Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are you traveling Accra to Ouaga? Here's some travel advice

From Sam and Austin, who are now on their way back to Accra!
Visas for Burkina can be obtained at Burkina Embassy in Accra (same day if you go in early morning). Alternatively pickup the day after. Payment is $100 US cash. All bills must be dated after the year 2002. Speak French with the bureaucrats and they'll love you. STC Bus leaves from STC station in Accra ~8am almost every day to Bolga, takes about 14 hours and costs ~24 cedis. The bus makes many restroom and food stops.

To get from Sumbrungu to Ouaga we took the following route: Sumbrungu>Paga>Po>Ouaga

-Waited outside library for 45 min on main road to flag down a shared taxi ride. Cost is 1.5 person for a shared taxi with 5 people plus the driver or about 15 for private. The ride to Paga is 30 min and you do NOT need to pay the taxis a "luggage fee".
-At Paga you must get out of the car and walk across the border. You will be swarmed with offers for taxis and money exchange.
-Walk left at the border crossing and head into Ghana customs office. Ask one of the Ghana border agents to help you find a trusty person to exchange a little money for taxi etc before you can use ATM in Ouaga (about 423 F per US $ in 10/08)
-Physically walk across the border to Burkina passport control and then Burkina customs (which is to the right just after crossing the border).
-Take a taxi to Po. Should cost no more than 1,000 per person in a shared taxi. The ride is 30 min.
-In Po you will most likely be dropped at the bus station.
-Take the "Rakati" bus line buses up to Ouaga. The published schedule has a bus leaving every two hours or so starting at 10am. However, times may very and departure will most likely be at least 30 min late so be sure to ask at the official ticket counter to confirm the times. Tickets to Ouaga per
person should be about 3,000 F. The bus ride lasts about 4 hrs.

This may be too much info but we found this out the hard way.... General advice about taxis in Ghana and Burkina: Taxi driver will most likely quote you New York city cab prices if you look like you're from NewYork. Prices are quoted almost always at 2-3 times more than average. If you're comfortable bargaining ask a local friend what the right price should be and when approaching tax drivers name the place and price you're willing to pay. If they are unwilling to meet you're price then walking away will often get the desired results. Sometimes you may want to clarify if the taxi
is shared because the driver may sit and wait for other passengers or they'll pick to 5 others along the way. If taking TraTra bus with many other passengers you may want to ask them what they're paying before making your offer to the driver.

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