UK to The Gambia By Road

The account of our Just Act Gambia advisor,
Dave Adams, travelling in a 
20 year old campervan!

21st May 2018

Dave makes enquiries on The Gambia Tourism Forum 

So! Anyone fancy sharing the cost of driving to Gambia? Leaving the UK on Sunday. Luxury transport! Driving licence preferred but not essential

 

There were many responses but too late notice for anyone to join him....yet

27th - 30th May
to Barcelona
12th - 23rd June
Barcelona to The Gambia
Janjanbureh
A 'rough' route -
details follow on each section,
as far as possible
Stage one:  The European section through France to Spain
and then a break
27th - 30th May 2018

The map may not be entirely accurate

27th May 2018
27th May 2018

 

So...a good day today! Ferry crossing was fine and after a quick siesta I got my foot down and covered more than 300 miles (using the back roads to avoid the tolls.) Found a brilliant place to stay the night! Just about to open a bottle of vino at the Lassay Sur Croisne communal camping area.

 

So...a good day today! Ferry crossing was fine and after a quick siesta I got my foot down and covered more than 300 miles (using the back roads to avoid the tolls.) Found a brilliant place to stay the night! Just about to open a bottle of vino at the Lassay Sur Croisne communal camping area.

28th May 2018
28th May 2018

 

So, I've made it as far as a place called Souillac. Not the best day today, but could have been worse. Diversions, roadworks and a brake failure!

Vehicle booked in with mechanic for tomorrow and dinner cooking. Hopefully I'll be in Spain tomorrow but we'll see...

 

 

So, I've made it as far as a place called Souillac. Not the best day today, but could have been worse. Diversions, roadworks and a brake failure!

Vehicle booked in with mechanic for tomorrow and dinner cooking. Hopefully I'll be in Spain tomorrow but we'll see...

 

29th May 2018

We'll...another good day today. Made it to a place called La Molina, Spain. So pleased that the brakes didn't fail today as the mountains would have been far less forgiving than yesterday's hills!

 

Quick update: brakes are fixed now, hopefully. Seems that one of the brake pads on the front had dislodged itself and fallen off! Didn't know that was possible. Back on the road and heading for a friends place just North of Barcelona...

Then possible problems were pointed out about the age of the twenty-year-old van... could Dave justifiably continue? He asked questions again on Facebook: The Gambia Tourism Forum

 

Someone has advised me that importing a vehicle that is more than 10 years old to Gambia is not allowed. However, I'm not sure if that applies to both driving and shipping. It has also been suggested that Senegal will not even let me transit in an old vehicle unless it is already on an African registration.

Does anyone out there know someone at the GRA who can give me a definitive answer or any ways to get round this problem?
As I see it now, I've got a few choices:
Firstly, I could give up, sell the van in Spain and fly on to 
Gambia.
Alternatively, I could crack on regardless and see if I can wing it at the borders. Neither of these options really appeal.
The other choices could be to try to part exchange the van for a newer 
second-hand motorbike or even a brand new Chinese bike and continue. Or to see if I can register the van in Morroco and maybe meet the requirements that way. Or I could sell the van in Spain and continue by bus/hitching.
Either way, brakes permitting I'll head on to Barcelona and have a think.
Thoughts and ideas most welcome!

A selection of responses
 

  • If you go via Rosso or Diama (this crossing is less corrupt.... but not that much less) and your car is over 8 years old they will make you pay around 250 euros and if they like you they will give you a 5 day passavant or if they don't like you 24 hours to get through Senegal into Gambia.

  • Other costs were about 100 euros to get through Mauritania. Nothing through Morocco as long as you have Green Card 3rd party insurance. Nothing into Gambia. You'll also need about 30 fishe printed out for western Sahara and Mauritania...info that includes passport number vehicle number etc.

  • I just got hold of a friend at GRA and he said there should not be any problem at the Senegalese border as long as you have documentation to show that final destination is Gambia. And for the age of the vehicle is no problem as far as Gambia is concerned. Good luck mate and.......

  •  You are cleared to come to Banjul with your van but try and come with the dashboard and steering rod or box. You can drive direct to Janjanburah A warm welcome awaits you but be prepared to pay for the police escort from the Senegal board post in Mauritania to Karang which could be about 200 dollars. The escort may also stop at Kaolack with directions how to get to Banjul and if that is to happens insist that he gives you a paper to show that you actually went through the boarder and paid the fee

  • I understand that Vans are different to cars and motorhomes. A quick way round is to put side windows in the van body so its a motorhome......... they were told that its very difficult to get a van through all the countries, as it has different paperwork at each way. A motorhome has to have side windows or its a van with a bed

  • age of the vehicle should not be an issue unless the laws have changed very recently.  In Senegal it only pertains to importing, not pass through.

  • Suggest you head for Tarifa to cross to Tangiers as a much easier border, more modern, less hassle. You must buy your Moroccan insurance at the border.  You will be fined if found without it at checkpoints about 200Euros. 

  • Take lots of Euros for all the countries. Nobody is interested in local currency.  Suggests you break it all in to buddies and serene it around the van or person. 

  • In the case of breakdown, they prefer Euros.

30th May 2018

Woohoo. Here in Terrassa with my bro Kekutah Sidebeh

Kekuta, or Papa,  from Janjanbuereh, is married to a Spanish lady and together they are raising funds to build a nursery on the island through the Jambakasla organisation

31st May 2018

Morning all. Just to say that I'm going to enjoy the brilliant Gambi-Catalan hospitality for another day and then I have to nip over to Ibiza on a quick mission before I set off again. Thanks so much for the support and advice and when I'm on my way again, you'll all be the first to know.

Dave's intention had been to ship another vehicle he had bought in Ibiza direct to The Gambia but enquiries led him to leave it in Spain and will eventually drive it back to UK and ship from there.  
Apparently that is the cheapest option!

Muchas gracias Marco and Edu! Back brakes now checked and cleaned, cooling system as good as it can be and a belt (of some kind that I couldn't translate) changed. Good to go...

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