some of it I compiled by emailing embassies.
2) Some comes from a discussion forum on Horizons Unlimited with several contributors
3) Some from individual bloggers
4) And always there's the wonderful Chloe Grant! (Aka, CREER in some forums - see the West Africa Travellers FB group that she founded.)

Bear in mind that even now some of this information will be changing - the situation in W Africa is volatile.

Also, Chloe*, re obtaining Cote d'Ivoire visa says; 'Cote d'Ivoire, NOT IN DAKAR! Anywhere but Dakar! And apply online '

Matt Richards* says; 'Cotonou are not issuing Nigerian visas, I was at the embassy there this morning. You'll be referred to the visa on arrival scheme instead.'

*On West Africa Travellers FB

My approach has been to find out as much as I can prior to going and then I will check as I travel - and post here as I find.

(Below, I list the country for which the visa is required and then the city where the visa can be obtained - with accompanying info. Remember, this is for guidance only and you should double check everything!)

Not needed n/a

Western Sahara
Not needed n/a

Rabat (MOROCCO) Email reply said we could get it at 'arrival'
Mauri Emb. 6, rue Thami Lamdawar, Soussi, Rabat - (+212) (537) 65 66 78
This info is from 2012 - but checked map for embassy 2018

Casablanca (MOROCCO) Senegal Consulate 34 Avenue Idriss Slaoui Quartier Anfa20050 Casablanca Morocco
Sen Emb; 17 Rue Cadi Ben Hammadi Senhadji, Rabat

Dakar (SENEGAL) Fann Residence, Corniche Ouest N° 23,
B.P. 478, Dakar - (+221) 33 824 62 50 / 2

PG5H+G8 Dakar, Senegal - +221 33 824 86 06
14.708634, -17.471914

Cote d'Ivoire**
Dakar (SENEGAL) MGXR+FF Dakar (Rue PE 40?) seems to be same
221 33 869 02 70
** See comments from Chloe Grant above - check on W Africa Travellers FB

27, Rue Ghomara La Pinede-Souissi  +212 (0) 537 757 620

Accra, Ghana Togo Embassy (see Charles?)
Fourth Circular Rd, Accra, Ghana
HRGC+CM Accra, Ghana
233 30 277 7950

Accra, Ghana
Benin Embassy; N Airport Rd, Accra, Ghana
JR87+PC Accra, Ghana
233 30 277 4860 -  (see Charles?)

Cotonou (BENIN) Rue 232, Cotonou, Benin
9C3P+47 Cotonou, Benin
+234 907 388 7021
*** See comments from Matt Richards above - check on W Africa Travellers FB

Calabar (Nigeria) Judges Quaters, Ekorinim,, Calabar, Nigeria
X8WF+CC Calabar, Nigeria

Lomé (TOGO) 56JM+4R Lome, Togo
+228 22 26 75 63

Republic Congo
Lomé (TOGO) Ecobank Agoe
Lycée Agoe Est, ,,Togo, Lome, Togo
+228 22 21 72 14
56Q5+MF Lome, Togo (Togo Visa Office - VTE?)

Cotonou (BENIN)
Cotonou - where??
Carré n° 221 Ayélawadjè
(+229) 21 30 91 78 / 80

Accra (GHANA) JR67+V5 Accra, Ghana
No.5 Agbaamo street,Airport West
Residential Area-Accra

Not needed

Not needed n/a

S Africa
Not needed n/a