tunis to cape town





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  1. #1
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    Question tunis to cape town

    friends of mine are planning to drive from Worcester(eng) to Cape town sept 2010,they are planning on driving via Italy and Sicily to Tunis to start their trip,It is here That I plan to join them by shipping my Landy up to north Africa .(any body ever shipped a vehicle would appreciate info)We plan to cross the Sahara north to south to agadez(the survey team from london to cape town rally have just done the same route but they plan to continue down the west coast to cape town and we want to cross over to uganda,ruwanda tanzania zambia etc.Has anybody out there any experience on Chad,C.A.R. or D.r.C we know they all have problems and it can change daily but if anybody has info it would be appreciated.We do want to go the usual Egypt route or the west Africa route. The guys from England will be driving a Disco 2, and a landy light weight and then my td 5.Await you comments.

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    Les,

    it is my quite-well-researched understanding that this route isn't do-able. You just can't get across from west to east. You take your choice much further north.......once you set off down the west you stay west, because the there is no way past Chad/ CAR/ DRC. Furthermore, I don't think the Algerians are allowing anyone to drive down to Tamanrasset/ Hoggar Mountains or the Tassili/ Tenere route to the east of that. In fact, they just aren't letting anyone drive down into southern Algeria as far as I know.

    Even if they made an exception for a rally, they aren't letting the general public down there...........and even if they were, this is the area of the world where you are probably most likely to be kidnapped by the Touaregs and handed over to al Quaida. I am fairly confident in saying that your only option for crossing the Sahara to the West of Libya is using the Route du Mauritanie, following the west coast down through Western Sahara and Mauritania. You then have to be careful in Mali. Al Quaida kidnapped some western travellers between Noudibhou and Nouackchott in Mauritania a couple of months ago, but this is outside their normal range.

    I strongly urge you to do some serious research quickly, including putting your plans to the various Saharan countries' embassies....and to join and spend a good few hours here , particularly on the Sahara forum and the sub-Sahara forum. The latest info is usually here.

    The more commonly driven alternative, particularly for those not in UK registered vehicles, is down through Egypt/ Sudan/ Ethiopia.

    Les, this sounds quite a rushed project. The route isn't do-able...........I think you all need to sit down and have a good strategic chat, and allocate some serious research to each team member. I'll be happy to share what I know, and if you want me to chat by 'phone with your friends just drop me a pm for my number.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2010/01/30 at 04:10 PM.
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    Hi Mike go to www.londoncapetownrally.com and you,ll see the survey team did it in a single vehicle(land rover) and came down Algeria with out a single problem,and this was 2 weeks ago.

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    Les,

    they may,as I said, have allowed this one as it is part of such a big event.......but the Algerians have not been allowing anyone along that route for a while. Even if they did, that goes through some of the most dangerous terrorist territory in the world.

    Tom Sheppard, a big friend of Algeria and famous for writing about it's interior (author of "Vehicle Dependant Expedition Guide" amongst many others), has been turned down continually with a series of visa applications to visit this area (Central/ Southern Algeria) over the last 3 years. I certainly wouldn't bet on being allowed to do it.......and, I would pack a few extra sandwiches to allow for a long stay with al Quaida if you somehow do get permission.

    Ask them. The Algerian embassies are the ones to give you the definitive answer.....beware, they often just don't bother answering. You might have to show up at the embassy in person, perpared to waits around for hours or days to get a response.

    The CAR is closed, at least, travel outside Bangui (which operates almost as a seperate state, with tight border controls) is not possible. CAR is dangerously unstable, and engaged in a low level civil war. The Chad/ Sudan border is closed. Northern DRC is closed whilst they have one of the nastiest little wars on the planet.

    Post your proposed route on the HUBB, that I linked to yesterday, and see what they have to say.There are regular postings on there from guys who are actually out there in the various countries, trying to do whatever routes are possible.

    Whatever you do, plan to have an alternative. I'll stake quite a bit of money on you ending up doing the Mauritanian route across the Sahara, then coming down through Angola.......or else going Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya.

    I haven't seen an overlander successfully complete your proposed route for years.

    Mike
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  5. #5
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    I agree with everything Mike is saying. I have been preparing, reading, researching and planning a trans Africa trip for about 2 years now.

    Your simplest route is Actually Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya etc. Lybia can be an issue and it is unclear weather you need to take a guide or not. If you do, it's $100 a day and you need to be a minimum of 5 people. Another problem being that nasty 800% Carnet for Egypt because they simply do not like the English.... You can also ship to Port Sudan or drive via the UAE and get a ferry. Be aware that you are not allowed to travel as unmarried couples in the UAE.

