Africa Branch FAQ
Replies: 69 - Last Post: May 17, 2013 7:35 PM Last Post By: chefhagan
Sep 23, 2006 5:21 AM
45And once I'm back from my trip?
Anyone who went on a safari should share his/her experience with us and submit a review in the Safari Operators Database. The more reviews there are, the more useful it will be for everyone researching an Africa trip.
It will also help the regulars to focus on other topics instead of answering the eternal "Has anyone experience with company X..." question over and over again.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Nov 14, 2006 1:48 PM
46Can I get my visa for XXX in Cairo?
(All visas obtained 11/2006)
Ethiopia Visa - The most laid back embassy. Price was $30 for a 3 month multi-entry visa. Took 24 hours to process.
Eritrea / Eritrean Visa - Is meant to take a few hours but we arrived late in the afternoon. Gave it in, paid 260 Egyptian Pounds ($50 ish), received it the next day. Single entry, 1 month visa. Must enter country within 3 months.
Djibouti Visa - Need letter of recommendation from your own embassy. Cost 100 Egyptian Pounds ($20 ish). Single entry, 2 months validity. 24 hours to process.
Sudan Visa - Need letter of recommendation, 2 photos, $100. Gave passport in the morning, received visa at 2pm the same day.
(All this information is for a UK citizen).
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Dec 9, 2006 8:27 AM
47Is there and ATM in...?
Visa ATM locations
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Dec 20, 2006 7:11 AM
48Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose - Malawi Visa for Swiss Nationals (and probably others who need ADVANCE visas to Malawi)
Yet another new procedure (November 2006)
Responsible for applications from Switzerland is (no change):
Embassy of the Republic of Malawi
46, Avenue Herrmann Debroux
Tel: 00 32 2 231 09 80
Fax: 00 32 2 231 10 66
1. Download and complete the Visa form (no change)
From here it's all new:
2. Pay visa fees:
Single Entry 70 Euro, Transit (1 day) 50 Euro, Multiple Entry 110 Euro
3. Send by registered mail to above address
I'll let you know if this changes again...
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jan 21, 2007 10:49 AM
49Old notes in Ethiopia
If any-one finds themselves in the predicament That I was in Today, this piece of info will be V useful
Should you find yourself in Ethiopia with a very old(mine was 1981) $100 or anyother old note, there is only one place in the whole country where it can be changed
This is the National bank of Ethipoia Head office in Addis, it is a large circular building on the corner of Churchill Avenue and Sudan Streeet, Forex is on the second floor.
Hopefully this should save some poor soul trapsing around 14 of Addis' banks in every corner of the city as I have spent the morning doing.
Jan 24, 2007 5:44 PM
Apr 15, 2007 7:44 AM
51Cape Agulhas - Cape Point / Indian Ocean - Atlantic ocean / Where do the two oceans meet?
Lots of inaccuracies are to be found about the above. Even in the LP guidebooks ;-)
Geographically the two oceans meet at the meridian of Cape Agulhas.
Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point on the African continent. It's rather quiet and off the beaten track and has a lighthouse which is open to visitors. Two kilometres down a dusty track you will find the beacon marking th southernmost point and a little sign in front of it pointing out the two oceans.
Cape Point is the south-westernmost point on the African continent, has scenic cliffs, a nature reserve and two lighthouses, is one of South Africas top tourist destinations and also the home to troops of nasty baboons.
The two oceans:
The coast of the Indian Ocean is dominated by the warm Agulhas current. The Atlantic Coast is dominated by the cold Benguela current. Although False Bay tends to be a few degrees warmer than the Atlantic Coast this is not due to the Agulhas current but rather to the sheltered and relatively shallow nature of False Bay. The Agulhas Current gradually detaches from the coast somewhere along the South Coast between the Wild Coast and Cape Agulhas to mix with the Benguela and to form the Agulhas Return Current travelling eastwards across the Indian Ocean. Whilst the Benguela Current in general moves north along the Atlantic Coast its waters can also influence the coast east of Cape Agulhas most notably in winter during the Sardine Run.
This means the waters of the two oceans meet somewhere on a quite flexible line in an area starting off the Wildcoast and reaching as far as 1000km SW of Cape Point.
Cape Point being the point where the two oceans meet is a well nursed misconception.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Edited by: Zabba
Apr 30, 2007 7:59 PM
52What do I need to know about taking a tour or hiring a car/driver/guide?
