Sir… you’ll have to temporarily import that bicycle

Day 77… Saturday 17th June

I nipped to the car briefly to get some clothes and the 4 hotel staff who were friendly were immediately there and simply interested in our travels.  I don’t think they get may travellers passing through.  Headed out of Pointe-Noire with no traffic problems or police stops.  Usual pothole problems.  The city streets were covered in sand at the side but at least there were safer areas for pedestrians to walk and less traffic.  A far more orderly traffic flow.  The drive to the border was only 1 hour and was easy on the Congo side.  Building 1 – passport check.  Building 2 – passport stamp out. Building 3 – carnet stamped out of Congo.  Changed CFA to Angolan Kwanza with a local money changer.  Drove to the Angolan side.  Immigration were unable to process our visa due to a power cut and we had to wait until the power returned.  Bets on the wait are:  Allen – 1 hour.  Me – 3 hours +++ 

I won the bet where 7 hours later, the border crossing into Angola was complete.  The generator came on after 3.5 hours but the whole process was extremely slow.  By far the worst border crossing on this trip.  Heading to Cabinda for the night, there was a police stop but friendly officers.  Language is now Portuguese.  It was clear that the last hour of our journey it would in the dark.  Not something to relish where there are no streetlights, people/cars parked at the side of the road along with potholes.  Very difficult to navigate but we found a hotel (card not accepted but luckily they had a working ATM outside).  Dinner for 2 cost 9,000KWA/£9.  Local beer tonight was called ‘class’.

Allen’s perspective…

The border crossing was broadly fine and would have been quicker had their been power. But the customs office still took 1-2 hours at least, with a new level of incompetency having been reached. Sitting watching the staff they appear to have a lot to do, with people waiting, but they were in no hurry to get anything done. At one point the office manager, fresh from yelling at some people outside came in and complained at his staff. From what I could gather he was trying to tell them to get the tourists through quicker. This was after he made some rude quip about tourists not speaking Portuguese! We had to wait there to get a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) since Angola doesn’t accept the Carnet de Passage. I don’t care, it is fine with me and I have all of the paperwork required. I did feel sorry however for a Spanish chap there with a bicycle, having cycled all the way from Europe, who needed a TIP also… daft!

Once we got it and were on our way we found the roads were fine but the light was going quick quickly. And as Rachael mentioned there are lots of people walking in the road, in the dark, with cars flying past at 50/60mph. Slightly stressful end to the day.

Proceed Booking