Gradually getting round to posting these crossings as i get the time. IT takes ages! Anyhow i know this is not the official name of the place as the border is miles before the actual ferry and Barra but it describes its location quite well. I've also posted below the way to get on the ferry. The bridge at the moment has no on an off ramps so large trucks are limited on the bridge. This limit will be removed soon enough. The trucks all use the ferry. Its sometimes busy so avoid mornings and evenings if you can. We had no problems and they are now running two ferries again. The last one sank....
This is an easy border. There were loads of kids as always and a few touts and no fixers. We changed money here with one guy. The rate was OK. We secured his services early on and he stayed with the car. I did everything on my own and then Jelly went to do her passport. She always stays with the car. It means queuing up times are doubled for passport control but it was no problem.
When you arrive it looks like the pic above. Go left and park up. Someone who may of may not be a police guy will tell you where to park. We parked at the far end near the Douane booth. Pic below.
Take your carnet here (above). Now i'm not so sure you must do this as the car is cancelled later on and you might be able, as I've heard to cross Gambia without burning a carnet page but that's your decision.
'Next go a queue for the passport exit. The queue is to the right. The other queue on the left is the entry queue. There were a few people working and the queue "snake" was three "wiggles" deep and it only took 10 mins.
Next you go to the back office. There's and entry way in between the two queues. See the kid in blue in the photo. Right where his face is. Go down that and get to the windows and go left in front of all the windows. Then at the back left a corridor to a small office on the right. This is where you get the car stamped out (i think the passevant is cancelled) in your passport. He also took my finger prints here as they didn't do it at the front windows. They did however do Jellys fingers and photo at the front. So maybe this is a way of making sure you do it?
That's it you are done.
This one is a little confusing but its all good. We paid nothing as we are visa free. First go to point 1 which is the main desk/counter on the left in the main office. I handed him my carnet and he kept it. They were busy. He stamped the carnet with a police stamp on the page eventually. This is not the main customs stamp you need. That's later. Then they sent me to the back right office where he looked at the passports (point 2). I was on my own again. Jelly stayed with the car. Then to the office at the back left (point 3). Right at the back. Down the corridor and last door on left. This is where they took the passports and filled in the big book. Again I was on my own. Jelly is normally never seen. All good. I suspect if you need to pay for a visa this is the place. Below is a list of the visa free countries. ALL others pay.
Next go to the Douane office (point 4) and get the carnet stamped. He almost knows what hes' doing. No drama here.
No fees for us and no inspections and no hassle. One carnet guy asked for something an I told him he was 50th in the queue for a gift as we'd been asked loads of times before. A bit of a joke and we were on out way.
So now you are in Gambia and passing a few check points. Don't miss the ticket off which is actually a weigh bridge. You MUST get your ticket for a foreign vehicle here. Cost was 8000CFA and 500CFA for the person extra. Driver is free. You pay inn CFA !!!! not Dalasi.
Drive into the weigh bridge park up and go to back of the hut shown. All very pleasant. We are a Land Rover so no need to weigh. Not sure if they would ever ask to weigh you.
Drive on to the port gates. Go straight to the metal gates and wave your ticket. Get let in and queue on the ramp. The red white metal gates across the road are manhandled by a yellow vested womble.
Taken me some days to get enough connection to post this.
We arrived at the border from Nouakchott but it would make little difference if you arrived from Boghe via Rosso along the river road/track. It must be said though that the road from Nouakchott to Diama is shockingly bad but being re-paved. There's about 100km of terrible car destroying potholes and corrugations on the diversions. The reason i mention this is the mandatory National Park fee of 200 per person which even though you don't want to see it, you pay it. Its basically a toll road. There a guy in uniform at the last police checkpoint before Diama collecting your money.
After him its few km of track to the border. There are some buildings on the left and almost zero touts or people hanging around. Its quite pleasant. There was one change guy "Goulam" from Senegal doing the money and the rate was OK but we changed only a small amount so the charge was quite a lot percentage wise. He spoke good English and I gave him a card which i signed on the back. So you will know its him if you decide to change to some CFA.
First office is the passport office and the door on the right. Its in the picture. No change was made or asked for to stamp the passport. This is normal. There should be no charge.
The next office is the Douane and there is a charge for the stamp of 10€ and for this a receipt is offered. The office is clearly marked and the middle front door leads you to a lobby and you go to the office at the back left.
While we were talking to the money changer a police guy came over and took our passports to the next office. We never actually went in to that office. It was a "delivery service" but we might have been lucky. The office was next right to the Douane had a single door and an desk inside to the left with another office to the right. This is where they took the passports to stamp us out. There was a few waiting which is why they might have taken the passports to stop us having to queue. I presume this is the office where the corrupt €10 charge is attempted but for us, nothing.
Then there's the guy that lifts the second bar over the road. That's the community charge of 50MAU
That's it your done. It was easy to exit Mauritania.
Now for the dreaded entry in Senegal. Easy as...
