Another African travel advice thread
Posted 21 January 2009 - 08:05 PM
In late Feb I will heading to Liberia From London (indirect/transit stopover in Morocco) - we will be there for two weeks shooting footage for a small aid organization based around an orphanage. From there we will traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a week via Accra, Ghana where we will be for two days.
I will traveling with a Sony EX1, macbookpro and HD to dump the footage - I have travelled with this set up previously through Europe, the States, Australia and New Zealand and this gear will fit in my hand luggage, the charger can take anything you throw at it and the camera can shoot all the appropriate rate/frequencies. As there is no 'job' in Ghana & Ethiopia and we are ostensibly tourists for this time I plan to return the camera to London with a colleague but if this fails I may have to carry the gear onwards through these countries.
- I am processing visas for Liberia at the current time via the London embassy and am about to contact the Ghanaian and Ethiopian embassies in Australia but am told that visa can be processed upon arrival for these countries.
- I have booked yellow fever and malaria fun for next week
- I am contacting an insurance agency based in London that specifically deals with aid workers in post conflict societies (Liberia the issue here)
- None of these countries are listed as recognizing ATA Carnets - hmmm...
Considering they aren't Carnet countries what can I expect when the shiny nice gear turning up at customs in these countries ?
Any general advice ?!
What have a neglected to think about ?
Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:16 AM
Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:53 AM
... a fist full of dollars, 5's or 20's ?
Edited by Chris Millar, 22 January 2009 - 02:53 AM.
Posted 23 January 2009 - 03:12 AM
Good luck man, you'll be fine and before long it will seem ordinary... The only country in Africa where you don't have to do business like that is South Africa, otherwise thats how it goes - in my experience anyway...
Do you have a local liason in each country?
Posted 23 January 2009 - 06:52 PM
Since the 'caterpillar crisis' (http://allafrica.com...0901220782.html) we will be traveling to the border of Guinea which I'm told had a recent coup - 10 check points apparently - $$$!
Ghana we in for a day in transit to Ethiopia where we are basically tourists and hope not to have the camera and gear with us at that stage. Just a few t-shirts and an old 35mm stills SLR that wouldn't hurt to much if it were stolen.
Posted 25 January 2009 - 12:14 PM
Biggest camera problems will be dust on everything, so make sure you have things to keep it as clean as possible with. Power can be touch and go as can sanitation and the other simple things in life. Try to get local translators who are trustworthy and reliable. I think Ethiopia is a Carnet country, as well, though for myself, I was never asked at any TSA/Airport to producer documents for my equipment, nor to ever open my bag. Others in my group were, but I wasn't. So it was well for me. If you don't have Carnets, have copies of receipts etc to show where you bought the equipment and the like.
Power is touchy, and the biggest issue is not enough outlets in certain room. I'd recommend a surge strip with US plugs so you can use 1 adapter to power all your equipment. Also, voltage vary widly and the power is ungrounded so you'll get shocked on occasion touching you laptop. Best to keep it off to charge and then off of the mains as much as possible as with all your electronics. Be prepared to loose days of shooting for blackouts.
Bring bug spray and blankets and pillows-- from the plane works well-- it does get cold at night. I recommend a space blanket as well. Hand Sanitizer as well is necessary as you can't always wash up before you eat (and stay away from seafood).
Most people will be incredibly hospitable to you though there are custonms which you must become acclimated to which will vary region to region. Hmm.. what else?
Bug spray.. I can't say it enough!
Aside from that, the sun there is pretty wonderful, though in cities air quality is quite poor, so if you're asthmatic or the like, be ready to deal.
Many countries in Africa have pre-paid phone services, so an unlocked GSM (Sim card) phone can be a life-saver for communications. I was lucky enough to hop on some unsecued WiFi in Dakar in order to keep in contact with my loved ones. and that's all I can really thing of for now...
You'll be fine!
Posted 25 January 2009 - 12:32 PM
Posted 06 March 2009 - 05:51 PM
In Ghana tonight, first 24Hr mains and hot water for 2 weeks ... Addis Ababa tomorrow.
Some interesting stuff to share about cameras in this neck of the woods (Liberia the most interesting, Ghana it seems is like any other western city) but my mac power supply has stopped working and I'm on %26 battery...
I be in touch you know to tell ya sum tings my mans