Border Crossings with Gun? Travelling Central Africa by Bike.

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by piano, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. piano

    piano New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, I'm new to the forums. Great forums, btw.

    I'm planning a solo cycle-touring trip through Cameroon —> Equatorial Guinea —> Gabon —> Congo —> DR Congo —> Tanzania. Hopefully spending the most time exploring DRC. I'd like to bring a rifle along so I can hunt some food along the way. I'll mostly be camping, and it can be a week or so between larger towns in some of these places, so it'd be great to hunt some fresh food, not just rely on what I'm carrying or buy in the villages. mainly just small game like birds and small mammals, they're big enough for one meal. I'll have no way of keeping anything larger for very long.

    Trying to figure out the feasibility of this... some questions that arise are
    - Will it be possible to get my gun across each border... like, what's the general procedure for border-crossings with a firearm in Africa?
    - If so, what kind of paperwork/permit do I need for each country?
    - Even if I get my gun through, am I allowed to hunt just about anywhere I want in these countries? Or do I need a permit / am I restricted to certain areas/parks? do I have to have a guide? Any special permits you gotta get if you don't have a guide?
    - Does having a license back home (I'm from Canada) have any bearing on the matter?
    - Carrying the gun: basically I figured I'd just mount a rifle holster to the frame of the bike somehow. Would I need to carry it more securely to be legal?
    - The "immigration officials" (local magistrates/police) in each village, especially in DRC I imagine, will no doubt try to give me a hard time over it. Tips/experiences you can share on deflecting their interference? other than paying their arbitrary invented "tax" every time..

    While I'm here I might as well ask if you know about the acceptance of machetes at borders, and also if you know about fishing regs/licenses for foreigners in these countries — solid information is hard to find.

    Thanks a lot for your help.
  2. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    1
    With respect, and from someone who has kicked around many parts of both east & southern Africa for the last 30 odd years, you must be off your trolley to even consider such an excercise!

    If nothing else, you'd never get such a firearms licence and you'll also be going through areas where they'll hack a man's arm off for the cheapest of Casio watches strapped to his wrist.
  3. piano

    piano New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, you're right to want to warn me, though I don't agree it's as dire as you describe in all areas. It'd be like avoiding Malibu because you're afraid of trouble in, say, Detroit's ghettos. However I am aware of the dangers.

    With regards to the license, how does it differ from other licenses yall use for safaris and such? Isn't it much the same thing — permission to import a gun and then use it to kill game?
  4. piano

    piano New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do you think, though, having a rifle in these places increases the likelihood that potentially violent folks will want to attack me to obtain it? or even see me as unfriendly therefore induce violence where it wouldn't have occurred otherwise?
  5. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    1
    Take it from me, I'm vastly underestimating the situation rather than overestimating it....... by a country mile.

    The licence you mention doesn't even exist because you're going through a number of countries and each country has it's own laws and sometimes no laws at all.

    Try locating the embassy or high commission (in your home country) of some of the countries you mention and ask them what criteria you have to fulfill to obtain a firearms licence in their country and they'll look like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

    Tanzania alone, only issues firearms licences to people from overseas who have hunting licences issued in their name and only for the duration of the licence. They must also be accompanied by a Govt game scout whenever away from the designated camp.
  6. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    1
    In many of the places you mention, they'll have plenty of firearms already...... mostly AKs. They'll rob you and probably kill you for far less than a firearm. Hell, in some places, they might even eat you. :)

    More seriously, everything you'd have about you would be worth their stealing because most of them, probably have nothing.
  7. piano

    piano New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Honestly, I think you are overestimating it. I think if you travelled pretty stupidly, you could end up in those situations, but I think for the most part the general populace is friendly and you will have little trouble.

    Here are a few travel accounts (all cycling) I found interesting and useful:
    Congo à vélo
    Archives: 2010 October
    Africa-Cycletour - With the bicycle to South Africa
    The last one is old but the first two are recent.

    Yes there is always a danger but life could be very boring if we avoided all our fears.