This is about Morocco but could apply to any destination I guess. I was asked to post it here.
"If you pay peanuts you get monkeys"
I know I am leaving myself wide open to all sorts of comments here!!
I don't want to offend anyone and I am not getting at anyone in particular. But I just wanted to point a few things out, about the costs involved in taking a 4x4 tour or hiring a car with guide/driver.
I am getting just a little tired of reading posts with statements such as : "Oooh, it was sooo expensive, the driver wanted 100 euros a day!!!" etc, as if all this money went straight into the driver's pocket!
I know Morocco is perceived as a budget destination: after all, it's Africa, right? But, before making judgements such as these, please just think a little.
Take for example a trip from Marrakech to the desert.
With the distances involved - many tourists want to go via the piste or make detours from the route, (and why not...) the fuel can easily add up to 60 euros a day.
Then there are hotel and food expenses for your driver. OK, so sometimes he gets lucky and gets to sleep on the floor (or even in a bed) for nothing. But sometimes he doesn't. And he has to eat. Often he has to eat where you do, which might be quite expensive for him.
Then there are the nights before and after your trip, if he is not based in Marrakech. He has to get there the day before, pay the fuel, stay overnight, eat...to meet you at your mid range or exclusive riad bright and early the next morning.
There is the wear and tear on the car: New tyres. Stones scratching the paintwork, the windscreen, breaking the headlights. Shock absorbers. And insurance. Some of the roads are very rough and they take their toll on cars, even 4x4s, and parts are expensive! Even in Morocco.
The driving is tiring too. Sometimes your driver will be working 12 hour days.
And that is for drivers who are lucky and own their own cars.
Many of the drivers you encouter will work for an agency. If they are good, and the agency is doing well, they might earn 150 euros a month. That is, a MONTH. The average family's expenses will be around 200euros a month.
So how do they manage it? Well they will be sharing their small apartment with another family, maybe a brother. And if he is lucky, and has work, he can expect to earn 5 euros a day for a 6 day week.
These people are struggling to feed their families while you are on your holiday.
So you can't afford it? That's fair enough. I wouldn't be able to afford it either, I always go by bus when I travel. But don't think you are in some way being ripped off.
Even those who are doing well can only dream about holidays like the one you are having. Most will never get the opportunity to travel outside their country.
Many people in Morocco are highly intelligent, adaptable, ambitious, motivated, inventive. The need just a little chance to drag their lives out of the gutter. For increasing numbers of them, tourism has offered them that chance.
This is the positive side of tourism! So please don't knock it!
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 18, 2007 10:34 AM
53How much can I expect to pay when I'm travelling West Africa?
To give you an rough idéa of how much it cost to travel in West Africa. Here's how we've choosen to distribute our nights:
32 Nights spent with family and friends.
4 Nights spent on different means of transportation. (Boat, train, mini-van and bus.)
6 Nights spent on the street. (When we've arrived in the middle of the night and havn't been bothered with searching for a guesthouse.)
22 Nights spent for less than 5$ (Mostly in Guinea thanks to the present inflation, but also some cheapies in Ghana.)
68 Nights from 5$ to 7,5$.
82 Nights from 7,5$ to 10$.
23 Nights from 10$ to 17$. (Of which the lion's share have been spent in Senegal.)
1 Night for 25$ (Our only room with air-con and TV. It's impossible to find anything cheaper in Abuja, Nigeria's capital.)
Among the accomodation that we've paid for, there's been a couple of places with extremely good value for money. If you're visiting the region it's well worth to remember these places. Keep in mind that there is no fixed price for accomodation in Africa. Most of the following places have had a small (or big) change to the inital price quoted by the hotel staff.
Location, Cleanliness, Friendliness, Size, Atmosphere, View and Accesories (like fan, hot water, towels, mosquito-net, breakfast, attached toilet, access to swimming pool aso.), all gets balanced against the price, and then we estimate the value for money.
