Originally posted to HUBB on 31st May, 2017
We entered Morocco off the Ferry from Algecerias-Tangier Med. No issues there other than regular apathy.
Visa- no problem
Sim card for 10euro with 3Gb 4G, >100 mins intl calls and 700mins local
We made it to Rabat and wasted a day trying to get a Mauritanian visa which they claimed would take a week in Rabat. They told us to go to the border.
Seeing as our day was cut short we thought we would try Ghana and Nigeria. Neither were any help. Others might already know this, but none residents of a country the embassy is in generally can't get for that country. At least not that far from Nigeria or Ghana in this case. Our original plan was to get these visas closer, but thought we would chance our arm. If nothing else it was a good introduction to African bureaucracy.
Morocco Check out
No issues, just follow your nose.
A few kms of no-man's land.
Sheik, a hustler/fixer introduced himself as the guy famous on HUBB> We got a laugh out of that.
Sign in with the police. No cost or attempt to exhort
Apply for Visa- 55euro. Legitimate and nice guys. Digital photo and visa in passport.
Insurance- 10days was 4286 Ouguiya = 10euro
Sim Card for ~10euro with patchy 3G, but reception all through the Sahara for safety in case of an accident. We heard Maroc Telecom hasa best signal in the south and desert, but found no problems with our Orange sim.
Lots of checkpoints from Western Sahara all the way through to Senegal. Harmless though so have a Fiche ready. print off ~30 and that should be plenty.
We were planning to get the Mali visa in Dakar, Senegal, but read that Nouakchott was the same day. We passed by in the afternoon and got to the Mali embassy at 3.50pm, 10mins before they closed. 30mins later we had a Mali visa. Definitely recommend this for how easy it was.
- 14 day visa = 6500 Oug (16 euro), 30 day = 8000 Oug(20 euro)
Mauritania Checkout at Diama
Sign in with police in a book.
Customs- Signed the bikes out and claimed a 10Euro tax. We went along with it, asking for a receipt until he gave our documents and passports back, then refused to pay. He gave up after 10 mins.
Passport- The police is in with the bridge tax crew. He stamped us out of Mauritania easily enough but the bridge toll hustlers we gave into in the end. 1euro each. Next time we would just ride away. A police offered was backing htem up and saying we needed to pay.
100m later, at the other side of the bridge was a whole other story. There is another bridge toll. Total bulls%^&. 4000CFA (7euro) We refused, showed our receipt from the other side, they locked the gate. A car came up behind us and we moved to go with it when the gate opened and they called in some muscle to stand in front of the bikes. We stood our ground, moving in front of another car coming the other way to prevent it passing. It basically escalated to the point that one guy started dragging Richard's bike backwards away from the gate by the rear rack. Lots of shouting and aggression but not particularly fearful for our person. We decided that we wanted to see the police and if they said we need to pay, we would pay, just a ploy to save some face, but the police never showed. Eventually we paid and got our dodgy receipt, from a receipt book, but price hand written. They were so mad that they refused to shake hands after it we paid. They were definitely mad.
Not a nice introduction to Senegal, but after that it has been great.
Visa- Free and no problem.
TIP- Easy, really nice young guy. 2500CFA each
Insurance- 17,000CFA from the lady in the cafe behind customs. we got 2 months and covers all CFA countries which is nice. Seems legit and others experience has been the same. She asked for 17500 at first but then reverted to 17000 of her own accord. Later we heard a rumour from a local it should be closer to 5000... but that seems pretty cheap, so don't know if he was serious or not.
Sim card- Get in St Louis- Got ripped off for 6000CFA for a 3G card that doesnt give me 3G. Got another for Richard's phone in St Louis- 1gb of 4G for 3000CFA and worked right away.
We are now good for visas all the way to the Nigeria border. We are planning to try and get Nigeria in Bamako. Meet a motorcyclist going north who had friends that got theirs in Bamako earlier this year. Fingers crossed.
Ghana- We are still not sure if we will make it to Ghana as we dont want to void our VTE visa for BF, Togo and Benin. VTE allows us to go to Ivory Coast so considering that. A Moroccan at the Ghana embassy in Rabat said it is no problem to get the Ghana visa at the border as you enter, but we haven't got a solid idea if that is the case. Which is to say we will update with our experiences as they unfold.
Otherwise, Senegal is a breath of fresh air after the Sahara. Lots of vibrant, smiling faces, colors and culture. We are currently at the Zebrabar which is sadly devoid of any other travellers to swap tales with, but a beautiful spot to recharge.
Plan is to head to Kidira-Kayes border crossing into Mali. If anyone has any good route recommendations from St Louis to Bamako let us know. Looking for some mix of interesting landscapes and offroad without grinding to a halt. Hoping to get across Senegal in 3 days or so.