If touring West Africa is in your bucket list, you need to have a plan on how you will go about it and plenty of information on how things happen on the ground. Bearing in mind there are more French speakers in these nations, and you are as good as your English or Kiswahili can get, you need to figure a way out. Sometimes googling everything you need to know about border procedures for details could prove to be futile.
One travel blogger shared how her trip on road to West Africa went down and here is her story.
Together with her friend, they started their journey from Nigeria to Cotonou. The two-hour journey in small cabs that frequent that route, took four to five hours as the roads were terrible. The last drop to the border was an eight-minute walk and one must be armed with their passport and yellow card and BRIBE.
Bribes at the border.
The border procedures are usually easy, as one is required to present documents which are then stamped. If you refuse to play along with the bribe, you might as well sleep at the border. Upon successfully crossing over to Cotonou, there were cars in the park waiting to take them into the city and bureau de change to convert the Naira into cedis which is the local currency.
Burkina Faso to Mali.
We took an overnight bus, also OA from the Central Park in Ouagadoudou to Bobo-Dioulasso. Then we got on another bus to Bamako, Mali from the OA station. Entire journey lasted about 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/j9E1J3Orp9
— Odd Labalábá (@AinaTalks) October 30, 2019
On their way to Burkina Faso, she used tours and travels buses which she recommended as they are comfortable, AC fitted and they have charging spots. There are a number of checkpoints on the roads before the border, most of them which demand a bribe and even with your ECOWAS passport you can’t run away from it.
Book your hotel room online.
You must book your hotel room online lest you sleep inside a pricey one without a bathroom door. She said locals were unfriendly, especially cab drivers, and their translator app failed to pick up broken french spoken by the netizens. Immigration police at the borders of Ghana were friendly and kind enough to give them tip on what to do in Ghana. With Nigerian everywhere, you might want to be careful about how you spend your cash lest you get scammed.
A bus to Bamako Mali lasted about 24 hours of the entire journey, only to meet Mali soldiers at the Mali borders who asked for bribes. Failure to which their journey was a delay for another few hours. In worse cases one could get locked up, your documents seized and your arse kicked out. They are still In Dakar, mingling with natives and haven’t clearly seen where to next but they might pass through Gambia, Mauritius, and Morocco.
- Always negotiate money before you get into a taxi. If not they will change it for you and you don’t understand French
- Carry your complete documents and plenty of extra money for a bribe.
- Your English will not save you, you might need to learn sign language.
- Get all your vaccinations and carry along mosquito repellents, antibiotics, antimalarials, and most importantly sunscreen for the sun in Naija.