1 Fort Gross Friedrishburg, Prince's town. Ghana. 5,5$
2 Auberge Seidy II, Dalaba. Guinea. 4,5$
3 Hand in hand guesthouse, Nkoranza. Ghana. 8,8$
4 Hotel le Galeon, Lomé. Togo. 7,4$
5 Centre d'Acceuil Diocesan, Kankan. Guinea. 4,5$
6 Chez Titi, Ila Bubaque. Guinea-Bissau. 7,4$
7 Auberge de Kribi, Kribi. Cameroon. 6,5$
The typical West African (shoestring) hotel does not give you good value for money. They're dirty, have bad service, no running water and sporadic electricity. Then there's also a few places taking the word "dungeon" to new heights.
Offering a rotting matress on a dirty floor in a cramped room with a broken door, a squalid shower/latrine, no water, no electricity, unfriendly staff and a bad location in a dangerous neighbourhood. And this they have the courage to charge money for. We only stay in these places when there's no other option in town. Starting with the worst:
1 Hotel Moustage, Niamey. Niger. 13,9$/9,3$
2 Foundation Charles du Four, Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso. 9,3$
3 Mohammed's house (guide), Iferouane. Niger. 7,4$
4 Hotel Chinguetti, Nouadhibou. Mauritania. 12,6$
5 Hotel de Achive, Calabar. Nigeria. 5,9$
6 Auberge Bafana Bafana, Kpalimé. Togo. 6,5$
7Auberge Papillon, Mount Kloto. Togo. 5,6$
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 23, 2007 9:22 AM
54All about Somaliland:
Here I will try to put some info about Somaliland. I asked here some time ago, but I do not get so much answers at all. LP Africa on shoestring and the last Ethiopia and Eritrea guidebook have only limited info.
Somaliland is quasi independent country. It is an area of formal British Somalia. When Brits left this former colony was shortly independent and then decided to join former Italian Somalia. Some 15 years ago after to many years ago of civil war the guys in the North decided that it will be better to be independent again. Somaliland now looks like normal independent country – own president, elections, own currency, army, police, mobile phone operators, airways, but no single country recognized them officially. The country on the west known as Somalia is now in reality divided in to three “independent” countries. In the north Somaliland, in south Somalia and between on the tip of The Horn Puttland. Somalia is now dangerous to travel in. Somaliland is quite OK. Puttland somewhere in between.
Each foreigner needs visa (Somali, Etiopean and Djibutians are not foreigners, but the rest of us are). Easiest place to get visa is in Ethiopia. The new LP Ethiopia and Eritrea shows the location of the embassy in Addis correctly. Ask around as the doors are closed and there is no sign at all. You need 1 photo and 350 birr. (30 EUR). Its all ready in 15 minutes. There is no way to get visa at the border. (Well I meet one lady from Norway that went through the border without visa but with bribe of 150 USD). For peoples that fly in Hargeshia and stay in the best hotel near the airport is possible to get visa through the hotel, but all it together cost much more then one day stop in Addis for visa. I suppose that 90% of all visitors get the visa in Addis. There should be (according Somaliland government web some other embassies (London), but ADD is most reliable). On the border you will be stamped out from Ethiopia so to go back you need multi-entry visa for Ethiopia. Not many tourists / visitors – in May I had visa No. 201.
Getting to Somaliland:
Plane: You can fly from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Puttland, Somalia. Based on the fact that in Djibouti is not embassy mostly all people will fly from Ethiopia. Flights from Addis with Ethiopian Airways (usually fully booked for 2 weeks or more) and Daallao. Price 180 – 200 USD OW, 230 – 280 USD RT. No additional taxes. If you fly in, then on the airport in Hargeshia you pay 50 USD tax on arrival. (in form of changing 100 USD cash while you will get only 50 USD worth of Shillings). Flights with Daallao are extremely unreliable. I bought ticket from Hargeshia to Addis Ababa. Few hours before flight I get call from the airways. They told me, that they decided that it will be for them more profitable to fly to Mogadishu rather then to Addis and that I can choose to either fly with them to Mogadishu (that I refused), or to wait till they will fly to ADD, that can take some 5 to 10 days because they still do not know when they will fly.
