You can certainly participate as a solo rider. There are no extra charges. You will sleep in a tent that is supplied and set up by us. On the rest day and at the arrival in Grand Popo you will sleep in a room based on two people. So you will share your room with another solo rider or participant of choice. During the different stages you’re bound to ride with at least two people. In case of emergency your co-driver can contact the organization for technical or medical assistance. Each participant uses his own Garmin GPS device. This should always be charged at the start.
For both Togo and Benin you need a valid passport (international passport) and a visa. The passport must be valid until 6 months after the end of the trip. You can get the visa yourself at the embassy of the country. For Belgium, the embassy of both countries is located in the center of Brussels. The cost of the visa of Togo = € 50. This is valid for 1 month after application and should be used within 3 months. For the visa of Benin, you pay at least € 62 and this is also valid for 1 month. You can optionally use our visa service. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Especially for our group Brussels Airlines will accept one piece of luggage up to 32 kg / person. (L + W + H = 158cm) and one piece of hand baggage up to 12 kg / person (max. 55 x 40 x 23 cm) This is certainly too much. You do not need more than a few bike outfits, a few t shirts, trousers, some spare parts, etc. … We would therefore urge each participant to limit his/her luggage as much as possible. (Max 25kg)
During the trip almost every day we need to load and unload all the luggage. It is no fun to lug away 135 bags of 32 kg daily. With 25 kg per person you can get a long way. Be sure not use a hard case or a trolley with wheels along. These could get broken by stacking in the truck. The best is to bring a flexible sports bag. These are light and easy to handle.
Bring especially light clothing. Both T shirts with long and short sleeves are important in preventing malaria. Shorts for daytime and a long thin pants at nightfall. We often spend time in full nature and you can best avoid insect bites by wearing appropriate clothing. White socks are often “not done” but here it is a “must have”.
Stick to the bare essentials. You’re only 10 days away from home and you spend most of the time on your bike. Therefore you rather invest in some extra bike apperal.
If you take a cancellation insurance, in many cases you may recover all the money you’ve already invested. (See cancellation conditions of your insurance) If you have no insurance and you’re not able to participate any more than you can move your participation to the next edition or look for someone who would like to replace you. The latter can be arranged up to 8 weeks prior to departure and is accompanied by administrative costs. You should always contact the organization or the travel agency.
We have our own power generator. This allows us to work completely autonomously so we do not have to rely on the unstable electricity network of Togo and Benin. “La coupure” is here is of daily occurrence.
There will be enough power plugs in our bivouacs so everyone can recharge regularly their GPS or mobile phone.
You don’t need a lot of money on the way. All the meals, water, energy and recovery drinks, fruit, cakes and accommodations are included. Cola, Fanta and beer can be purchased at the bivouac or at the hotel where we stay. This can only pay with euros. If you would like to buy a local drink or a nice souvenir than just bring some extra bucks along. On day 1 you can exchange up to 50 euros per person with us. (€ 1 = 655.96 CFA) You can also exchange your money in the main cities. Unfortunately we only get to civilization on day 10. Credit cards are accepted almost anywhere. With a VISA card you may withdraw money, but it often does not work. Master Card, Maestro, debit or other cards are useless.
Because the challenge takes mainly place in the jungle of Togo and Benin it will be difficult to find some souvenirs. On arrival at the beach of Grand Popo, we will invite a number of vendors where you can buy something nice if desired. At the airport of Cotonou, you can obviously also find souvenirs.
Many people like to bring some presents for the local children. As long as this is done with moderation there is no harm in it.. Candy is out of the question, since there are few dentists! Please do leave your old clothes at home because they do more harm than good. It will boycott the local tailors. School supplies are always welcome. Medicines, bandages and other medical equipment can be very convenient for local hospitals. Just try to limit yourself to a small bag of gifts.
Together with Togo Cell we offer our participants a local SIM card with 5 euro credit. This allows you to call for about 30 minutes. The connection is good all over the country and you will call a lot cheaper than using your own Belgian or Dutch provider.
If you’re lucky you can connect to the internet in one of the few cyber cafes that we encounter along the way you. A blog or a daily facebook update is almost impossible. Only on the day of rest, you could go to the nearest village and look for a cyber café. The question will be whether it will work at that time and if the connection won’t be exasperatingly slow