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An Aussie 990 in Africa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by anydavenow, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Oddometer:
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    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks Simon! I think my experience was fairly typical for someone of my level of experience getting roped into going to Rosso. It's a well known, well practiced scam and you have to be a hardened traveller with a working command of French to have a chance of getting through there untouched. But it's not an experience typical of all borders by any means.
  2. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Thanks @rider911, I really appreciate the comments. A big reason why I'm determined to finish this report is to try and repay the energy invested by inmates such as yourself when I was prepping my bike. Your advice was hugely valuable.
    OzCRU likes this.
  3. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Return to Sender

    You’d think that my drawn out experience on the thin, rough seam between Mauritania and Senegal would’ve extinguished any faith I had in humanity or any confidence I had in my own ability to interact with its members but after a solid sleep and the care I’d received from my kind, quiet and genuine host in Rosso I felt less upended than I had the previous evening, and though a little scratched and dented, my view of the general good nature of people was still intact.

    Places like this (where not all the civilisational creases have yet been ironed out) are rife with the corruption and opportunism which we in the West are so laughably sheltered from. Yet ordinary, decent people here are just as ordinary and decent as people the world over despite differences in culture, language, government, religion, geography and opportunity. Most just want to be left in peace to deal with their own worries, and lend a hand to those with bigger ones than theirs.

    Wanting to regain some independent control of my existence I decided it best to return to Nouakchott and plan for a second attempt (third if you count the first, non-starter of a day when I was hunting for tubes) from there. This was despite the instructions of banker Mohammed who had suggested the day before that I go to a hotel and await further instructions while he attempted to pull some strings on my behalf.

    I trusted Mohammed, but felt that I needed to be back in the saddle both literally and metaphorically, and returning to Nouakchott to try and arrange a visa seemed like something that I could wrap my hands and head around, rather than waiting for someone else to tell me my fate. I was also keen to move on from the tainted town of Rosso—not exactly idyllic at the best of times.

    When Daouda arrived at “huit heures” that morning I was already geared up and indicated my intent to leave Rosso. He understood, and we set off to the bank to pick up my bike and make some copies of my “fiche”, which I’d need to hand out at the many checkpoints along the road back. At reception, my attempts to pay for the room were swiftly blocked—someone had already taken care of the bill for my room and meal.

    At the Rosso branch of the National Bank of Mauritania Daouda fired up the ancient copier while I went out to the courtyard to load up my bike and chat to the guardian who had enjoyed a thankfully uneventful evening beside it. He flat-out refused a generous tip I offered him, but I used a trick I had learned earlier in the trip and insisted it was for his children—“pour les enfants”. Particularly the older gentlemen in this country are very honourable and won’t accept charity for themselves no matter how rough things get.

    After Daouda and I shared a heartfelt goodbye and an exchange of WhatsApp and Facebook details I got moving, stopping for fuel (hard to find), to deplete my bank account a little further (easy, at the ATM I’d been escorted to by the scammers the previous day) and to pick up something to eat (a delicious fresh baguette with sweet jam, from the corner shop where I’d been propositioned).

    At the petrol station which was near the border gate a young man with budding dreadlocks and white headphones resting fashionably over—rather than in—his ears approached me. I recognised him from the day before. He had been milling around but didn’t seem directly involved in any of the festivities. “Hello,” he said revealing his heavily accented but not terrible English.

    “I see you. Yesterday.”

    “I see you are very tired and they take too much money from you.”

    “I am sorry. They are bad people. I am sorry for you.”

    I smiled. I sighed. I thanked him and got on the road. I made my way back along that poor, potholed strip of bitumen masquerading as a lifeline between North and West Africa. Being back on the road felt good and better with every kilometre I put between myself and Rosso. I had no tyre problems that day and made good progress towards Nouakchott.

    When I stopped for a break I noticed I’d missed some calls from Mohammed in Nouakchott, but I was out of cell range so couldn’t return them. I rode on, keeping an eye on the phone and once it had a bit of signal I pulled over again to see what trouble I was in. Be I even got my gloves off my phone rang. It was Aïssata, one of the executive assistants from the bank. She spoke impeccable English and explained that I was to come directly to the bank and we would deal with everything from there once I’d had some lunch and gotten cleaned up.

    I arrived at the headquarters a couple of hours later and was met by Aïssata and Mohammed’s own EA and right-hand-woman Aïcha, a wonderfully maternal presence who made me feel like a son. Taken to the top floor I was plonked in a cool, quiet room of big leather sofas and given an espresso and a fresh orange juice. Lunch was being prepared and I was ordered to relax. I obeyed.