Bus/ car: From Ethiopia: There is only one border crossing in Wajalee near Jijiga. There are minibuses around hourly to Wajalee from Jijiga. Price 10 Birr. There the minibus is unbelievable crowded, so it is better to buy 2 tickets. To Jijiga you can fly from Addis Ababa, but flights are usually full for 2 weeks. Price 175 USD OW. Attention: as the runway is not paved there are no flights if it will rain (even for 2 hours only) in previous 1 or 2 days (as it happened to me). There is always possibility to fly to Dire Dawa as there are up to 3 flights a day. Dire Dawa to Harar is 1 hour and minibuses go every 5 minutes. The road from Harar to Jijiga is in process of upgrade. Price 20 birr, up to 15 smaller buses a day. From the border in Wajalee to Hargeshia there is no bus. The only way is take shared taxi. Price is question – some 250 Birr for whole car and they fill up to 8 persons in a car. On the return to get one full seat I paid 20 USD after long bargaining. Duration 3 hours. In Hargeshia is not single bus station. Cars to different locations leave from different places. To Wajalee it is from small square on small road that starts opposite Daallao Airways. More traffic mornings. The first 10 km from the border road is so bad that almost all cars go in fields. Our car get stuck in mud and on the end I hitched another car (after 1 hour of waiting). Then the rest is good tar road. Between Jijiga and Hargeshia you will go through 10 checkpoints. Now there is generally more traffic on all these roads and I was able to do Hargeshia – Jijiga – Harar – Dire Dawa by minibuses and still the same day I reached Addis by plane (115 USD)
There are shared taxi and busses to Djibouti from Hargeshia. First 150 km is good tar road, then its much worse. It took 2 days. It seems that police will again ask you to take gunmen.
There is no Djibouti embassy in Hargeshia, so you need to have visa in advance. You can get it in Addis Abeba (usually till next day), from consulate in Dire Dawa (30 EUR in 1 hour) or from any embassy of France in the world (then its up to 75 EUR and they ask for hotel booking).
Somaliland Shiling. 1 USD = 6500 Sch, 1 EUR = 8000 Sch. The highest banknote is 500, so for 100 EUR you get 1600 banknotes. USD are used often and you can change freely in and out on the street – there are hundreds of moneychangers with small tables on the streets. Moneychangers see more often USD. Transport – to and from Ethiopia by road can be paid in Birr too.
Hotel – I spend 1,5 EUR shared bathroom, otherwise better hotels are 10 to 20 USD. Food – surprisingly good – prices more around 3-5 USD. No alcohol at all.
Well, good question. No fighting, no mess as in Somalia. Its rather “stable” 3th world country. But some banditry exists. Based on that authorities decided that every tourist that is going out from Hargeshia should rent from police one gunmen with Kalashnikov. Price is 10 to 30 USD a gunmen. I had on one checkpoint unbelievable conversation. Police: "Sir, you need gunman. Somaliland is really safe country, but our president decided that just in case any visitor should have own gunmen on own cost". Me: "No, I would like to go alone; I do not like idea of gunman with me at all." Police: "You need to have one. BTW, where are you from?" Me: "From Czech Republic". Police: "Czech Republic? Great, Pavel Baros is playing excellent football. You are from Czech Republic as Baros, so you will get special treatment – you will get TWO gunmen for price of one".It seems that in reality situation is rather stable. In the last years there was usually one attack a year on car with foreigners a year. For last 2 years are generally OK.
Well, none. Or nearly none.
Hargeshia: the only real town. Still only 3 streets are paved, when is raining then on the streets is up to 15 cm water. Sights: none (well on the main street is one Somali MIG as memorial. Because the town was nearly fully bombed out some 20 years ago by Somalia so all buildings are new.
Berbera: the only sight is amazing sea and beach – white sand. Hotel Le Mansur is just on the beach. 15 USD night. City have rather depressing feel.
+Laas Gaal (Lees Geel):+Amazing prehistoric rock paintings. Its day trip from Hargeshia. But it’s expensive. Car with driver plus gunmen (actually police prefer if in car will be 2) and preferably guide will be around 100 EUR. By taxi you can not go the last 3 km, so it is better to rent 4WD. In Hargeshia near Daallao airways is car dealership that can rent a 4WD. It looks like mixture of rock paintings from Namibia and Sigiria in Sri Lanka.
+Puttland:+Amazing beaches, but otherwise mess. It's another quasi independent country, but in this case definitely less safe. The safest way there is Daallao flight 105 USD oneway, but they cancel sometimes all flight day by day for two weeks.You need another visa (the Somaliland or Somali visa is not valid there) on the airport 100 USD (you can bargain it down to 60.) In the last years Puttland is partially occupying two Somaliland’s provinces.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Aug 15, 2007 8:52 PM
55What can you recommend for someone going to live in Africa?
