West Africa (parts of) tips
Dec 5, 2012 4:19 AM
West Africa (parts of) tipsA few useful info on my travels through the part of West Africa back in January/February 2012. Travelled before the presidential election in Senegal, coup in GB and separation troubles in Mali.
Some general points:
Bus/shared taxi rides prices are fixed and controlled by syndicates, but syndicates have no responsibility over luggage fees and these sometimes are out of control. Some drivers/touts will attempt to charge as much as they can get away with. I would say pay maybe up to 25% of the ticket cost and argue if asked for more. Ask locals how much they paid if unsure and take it from there.
People are lovely, locals in poorer countries are particularly nice. Speaking French really helps and Portuguese is a must off beaten track in Guinea-Bissau. Independent travellers are scarce, excluding Senegal. Lots of package tourists in Senegal. Locals are filling the void and it was a great experience travelling with them. In some places not frequented by tourists people get stunned on a sight of a person of white skin.
Always ask for permission before taking photos of a person, Senegal and Mali are more relaxed. You so don’t want to risk taking pics of anything that might provoke questions of uniformed officials, military infrastructure in particular. Not sure that would be an offence to put you into serious trouble as everything seems to be possible to be corrected with a ‘donation’ all over W Africa. It’s a good idea to offer to share pics taken of a person via email in case they have access to the net, and if they have email account, of course.
Mosquito repellent a must south of Dakar: insecticide great, incense burning coils even better!
Torch is essential.
Every postcard I sent arrived to its destination - despite posting them from some really obscure places like hole in the wall at the post office at Kankan, Guinea.
Rough Guide to West Africa very accurate despite being published long time ago.
Hope someone will find these tips useful!
Links to tips on:
Mali (Bamako, Sikasso and Segou only)
(3 star Hotel)
From US$73.19 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$80.66 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$230.05 per night