    Feeling very scruffy in the presence of these lovely and immaculately presented people I summoned what I could remember of my table manners and diligently finished my delicious, three course lunch with a waiter keeping close watch should I need anything.

    Calls to the Senegalese embassy were being made on my behalf and eventually I got word that “the director” would be arriving back at the office shortly and would see me. When Mohammed arrived I was given a light but thorough scolding for returning to Nouakchott. He had been on the verge of getting me into Senegal through some of his important government contacts there, and I had embarrassed him by wasting a favour. Having put me in my place, and with my sincere apology accepted, the slate was wiped clean and Mohammed insisted I join him for lunch. He never eats alone as a rule.

    We discussed many things about the world (he did most of the discussing). My world and his world could not have been more different but as always it wasn’t our differences that surprised me but our commonality. A reminder that we are all so much more the same than we are different. I told Mohammed about my challenges at the border. He wasn’t surprised and was sympathetic to my situation. I was humbled to be his guest, and to have received such support from him when I had absolutely nothing to offer him in return.

    I took a moment to thank him directly and sincerely for everything he had done for me, but he brushed me off. “David, do not worry. I am a businessman. You are not a businessman. You are a man who is trying to see the world.”

    This was touching, but also didn’t bode well for my business back in Australia.

    So after my second, even larger lunch (a feast home made at Mohammed’s estate, because he prefers the work of his personal chefs to those at the bank) good news came from the Senegalese embassy. Aïcha had succeeded in getting through to them and the ambassador was willing in good faith to stay after hours and issue a visa to this honoured guest of the bank.

    A driver took me to the embassy and after 15 minutes of jovial chat with the ambassador one malodorous Australian had a Senegalese visa in his passport. A mock argument with the driver ensued because I refused to allow him to pay the visa fee. I was reprimanded for insulting my patron Mohammed by refusing his generosity.

    We returned to the bank’s offices to collect my bike and a second driver followed me back to Auberge Samira. Mohammed had insisted that the driver escort me there and settle the account. He had never heard of the hotel and it took some convincing that it wasn’t a mistake or somewhere I was likely to get myself into more trouble. I gathered he was more familiar with the more upmarket hotels that most of his international guests typically stayed at.

    After explaining my (second) return to Samira to the chuckling staff I stumbled into my room from the previous night and collapsed on my familiar bed—absolutely reeling.

    Although there was no doubt that I’d found the previous couple of days tough I was also buoyed by the excitement and adventure that had come with them so the next morning I woke up strangely optimistic. The worst-case-scenario had manifested and although I wouldn’t want to experience the feelings ever again, the scenario itself had lost its power and had shown once again that in the long run you will be OK and someone will be there to help. My fears about what lay between there and Cape Town were (momentarily) subdued.

    It was morning, and time to set off for attempt number three at arriving in Senegal. This time I was adamant that I would go to Diama not Rosso, would leave myself plenty of time and would be in Saint-Louis, Senegal for dinner.

    I stopped along the way to get a bit more cash out but only succeeded at the fourth ATM. Petrol proved easier to find this time and I also got some fresh bread and a packet of La Vache Qui Rit for the journey, making sure to put the food in my backpack so I didn’t end up starved at the border again.

    About 10 km into the trip a silver sedan travelling in the opposite direction honked at me and as it started to u-turn I recognised the driver: it was Ibrahim. Oh man. He waved me down and I pulled over.

    As crazy as it seems I still wasn’t sure exactly what his role was in the drama of my previous few days. In retrospect it sticks out like dogs balls but my trusting nature still refused to let me think the worst. Why? I don’t know.

    As a few street urchins gathered around us with their rusty tins, begging for money, Ibrahim inquired as to whether I managed to get my visa. I said that I had, and that I was on my way to cross at Diama. He seemed surprised that I wasn’t going back to Rosso. I explained that I didn’t particularly enjoy having money extorted from me so I was going to pass this time.

    Ibrahim indicated that what had transpired was all news to him and he was furious with Mohammed and Mamadou for taking advantage. He said he often sent people to them for “help” and that €10–20 was normal to pay for this, but that what they did was wrong. He was going to call the chief of police and “fuck them”.

    He sent one of the urchins off to buy him a voucher to top up his airtime and then made a show of calling Mohammed and Mamadou in front of me to rant at them on the phone. Whether this was real or staged I didn’t know, but I suspected it was for show. The more I thought about it, the less I believed it.

