We found it, a travelogue Twitter thread that could serve as a guide for tourists planning to embark on a road trip across West African countries.
The information tourists need to be armed with and how to prepare for the trip is well detailed in this thread of tweets.
From Lagos, Nigeria to Cotonou in Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and down to Dakar in Senegal, a Nigerian Travel and lifestyle blogger @AinaTalks gives a breakdown of her tour across these countries and the challenges to expect.
“Carry your complete documents and plenty extra money for bribe. Your English will not save you,“ she advised while narrating how immigration officers at the borders of all the countries she visited with her partners demanded a huge sum of money as bribes despite having the required travel documents.
Except in Ghana where she said the border security operatives were courteous and ready to provide help.
“The immigration police at the borders of Ghana are the best; they never harass you. They even gave us tips on what to do in Ghana. Amazing?”
My friend mentioned touring west Africa by road and I was sold, so I packed my bags some 2 weeks after he left and got on the road with another friend. We had to google everything we needed to know about border procedures and all that but we could hardly find details about all of that. There’s a lot of French going on and we speak only English so communicating our questions to the new people was going to be a Herculean task so this is a thread about how the journey has been so far. The cost breakdown and other tips will be on my blog soon
Nigeria to Cotonou:
We took a sienna from Mile 2 to seme border for 1500. It was pretty comfortable and the journey wasn’t so bad. The journey should be about 2 hours but The roads are horrible though so about 4/5 hours. There are smaller cabs that play that route too.
The walk from the last drop to the border is about 8 minutes and you have to walk through. DO NOT TAKE A BIKE IT IS A SCAM!!! Be armed with your passport and yellow card please. And bribe. The border procedures are usually easy, ask for your documents then stamp. But usually they demand for bribes and if you don’t pay that meins you sleep there. Once you cross over, there’ll be cars in the park waiting to take you to Cotonou and bureau de change to convert the Naira you can no longer spend to CFA.
Benin Republic to Togo:
Small cabs (bush taxis) you’ll find around the park in Dantokpa market will take you to Lomé, Togo. The border procedures are pretty much the same.
Benin – Burkina Faso:
We used TCV travel and tours to travel from Benin to Burkina Faso and I absolutely recommend. The buses are comfortable, AC fitted and they have charging spots. We moved by 12 am and it was my first midnight journey. I slept through half of it; I felt safe.
There are a number of checkpoints on the roads before the border, most of them will demand for bribe, as if having an ECOWAS passport or being Nigerian Issa curse. Booking your hotel online will be the best thing you can do or you’ll sleep in pricey room without a bathroom door
Burkina Faso to Ghana:
We took an OA bus from Ouagadougou station to Tamale, Ghana but they usually go to Kumasi and Accra also. The immigration police at the borders of Ghana are the best; they never harass you. They even gave us tips on what to do in Ghana. Amazing?
We ran out of cash at this point, and had to change money so we had to look for a Nigerian we could transfer go who’d give us CFA in cash. It wasn’t as difficult as you’d imagine, Nigerians are really everywhere. But they scammed us and we lost at least 200 cedis. Shame.
Burkina Faso to Mali:
We took an overnight bus, also OA from the Central Park in Ouagadoudou to Bobo-Dioulasso. Then we got on another bus to Bamako, Mali from the OA station. Entire journey lasted about 24 hours.
The soldiers at the Mali borders ARE NOT PLAYING!!! they asked for 5,000CFa and delayed our bus for at least 45 minutes when we mostly refused to pay. They eventually let us go without paying.
Mali – Senegal:
This leg of the journey has been the most eventful. Nothing could have prepared us for such horrible roads. We took a nour bus everyone but Seyi had recommended and soon enough we regretted that decision
The bus broke down shortly after we took off (2 hours later than the specified time) and it took 3 hours to fix. Once we got on the express, we spent the next 2 hours holding everything solid in sight and Praying to God to keep us safe. If we die in the middle of nowhere my mother doesn’t even know where exactly I am we were convinced the bus was going to tip over but it didn’t. And we made it to the Mali border where the officials asked for 10,000cfa. They didn’t even negotiate a lot, locked up our documents and kicked us out.
Our bus would have left us but for a kind woman who acted mummy and made the driver wait for us at the Senegalese border. We waited for an hour until the bus company called the police officer and begged him to take 5k cfa from us. Lmao. And we still said thank you sir!!! madness
Senegalese border, the first thing they did was to take my friend’s taser the greedy man even followed him to unload all the bags in the bus just so he could collect the taser. Say na haram and no types of weapons are allowed. We also paid 5k cfa by beg before we could stamp
There are like custom checkpoints every 20 minutes and each time they searched inside all the bags. The bus broke down again once we crossed the Senegalese border, inside the bush this time. It took 5 hours to fix, this was 10pm and I was sick of the whole journey.