    Thanks for the info about Tanzanian hunting laws. Do you know if this applies to all types of game or just the big game?
  8. Gerhard.375

    Gerhard.375 AH Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    SAHGCA, NSA
    Hunted:
    South Africa and Namibia (when it was still South-West Africa)
    Shakari is right in every respect.
  9. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    1
    Hey, it's your life and you should live it like you want to but you asked for advice and I gave it to you and believe me, if there's one thing I do know about, it's Africa.

    If you're determined to do it, go do it but my advice would be that you shouldn't be surprised when things don't work out the way you want.

    Yes, in Tanzania, the game laws apply to all game and all people and the prisons are extremely unpleasant.
  10. piano

    piano New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey, I think we are wandering a little off-topic here. I am really just looking for information about the gun laws for these countries. How/whether I can import a hunting rifle, how I can transport it, where I can hunt, whether accompanied/unaccompanied, etc.

    Thanks again for all your well-meaning advice, but it's not really the point of this thread.

    edit: I should clarify that in my original post I'm not trying to figure out the feasibility of the entire trip, just of carrying a rifle during the trip.
  11. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    1
    I'd say you don't stand a hope in hell of getting a permit or permits that will allow you to take and use a firearm through all the countries you mention.

    If nothing else, you wouldn't get it for Tanzania and it's highly unlikely you'd get permits for at least some of the other countries. ...... But hey, if you think you can, go for it and I'll look forward to reading about your experiences.

    IF you could get the permits and IF you could do the journey safely then it'd be the most incredible and memorable experience for you. Note the big IFs though.
  12. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    3
    My Photos:
    44
    Member of:
    SSAA
    Hunted:
    Australia, Zimbabwe, RSA, NZ, UK.
    I have back packed around Southern Africa alone and with my wife before hunting there. I have also taken my young family, years later, into some areas and situations that would scare the living crap out of most westerners. I say go for it on your bike. It's been done before and it will be done again.

    As to the rifle idea I support shakari 100% when he says you have no chance of doing it. Not a hope in hades. It is impossible.

    If you can't accept that, then I would recommend you get a little bit more cross cultural knowledge before leaving Canada as it will add to your experiences in Africa.
  13. classicsafari

    classicsafari AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    45
    Hunted:
    Aus, New Zealand,New Calidonia, Mongolia, Zim and Moz
    The fact that they don't feed you in jail is the smallest consideration with the idea of transporting Firearms through African border posts.
    One of the craziest ideas for some time.
    One struggles to transport rifles through first world country's like USA, Aus, England and Euro country's let alone crazy African ones with mad governments where very little works.
  14. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    31
    Hunted:
    Namibia / South-Africa
    It would be the adventure of a lifetime - if you live through it !

    I don't know any gun / arm laws in those countries, and I do apologise for going off-thread here, and i am not talking about the rifle / handgun bow / crossbow / catapult /or whatever hunting arm / self defence weapon / fishing tackle you wish to enquire about having on your person legally / illegal for that matter.

    All i am saying is you will have on your person what 90 percent of Africans will kill their own relatives for - a bicycle!!!

    I was born and bred in Africa and i promise you i have seen for myself many-many Africans killed / maimed / burned / hacked / shot / stabed etc.etc.etc for this one item you will be travelling along with - a bicycle!!!

    I promise you those people you refer to in your links were LUCKY! The majority of African countries is peacefull on Monday and suddenly on Tuesday there is a coup or a civil war or a clash between villages / ethnic groups, regions etc.etc.etc.

    From an African (South) to a Canadian - with the deepest respect and understanding for your planned venture - unless you are a cycle tour-group of 20 + with a armed guide in each country - in which case i would still not dream of doing it - seriously - take good advice - don't do it my friend!!!

    Good luck if you do...
  15. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,750
    Likes Received:
    60
    My Photos:
    32
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    piano, I hope you have your life insurance updated! Because your relatives are going to need it. This is a crazy idea! And that is putting it mildly. I'm not be mean or anything. Africa is far different than Canada...You need to do more research!