    The cheapest route would be the western side. It's a shorter trip with less to see and you kinda need to be competent in French to do that on short notice.

    You can cross from east to west and vice versa on the Libya line excluding Algeria, or the Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique line, but no where int he middle. There was a report of someone who managed to cross in the DRC on a motorbike, but he had to put the bike on a train for 7 days.

    Algeria... Simply no... Those borders are closed, even to camels!

    You are really not the first person to want to take the route you propose. I recon about 5 or 6 people ask the same questions on the Hubb every week. They all get the same answer! There are 2 recognised routes to cross Africa. Eastern route, or western route.

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    I think it only fair to say publicly that I do occasionally fall behind with my research! Both the Tanezrouft and Hoggar routes across Algeria have seen some successful crossings recently.

    However, this is still dangerous stuff. Al Quaida of the Islamic Mahgeb is active in Algeria, Niger and Mali, aided by Touaregs who sell hostages to them. There are at least 6 western hostages currently being held in the area. AQIM even captured a couple of Frenchmen from the Mauritanian coast a couple of months ago, on the main highway, and just a few miles from an army checkpoint.

    The Algerian authorities do often turn down visa applications for travelling these routes, and south of Algeria lies a really nasty little corrupt police-state, Niger, which really doesn't welcome travellers.

    I stick by what I said about crossing over from West to East. Dawie sums this up perfectly. You either do it at the north coast of Libya, or you do it south of the DRC. No other way is possible.

    -

    Having said all that...........get the planning right, have enough money, and this will be a fantastic adventure. Personally (and I might be biased because I went that way last time), I would favour the western route. I would do my best to get to southern Mali......Dogon country and the area around Djenne is amongst the most fascinating areas on the whole continent. Cameroon is fabulous, and could be explored for months. Angola sounds wonderful. The thing you miss out on down the west is animals. There are no game parks until you get to Zambia, Namibia and Botswana, and the sad fact is that you don't see animals outside game parks in Africa (other than in Eastern and Southern Africa).

    Part of your planning should include allowing for changing route at the last minute, or even mid-journey. It was only a week before we set off that the Hoggar route shut, and we had to divert to the Mauritanian route. You must, must learn some French.....and just a few words of Arabic will help too.

    Have fun preparing, point your English friends in the direction of a little more research, and don't forget to keep us all up-to-date.

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    once again thanks Mike ,this time for the more positive view,Ihave been in touchwith agence tanezrouft about a guide 50 euros per day in one of our vehicles(split between 3 is really not bad)Ireceived 3 replys in 2 days Iwish we could have that sort of service in southern africa!!!! Apparently at the moment in NIGER THERE is an expensive convoy system at the moment but they hope it will soon finish as they are decommisioning the rebels around arlit.Iknow that could all change btween now and sept so plans always have to be flexible. Freeflyd Icouldnt plan anything that far in advance I would have changed my mind too many times.(perhaps explains why I've had 37 addresses and 4 wives) but seriously I won't be rash and the people on the ground say an area is too risky I won't go

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    Les,

    PM sent, but just in case...........

    I hope you have a Plan B in place, as there appears to be a coup underway in Niger at the moment. The first thing that usually happens with a coup is that all the borders are closed. This thoroughly nasty little country just got worse.

    Mike
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    The curfew has now been lifted and the borders re-opened it seems it has passed off reasonably peacefully,pity the army in a Southern African country hadn't done something similar when a certain president started changing the constitution!!!!.Plan A still on track route almost decided on ,visas know what to get,just finalising leaving date.We will be 6 people in 4 landies,A disco,TD5 and 2 lightweights.

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    ........and just for the record, you are still planning the first west-east crossing of the DRC for as long as I can remember? Through Kivu province, where the interahamwe rebels from Rwanda are still active, and where 4 national armies are operating.

    I hope you understand the fuel situation in DRC. They don't have petrol stations (well, maybe Kinshasa and Kisangani will have)........they set up tables on the side of the road, and sell the fuel in old coke bottles. You never see more than half a dozen bottles on a table.

    I urge you to keep an open mind about your proposed route, and ask carefully about it in Kinshasa. Be prepared to head to Angola instead.

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    [QUOTE=MikeAG;437131]........and just for the record, you are still planning the first west-east crossing of the DRC for as long as I can remember? Through Kivu province, where the interahamwe rebels from Rwanda are still active, and where 4 national armies are operating.

