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Thursday, October 2, 2014

AFRICA - RESEARCH STEP BY STEP PART 1

AFRICA RESEARCH, STEP BY STEP

When I first started to research Africa, little did I know that in a mere five and a half months, I would be sitting under the baobab tree, talking to the chieftain about 'what is good in life'...

Actually, I don't know if that will end up happening but with my life, it could.  Just as easily, I could be in a car trying to convince a drunk taxi driver "Faster, must go faster" to lose some armed rebels who are chasing us.

With my life, I can't really tell.

But it is research time and because some people have expressed an interest, I've decided to do it step by step here in the blog.  Not saying 'this is the right way' and if there is a better way, I'd like to know about it.  If your budget is really huge (say $300 per day or more) or if this is your families' 'once in a lifetime trip', then this is not the way to do it.  For those circumstances, I'd find out what I wanted to see in each country then begin making links between them.

For me, it is just a way to live.

First, I found a list of all African countries:

Algeria
Angola
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Canary Islands
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Ceuta
Chad
Comoros
Côte d'Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Madeira
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Melilla
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Republic of the Congo
Réunion
Rwanda
Saint Helena
São Tomé and Príncipe
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Western Sahara
Zambia
Zimbabwe


Now, I need to cut down this list.  I'm going to do two things to do this.  I'm going to look up each country on Wikitravel and eliminate all those with a big fucking warning on the country.  I've really no interest in heading off to a war zone or the currently fashionable Ebola.  Note that Wikitravel is a bit timorous as far as determining what is and what isn't dangerous.  However, this is only a 'first impression' type of thing.  Information 'on the ground' can change my opinion.

Note that even if the travel warning was for part of the country, the entire country was knocked out.  If they can't control part of their country...   Historically, much of Africa seems more interested in oppression, murder, rape and religious fanaticism.  I don't have time for that.

I then went through the list of countries and eliminated all of the 'uncertain' ones.

The new map of Africa looks like this:


Holy shit, much has disappeared all ready in the first round cuts.  Disclaimer:  Yes, I am sure there are many friendly and wonderful people in the grayed out areas.  Please battle hard to make your country more safe for tourists.  Go to war to bring peace!

Pictured above, soldiers taking advantage of the resources of a newly conquered area.  Somehow, this sells deodorant.  


Next, I want to get rid of any country with a completely unreasonable visa cost.  Generally, a dollar a day is normal for those that charge.  Two dollars a day is a bit steep, three per day or more is the government's way of quoting Spider from Johnny Mnemonic, "If you're not expected then you're not invited - SO FUCK OFF!"

So I copied down the visa information and then made the next round of cuts.

Angola - Luanda ranked as most expensive city in the world for expats. Huge pain in the ass as far as visas, letter of invitation, etc.

Benin - 30 day visa $140 WTF.

Botswana - No visa required.

Burkina Faso - one city in here  ranked as a very expensive city. "US citizens only are eligible for a five-year, multiple-entry visa for US$100"

Burundi "All nationalities require a visa to visit Burundi...Two types of visa are available at Bujumbura airport and (in theory, but with problems in reality) at borders. A 3 day transit visa costs USD40. A multiple entry 1 month visa costs USD90 on arrival or can be obtained from embassies prior to travel."

Canary Islands - Seem to be a colony of Spain, probably governed under EU. Plus it is an island and apparently popular European vacation resort. Guessing prices are more here due to those two factors.

Cape Verde - warning, island. "If you are arriving from a country with a Cape Verde embassy, you are required to purchase a Visa in advance. Otherwise a visa can be purchased on arrival and costs ~25€."
Ceuta - this seems to be one Spanish ruled city. Only reason to come here is probably to up the 'country count'. Since that doesn't matter to me, knock it off the list. It even looks dull on it's wikitravel entry.

Comoros - warning, island. "Everyone requires a visa to visit to the Comoros, which is issued on arrival. A normal visa costs Euro 61. It can be paid in Comorian francs, US dollars, or Euros. A visa lasts 45 days ; it can be extended, but ordinarily the authorities will not do so unless you have a good reason."

Côte d'Ivoire  aka Ivory Coast - "All non CEFA country citizens visiting Côte d'Ivoire must obtain a visa before arrival. The process is online at the Official Website for Visa. It does not appear that citizens of the United States can apply for a tourist visa over the internet at this time, whether that is due to poor website design or national policy is not known. Americans looking to travel to Côte d'Ivoire should contact the embassy in Washington D.C. directly." Well, that kind of fucks that.

