Borders Burkina Faso Ghana

Day 32: Welcome to Ghana: That will be £740 Please Sir!!!

OK I will get it back as it is a deposit on a temporary import permit for the bike but it does mean a change in plan (again). I have to exit Ghana by the same border I entered to get my money back.

On a brighter note I changed the chain on my bike this morning with the help of a few friendly locals. What a difference, a much quieter and smoother ride.

Now if you can get a map you will see I entered Ghana at its top left border with Burkina Faso, I am meeting Scouts in Accra which is at the bottom right hand side of Ghana. My original plan was to leave Ghana into Togo about 200km to the right of Accra; Easy! Well no…

To explain you first need to know about importing vehicles into a country. Most countries charge heavy import duties on the assumption you will sell the vehicle. If you do not plan to sell the vehicle then the country needs some sort of guarantee the you will re-export it. There are three ways to do this.

1. The laisee passe. Basically you buy a document that is recorded in your passport. When you exit the country you must have that vehicle with you. Before I left I was told all African countries except Egypt used this system. This is the system i have been using up until Ghana.

2. A Carnet. This is like an insurance policy that you take out in your home country. It is a book that gets stamped on entry and exit. If a country notices you have not exited, it can claim import taxes from your carnet provider. Who then chase you for the money. Now this system works well for most of the world who can get a carnet by providing a hefty deposit which is returned to them minus a reasonable fee when the stamped carnet book is returned. Not so in the UK. We only have one carnet provider, the AA. UK citizens have to pay non returnable carnet fees that run into thousands of pounds. Strange that these fee levels only happened after the RAC stopped doing carnets. As i understood only Egypt needed a carnet and the fees were so high, I did not get one.

3. Temporary Import Permit. This is where the country effectively charges a deposit equivalent to the import tax. When you take the vehicle out the deposit is returned. This is what Ghana have made me do because I have no carnet and they do not do laisee passe.

Now the deposit amount is not an issue as i get it back. What is an issue is that it will add 5 days to my journey because after travelling 2.5 days to visit the Ghana Scouts, i must return to my entry point (2.5 days), go back into Burkina Faso, turn right ( for 1.5 days) drop into Togo, go south back to the coast (2.5 days) before continuing my journey (which should have taken 1.5 days to reach this point). Things are even further complicated because my Burkina Faso visa was single entry. That means i must get another to go back that way.

My only hope is that somebody in a position of power in Ghana reads this and takes pity on me. If I could claim back my deposit at the Togo border to Ghana…. Please Ôÿ║!!!!! You would be giving me 5 days of time and fuel.

( Pause while 3 donkeys wander past my tent)
I am bush camping here tonight off a dirt road between the border and a town called Wa.
At the current rate of progress (40kph on dirt roads) it will be a couple more days before I reach Accra.

Update after a bad night: I thought it was very hot and humid here last night I was sweating buckets and drank about 3L of water during the night. In the early hours I began to suspect I did in fact have a temperature and my illness was back. That was confirmed at this morning’s squat. I have not really been eating properly for a while either, I made myself Pasta last night and only ate half. I have decided to start taking the anti biotics the doctor in the UK gave me and this morning I will get to Wa and find a hotel to hole up in for a day or two until I feel better.

Nadowli, Upper West Region, Ghana

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