After all dangers in Togo, leaving the country and entering Ghana was not as easy as we thought it would be. On the Togolese side of the border rain was pouring; the customs officer sat in his office behind the desk as you would imagine. Unfortunately, they forgot all windows and the electricity in his perfectly appropriate office and outside it was too wet to inspect our passports. So it took him half an hour fumbling through our passports before asking us whether we had a visa or not. We told him that we had one. He had the glorious idea to search for his torch, finally found it, as well as our visas. But the search went on; he searched his stamp, searched the ink and searched for some space to stamp our passports. We borrowed him a pen to sign on the stamp and that was it; out of Togo, on to Ghana.
On Ghana’s side it took much longer. Immigration was done within minutes. Customs was more difficult. The nice lady thought we only came to see the nearby waterfalls and would return to Togo immediately afterwards. After having convinced her that we would like to see a little bit more of beautiful Ghana, she had to admit that there was no temporary import form available at this border post to register our car. We should have brought it ourselves or should produce any piece of paper she could stamp. As she was not sure what to do she started to phone around. We heard about our need to have an escort, having to go to the big border post at Aflao (another 100km of bad, bad road away), having to go back to Togo (with no visa) and finally the life-saving word “Carnet de Passage”. Yes, we had that one – a huge stone literally fell off our shoulders (and on her feet) – but normally, having an African number plate, you do not need a carnet for entering Ghana. The lady just was happy to have something in her hands she could stamp. However, it took some more phone calls, the reading of the whole instructions at the back of the carnet and another hour until she knew how to fill out and stamp it properly. Woooow, welcome to Ghana and the town of Wli.
Quite some days later on the way to Côte d’Ivoire: Ghana border control was relatively straight forward: getting stamped out. The use of our Carnet de Passage was immediately declared illegal by one of the customs officers -> visit to the superior of the custom officer, visit to his superior, visit to the superior of the superior’s superior – finally he acknowledged that the use of the carnet was slightly unusual, but absolutely ok. So we got the stamp and sneaked away quickly.
In Ivory Coast all in French – had to get used to that again: 1st wash hands – a Bad4Ebola-Campain. 2nd give the customs officer some small money – this is a kind of regulation waiver – he does no longer need to check every single item in your car. 3rd get your car registered – of course it’s Ivory Coast, the car is directly registered on the central server in Abidjan with back-up in Paris and of course with NSA. Costs: quite some more money. 4th get the passport stamped – again costs some money, sorry all receipts out of stock. Then, after all is registered in different computers and distributed within all kind of networks, they borrow your pen and note again everything in one of their books. After that, again time for a quick departure to the even more potholed roads of Ivory Coast.