It was hard to leave the very comfy Onomo Hotel. We made pigs of ourselves at the breakfast buffet first though. We headed to the port area of Lome.
Traffic was bad and once we turned off the main road, the side roads were awful. Deep puddles and mud, smelling absolutely foul. Our first stop was the shipping agent, Bollore. Getting through security at the gates to any office is always a challenge. Two foreign registered Land Rovers turning up at the gates seems to totally throw the security guards. Phone calls usually follow and often someone else will come out and get involved. It always takes ages. With Bollore, we were sent to two different gates, before finding the right location.
We sat down for a discussion with a helpful young salesman. Having given all our vehicle details and advising we wanted to go to Namibia as soon as possible, he said he would get back to us with a quote and details of shipping dates etc.
Then off to a second agency in an even worse location with deep puddles and mud. This time a young lady took all the details and again said she will get back to us with a quote.
Finally to a shipping company, rather than an agent, Mediterranean Shipping Company. Once we got through security, we entered a busy office with many people waiting. However, we didn’t look like any of the other business people, so a young man came out and ushered us into the offices. A very smart salesman came to deal with us. He was informative in giving us a shipping schedules but advised we would need to use an agent. MSC does not handle personal effects, which our vehicles constitute.
He took us to their agent’s offices next door and introduced us to a gentleman who ushered us into his office. We gave him all our details, including copies of all the documents he required. We had a strange conversation about taxes though. Despite the fact we have a Carnet and Adam has a Laisser Passer and the vehicles are only temporary imports to the country, he insisted they had to be imported and then exported and we would have to pay 3 – 5% tax based on Customs estimate of the vehicles value.
By now we were hot and tired so decide to head for a beach location we have found on iOverlander. It is several kilometres outside Lome. Lome seems to be a very spread out city. The traffic is hectic and there are thousands of motorbikes. It’s very noisy as everyone honks to announce their presence. Coco Beach Chez Antoine is off the main road via some unmade up tracks.
It is nice to be by the ocean with a breeze. We park carefully among coconut trees. Not directly underneath, just in case any coconut’s decide to fall. We put up our canopy and set out our table and chairs to relax. We also decided we would put up the caranex. It’s seems an age since we have done this.
This climate seems to encourage laziness, so we decide to eat in the restaurant. Nothing exotic, just omelette and fries. When we wander back to the Land Rovers. We had already made up our bed and as we climbed in lightening was flashing all around us. We had just about fallen asleep when the storm started. Thunder, wind and rain. We were snug inside Poki, but we had left the Caranex unzipped across the top of the door to let air in. Mistake. It also let the rain in.
It was quite a dramatic storm. Thunder crashing and strong wind. We heard a bang and I thought a branch from a coconut tree had landed on the awning. In the morning we found that one of the poles supporting the awning had snapped off at the top. The storm seemed to go on for ages, so not the best sleep.
I’m guessing that Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, EG, Congo and Angola would be even more troublesome with borders and admin. Dropping straight into Namibia would get you almost to SA.
Hi Kevin, we already have our Benin visas. Nigeria is another matter but it’s not the admin we are concerned about, but the virtually impassable roads in the wet season. I’m not strong enough to deal with them, nor do I think, is Jen. or Adam. Sebastien & Alex are about to exit Nigeria now. We are keeping a close eye on them. Driving is a poor option for us.