There was a bonfire everyone danced and clapped around and it was the most beautiful thing. Just watching people from completely different places who can barely communicate have such a good time while we were stuck in a messy situation. Phones were dead painfully so no pictures
The journey finally ended and Sarah, the kind woman we met on the bus took us to her house to shower and eat . She also negotiated with the Air b n b owner and we got an extra room for free. She speaks no English, we speak no French so we mostly communicate via “sign language”.
Still In Dakar, we haven’t clearly mapped the next leg but it should take us through Gambia, Mauritius and Morocco. The most important tips – Always negotiate money before you get into a taxi. If not they will change it for you and you don’t understand French
Carry your complete documents and plenty extra money for bribe. Your English will not save you. Get all your vaccinations and carry along mosquito repellents, antibiotics, antimalarials and most importantly sun screen. Naija sun is early morning sun compared to these ones.
We got tired of eating tchiep, so today @da_diarist went to find a local market and bought stuff to cook. The pepper tastes completely different from ours and the onion had a really strong smell. @seyialbert_ couldn’t eat it at all because of the amount of pepper
Dakar, Senegal makes me forget all the hassles we went through on the road. The most beautiful town I’ve ever been in and now, more than ever, I want to tell you the things you have dreamed of all your life are within reach. Only if you can go through the process.
6 countries later, 2 weeks on the road with @da_diarist, 4 weeks for @seyialbert_ and we’re finally having the time of our lives. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and touristing like cool kids. The greatest lesson I’ve learnt on this trip so far is love really does conquer all.
See her tweet:
My friend mentioned touring west Africa by road and I was sold, so I packed my bags some 2 weeks after he left and got on the road with another friend. We had to google everything we needed to know about border procedures and all that but we could hardly find details pic.twitter.com/Qkk1JNP3rQ
— Odd Labalábá (@AinaTalks) October 30, 2019
Our humanity is under attack BY Gbolahan Olayemi
On Monday, 25th May, based on unconfirmed fears that a black man, George Floyd, was issuing a potentially counterfeit bill at Minnesota shop, its owners, called on cops to help apprehend him.
Moments later, as cameras will reveal, George can be seen pleading with the officers, attempting to negotiate the obvious mistaken situation.
Soon afterwards, he is rendered almost motionless as one of the officers kneels on his neck.
He can be heard and seen struggling for breath, as onlookers plead with the officer to release him.
“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Floyd repeats as the officer ignores his cries, and goes on kneeling on a harmless, unharmed, obedient man’s neck, for at least 7 minutes – in a flagrant, obvious, cruel show of racism. An undisguised evil act. When the officer eventually releases the knee-hold, Floyd is unresponsive and limp.
He is taken to a hospital where he is pronounced dead.
Evil used to sneak around, too scared to walk in the light. It used to creep up on unsuspecting women having a fresh, nice time in a garden. It used to hide in the shadows, silently whispering its destructive ideas into the unsuspecting ears of the listener.
Not anymore. Nowadays, it walks with shoulders held high, clothes ironed crisply, confidence bolstered by how many times in the past it’s had its way; how many times it’s gotten away with the mindlessness of its perpetrators and all who do its bidding.
Our humanity is under attack. From self-assumed “superiors” who brandish nothing more than a skin treated to a fairer shade because of genetic, migration and anthropological effects spread out over a period of time. We treat each other worse than animals.
The uproar that Floyd’s death has generated in the US is incensed by the fact that this isn’t a first, and will certainly not be the last. Just across the continental divide, news of whole towns and villages being sacked, people being massacred in Nigeria has filled the airways, dominated the news all week.
“I can’t breathe. I’m about to die.”
How ironical the similarity this plea bears with our everyday lives.
Signs remote working is not for you BY Mike Volkin
The wrath of coronavirus has been upon us for quite some time now, and the world has had some time to adjust. The most significant part of the change was remote work. People all over the world, from students to full-time workers, have all switched. At least those who had the infrastructure and privilege to go online has gone online by now.
There are many benefits to working remotely. Already a lot of surveys and studies have revealed that with people switching to remote work, productivity has increased. Not just that, people who used to commute to work are now free from that hassle as well. That means more time for family and friends.
But, there are downsides to it as well. The primary being the fact we cannot go outside of our houses. It makes it difficult for us to keep our sanity intact. Our mental health is directly linked to our physical well being. We highly underestimate the amount of physical activity we used to do by simply going out. With that gone, our mental health is deteriorating as fast as our physical health.
With the right amount of physical activity and mental health exercises, we will be able to keep our sanity intact. And only then will we be able to adjust our lives to quarantine. Even after everything, some people just cannot get used to remote work. This article is for those people so that they can tell whether remote work will work for them.
Here are four signs that if favourable, will indicate that remote working is not for you:
You Still Miss Face to Face Interaction
Some people just like face to face interaction. Those people cannot find peace in working from home as they feel isolated in the house. The fact that coronavirus has spread throughout the globe and is keeping us at home does not help.
Even if you are an introvert, you could fall into this category, and even more so if you think about it. Introverts have it hard as it is, with struggling to make friends and interact with people outside their home. The workplace gives them a chance to at least have some sort of human connection.
