Visas

Visa Information

Applying for visas takes up a lot of time, effort and money but is of course the only way to visit these African countries and just becomes part of the journey.

We didn’t get any visas before we left the UK, mainly because we didn’t want to have any specific date restrictions ahead of time. It’s a great way to travel as long as you have some patience and are not in a hurry. Also make sure you pack a decent Embassy outfit for a good first impression!

I’ve provided a list below of hopefully useful information regarding where we managed to get all of our visas along the way. Obviously, it can all change from day to day and some Embassies were definitely more helpful than others. Feel free to contact us for any more specific questions.

Morocco / Western Sahara
No visas needed

Mauritania
(Rabat, Morocco)
4-5 hours, same day. Apply at 9am, pick up around 1-2pm. 340dirhams pp.
You can park in the street around the corner from the embassy and sleep in your car with no issues. There’s lots of security guys around due to it being an embassy neighbourhood.
As with most of the West African Countries, the application form is in French, so a French dictionary is handy to take with you.

Senegal
(Nouakchott, Mauritania)
€52.50pp
Pre-registration is now required online & it has to be done around a week before you want to pick up the visa. You pay online and wait to receive a confirmation email, which then needs to be printed and taken to the Embassy. We pre-registered in Dakhla and then received the actual visa at the Embassy in Nouakchott.
Very fast visa, all done in half an hour while you wait at the embassy. Try and print your confirmation before you get to Nouakchott unless you’re happy being majorly ripped off.

Mali
(Nouakchott, Mauritania)
6,500 ouguiya pp
Such an easy visa. Just rock up at the embassy, submit your application form and pick up your visa 4 hours later.

Burkina Faso
(Bamako, Mali)
24,000 CFA pp
This was also an easy visa. Submit and pick up same day, about 4 hours later.

Ghana
(Ouagadougou, Burkina)
25,000 CFA pp
This visa was the first that we actually had to work for. The embassy has a policy not to offer tourist visas to non-Burkina residents, so we had to submit extra paperwork and a personal letter to the ambassador explaining our reasons for needing the visa. It took 3 days. Apparently if you apply for a Ghana tourist visa in your home country, you are now given 5 years in which to use it. Worth checking it out with your local Ghanian embassy. We were rejected in Bamako for that reason.

Togo
(Picked up at the Aflao/Lome border crossing as we entered. It’s not possible at the Kpalime border)
Valid for 7 days and can be extended in Lome.
10,000 CFA pp
This was a very easy visa. There’s a small immigration counter on the right hand side as you cross the border and they issue visas here on the spot. You just have to fill in the application form and pay the money.

Benin
(Accra, Ghana)
60 cedi pp (visa not required for South Africans)
This visa was simple, although it required a hotel reservation (printed and confirmed with payment). Issued same day or next day depending on the time of application (apply between 9-11am only). You can no longer get a visa at the Togo/Benin border – before you exit Togo, they check for your Benin visa.
Fellow overlanders in Feb were also able to get their Benin visa in Ouagadougou. Same day (30mins) at 40,000 CFA pp.
List of required documents; 2 photos, copy of passport, 2 application forms, copy of Ghanian visa and entry stamp, hotel confirmation for Benin.

Nigeria
(Lome, Togo)
55,000 CFA (UK citizen)
77,000 CFA (Aust citizen)
This was our worst visa application experience and I wouldn’t recommend attempting for a visa at the Lome Embassy. In the end we received a 3 day transit visa (that had to be used on certain dates that we did not choose). Quite possibly, due to the upcoming elections in Nigeria the government had a crackdown on issuing no tourist visas. Hopefully things have changed now, but this is one visa that I would try and apply for ASAP in Africa, if not in your home country. Assistance from your embassy definitely helps (the Dutch and German embassies in Togo & Benin have been particularly helpful to other overlanders recently).  Lots of paperwork was involved and it took 3 days to receive. The Nigerian embassy in Ouagadougou was much more helpful to fellow overlanders passing through in Feb 2015. They received a 30 day tourist visa, but it started from the date they received the visa and also took 1 week for the application to go through.
List of documents we required; 2 photos, passport copy, letter of introduction from host in Nigeria, copy of Togo visa and entry stamp, copy of bank statement, letter from us explaining our situation, copy of YF, carnet copy, letter from work confirming employment.

