Last hitchhiking and visa report

So i continue the report after SA.
I left Pretoria with 4 visas in my passport: 3 months for Namibia, 5 days for Angola, 2 weeks for DRC and 2 weeks for Congo Brazzaville. Unfortunately the last two had exact dates so i had to be there at the exact time. I enjoyed Namibia so much - a huge beautiful country with almost no population, wide open spaces where you can see wild animals out of the national parks, you can camp easily everywhere and hitchhiking is also good but of course on the small roads you wait a long time because there are almost no cars. People are friendly and welcoming. I can say i really enjoyed my days there although at the end i had a bad car accident and i got hurt but i ignored the pain and the injures and kept going to Angola the same day. I hitchhiked the whole Angola on a 5 days visa. It was totally crazy because the roads are terrible, the distances are huge and the people don't pick up hitchhikers easily. I managed in 4 days and a half, it was very hard because i hitchhiked day and night and walked with all the pain from the accident, i got lost all the time cos i had no map (i choose to travel with no map the rest of Africa, much more challenging) and people speak absolutely no English, just Portuguese. But Angola seems to be a beautiful country, although expensive, i changed no money and travelled the 4 days having nothing, just bought a lot of food in Namibia before i left. In Angola they have a lot of checkpoints on the roads so the chance to cross the country without a visa is not really good! Also at the Namibian border when i was leaving to Angola the guy told me better to go back while i can because there are many people who have visas and are turned back for no reason. Fortunately they let me go but they were suspicious and kept me there for some time checking my passport. Angola-DRC border was a small crazy place which is not even on google maps :) I can't remember the name of the border post but it's 40 kms from Maquela do Zombo - the last town. The road is terrible for cars so there is almost nothing there. I got a short lift by a chinese truck working on the roads and the rest i walked. The guys at the Angola side were very helpful and even gave me food and water when i told them that i won't take a taxi but walk in Congo. The ones on the Congolese side were funny, they asked for a bribe but i refused and they didn't insist. The border post is a small house and next to it there is a place where they check your yellow fever certificate. I guess they usually ask for money there as well but they didn't try with me after i told them i am going to walk to Kinshasa :) In Africa walking is a symbol of poverty. And that's what i love most in my trip - in total i walked even more time than i spent in the cars which i hitchhiked. After the border all the people from the village came to me to ask me for money or gifts. I walked away but the next days walking on the dirt road all this didn't stop till i got arrested and brought to the police station. The police actually gave me a lift and saved me a lot of time :) They arrested me because the villagers have called them and told them that there is white soldier with a big gun walking near the villages and that she is going to shoot someone :) I was laughing a lot about that! :) They told me that wearing camouflage pants by civilians is illegal in Congo and i will be arrested many times. I didn't care as usually and i kept wearing them. They asked a bunch of questions, wrote my passport details, checked all my bag and were extremely disappointed that they didn't find anything, it was sooo much fun for me :) The next days i walked and tried to hh but any car which stopped asked for money. After a long time i finally got a car to Kinshasa. So hitchhiking in DR Congo is definitely very hard! People are not really friendly but i don't care about that because the nature of this country is fantastic and i plan to do another trip there having much longer visa and going deep into the country where it's much more interesting than the Kinshasa area. The prices in DR Congo are very high, especially in Kinshasa!! I got my visa for Cameroon here, it costs 120$ and it's for only 2 weeks. It takes two days to proceed and they want a hotel booking. The ferry Kinshasa-Brazzaville is a HELL! A bunch of cheaters will approach you once you get to the port. In the ticket office the guy will try to sell you expensive ticket for the fast boats. Then another guy will try to get money for fees: passport service fee, luggage checking fee, yellow fever fee! All this is BULLSHIT! Don't give any money to anyone and reject any help. Believe me - nobody there wants to help you, everyone will come only to ask for money! And they are so many and so stupid and rude that you must be really patient to handle all this shit. Your passport will be taken by the immigration officers and you must get it when you go to the boat (before entering the boat!). The whole thing with the procedures will last long and the ferry itself is a very short ride. On the other side the shit is even bigger. They will again ask for lots of bribes and your passport will disappear somewhere if you don't pay. I was lucky to meet a french guy whose friend is Lebanese and that guy arranged everything for both of us very quickly. Our passports appeared immediately after he came and the lazy greedy officer started to stamp but he asked me about hotel booking and i had to lie that i am transit because i red other reports that people were put back on the ferry to Kinshasa for not having their