First stop is the gate on the famous bridge. There's a guy in uniform from the water/dam company. He wants 4000CFA. If you've chnaged money with the guy i mentioned then you have collected enough small bills for this part of the journey. Get some low notes to pay these charges. Change was give by the gate guy so a 5000 will do.
So you're over the bridge and into the fun stuff. Well that's what you've been told. Its easy although there was a lot of discussions by various police staff but i don't not know why. We had our passports done, vehicle documents and driving licence typed into the PC. Photos and prints taken. All pretty normal. Again no charges. What i can say is a local was charged something like 10€ for his local car carrying some foreign business people. We were not changed for the passport stamp and it was not asked for. He wanted to see original documents. Not copies.
So then its to Douane for the passevant. 72 hours given. We arrived on a Wednesday at 2pm and were only given until Friday. The charge is 2500CFA. He asked to look at the carnet and asked if the vehicle was a 1998. It was and so we needed the carnet or there is according to form a 250€ charge for the passevant. The passevant gets you to Dakar where you get the carnet stamped at port.
Have a beer....
Go to the port customs office in Dakar to get your carnet stamped. The details are on iOverlander. The parking is street side and we found some on the red and white curbs (illegal) with a load of other cars and trucks. Jelly watched the car. The place was closed (Friday in our case) for lunch 1200 to 1500. I just waltzed straight in. Bypassing the desk on the left and headed straight up the stairs on the right. Look like you know where you are going. Go to Second floor. If anyone offers to help just say no thanks. If anyone asks to see your docs that's not sat in an office just say no thanks. Go to the floor with the coke machine. Its in front of you at the top of the stairs. Turn immediately left. See the chairs and the office behind them. The guy in there singularly does the carnet. You do not need to see anyone else. The office is signed as Temporary Imports. That's it. 5 mins and you are out. Knock on the door if its closed and open it !
BTW....the people sat are not in a line/queue waiting for this office.....
There is no charge for this. The Carnet was complete and he kept my passevant.
To do this process you NEED a copy of Passport and Driving licence and vehicle registration document. We got these easily in a copy shop between St Louis and Dakar. 50CFA each. You will see loads of signs for copy places.
Hope this helps you. Thanks to StephenD for the tips on the second floor and iOverlander and also the many other people before us who crossed the border like ChrisR. I cannot possibly thank you all but its a rule that i need to try to thank everyone. Thanks Everyone!
Excuses first...Mauritania has shocking Internet speeds and thanks to an "idiot" in a campsite I lost all my data allowance and all my credit. So many thanks to the owner in Bab Sahara for not listening to a word I was saying a blindly pressing keys on my phone and so he allowed all my data to expire. This was further compounded by the fact I then ended up with 300MRU worth of voice i could not use and nobody sells the 100MRU top ups to recharge my data. Then once i did do this my SIM card (both UK and Mauritania) succumbed to the heat. This meant i had to start all over again.....anyhoo.
We've not been treating poor Henrietta very well. She's battered, bruised, damaged, dented, scratched and just hot. Shes had a new steering damper fitted as my last one was (we hope) causing death wobble. We've travelled some "roads" which the local said were impossible. Been stuck in sand a couple of times and also watch others get stuck in sand. We've taken Henrietta to places no other Ambulance has been, EVER !
Here's a video of one little bit of the BFGoodrich KM3 roack crawling. Now this looks a little tame but i can assure you it was not and in a 3800kg Ambulance. Its hard work.
We drove part of the train line to Ben Amera from East to West from Choum to the rock. The track from the train station in town is OK for the most part but with some serious stretches of sand dunes the nearer you get to the rock. The rock is the 3rd largest monolith in the world. Its pretty impressive. Also an excellent place to camp.
So let jump back a bit. After entry into Mauritania we went to the normal towns and to the capital in the south. It was VERY windy all the way down and the fuel here is crap so my MPG was terrible. Allow for this! Seriously my MPG went down 10 and this was with all the trucks so its not just my huge box on the back. We then went all the way back to the north east to Chinguetti and on the shitty corrugated road to that pointless waste of time. The landscapes around the area are stunning though but we got a little more adventurous and did Passe de Amojar. A camel fell off the track two days before. It not easy. 70km of very hard piste. When our travelling companions get home there should be more photos and videos of us.
After the Passe we met some Germans in the campsite where i lost all my data and we decided to go to the Monolith. You seen those photos. After the Monolith we went to see some isolated prehistoric crocodiles. No idea why. It was VERY hard work and again super deep sand. Henrietta was by this time getting used to it. We still got stuck. It was a few hours walk and we were exhausted and dehydrated as we were told it was 10 minutes and so went unprepared for the heat and over 2 hours.
Did i mention we went past the Tropic of Cancer. I took a piss on the sign in memory of all the people and family who've suffered through prostrate cancer.
Now we get a bit random and i'm posting photos from the last month or more....from two countries....
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