You Lack Personal Discipline
When you go to a particular place to work, your mind triggers something off. It makes you believe that now you have to work no matter what because now you are under the direct jurisdiction of your boss. This works like a trigger for our brain to switch productive mode on.
But, when you are sleeping where you are working, the distinction is hard to create. Those who have a robust personal discipline can handle this very easily as they are more in control of their minds and bodies.
So, if you are one who cannot go around the idea of personal discipline, then, unfortunately, remote work is not for you. Although, it is true that with dedication, you can train your brain and body to act in a certain way.
Your Field of Work Demands Heads-Together
There are two kinds of work, one is heads-down, and another is heads-together. The primary distinction between the two is that one requires you and only you to focus on your work without any kind of distraction. On the other hand, heads-together work involves a lot of group interactions and collaborative effort.
It is not a secret that collaborative work is harder on your computer. With the popularity of new apps like Zoom, significant improvement has been added to group interactions so you can work seamlessly with your colleagues.
But, in most cases, this kind of work level becomes harder to pull off consistently. So, in the long run, you will become exhausted. Moreover, if your work includes brainstorming sessions, you are in bad luck because there is no way to replace face-to-face brainstorming session.
You Don’t Want to Be a Part of Semi-Remote in the Future
According to experts, this lockdown will last a long time. So, more and more offices and employers will start to work remotely. So, there is a big chance that remote work will begin to become the norm.
As coronavirus has hit almost all the businesses in the world, employers will start minimizing their costs. And the first to go on their list will be the offices. And some employers will just get a smaller office.
In that world, those who would like to work from home will be able to work from home while others can work from the office. But, this culture will only encourage the same remote work, and even in the office, you will feel isolated.
To Wrap It Up
It is hard to say what the future holds, but the remote work revolution is almost inevitable. Although you should work at a real place rather than remotely, it would be good to get used to remote work with dedication as it can pay off in the long run.
There are many professionals out there who can help you with freelancing tips that will definitely make you ready for remote work.
Importance of social media during social distancing BY Eliza Brooks
The beginning of 2020 rocked the entire world like a train getting sidetracked, taking its passengers into the unknown. The biggest among the adversities, threatening the lives of many, is the COVID-19.
As the cases rise up to millions and deaths soar to hundreds of thousands, we still don’t know when this global pandemic will end. Jobs were lost, businesses crumbled, the economy is failing, and hearts continue to break as they lose loved ones in this fight against this deadly virus.
As people take shelter and safety inside their homes, many turn to social media amidst social distancing. But does social media play an important role during COVID-19? Read its importance here.
An Opportunity for Community Engagement
Whether you’re running a social media marketing agency or a personal social media account, social media is crucial for community engagement during social distancing.
As people refrain from engaging personally with friends and family, social media is a way to connect regardless of remoteness. For brands, this can be a way to engage with their audiences by publishing useful information that can help them get through these trying times.
For personal accounts, using social media is excellent to spread local news in your town or area as not every area is thoroughly covered by big media networks. Overall, social media during social distancing is an opportunity to increase engagement.
A Chance for Businesses to Strategize
While social media’s role before the pandemic was mostly to entertain users, businesses can leverage social media to inform. This gives companies a chance to re-strategize and see how they can position their brands amidst this global pandemic.
Another way businesses, regardless of industry, can utilize social media to position their products is to rethink their production. If you’re an apparel company, this can be a way to manufacture useful items like face masks and advertise it on social media.
Givenchy and Dior, two of the biggest luxury perfume makers worldwide, are giving free hand sanitizers to the French health authorities. The companies said they will be using their production facilities, supposedly for creating perfumes, for producing hand sanitizers or hydroalcoholic gel.
This tactic does not only contribute to brand recognition but also it will gain affinity from your audiences. And after this pandemic is over, you will reap the fruits of your labour.
A Channel for Reaching Out
Whether you have a business or personal social media account, you must put social media to good use. For one, helping one another during this time seems to be the most comforting thing we can do for now.
That said, publish or repost content that can help enlighten and warn others against the havoc of COVID-19. While social media can be as destructive as it is useful, ensure that you only repost reliable content so as not to spread fake news.
Another way to help others is by creating local social media groups or forums. This can be a perfect way to exchange information between users who are in a particular area. Plus, it’s also an excellent way to help the elderly. For instance, if elderly people are living on their own, going outside would put their lives at risk.
For example, Facebook users’ demographic is varied. Although 25 to 34-year-olds comprise the biggest percentage of social media users, there is a small 3 per cent of seniors aged 64 and above who have Facebook. You can reach out to these people and offer to do the grocery shopping for them. In fact, brands can create a movement to help the elderly during this time through social media channels.
Eliza Brooks is a passionate blogger and informative content writer who loves to write about social media marketing, seo tips, and web designs. She is currently working with Adfluencer, Germany’s leading agency for influencer marketing.
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