Endless bumpy desert roads, berber and beduine tribes, countless police- and border stops and the road fee and car tax negotiations with highway police and gendarms that go along with them.
Traveling West Africa by car is a real adventure! Just taking off without any prior knowledge may increase the adventure factor, but some basic information can make the voyage much more pleasant. Read on and save yourself a lot of annoyance and money.
This article is for everybody who considers traveling in West Africa by car.
- Passport (valid for at least 6 more months);
- Driving license (if you´re from the EU you´re standard driver’s license will do the job, otherwise you might need an international one)
- Registration document of the car (in french: “Carte Gris”)
- Car insurance (green card, in french “Carte Verte”, it´s a green double-sided page that you can request for free from your car insurer). The carte verte is only valid in Morocco, for the other West African countries you can purchase an insurance at the border of Mauritania.
- per country: 10 copies of a paper listing data of every passanger in the car (french “Fiche”, you will get stopped many times by the police and the gendarmerie – without the fiches, they will register all your passport details manually, thus the fiches will save you a lot of time). Be sure to include: Name and Surname, passport number, Date of birth, Nationality, Date of issue of the passport, date of expiration of the passport, a note about who the owner of the car is + license plate of the car)
- A visa for Mauritania (you can get it from the Mauritanian embassy in Rabat, Morocco, see below)
Note: I went with my own car. If your car is rented or you´re driving somebody else’s, it might cause problems. I have no information about this, but you should check this issue before you´re leaving to Morocco.
Communication and languages
- Morocco: In the northern parts nearly everybody speaks spanish. Down south you get along with french (second official language)
- Mauritania: French
- Sengeal: French, some also speak english
- Gambia: English
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