    Ibrahim said he was very sorry and sent a second street urchin off to buy me a coke. After a few more minutes of bragging about his connections he asked if I was keen on getting involved in any cocaine trafficking. Apparently he did it regularly with friends from all over the world. He could hook me up with all his contacts in the military and police and I could make €40,000, easy. I declined politely and got back on the road to Diama, happy to write Ibrahim and his cast of characters out of my travel story for good.

    The trip down was once again interrupted by a flat. Luckily, I had patched the second tube the night before at Samira so I found a good spot (no shade) and took my time. I tried to mimic the Moroccan truck driver’s technique and although it took me about an hour it was pinch-free and held till Diama.

    So many nice people stopped to check on me while I was fixing it, making sure I had everything I needed including water. Many offered help or to take me into town. Slowly but surely the damage done to my faith in humanity was being restored, and the contrast between my “ordinary people” and those out to take advantage was being revealed. I was starting to recognise the wolves for the sheep.

    At one of the checkpoints I was (as is usual) asked what my intended destination was, and I answered truthfully that I intended to go to Diama. The official seemed a little pained and said I should wait because his commander would want to have a word with me. The commander emerged from his hut and came over to convince me that the road to Diama was closed, and that I needed to go to Rosso. He gave me the number of a man who would “help” me there. I thanked the wolfish commander and assured him I would obey his instructions.

    At subsequent checkpoints I confirmed with each official that I was on my way to Rosso, and that I had a contact there, Mohammed, who was going to assist me with “the formalities”, but at the turn-off to Diama I slipped off the main road quietly and stuck to my plan.

    It seemed that I wasn’t the only tourist to take this approach because as I made my way along the bumpy dirt road of dried mud that followed the river west I came across some other, interesting travellers. First, a Russian girl travelling alone on a brand new KLR. I had stopped to admire the view of the marshland beside the raised road along the river when she happened along, heading north from Senegal. Her English was not great, though better than my Russian, and her looks more than made up for her choice of bike. We chatted clumsily for a while and in fact discovered that we had a mutual Facebook friend—fellow rider Andrej who had given me some great Mauritanian tips when I was still in the planning phase of my trip.

    Next, I happened upon a group of four young English boys in a lowered golf GTi with a huge canoe on the roof. I had to look twice. The lads were stopped at the entrance to the national park in which the border crossing lies, arguing with two officials who were demanding a fee. One official appeared to be from immigration and the other was a park ranger of sorts. The English boys were convinced they were being held up and bribed by the officials, but I somehow knew enough French by that stage to be able to resolve it for everyone—drawing on my many years of experience in corporate workshop facilitation. The park fee was genuine and a receipt would be provided, and the immigration guy was actually offering to pay them so he could charge his phone in their car!

    A little further along, at the quiet border post itself I met a couple of Italian bikers from Florence, Filippo and Valerio. They were making their way to Dakar on their commuter bikes wearing nothing but hiking boots and leather jackets. Valerio’s bike had a barbecue grill hanging off the back of it and Filippo had two top-cases screwed to the sides of his bike with a bit of angle-iron. I liked what I saw.

    As we each got on with our exit and entry process we checked in with each other to make sure that everything was above board, but this time there was no shouting con-man to break up our party. This time I was well prepared with food, water, a pen and paper to note prices and officer names, currency conversion rates preloaded on my phone and—most importantly—this time I had a visa.

    All in all compared to my experience at Rosso the Diama border crossing could only be described as a very wholesome joke. There were some half-hearted attempts to get a little tip here or there (such as when the boom-gate operator let the Englishmen in their GTi sweat it out for about half an hour before he “noticed” that he needed to raise the boom for them) but no unnecessary currency was disseminated by me, at least.

    Frankly, the process was a breeze and I would go so far as to say I had fun. I chatted cheerily to some of the locals selling fruit and SIM cards while I waited for the officials to lazily stamp stamps or fill forms with officious diligence and questionable literacy.

    When it came time to change my money, the money-changing touts arrived to have their way with me. I whipped out my currency exchange app and demonstrated to them that I was no fool—I had been through Rosso twice and knew how the game worked.

    Playing them off against each other I negotiated a very favourable rate and as I handed over the last of my Ouguiya to the unwitting money changer who had accepted the deal my Mauritanian chapter drew to a final, welcome close.