Djibouti - one city in here;ranked as a very expensive city. "...USA for 10.000 FDJ (about US$55). If you plan to enter by land you have to arrange for visas in advance. Visas can be obtained from neighbouring countries and where no Djibouti embassy exists, they can often be obtained from the French embassy. The types of visas include: Entry (visa de séjour); Tourist (visa de tourisme); Business (visa d’affaires); and Transit (visa de transit). - visas look to be a pain in the ass here, but not an insurmountable one.

Equatorial Guinea - "US citizens do not require a visa, but do need the following to present when entering EG: 2 visa applications, 2 passport photos, bank statement noting a minimum of $2,000 in your account, & proof of smallpox, yellow fever, & cholera vaccinations."

Eritrea - "All nationalities must apply for a visa in advance before entering the country...When you apply for a visa to Eritrea, you must do it at an Eritrean Embassy in - or accredited to - the country where you are a citizen and nowhere else." - well, that's not going to happen.

Ethiopia - "...able to obtain entry visas upon their arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, and at the airport in Dire Dawa. In July 2012, the fees for visa-upon-arrival was US$20 or EUR 17, regardless of whether one is applying for a Tourist, Business or Transit Visa. The procedure is relatively quick and painless...Those entering by land will face EXTREME DIFFICULTY in obtaining a visa at a nearby overseas consulate (e.g. Kampala, Cairo) as there is a policy of not granting visas to non-residents...Thus, the only true way to gain a visa if in Africa is by flying in, or posting your passport back to your home consulate. Be warned, that Ethiopian consulates are currently upholding this policy with no negotiation."

Gabon - Libreville ranked as a very expensive city. "The fee for a visa to enter the country is typically 70 euros. The visa can be purchased on arrival in either euros or in the local francs in the right hand line upon exiting the plane. Reportedly, as of August 2010 this is no longer possible and personnel arriving to Gabon must have a valid visa upon arrival or they will be sent back. Recently, many international arrivees in Gabon claim that the visa fee has increased and they paid almost 122 Euros for a 3 month one-time entrance visa and more for multiple entrances."

Gambia - "US...citizens must obtain a Gambian visa before entering the Gambia. Visa can be obtained at the Gambian High Commission in Dakar. Single entry visas cost $100 USD..."

Ghana - "There is no such thing as a visa on arrival for Western countries...A three-month single-entry visa costs US$60..."

Guinea-Bissau - No Guinea-Bissau embassies have websites to obtain entry info. To complicate matters more, there are no Guinea-Bissau embassies in the US or UK. Visa-seekers are advised to visit the UK Embassies in either Dakar, Senegal; Lisbon, Portugal; or Paris, France...A Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to apply for a visa for Guinea Bissau.

Madagascar - "Any tourist from any nationality can enter Madagascar with an initial tourist visa if staying no longer than 30 days...This type of visa can be obtained on arrival..."

Madeira - warning, islands. Didn't see visa info. Colony?

Malawi - "Most visitors from industrialized countries, including the United States...do not require a visa to enter Malawi. A tourist visa lasts for 30 days, but be careful as they sometimes only write '7 days' on your passport stamp upon arrival at the airport. A tourist visa can be renewed for an extra 30 days twice (for 5000 Malawian kwacha each time) or for 60 days all at once for MWK10,000 at the immigration offices."

Mauritius - tiny island, no visa required.

Mayotte - tiny island, French colony.

Melilla - small Spanish city colony.

Morocco - no visa; been there, done that. Consult blog before going back if I return.

Mozambique - "In August 2014 the US Embassy in Maputo has advised all travelers[2] to obtain a visa prior to arrival, because the visas on arrival will no longer be available." It looks complicated but not horribly expensive.

Namibia - no visa, 90 days.

Republic of the Congo - "Visas are not available on arrival, and showing up without one can cause many things you will want to avoid at all costs (fines, passport confiscation, etc.)...For tourist visas you need to obtain an invitation letter from Congo and print and take that with a copy of your plane tickets to the nearest Republic of Congo Embassy, with a usual processing time of 3 days for $100."

Réunion - distant French colony, island. No visa.

Rwanda - "A passport is required to enter Rwanda and a certificate of vaccination for yellow fever is normally required to return back to the country of origin." - 90 day free visa.

Seychelles - Victoria ranked as a very expensive city. Island.

South Africa - Cape Town and Johannesburg might be cheap. No visa needed, 90 days.

Swaziland - no visa, 30 days

Tanzania - "A Tourist Visa costs back US$50 or US$100 for a three-month single entry and a three-month double entry visa, respectively. The visa can be obtained upon landing in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and ports of entry. Be advised that the wait can be especially long if your flight arrives at the same time with other international flights. Visas are valid for the duration from the date of issuance. However, obtaining a visa before arrival is highly recommended. Holders of a US passport can only obtain a US$100 multiple-entry visa."