If you're going to live rather than travel though) in most countries in africa complete with epileptic power supplies (everywhere except SA & Botswana, Namibia?) a camping lantern with rechargeable battery can be a godsend if you're used to "light on demand". Look for a sturdy one with at least an hours battery life (so fluorescent based). Ironically you can but decent ones in SA/Bw/Nb just where you don't really need them...)
This occured to me whilst fixing the generator (the radiator had worked loose) in the dark few nights ago. Cable ties are very handy too....
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jan 4, 2008 8:26 PM
56TIPS FOR GETTING TO THE FESTIVAL AU DESERT NEAR TIMBUKTU, MALI & SOME DOGON STUFF
We did the Festival au Desert in Mali in 2007. We originally planned to do it independently, but ended up going with an organised tour since getting information on the Festival, transport and accomodation was almost impossible.
However, when we were there, we took heaps of notes for those of you who may want to do it independently, and we can safely say that getting to Festival on your own is not only easy, but also not as expensive as with a group.
You should definitely consider a group if your time is limited, but if you want to do it yourself, we wrote up all of our tips and have posted these on our website at this link.
Oct 6, 2008 1:41 PM
57I just found this. It's an excellent resource--the more I look at it, the more good stuff I see. Not too technical, either. Much of it is relevant to other parts of Africa.
GUIDELINES FOR THE PREVENTION OF MALARIA IN SOUTH AFRICA 2008 From the South Africa Department of Health.
These guidelines include information on non-drug measures to prevent mosquito bites, determining whether chemoprophylaxis is indicated, selecting the most appropriate chemoprophylaxis to use, including the interactions between malaria chemoprophylaxis and other drug treatments and the benefits and risks of alternative chemoprophylactic agents. An updated map of malaria risk in southern Africa and detailed tables on anti-malarial drug dosages has also been included.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
2.1 DISTRIBUTION OF MALARIA
2.2 MALARIA – THE DISEASE
2.3 THE MALARIA VECTOR MOSQUITO.
3. PREVENTION OF MALARIA.
Summary Box 1
3.1 AWARENESS AND ASSESSMENT OF MALARIA RISK
Factors determining malaria risk
3.2 MOSQUITO AVOIDANCE
3.2.1 Additional measures for residents in malaria areas
3.3 USE OF ANTI-MALARIAL AGENTS FOR CHEMOPROPHYLAXIS
3.3.1 Indications for chemoprophylaxis
3.3.2 Choosing appropriate chemoprophylaxis
Summary Box 3
3.3.3 Measures to ensure effective and safe use of chemoprophylaxis:
3.3.4 Efficacy and adverse reactions of recommended prophylactic regimens
3.3.5 Alternatives not recommended for prophylaxis
3.3.6 Patient-specific prescribing problems
3.3.7 Partial immunity (Semi-immunity)
.....Error! Bookmark not defined.
3.4 ENSURE EARLY DIAGNOSIS
3.4.1 Signs and symptoms of malaria
5. MALARIA INFORMATION SHEET.
TABLE 1: DRUG CHOICE ACCORDING TO PATIENT FACTOR.
TABLE 2: INTERACTIONS BETWEEN MALARIA CHEMOPROPHYLAXIS
AND OTHER DRUG TREATMENT
TABLE 3: BENEFITS AND RISKS OF THE PROPHYLACTIC REGIMENS
RECOMMENDED FOR TRAVELLERS .
TABLE 4: DOSES OF ANTI-MALARIAL DRUGS FOR USE AS PROPHYLAXIS
TABLE 5: DOSES FOR STANDBY THERAPY
7. MAP OF MALARIA AREAS IN SOUTH AFRICA.
8. PROPHYLAXIS MASKS THE SYMPTOMS - THE MYTH.
9. LIST OF ANTI-MALARIALS AND TRADE NAMES
10. SOURCES OF MALARIA RISK AND PREVENTION INFORMATION
Jul 23, 2009 12:17 PM
Jan 20, 2010 7:59 PM
59Just a reminder that this is a thread for useful information only and you should post questions in a separate thread by returning to the main branch and selecting 'Post New Thread'.
Questions are unlikely to get a response if posted on the FAQ and will be deleted by the moderators over time. Thank you. Safe and happy travels all.
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