Cameroon
(Calabar, Nigeria)
18,000 naira pp
3 passport photos
2 application forms
This was one of the easiest visas we got! It was issued on the spot within 30mins at the embassy. Definitely the friendliest African embassy we came across.

Gabon
No Visa (Yaounde, Cameroon)
Unfortunately we were denied even applying for a Gabon visa in Yaounde, despite spending an entire day at the embassy. After fulfilling a very long list of requirements, they were not satisfied that our own embassies in Yaounde would not provide us with a letter of recommendation (even after an explanation from the UK embassy over the phone). This also happened to a few other overlanders and tourists that we spoke to at the time, so not sure what the reasoning was. Speaking fluent French may assist you, but I would recommend trying in earlier countries.
A list of required documents; 3 photos, passport copy, carnet copy, yellow fever copy, drivers license copy, letter from us to the embassy, bank statement, hotel reservation, copy of visa for ongoing country (eg DRC or Angola), letter from your employer staying you are employed and will be returning to work, copy of Cameroon visa and entry stamp, copy of travel insurance, letter of recommendation from your embassy in Yaounde.

Congo
(Yaounde, Cameroon)
60,000 CFA pp for express (4 days)
30,000 CFA pp for standard (7 days)
One of the more expensive visas, this also required a fair bit of paperwork and running around. We submitted the application form, 2 passport photos, copy of passport & yellow fever certificate, Cameroon entry stamp and visa and a copy of carnet (or hotel reservation). The payment had to be deposited into their bank account in person and a receipt slip taken back to the embassy before the visa was processed. Apply before 11am.

DRC
(Yaounde, Cameroon)
100,000 CFA pp
Apply at 9am, pick up 9am next day.
Very simple visa, although pretty expensive. 2 application forms, 2 photos, 1 copy of passport, yellow fever & carnet.

We have heard it is much cheaper in Libreville, but this hasn’t been confirmed by anyone in person. Worth checking out if you can get into Gabon.

Fellow overlanders applied for their DRC visa in Cotonou, Benin. 2 days for application. 78,000 CFA pp. It required 2 photos, hotel reservation & confirmation that you are a tourist – a letter from your company back home or maybe from your embassy.

Angola
(Accra, Ghana)
$160USD
All our research before the trip indicated that this would be the most difficult visa to get, but looking back now it was really not that hard. The staff at the Angolan Embassy in Accra were very friendly and helpful, and we ended up getting the visa in 5 days. There was a lot of paperwork involved, but we ended up with a 30day tourist visa which was amazing and definitely worth the effort, as Angola was one of our favourite countries.
You can apply on Mon-Tues-Wed between 9-12pm and only collect on Fridays.
Paperwork required: passport copy, 2 photos, copy of Ghana visa and entry stamp, bank statement & copy of bank card, copy of YF, hotel reservation, copy of drivers license (both local & international), copy of carnet, a letter from you to the embassy requesting your visa with specific reasons. This needs to be translated into Angolan Portuguese and signed by you before they will accept it. You can either pay the embassy 40cedi to translate it or go to the local language school. We assume the embassy looks more favourably on your application if you pay them to translate it (of course!)
Bank deposit in cash (USD only) into a Stanbic Bank, with the deposit slip returned to the embassy before processing will begin.
The official Embassy processing time of the visa is 2 weeks (ie. apply on a Monday and collect your visa the following Friday). We requested that it be ready by the first Friday and were luckily successful.
Also, depending on which route you are planning to cross through Congo/DRC/Angola, you will need to request a double entry visa in order to cross through Cabinda. We only got a single entry visa and didn’t cross through Cabinda but it is a possible option.

Namibia – no visas required

South Africa – no visas required

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