Togo - "A week long visa will cost you 10,000 CFA at the border. An extension costs 500 for up to three months (however, they are more likely to give you a 30 day extension). American citizens can extend their visa for one year, for 300CFA." 10,000 CFA is $20.

Tunisia - free, no visa, 90 days

Uganda - "Visa Fees: Single Entry for 3 months US$50; Multiple Entry for 6 months US$100; Inland Transit US$50"

Zambia - "Zambian visa policy is best summarized as confusing: there is a bewildering thicket of rules on who needs visas, whether visas can be obtained on arrival, and how much they cost. Local border posts also apply their own interpretations. Due to recent political turbulence in Zimbabwe, Zambia has been cashing in on the unexpected boom in its tourism industry, with visa fees hiked and the previous visa waiver program canceled: you're now expected to pay in cash on arrival at the immigration kiosks. The upside is that once customs has figured out what category you're in, actually obtaining the visa is rarely a problem and a rule of thumb is that most Western visitors can get visas on arrival...Current visa prices are US$50 for a single-entry and US$80 for a multiple-entry visa for all nationalities and is valid for 3 months; US passport holders can only apply for a multiple-entry visa, but it is then valid for 3 years."

Zimbabwe - "Visa fees at the port of entry for Category B nationals are as follows: US$30 (single entry), US$45 (double entry), US$55 (multiple entry) - a valid passport, travel itinerary, return/onward journey ticket and cash payment must be presented. Note that Canadian citizens are able to obtain single entry visas only on arrival at a cost of US$75, whilst British and Irish citizens pay higher fees for a visa on arrival (US$55 for single entry and US$70 for double entry)."


And now, we get to shave the list down again.  Any country which is an island I'm going to chop off simply because I've found I really don't enjoy swimming - and that's pretty much what there is to do on an island.  I'm also cutting out any places which have overly expensive visas.  Pretty much if you pass a dollar a day, you don't want tourists.  This doesn't mean I'm automatically cutting those, but it is a strike against them.

I'm OK with avoiding overly greedy countries.  It seems their leaders have pretty much hung up a sign "Fuck off, OK?" above their countries.

The new whittled down list reads:


Botswana - No visa required.

Burkina Faso - one city in here  ranked as a very expensive city. "US citizens only are eligible for a five-year, multiple-entry visa for US$100".  Note this is a maybe - does it mean that you can go stay there for five years?  It should but more research is needed.

Djibouti - one city in here;ranked as a very expensive city. "...USA for 10.000 FDJ (about US$55). If you plan to enter by land you have to arrange for visas in advance. Visas can be obtained from neighbouring countries and where no Djibouti embassy exists, they can often be obtained from the French embassy. The types of visas include: Entry (visa de séjour); Tourist (visa de tourisme); Business (visa d’affaires); and Transit (visa de transit). - visas look to be a pain in the ass here, but not an insurmountable one.

Equatorial Guinea - "US citizens do not require a visa, but do need the following to present when entering EG: 2 visa applications, 2 passport photos, bank statement noting a minimum of $2,000 in your account, & proof of smallpox, yellow fever, & cholera vaccinations."  That's a maybe.  I don't normally carry around bank statements, for obvious reasons.  Yes, the reason is shame.

Ethiopia - "...able to obtain entry visas upon their arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, and at the airport in Dire Dawa. In July 2012, the fees for visa-upon-arrival was US$20 or EUR 17, regardless of whether one is applying for a Tourist, Business or Transit Visa. The procedure is relatively quick and painless...Those entering by land will face EXTREME DIFFICULTY in obtaining a visa at a nearby overseas consulate (e.g. Kampala, Cairo) as there is a policy of not granting visas to non-residents...Thus, the only true way to gain a visa if in Africa is by flying in, or posting your passport back to your home consulate. Be warned, that Ethiopian consulates are currently upholding this policy with no negotiation."

Gabon - Libreville ranked as a very expensive city. "The fee for a visa to enter the country is typically 70 euros. The visa can be purchased on arrival in either euros or in the local francs in the right hand line upon exiting the plane. Reportedly, as of August 2010 this is no longer possible and personnel arriving to Gabon must have a valid visa upon arrival or they will be sent back. Recently, many international arrivees in Gabon claim that the visa fee has increased and they paid almost 122 Euros for a 3 month one-time entrance visa and more for multiple entrances."

Madagascar - "Any tourist from any nationality can enter Madagascar with an initial tourist visa if staying no longer than 30 days...This type of visa can be obtained on arrival..."

Malawi - "Most visitors from industrialized countries, including the United States...do not require a visa to enter Malawi. A tourist visa lasts for 30 days, but be careful as they sometimes only write '7 days' on your passport stamp upon arrival at the airport. A tourist visa can be renewed for an extra 30 days twice (for 5000 Malawian kwacha each time) or for 60 days all at once for MWK10,000 at the immigration offices."