    [​IMG]
    My executive suite

    [​IMG]
    My executive lunch

    [​IMG]
    Economic oversight - View from the top of one of the city's only skyscrapers

    [​IMG]
    It's official - My shiny Senegalese visa

    [​IMG]
    Mercedes Bents

    [​IMG]
    Sand market along the road

    [​IMG]
    N2 traffic


    A few GoPro clips of my ride out to Diama
  4. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

    Joined:
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    653
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    Great update, it is good to read that, despite all the corruption and scamming in Rosso, there a decent people there as well.

    And what a different story it is, about the crossing at the Diama border. I think for the rest of your life no border crossing is ever going to unnerve you anymore :-)
  5. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Welcome to Senegal

    In the years, months and days leading up my departure on this trip I spoke to many people about it and most of them reacted with a sort of flat, hollow "wow" revealing the uncertainty they felt about where exactly on a map of the globe the country of Africa was.

    I realised quickly that this trip was something I would be doing by myself, for myself and that I couldn't rely on others to motivate me to do it. Most people couldn't relate to it enough to be interested, let alone impressed.

    Of those that did show some interest, two distinct camps formed. Those who thought I was going on a sort-of exotic, intrepid and indulgent holiday and those who thought I was going to die. In reality, the experience so far had been somewhere in between. It was no holiday: it was much, much harder work than my day-to-day existence back at home. But I wasn't going to die. I was fairly sure of that.

    That sunny afternoon on the happy side of the Senegal River as I laughed out loud with a couple of Italian amateur comedians I was reminded that the slog was worth it and if I stopped for a moment, squinted and looked carefully from a particular angle I might observe that I was actually having fun.

    Filippo and Valerio (the latter taking great pleasure in explaining that the former's name was an amalgam of the Latin words for "love" and "horse") had, like me, earmarked Zebrabar in Saint-Louis as their final destination for that day and as they had no GPS I offered to act as local guide. A little gang was formed and I was appointed leader.

    Leaving the border along a freshly resurfaced and crisply lined bitumen road we found a country showing off a level of prosperity many times greater than its cousin, Mauritania, to the north (both were administered as a single entity under French colonial rule). The cars here seemed to be in slightly better shape (Renault sedans being the de facto national car here rather than the ironically iconic Mauritanian Mercs) and it seemed the people were in better condition, too.

    I saw people exercising alongside the roads lined with greenery—fit, young men preparing and planning to achieve their own international dreams of football stardom in Europe. There was colour and life everywhere. On first impression, despite still being strongly under the influence of Islam, Senegal gave me my very first taste of the rich, African vibrancy that I had come looking for.

    I was pleased to discover that the Italians weren't put off by a bit of dirt when my GPS suggested we abandon the well sign-posted route along the main road to the once bustling colonial port town of Saint-Louis and duck off along a more direct and presumably more expedient twin-track across the lowlands beside the river.

    With the afternoon marching on and dusk on its heels we took a chance and sped along the straight track towards the setting sun but it wasn't long before all three of us were brought to an abrupt stop in deep, black clay. The "road" had very quickly deteriorated into a marsh and what looked like a hard surface of dried mud concealed a cruel, natural booby trap.

    Situations like these are daunting when faced alone (or if on a small Honda road bike, judged by the size of Filippo's eyes) but in a group they're a mere inconvenience, a laugh and the basis of a good story to be told over the evening's beers (another luxury available in Senegal that I was keen to indulge in having gone without for weeks in more austere Morocco and Mauritania).

    It took us half an hour of team-work to extract the three bikes and get back to something hard enough to ride on, after which we sheepishly returned to the main road and followed the signs to Saint Louis.

    Unfortunately, all the excitement had proven too much for my front wheel and it was looking a bit flat on the bottom again. As darkness fell we limped into town, stopping every few kilometres so that I could inflate the tyre with my portable compressor by the light of Valerio's headlight and hoping we could make it all the way to Zebrabar (a little way out and on the other side of town) before I had to get the patch kit out.

    So far I wasn't proving to be much of a leader (more a liability) so Valerio took the reins and relied on his enquiries with locals to guide us to the location of that night's lodgings (and dinner). We stopped every few minutes down one dead-end or another for him to ask for directions in his traveller's French delivered with an accent so thick that I couldn't discern it from Italian.

    His results weren't much better than mine, the highlight being an incident which resulted in his front wheel making its way into a small lagoon after he narrowly avoided riding off the edge of a destroyed bridge. We lost some more time going down sandy, village lanes trying to find a way across the river delta that we knew lay between us and the satisfaction of a shower and a meal.

