Crossing borders in Africa can be difficult, next to impossible – or easy as pie. Senegal was in the latter category. Back in 1996, at least.

border crossing in Africa

I spent a bit of time in The Gambia that year, and enjoyed it. It was an easy place to be.

One day, I met a group of fellow Scandinavians, all Swedes and Danes, on their way to Guinea-Bissau. ‘Ooh, what fun,’ I thought. ‘Never been there before. I’ll tag along.’

Easy border crossing in Africa

We first crossed the border into Senegal – easy as all that, as you might have gleaned from the photo above. We then continued through the Senegalese region of Casamance and reached the Bissau border.

Difficult border crossing in Africa

Long story short, I wasn’t allowed in. As it turned out, non-EU citizens required a visa for Guinea-Bissau, which I didn’t have. Sweden and Denmark had joined a little over a year earlier, while Norway had declined the invitation to join the European Union. Again.

So there I was, all by my lonesome, at the border, waving goodbye to my fellow travellers. Now what? Hitch a ride, that’s what. In the back of various trucks, all the way back through Casamance, to The Gambia. It was a bumpy ride, but I never felt the least bit unsafe.

My lack of success at the border naturally increased the little country’s attraction. I’ve been extra curious about Guinea-Bissau ever since, but still haven’t been. Looks like visa requirements has become even more rigorous lately.

Been in Guinea-Bissau? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

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