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Travel to Sudan


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#1 Edward Ashhurst

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:25 PM

I will be travelling to Sudan in December to film a documentary about a former "Lost Boy of Sudan" returning home to find his family after being separated for more than twenty-seven years. I am interested to hear if anyone has RECENTLY travelled to southern Sudan to film and if so how did you go about preparing for your trip logistically? (travel docs, entry visa, preferred route of travel (thru Khartoum? or Kenya to Wau?), vaccinations, crew, safety precautions). I was given seven weeks to ensure that we properly document this trip and any information about your recent experiences would be extremely helpful.

Best,

Edward Ashhurst
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 02:08 AM

I can't be of much help with your questions, but it sounds like a fantastic project. Be careful obviously. It's still not a very safe place I don't think. You might call the Sudanese embassy or contact the US embassy in Sudan http://sudan.usembassy.gov/
Good luck!
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#3 Chris Millar

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 02:42 AM

Filmed in Liberia and Ethiopia earlier this year ...

Both very different from each other but also the same in some ways - yup, its not Sudan but feel free contact me for lack of any other forthcoming advice.

Adrian Sierkowski another user here has filmed in Senegal recently - Adam Wallensten has a thread mentioning DRC ... I'm sure someone will pop out of the woodwork ;)
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#4 Edward Ashhurst

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 04:05 AM

Filmed in Liberia and Ethiopia earlier this year ...

Both very different from each other but also the same in some ways - yup, its not Sudan but feel free contact me for lack of any other forthcoming advice.

Adrian Sierkowski another user here has filmed in Senegal recently - Adam Wallensten has a thread mentioning DRC ... I'm sure someone will pop out of the woodwork ;)



Thanks for the replies,

We've been advised to travel thru Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to get to Juba, Sudan in the south. Not sure how many days we would be in Ethiopia but i would love to hear about your experience there Chris.

Edited by Edward Ashhurst, 13 November 2009 - 04:06 AM.

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#5 Edward Ashhurst

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 04:13 AM

Also, has anyone applied for their entry visas at the airport while in transit to their destination country. I've been told by the southern Sudanese embassy that we will be able to get our visas processed at the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and for much less then mailing our passports to the embassy in Washington. Does anyone know how this works or if this is true? I would hate to fly halfway around the world and be stuck. The reason I ask is we only have 5 1/2 weeks before we leave and the embassy in Washington D.C. said they could take up to 8 weeks to process our visa. I'm a little concerned about getting our passports back in time.
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#6 Edward Ashhurst

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 04:19 AM

I can't be of much help with your questions, but it sounds like a fantastic project. Be careful obviously. It's still not a very safe place I don't think. You might call the Sudanese embassy or contact the US embassy in Sudan http://sudan.usembassy.gov/
Good luck!


Thanks Brad. Complex politics in Sudan. This is apparent when I learned that there are two embassies in Washington - one for the north and one for the south. And two very different set of rules on entry.
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#7 Chris Millar

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 06:11 AM

We've been advised to travel thru Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to get to Juba, Sudan in the south. Not sure how many days we would be in Ethiopia but i would love to hear about your experience there Chris.


From Monrovia to Addis Ababa we went via Ghana for a 1 day stop over. Like you we didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars sending our passports to other countries for weeks just for 3 month entry visas. On the advice of a friend we turned up an 'applied' for the entry visa in Ghana - we were split up, I was sent into a booth whilst my colleague was bundled off into an office... I explained pretty much what I wanted, was charged $20 US and away I went. Couldn't find my friend for about 5mins and expected the worst, but he had had a similar experience and been let out in another direction gripping his freshly stamped passport minus the same amount of cash.

Upon reflection the reason we were handled in such a fashion was that the money went straight into the pockets of the customs officers involved - they were simply getting dibs and ensuring exclusivity.

In the process I was asked earnestly 'which is closer to Ghana, New Zealand or Japan !!' - :lol:

Now, same airport - this is trying to leave mind - we had to apply for exit visas, yup exit visas. The Customs official here was grumpy as his position was too exposed for him to go about extracting cash from us, so he instead scribbled all over bags with chalk and accused us of being Nigerian spies... Pure comedy, but at the time a little disconcerting.

Advice is just to be honest, upfront but firm. Don't give an inch or you'll be rinsed. Walk about like your a distinguished gentleman going about your business and you dont take no poop sir, (but dont swear) anything less and you may as well paint TARGET on your forehead in english, spanish, french and amharic for good measure :rolleyes:

Anyway, moving onto Addis Ababa ...

Ok, after Monrovia - a recent enough war zone - Addis was a disappointment, consider if you might heading up Lalibela, probably the same ol' bullshit (read on) but at least you have one of the seven wonders of the world to have a look at - we wish we booked the flights (too expensive at late notice). Anyway, Addis, especially all the tourist targets save perhaps the university district is just a shitfest of beggar-gangs, and they of a more insidious variety that will befriend you over the space of one or two blocks as you walk (which we assume are their allowed territory) and then pull some sob story and/or get very offended and confrontational with you if you dont 'go home with them for coffee', 'help pay their uni fees' or 'help out with their school for special needs children' etc... Trust me, they are ALL frauds.

Learn to spot them coming, and you will - ha ha its all coming back to me now ... I dunno, it just really rubbed me the wrong way, I mean in Liberia if someone doesn't like you they might just fire a rocket propelled machete at you or at least crowd around you and yell 'white man dont film me! Liberia is for Liberians !' - its honest - but Addis Ababa is just this relentless swindling (its physically tiring, honestly).

Ethiopian airlines is great however - yes thanks, another Campari would be grand ... speaking of drinks, if you're like me you'll salivate at the pictures of these traffic light like drinks on the hoardings for most bars and cafes, but none of them actually have these drinks - instead, you'll have to drink coffee, which is the best coffee in the world..

Put it this way - its the:
The cradle of humanity
Birth place of the coffee bean
and...
It was occupied by the Italians for a short period

yum yum yum yum

that and perhaps seeing Haile Selassies toilet just around the corner from the dug up/cracked open graves (they were widening a road with articulated diggers near the palace) were the highlights.

hmmm - what kind of camera are you taking ?

Some quick thoughts off the top of my head:
Power is sketchy - expect mild electrocution
Malaria pills are for pussies, just dunk yourself in some industrial strength insect repellent
industrial strength insurance wouldn't go amiss also - read the policy, make sure its up to the job, question it, if you exempt yourself by doing anything against the rules (like working for instance) then its just an expensive but meaningless bit of paper

enough typing for now - shucks
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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:16 AM

Great post Chris! Not only was it informative, but I had a good laugh or two!
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Aerial Filmworks

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Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

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Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

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