booking printed on paper and not paying the bribe of course. So i was definitely lucky. In general the people at these borders are extremely rude and greedy so be prepared. Congo Brazza surprised me a lot - hitchhiking was easy and almost nobody expected money for it. The main road going north was good until one point where i started a long few days walk before i got another lift. The country has fantastic nature, plenty of rain forests, the climate is my favorite. The people were kind and i was not asked for money all the time. The border i passed was the one near Souanke. They say it's the most impassable border because of the very bad road and basically there is nothing there, just a little house with highly corrupted customs. I didn't pay any bribes but they tried everything to make me pay, they said they won't stamp my passport but i already had the stamp from Souanke where nice policeman told me i better arrange formalities there and he was damn right! So the guy at the border was freaking out that my passport is already stamped and even tried to stamp it once again so he could ask for the money (10$). Then the next two guys there also asked bribes - 4$ each for writing my details in a notebook - two times. Total bullshit but it was funny :) At the end they let me go because they realised they won't take anything out of me. The last guy was even shouting after me "hey, buy me a beer" :)) I forgot to mention that people in both Congos are strongly addicted to alcohol. On the Cameroonian side the guy just stamped my passport and wished me good trip. The corrupted Congos were no more. The road after the border was bad for many kilometers. There is almost no traffic on this road! I got a lift by a truck all the way to Yaounde. In Yaounde i tried to get visa for Nigeria but they said it's impossible because i am not a Nigerian resident. They sent me to Douala and said that the guy there will help me. In Douala the consul accepted me personally and was kind, he gave me 7 days transit visa instead of 3 days as they usually give, he said. In Cameroon the people were kind and the nature amazing but what i hate there is the total destruction of the tropical forests, they cut huge trees and sell the material to the fucking european companies so all this is going to Europe! Also i got lots of verbal harassment from Cameroonian guys on the streets (asking my phone number, saying "you are beautiful" and shit like this). That was not common in the rest of Africa, it started here and it continued through all West Africa! Annoying but nothing to do, just ignore. Entering Nigeria from Cameroon was another adventure. The road was really dusty and i got at the border after days walking and hitchhiking. The guys on the Nigerian side tried to change my visa and give me only 3 days not 7, they were also very surprised that i have two passports (i had to get a temporary one in SA, not enough space in the first one to bring me back home) but at the end they let me go with my 7 days. Hh in Nigeria was extremely hard and almost no normal cars stopped for me. Only minibuses took me for free. I walked a lot and the worst was to walk out of nigerian city - they are endless and it's plenty of annoying people everywhere. Christianity is on it's top there so sometimes you can have a ride with very religious people who pick you up just because they want to go to heaven. It took me three days only to reach Lagos and i got my visa for Benin there - 50$ for 1 month. I thought to get this special visa for the 5 countries but they said they have no stickers of that visa. I asked also in the Togo consulate but they said the same. It seems like you can get this visa only in Abuja where all the embassies are. So Nigeria - difficult hh, people seems not so bad but kind of weird, it's quite expensive, the country is overpopulated so camping is a bit hard but you can still manage but the most important is that car accidents are very common and very bad! People can't drive, there is no rules and you can see hundreds of crashed cars and trucks near the roads. Travelling there is like gambling :) The border to Benin is also a huge mess, full of people all the time, corrupted customs and i was again asked for bribes and as usually paid nothing. They will check your yellow fever certificate and will insist that you need also other vaccinations, just ignore them, that's all for the bribe. In Benin i got my visa for Burkina in Cotonou - 122$, few hours waiting, it's valid for 3 months. In Benin i didn't like the people, too much asking for money, demanding to give them "kado" (a gift), too much greedy and lots of guys want to get married to me, so i mostly ignored the people. But those who picked me up when hh were all wonderful. It was the season of the mangoes at that time so i had plenty of free food every day :) The country is small, roads are good, there are cars and it's easy to get around. Penjari NP can be visited if you hh with tourists cars, just get them on the dirt road going to the park, pay only the entrance ticket 20$ for no matter how many days and after that you can ask these tourist to take you with them to all the safaris and you can camp in the park pretending that you have payed for it or just tell the guys who check that you have no extra money, they won't kill you for that. It's the first time i decided to visit NP as other people just to experience the thing that i hate so much - safari. All the other NPs in Africa i visited illegally by sneaking in and staying days in the bush, avoiding any people (if the rangers catch you you are in trouble). I can say