    We started to feel a little doubtful that we'd make it at all. Valerio laughed off one local's attempt to sell us directions for 10,000 CFA (about €15 or a month of his wages) at a time when I would've been much more suggestible (casting more doubt on Valerio's appointment as navigator-in-chief). Refusing the offer proved to be the right decision because we happened across a tin sign for Zebrabar just a few minutes later. With great excitement and alcoholic anticipation we putted our way along the little land-bridge across the water and into the compound on the other side—my front tyre by then totally flat and me having given up on keeping it inflated, rim be damned.

    Zebrabar was a wonderful, peaceful refuge in idyllic natural surrounds on the shores of a large lagoon. Run by a European ex-pat family (Swiss, I believe) it was built in 1996 and since then has offered many a weary over-lander and their just as weary motorbikes, trucks, cars and bicycles a chance to relax and recuperate before tackling their onward journeys—an opportunity I was going to make the most of.

    We had a couple of days before we needed to be in Dakar to get our temporary vehicle imports stamped so we took some time to fiddle with our bikes, scoff delicious Senegalese dinners and explore the historic if dilapidated town of Saint-Louis (which felt like a kind of West African take on what I imagined Havana to be).

    Over those few days our little trio formed its firm, male bonds through a deep and sacred exploration of the foundational topics of bikes, beers, boobs and bum-jokes.


    [​IMG]
    Extracted! - Enjoying a moment of admiration after successfully getting this thing out of the mud.

    [​IMG]
    Smuggling Mud - Clay caked under my fender. Took hours to get it it all out and there was a good 10 kg of it stuck under there.

    [​IMG]
    Zebrabar - A bar!

    [​IMG]
    My Hut - Home sweet home for a few nights.

    [​IMG]
    Curio Seller - I sat and chatted to this gentleman on the beach for a while and he shared his tea with me.

    [​IMG]
    Sea Dog

    [​IMG]
    Company Vehicle - This one belongs to the owner of Zebrabar.

    [​IMG]
    Classic - This DT is owned by the "maintenance man" at Zebrabar. He has been working here since construction and is an incredibly skilled welder, having fabricated all the steel framing for the buildings, including for the viewing platform (see later photograph). I helped him fix a leaky fork seal on his bike, and he fabricated a couple of steel luggage boxes for Valerio's crash bars.

    [​IMG]
    Chores

    [​IMG]
    More Chores - Making myself some rim tape for the front wheel from one of the old tubes.

    [​IMG]
    McGyvery

    [​IMG]
    Worked a treat - I still use this rim tape!

    [​IMG]
    Viewing Platform

    [​IMG]
    The View - This is the tranquil lagoon in the national park in which Zebrabar sits. It's clean, and quiet with lots of birdlife.

    [​IMG]
    Senegal River - View from the big bridge in Saint-Louis. These kids are floating along the river past fishing boats on sacks filled with empty plastic bottles.

    [​IMG]
    Street Scene, St-Louis

    [​IMG]
    Street Scene, St-Louis

    [​IMG]
    Street Scene, St-Louis

    [​IMG]
    Filippo - The horse-lover.

    [​IMG]
    Valerio - Our expert guide.

    [​IMG]
    Maintenance Day

    [​IMG]
    At Zebrabar I met English Ron and German Hannes, both on old GSes had met along their journeys south. Ron was doing a trip similar to mine, making his way all the way to Namibia on this beauty.

    [​IMG]
    Hannes was only going as far as Dakar and would then be going back to Europe. His ability to consume beer was matched only by his bike's ability to consume oil.


    A little clip of some riding around the flatlands north of Saint-Louis
  6. rider911

    rider911 Shortcut Navigator

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    The appreciation is reciprocated on behalf of everyone reading this report, we know its a big commitment regarding time and effort to put this together.
    I think you will be glad you did it for yourself when you reread it in a couple of years.

    Is South America on the radar? Im a bit keen on that myself.
    anydavenow, windplay and OzCRU like this.
  7. Endurofreak

    Endurofreak n00b

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    8
    Dave,
    I can only repeat what others have already said. It is a great pleasure to read your story, you are a fantastic storyteller!

    As an owner of a 990 I am particularly interested in how the bike did manage all the challenges so far.
    Would you choose the 990 a second time for such a trip?
    What do you think is most important when traveling with a 990?
    I am very interested in all your thoughts regarding the bike.

    Good luck
    Peter
  8. allroadtoine

    allroadtoine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    108
    Dave,

    do you need a "carnet du passage" to enter Senegal, or can you enter the ccountry with a temporary import as I understood from your story. And if so how long is your stay in Senegal valid with that temporary import.
    (no visum needed).

