|| Sahara Crosser's Corner
Political and Cultural Issues
The cultures in the Saharan countries differ in many ways from those of
the 'western world'. Westerners who travel there should take this into
consideration, and try to adapt their customs to what is proper in these
Open and Closed Borders
Before you travel, you should always check that the route you are planning
to use is open. Africa is a very dynamic continent, and situations can
change over one night. You should check with the embassy of the countries
you want to travel in for visa requirements, etc. You should also ask specifically
about the route you are planning to use. Sometimes, a country may be open
on certain borders and closed on others, so if you come from the wrong
As of October 96, the whole border between Algeria and Morocco was closed,
whilst the border between Algeria and Niger was open. It was also possible
to enter the country by boat from Spain.
It seldom pays to be rude and demanding towards officials. A polite and
friendly attitude will usually be helpful, and have lots of patience.
People in the desert countries are more sensitive to 'inappropriate' ways
of dressing than you might be used to. They don't expect you to dress like
them, but there's no need to offend them either.
||You should always clean up after yourself. In the desert, you can either
burn or bury your waste in the ground.
The subsaharan countries use CFA as their currency, but the CFA is subdivided
into two groups: western and eastern. The western CFA is used in Niger, Mali,
Burkina Faso, Senegal and Benin for example. Its currency code is XOF. The eastern
CFA is used in Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea
and Gabon. The currency code is XAF.
This is important to keep in mind because the two currencies are easy to confuse
but are not compatible; even if their value is the same you can not use the eastern
CFA bills in the countries using western CFA. It can also be difficult to change
your money from the one type to the other.
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