now i will never understand people who go on safari, stay in the car and watch the animals from there instead of walking around and communicating with them. It's the most stupid thing i have ever done! But anyway, most people don't know how to communicate with animals. Entering Burkina was easy, the guys at the border were fast and no troubles. Burkina is definitely the best country for hh for beginners! Almost no one expects money for hh, people are very friendly and kind! Apart from the few touristic places where everyone is for the money, the rest of the population is amazingly friendly to foreigners. The roads are also good, camping in the wild is easy but keep in mind it's sometimes very windy and there is almost no real forest. The visa for Mali i got in Ouagadougou - the strangest visa i ever got. The guy took the money and gave me no application form to fill out, asked for no photo, no nothing and just gave me the visa in 5 minutes. I guess he thought i am the last tourist going there so he should use the chance to get the money for himself before they close down the embassy :) Nobody was going to Mali at that time so they don't see any tourists asking for a visa. The border was not very pleasant and there was no traffic on the road but a big bus with 50 people on board took me for free. They dropped me off at the junction to the north in the middle of the night, my plan was to go to Timbuktu where it's a war zone now. The next days i tried everything to get there. Till Mopti it was fine but after that.... HH was impossible because there is absolutely nobody going there. All the public transport is stopped. Walking is not possible for hundreds kms without water and there is no people along the way to count on to give me water. I tried to rent a motorbike but the guy wanted sooo much money plus when he realised i am going to Timbuktu he stopped negotiating the price and refused to give the bike. I tried to stop the soldiers cars - they refused to take me anywhere and even sent policemen to arrest me. After few hours in the police station where they thought i am a spy or something, they let me go. I was very upset about everything and my plan failed. I visited Djenne and Segou quickly and got to Bamako where i got a visa for Mauritania - 60$, few hours waiting. Hh in Mali was not that good as in Burkina. Getting to the border with Mauritania was also not easy cos all the traffic is going to Senegal and just a few trucks go to Mauritania. The border police in Mauritania was HELL, they arrested me because i was walking! They told me i can't walk. I was totally pissed off, it reminded me on Somaliland where the same thing happened but at least the policemen were better. I escaped from the police station in the first town at night, i walked and was hiding from any people that i see, i was lying when somebody asked me a question about my transportation, i started saying that i have a car coming for me or i wait for the bus but i actually put all my effort in hitchhiking and it wasn't easy because everyone wanted money. I found people in this country very rude and greedy. Police checkpoints are more than the sand in the desert, at each one of them you must get out of the car, give your passport, they will write down everything and ask you crazy questions like what are your mother's and father's full names... Each time they don't behave kind and they drive you crazy with their stupidity! Fortunately after the night when i escaped, next day i got a lift with a truck from Mali, 4 guys were in the truck and they were really kind. They took me all the way to Nouakchott. We were stopped at each check-point and we decided that i will hide behind the seats covered with a blanket so that nobody can see me. It worked everywhere except once, then the policeman found me and they checked my passport again. From Nouakchott to Nouadhibou i was in a car of a guy who was kind of important person so we were not stopped at any check point. Lets say it again - i was lucky :) Once i crossed the border to Morocco i was happy! It was the end of Mauritania, all my plans to travel in this country failed because of the police and i tried to get out of it as fast as possible. I was very disappointed that my last days in Africa are like that. In Morocco i found peace but i already missed the real Africa. The first time i went to Morocco i thought this is Africa but no, this time i found the difference. Anyway, i enjoyed the last days visiting some places in Morocco, even places that i have already visited before and i took the ferry, crossed the whole Europe (wow, Spain is a total hh hell!) of course avoiding Italy i went all the way to Germany and after a few days transit hh with a little sleep i got home. So that's it in short, The End (or the beginning of the next African trip :))


I don't know if i mentioned that i made my yellow fever certificate on the computer. If someone is against vaccinations and will never get the shot just write me i will send you all the files ready for printing. It is in Bulgarian but for the guys at the borders it doesn't matter if you got the shot in Bulgaria or in your home country.

2 comments:

  1. Wow this is an incredible trip and really inspiring to read. Thanks for sharing and for inspiring me to hit the road. I hope you continue to journey well.

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  2. Thank you, John :) I didin't write much here, only the bulgarian version of the blog is full and it takes so much time to translate it all so i haven't done it yet.

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