    I hope you understand the fuel situation in DRC. They don't have petrol stations (well, maybe Kinshasa and Kisangani will have)........they set up tables on the side of the road, and sell the fuel in old coke bottles. You never see more than half a dozen bottles on a table.

    I urge you to keep an open mind about your proposed route, and ask carefully about it in Kinshasa. Be prepared to head to Angola instead.

    All taken on board Mike,will not take risks plan B is always the southern route and plan C Angola..LES

  12. #12
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    Les,

    It's essential that you take a shortwave radio with and listen religiously to the BBC's African Service every evening. By doing that, we managed to avoid driving into the Rwandan genocide, among other things. Also keep tabs on www.allafrica.com for daily updated (with a 12 to 24 hour lag) news from every single African country.

    At the moment, the situation in Niger is looking calm, but I chat almost daily with two exiles from there, and they say they are not too sure it won't all fall apart again.

    Tony
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    many thanks Tony for the news site getting accurate information from people in the area is so important there is so much misleading info here on various forums we're not trying to be fool hardy or reckless but sometimes you want to get out of your comfort zone and see life away from tourist routes.LES

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    I'd like to place on record that it is my opinion that you are gambling with your life... Without sugarcoating it and being polite....

    I'm a skydiving instructor and very experienced BASE jumper and Overlander, so for me to say something like that does mean something.

    I see you are active on the Hubb as well. Not taking anything away from Mike or Tony, but the Hubb is full of subscribers that are currently on the road, have just finished journeys and are planning journeys. Much more so than this forum and much more current info.

    My advice would be to post all the questions you have posted here on the Sahara Travel Forum as well and see what answers you get.

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    Good advice from Dawie, but do remember that the HUBB is motorcycle based. They are possibly less likely to become victims of kidnapping, (because of the sheer difficulty of catching someone on a bike, and because terrorists prefer 4x4s)*. They can also get through routes that cars can't and can put their machines on trains and ferries much more easily. Just because a bike may have done it doesn't mean a car can.

    Mike

    * the two French guys kidnapped in Mauritania late last year were on motorbikes, so they aren't immune to the threat.
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2010/03/19 at 11:28 AM.
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  16. #16
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    OT but Mike, I booked the last week of May in Mana to make sure we have space. They said we can ad another vehicle to the existing booking without any issue...

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    Les,

    have you seen this? Everything south of Tamanrasset is closed to tourists, apparently. Djanet is also inaccessible. That makes an Algeria/ Niger route impossible.

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    cheers Mike, it all seems a little conflicting at the moment,we were going with a guide anyway and from this report somebody had got through to Niger with a guide.The most alarming thing is something that has always disturbed me and that is giving prior notice to an agence and so people(aqim.bandits etc)know exactly when and where you'll be!!!! and if its true they have caught somebody selling on this information then that is indeed serious!!! We were using Agence Tanezrouft the one most recommendedon the HUBB, so will be watching developements.Otherwise plans coming along Aug 10th leaving date from U.K and my starting date looks like aug 20th Tunis.Regarding DRC, Kinshasa down to Zambia looks like being the route then onto Shiwa Ngandu,but will see how things play out,at the moment there's trouble in most places north of Zambia and as for the new price structure in Zim well we see about that too,could end up having a month in Zam.

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    I still think you guys are more crazy than brave.... However...

    I saw a new travel magazine on the shelves called: Travel Africa. www.travelafricamag.com. It is published in the UK, so perhaps it would be easy to get a copy there. The winter 09/10 edition has a really nice feature on travelling Algeria on Page 94.

    Perhaps that may help your planning.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by landy les View Post
    Regarding DRC, Kinshasa down to Zambia looks like being the route then onto Shiwa Ngandu,
    as for the new price structure in Zim well we see about that too,could end up having a month in Zam.
    Well, that sounds a whole lot more sensible through DRC, Les. I have to say that I despaired of any attempt at a crossing of Kivu, and 3 weeks on the HUBB didn't turn up anyone who thought it could be done. I'm sure you will still have plenty of fun in southern DRC.

    Have a plan B for the Sahara, won't you. It sounds like they shut the Algeria/ Niger border area to tourists with about 3 days notice, and that Southern Algeria/ Mali/ Niger border area is a very very dangerous place. I hope it goes well for you, but personally I would have a Mauritanian visa in my passport before I set out.

    Mike
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