When it comes to travelling Africa, one thing i believe everyone needs to know is that crossing by land is a struggle. So, remember, never cross a border without money.
You need patience, planning, strength and MONEY.
WHY DO YOU NEED MONEY?
In Africa, travelling by land is quite different. Trains are not a thing and flying is usually the most expensive way to travel so you either have to travel by bus, shared car or motorbike. I have travelled using all of them and i would choose a flight everytime. But for someone who wants to travel to many african countries, flying will be extremely expensive. Ryanair does not fly to many african countries so it is not easy for the average african wallet to travel to 5 close countries by flight.
That’s why most travel by land, using cars, buses or motorbikes.
There is one little detail that nobody told me about and i think it is very important to know. To cross a border (or even get close to it), you have to pay.
Yes, you have to. Why? Because they say so. I never knew about this until i started my tours in Africa. I was shocked at first because i usually travel to countries i don’t need a visa for so i did not expect that. But they will make sure you remember.
Before and after you cross the border, you will be stopped numerous times to check your ID. If you are not a local, you pay at every checkpoint. If you carry an african passport instead of an african ID, you also pay more.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
And for those who are thinking:
- I don’t need a visa so i won’t pay.
- I have my visa already, why should i pay?
- I will talk things out.
- I will call someone.
- I can always use my card.
- I will ask them why.
- I will fight it.
- I will protest.
Save your energy and pay whatever they ask. These people are not gonna be reasonable or understanding. You either pay or you go back to wherever you came from because they will not let you go any further.
It is pointless to argue or try to use common sense. They don’t use common sense at the border, they use CASH. So, bring it.
HOW MUCH MONEY?
It depends, some only ask for money once at the border, others have many offices and they send you to each office to pay for Godknowswhat. Let’s say 10-20$ will be more than enough for all the checkpoints+border, but it also depends on the country and currency.
Some of you may ask “Why do they do it?” I have no idea and it is really not part of this article. I am just warning future travellers so they go prepared for this.
Remember, you will have to pay BEFORE AND AFTER you cross the border. Most african countries work like this, some have many checkpoints before and after the border, like Senegal. Others, like Togo, only ask for money at the border.
Of course, this only happens when you travel Africa by land. If you fly, you don’t pay at the airport (unless you need a visa).
Finally, i would like to add that cards are obviously useless, so bring cash. If you have foreign currency, they can exchange it at the border or accept dollars. But it is better to have local money, that way you can give them exactly what they ask for.
If you have any questions, let us know.