    Seriously go on a tour with other people first...get some experience with a trusted guide. Enjoy Africa that way.
  16. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,454
    Likes Received:
    15
    My Photos:
    59
    Member of:
    NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
    Hunted:
    USA - Canada -Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Africa
    Piano...

    Now is that Motorcycle or by pedal bike (bicycle)....you did not say....When you say Bike my thought are you are taking a motorcycle over seas for your road trip...

    I cannot take any exception to the advice you have received.

    Some of the African countries will watch you go by during the day only to rob you at night...do you plan to put all your items in the tent at night? You are not reading the news or trying to find any facts on your own you are asking the forum to do your research for you...some of the countries are cascading property from whites to blacks and no harm no foul...you are out...

    When you leave on your historic bike ride let us know so that as a group we should look for life insurance on you ...there is no reason for the forum member to lose out on such a sure bet...

    First thing you need to do is see if you can get a travel Visa...for each country...they will want to know your in and out dates...each country only have so many entry points for travelers...have you checked this out? crossing out in the bush could land you in jail and that is not a place you want to be in...

    Second...work on your rifle permits if you can obtain them...do not forget your rifle serical number...along with matching rifle photos...and in some places a copy of your passport photo. some countries want these months in advance...and will want to know the operator you are booking your travels through...

    Third....work on your ammunition permits...some countries allow a specific number of rounds...and be able to cover the country tax to bring in each bullet...wow this is a tough one...ending at Tanzania with ammunition...you have to have your permit in advance and provide the exact number of rounds you are bringing into the country...and they do not like travelers who do not match up with what you say you are bringing into the counrty...

    fourth...hunting you say...again obtain your hunting permits for each country...most of these will have to be through a operator from that country...I cannot speak for the majority of countries you are trying to go through with doing a lot of research...in Tanzania you will have to have a game scout at $250 a day plus there transportation...
  17. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    31
    Hunted:
    Namibia / South-Africa
    James,
    he did say in his initial post "I'm planning a solo cycletouring trip"

    Bicycle / tricycle / quad whatever...."solo" is just another word for deathwish or suicide on that route.

    It has now been a year since we (our mining company) have had colleagues kidnapped by rebels in CAR and although the wifes and some other colleagues were freed after ransom - one of our employees and 3 of another mining group are still being held hostage - after 10 months. And they were in a mining community amongs friends and guards and it still did not help - imagine 'solo' through all the villages / countryside / ethnic communities, sleeping off the roadside in a tent..... "taking candy from a baby" comes to mind...with a twist that the "baby" is the candy in this venture.
  18. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,454
    Likes Received:
    15
    My Photos:
    59
    Member of:
    NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
    Hunted:
    USA - Canada -Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Africa
    FHM3006
    I did read the solo part however this is in the planning stage and that part could change...

    CAR...very dangerous for hunters and tourists...

    There have been recent articles on safari camps being robbed at gun point and hostages taken...and some never return...

    one safari group lost almost everything in camp...rifles, money, anything that was available to plunder and take...

    The group of hunters that i read the report on said that they were returning to camp and had some ammunition and a rifle each...safari was cut short and they left the same day...the camp had to deal with loss of there equipment and such...it put them out of business for a time...i am not sure that they have re-opened...the hunter lost everything in camp...

    Every country has a government web site that you need to look at before traveling over seas...some you have to apply for before leaving...i know that i go in and let our government know when and where i am traveling while going to africa...
  19. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,614
    Likes Received:
    2
    My Photos:
    41
    Member of:
    SCI,DSC, QDMA, QU
    Hunted:
    Africa...are there other continents to hunt?
    If you are going all the way over there on a trip like that, i'd consider adding an extra 14 days.

    That would leave you plenty of time to do some mine-sweeping in Angola and possibly a jaunt up the ivory coast in a dinghy. :happywave:
  20. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,614
    Likes Received:
    2
    My Photos:
    41
    Member of:
    SCI,DSC, QDMA, QU
    Hunted:
    Africa...are there other continents to hunt?
    You might want to consider dropping into south Africa and ask for a guy named Julius malema to show you the sights as well.

Share This Page