We bought a used car in Banjul and drove in ca. 50 hrs to Monrovia To attend Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Inauguration
After 36 hours non-stop driving like devils, we finally reach hell: the über-chaotic “Blood Diamond” capital Freetown.
Best hotel in Banjul: Coco Ocean *****
Best hotel in Ziguinchor: Le Perroquet ****
Best hotel in Bissau: Azalai 14 Noviembro ***/*
Best hotel in Conakry: Camayenne ***
Best hotel in Freetown: Country Lodge ****
Best hotel in Monrovia: Mamba Point ****
West Africa is definitely the most neglected (or abandoned) market for upscale hotels. All better places are now operated by diaspora Lebanese families which means good food, most of the time. The few “upscale” hotels are usually fully booked, which means very high prices, all of the time.
Overland driver tips:
It is relatively easy to buy a car in Banjul, however expect to pay about € 1.200 more than in Central Europe (= import tax).
The German Overlander’s meeting point Sukuta Camping & Lodge has the most unfriendly and unhelpful German owners one can imagine. They also sell cars. Caveat emptor!
There are plenty of used car shops on the road from Serrekunda to Banjul.
The car insurance valid for all countries in the region (“carte brune”) costs ca. € 30 for one month. You will also need to get a laisser-passer document at the first border crossing which will be used at every subsequent border. Don’t lose this document (as we did), as it will create problems at every border and police post, of which there are plenty. The police in Guinea-Conakry are particularly obnoxious and try to find reasons for bribes.
Border crossings usually open and close at 7.
The South-Western borders between Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry were still flooded and unpassable in mid-January, so we had to drive to the North-Western border post between Pitche and Foulamory. The roads between Gabu and Boke via Koumbia (300km / 12hrs incl. 1 tow-ferry) are extremely bad, as well as between Kenema and the Fairo/Mamba borderpost (150km / 5hrs).
The rest of the 2.000km distance was good asphalt.