    Planning to do a trip next winter from Holland to West-Africa and only Senegal is indicated that a Carnet is required.

    Thnx for sharing your story !.

    Greetings Toine
  9. allroadtoine

    allroadtoine Been here awhile

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    I want to add at the aboe: we dutch do not need a visum for Senegal.
    So the question is: can I enter Senegal without a Carnet ??

    Greetings,

    Toine
  10. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

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    Don’t want to jump ahead of Dave replying but my experience on a GS entering Senegal 4 times was that you don’t need a carnet , you just get a Temporary Import Permit. At some entry points (eg from North or from Gambia) it may only be valid for a few days so needs to be extended in Dakar or Ziguinchor, at other entry points (eg from Mali or from Guinea-Bissau) they give a week or two. (My experience dates from 2017 and 2018).
  11. allroadtoine

    allroadtoine Been here awhile

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    Good to hear, thnx for the information.

    Greetings,

    Toine
  12. Bounty1

    Bounty1 Been here awhile

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    Another great instalment Dave!
    anydavenow likes this.
  13. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    I hope so! And thanks again for the support.

    It's not on the immediate radar. I think my most immediate long/medium-term trip will be a return to Namibia and possibly a bit of Angola.

    I am very keen to try and get a group out there but I'll do it alone again if that's not feasible. If solo I'll probably buy a bike in Namibia or South Africa and sell it again at the end of the trip. I don't think I can take the pain of two-way shipping cost for a single bike. It's only worth it if you can do 5+ bikes in a container as far as I can see.

    Once I've done that? A bit more of the Trans Euro Trail I reckon and then South America could be on the cards.

    It's funny what floats to the top and what doesn't—I'm probably missing out on something amazing by not prioritising South America but I think one has ride the waves as they come.
    BergDonk likes this.
  14. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Thanks Peter, really appreciate the comments and will try my best to keep up the momentum!
    I should really do a "wrap-up" on my prep post to address those questions now that you mention it. I'll make a note to do that and will let you know once I've put my thoughts down. It's something I've been meaning to do.
  15. anydavenow

    anydavenow Long timer

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    Yes Toine, as Simon says you don't need a Carnet de Passage for bikes to enter Senegal, regardless of the age of the bike. There's a lot of noise about this online because the situation for cars is very different and bikes sometimes get lumped into the discussion.

    There is a regulation in Senegal that covers vehicles older than a certain age and requires either a Carnet de Passage or a large fee for a Temporary Import Permit (TIP). This is to discourage old European vehicles being brought in for sale and "dumped" in Senegal (without much regard it seems for whether the purchasers of these vehicles would benefit from owning them or not).

    This rule doesn't apply to bikes at all, and a "standard" TIP is available.

    I forget the exact cost (Simon may remember), but as he said you get generally about 4 days at the border (at the discretion of the customs officer) via a temporary temporary import permit and then need to go to an official customs office in a major city to have the TIP validated and extended to the full allowable term, which is I think 15 days. I believe you can then extend it by another 15 days if you wish. I may have some notes about this which I'll check when I catch up to posting about Dakar. The customs officers there were pretty entertaining.

    The visa issue seems to be unique to Australian and New Zealand citizens, so someone resembling a diplomat from one of those two countries must've farted in the lift at the Senegalese embassy in Japan at some point to cause this targeted retaliation.
    squadraquota and BergDonk like this.
  16. felixblack1

    felixblack1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    298
    Location:
    Australia, Sunshine Coast
    I really appreciate you taking the time to post this incredible journey Dave. I'm thoroughly enjoying your writing style. Thank you
    anydavenow likes this.
  17. allroadtoine

    allroadtoine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    108
    Dave,

    thanks for your response, start planning for next winter (when everything calmed down a bit).
    Save travels,

    Greetings

    Toine
    anydavenow likes this.
  18. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,536
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Keep up the reports! We need some quarantine entertainment these days
    anydavenow likes this.
  19. GuyM76

    GuyM76 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    London, UK
    Just read the last month's updates. What an entertaining read again.
    The whole border scenario was so well described, I could feel your anxiety and shame at being taken in. Reminded me of when I got conned out of all my traveller's cheques in 1996 within two days of arrival in Nairobi by a couple of dirty/fake cops.

    Kudos to the Italians on those bikes!

    Looking forward to more when you can.
    anydavenow likes this.
  20. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Hampshire, England
    What GuyM76 said!
    anydavenow likes this.