|Written by Sascha Grabow|
|Monday, 01 June 2009|
Argentina: Train here is cheaper than the bus, but doesn't cover all destinations. Visa-freeentry for Europeans for 3 months. In the end of September, Buenos Aires, Megacity of up to15 million inhabitants, can be still quite cold.
Brazil: Things have become pretty expensive, Salvador & Rio have security problems, Visa not needed for Europeans, although Americans pay quite a lot for it! Hitchhiking almost impossible, buses expensive, distances huge!!
Cameroon: Currency Franc CFA, 656=1€. Visa easy, but costs 50.000; get a 3-months, as it is the same price! Douala can be a bit dangerous, people may follow you around on the street. Limbe, Bamenda, Yaounde and climbing Mt Cameroon are recommended. Hotels Limbe from 4.000 (Paradise), Yaounde 7.000 (roundabout Nlongkak).
Congo DRC: Best place for Visa: Kigoma (same day 3-months-multiple-entry 100$). Best road in the country: Kisangani to Beni, 750km, in 24hours or less, with buses leaving in either direction on Tuesdays 7 am, 45$, company 'Les Enfants D'Abord'.
Equatorial Guinea: Currency Franc CFA, 656=1€. Visa at the moment only available in Libreville, Gabon, for 75.000 CFA (115€), Copy Passport, Letter from your Embassy and 2 Photos, may take 8 days to issue. Overland Entry possible through Ebebeyin (Cameroon or Gabon). Ship Djibhulo connects Bata and Capital Malabo (Bioko Island) twice a week, takes about 30 hours total, costs 12 (deck class) or 15.000; a faster boat, San Valentin, gets repaired in the wharf, and then supposedly is able to cover the distance in 7 hours. Flights are 45.000, almost daily. Hotels in Ebebeyin from 10.000, Bata (Alegria) & Malabo (Chana) 15.000; Clubs Candy, Buddha Bar, Bahia (all free) & Luna (5.000 cover charge).
France: Currency €. Paris, Cote d’Azur, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Corsica and Brittany are all very much advised to see. Skiing here is another unforgettable experience.
Gabon: Currency 656 CFA=1€. Get your Visa in Yaounde, 4 days, 50.000 one month, 70.000 multiple entry, 80.000 3 months, 120.000 3 month multiple. Libreville is safe, has nice beaches, Maison Liberman 10.000 per night. Take the boat across to St Denis. Franceville has an interesting Ebola-Institute where you might see a Gorilla!
Mali: Currency Franc CFA, 656=1€. Visa at the border for 15.000, then you got 1 week to extend it for free in Bamako, opposite Ghaddafi administrative village (East bridge), for a further 3 months. Hotels Bamako starting 7.000, Segou 2.000 (Catholic Mission, spacious & safe), Djenne 3.000, Mopti 4.000 (Pas de Probleme, swimming pool). Highlights Bandiagara Dogon and Peul, Tombouktou. Clubs Bamako Jet7, Byblos, Le Diplomate, ‘Hippodrome’.
Mauretania: Currency Value about 400=1€. Get Visa in Rabat, Morocco, 32€ one month, 55€ two months, and note that it starts the day being issued. So if you fancy 3 more weeks to explore beautiful Southern Morocco, then plan ahead. Nouadhibou: the world’s longest train (iron ore), 2300meters long, starts from here every afternoon 3 pm, getting you into the interior. It’s about 12 hours to Oyoum (no lights on the train!), from where pick-ups go to Afar & Chinguetti. The Capital Nouakchott is about 2-3 hours from Rosso, at the Senegal River & border, where you may try your luck for the night at the Catholic Church.
Mauritius: It's a really beautiful place, you can stay up to three months without a visa, but they want to see your onward or return ticket, and your exact address plus tel number. They called me the day after my arrival to check if I was there & fine. You can find apartments here from 50-100 Euro per month!! If you state that you're selfemployed, the chance that you will be allowed to reside here is actually pretty good too. Grand Bay is the place to be on Friday & Saturday nights, especially Buddha Club.
Mexico: Currency 16 Peso=1€. Westerners are allowed in 3 months without a Visa. Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Baja Peninsula, Yucatan Pensinsula, Puerto Escondido, Zippolite, Oaxaca, Mayan Ruins, Chichicastenango and from there onwards to Antigua in Guatemala.
Namibia: Chameleon Backpackers is the best place to stay in Windhoek, cosy dormbeds @ 8€ incl. nice buffet-breakfast, swimming pool, plasma DSTV, billiard.
La Réunion, Indian Ocean: The hike 'L'Ilet A Guillaume' has great views, though not for the fainthearted, as there's a sheer drop of about 500m just left of the path. You start @ km15 on the La Montagne Rd from St Denis, Village St Bernard, Rd curves right, you take a left into the woods. Going and back takes about 3-4 hours.
Rwanda: Entry Visa-free for Germans up to 3 months stay! In Kigali you can stay in the city centre @ Hotel Bellevill, at 10$ for a double room.
Spain: Currency €. Madrid, Barcelona, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Sevilla, Pilgrim Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela, ferries to Africa. Ryanair can get you there cheaply.
Tanzania: Visa 50$ OR 50€ for 3 months; if you go to Kenya OR Uganda in between, you can use the same visa again, it remains valid when re-entering Tanzania! A new road goes diagonally all the way from Dar Es Salaam to Rwanda! In Dar Es Salam the YWCA has dorms for 6$ including breakfast, open to men as well!
Uganda: Visa 50$ for 2 months single entry, stay can be extended (up to 6 months maximum, preferably at a smaller-town-office) for free! In Kampala, one of those capital cities where one doesn't mind spending a couple of weeks (people walking around at night, in a whole month I have never heard of a single incident), stay at Backpackers, Namirembe road; it's safe, green, spacious, dorm beds @ 4$, and you'll have ample communication opportunities!