Morocco - no visa; been there, done that. Consult blog before going back if I return.

Mozambique - "In August 2014 the US Embassy in Maputo has advised all travelers[2] to obtain a visa prior to arrival, because the visas on arrival will no longer be available." It looks complicated but not horribly expensive.

Namibia - no visa, 90 days.

Rwanda - "A passport is required to enter Rwanda and a certificate of vaccination for yellow fever is normally required to return back to the country of origin." - 90 day free visa.

South Africa - Cape Town and Johannesburg might be cheap. No visa needed, 90 days.

Swaziland - no visa, 30 days

Tanzania - "A Tourist Visa costs back US$50 or US$100 for a three-month single entry and a three-month double entry visa, respectively. The visa can be obtained upon landing in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and ports of entry. Be advised that the wait can be especially long if your flight arrives at the same time with other international flights. Visas are valid for the duration from the date of issuance. However, obtaining a visa before arrival is highly recommended. Holders of a US passport can only obtain a US$100 multiple-entry visa."

Togo - "A week long visa will cost you 10,000 CFA at the border. An extension costs 500 for up to three months (however, they are more likely to give you a 30 day extension). American citizens can extend their visa for one year, for 300CFA." 10,000 CFA is $20.

Tunisia - free, no visa, 90 days

Uganda - "Visa Fees: Single Entry for 3 months US$50; Multiple Entry for 6 months US$100; Inland Transit US$50"

Zambia - "Zambian visa policy is best summarized as confusing: there is a bewildering thicket of rules on who needs visas, whether visas can be obtained on arrival, and how much they cost. Local border posts also apply their own interpretations. Due to recent political turbulence in Zimbabwe, Zambia has been cashing in on the unexpected boom in its tourism industry, with visa fees hiked and the previous visa waiver program canceled: you're now expected to pay in cash on arrival at the immigration kiosks. The upside is that once customs has figured out what category you're in, actually obtaining the visa is rarely a problem and a rule of thumb is that most Western visitors can get visas on arrival...Current visa prices are US$50 for a single-entry and US$80 for a multiple-entry visa for all nationalities and is valid for 3 months; US passport holders can only apply for a multiple-entry visa, but it is then valid for 3 years."

Zimbabwe - "Visa fees at the port of entry for Category B nationals are as follows: US$30 (single entry), US$45 (double entry), US$55 (multiple entry) - a valid passport, travel itinerary, return/onward journey ticket and cash payment must be presented. Note that Canadian citizens are able to obtain single entry visas only on arrival at a cost of US$75, whilst British and Irish citizens pay higher fees for a visa on arrival (US$55 for single entry and US$70 for double entry)."

To answer your question, yes 'double entry' is still funny.

So after a long assed day of working, we've got the entire continent of Africa down to twenty possibly Logan-Inhabitable countries.


In the next blog, we'll be taking a closer look at these countries to discover 'are the countries actually affordable or just the visas'?


OTHER VIEWS

Written by Corey Nichols

My vision of a Logan Horsford Africa trip:

Logan travels many painful hours in the worst type of transportation possible.

Then while on an overcrowded bus, an old women hugs him, mistaking him for her son (suffering from dementia caused by an Ebola infection) Logan smiles and informs her that she has the wrong man.

Later After bribing and maneuvering his way to his desired destination he starts feeling ill.

He asks Facebook what is wrong and Julie Jones tells him he should make sure its not Ebola. Logan seeks out a nearby UN medical tent and is tested. Holy crap! it is Ebola, they quarantine Logan immediately, the US government gets word that an former military serviceman and US citizen is trapped in Africa with Ebola,

Logan now becomes the poster child for Americas humanitarian efforts and med evacuated back to the US against his will complaining the entire time.

They fly him to a hospital in the states in the middle of nowhere where they put him on experimental drugs for two weeks.

Meanwhile the President stages a visit to drum up some photo ops for the upcoming election campaigns to help his side of the fence.

Logan is so offensive that they are only able to edit 5 seconds of footage together where he is not cursing or being insensitive. Logan is released from the Government hospital back in the States where he does not want to be, without enough money to get back out of the country.

Logan is now sad Logan. Luckily his friend TJ knows an immigrant man with a boat that will take him to Cuba! but that adventure is for another time.



COREY NICHOLS ON LOGAN'S VOYAGE

"...Pictures on the menus of...a McDonalds vs. What you are actually served. (Logan's Voyage) shows people what they are going to get served instead of showing them a pretty menu."

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

For videos with a Loganesque slant, be sure to visit here. You can also Facebook Logan.

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