BORDER CROSSINGS IN AFRICA – YOUR GUIDE

Hakuna Matata camp

The internet provides a lot of the information if you can search, however, it is quite something if you have to seat down to do a blind search and get one information here and another one there.

We traveled by road from Kenya to South Africa using our Motorcycles. Recently, we have received quite some inquiries on border crossing between Kenya and South Africa.  Although we shared this in the respective country blogs, we have decided to make it easier and have all the information on one blog post for ease of access.

We hope this helps you and request for your input should you have any information that is important that we could have left out. We will be happy to update and give credit accordingly.

We recommend that you also read more on border crossing from our friends Gulcin Sogut and Ferry Schouten as they traveled through West Africa and some of Southern Africa countries that we did not travel through.  Check their website here

HELPFUL TIPs: –

We always chose to cross the borders on a Sunday morning.  This time is less busy and the border staff are not overwhelmed.  We have found this to save us a lot of time and get the best service at the borders.

We also chose the relatively small borders as they are not commercial and hence should we need to cross on any other day, the traffic is usually much less.

STANDARD REQUIREMENTS : 

COMESA INSURANCE – This covers a number of countries in East Africa/COMESA region.  These are: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. It is better to get this at the start of the journey through the East Africa/COMESA region. You can buy it for the duration you will be crossing these countries i.e One, three, six months.

LOGBOOK/TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for the bike/cars.  Check with your country for the custom process as it is different in different countries within Africa. For Kenya, you can either deposit your LogBook with KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) and get the TIP letter to travel with or you can travel with your original Logbook.  Some borders may ask you to leave/deposit the logbook with them and travel with the TIP from the border but if you are returning through a different border, you can explain that and they will let you travel with your logbook.

For foreign travelers (from outside Africa), COMESA INSURANCE will be required.  Different costs at different countries but it is advisable to buy it from the country of entry. If traveling with a Carnet, you can use the Carnet to cross the borders.  It is not a requirement in the Southern Africa countries but if you have it it is way easier to cross the borders. We used it and never had to get TIP.

 

BORDER CROSSING – KENYA TO UGANDA

BUSIA BORDER

Exit Kenya – Enter Uganda

We used the Busia border and this border is recently upgraded.  Both Kenya and Uganda immigration and custom offices are in the same building which makes it pretty easy to get your documents processed. You first get the immigration clearance before getting the custom clearance for the motorbike or car.

REQUIREMENTS: – 

COMESA INSURANCE

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

See details on the standard requirements above.

There were no other charges.

BORDER CROSSING – UGANDA TO RWANDA

KATUNA BORDER

Where we stayed in Kabale.

To note: If you do not have enough time to do a border crossing to Rwanda, consider sleeping at Kabale.  It is only 18kms from the border and has really nice B&B’s (see picture above) that are really affordable.  We paid less than $20 for a night in a double room with own bathroom/toilet and TV.  Very good parking and just about 2kms from the main highway.

Remember no plastic bags are allowed in to Rwanda.  If you have any, it’s time to get rid of them.

Uganda immigration and Rwanda are very separate but not far apart. There was more people than we found at Busia. There are people who cross the border from either of the two countries (Uganda and Rwanda) for work and have to go through the immigration although their paperwork processing is different. There are also trucks and buses crossing to either side of the two countries hence making the human and vehicle traffic high.

Make sure you pick a gate pass to exit the border as you enter Rwanda. There is a barrier and the security will not let you out if you don’t have the gate pass.

REQUIREMENTS: –

COMESA INSURANCE

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

See details on the standard requirements above.

There were no other charges.

You need to have the address of where you will be staying and a contact person in Rwanda.  The immigration officers ask for these details.

BORDER CROSSING – RWANDA TO TANZANIA

RUSUMO BORDER

The roads from the border to Oyovu are off-road. Be prepared.

The road situation may have changed by the time you are traveling but that was the condition when we traveled through these roads. Let this not scare you.

The exit from Rwanda is easy and open throughout, however on the Tanzanian side, they close for lunch. One reason for this is because of the prayer time for the Muslim community. You will need to factor in this in your planning. It is also a busy border as all the tourists from Rwanda by road use this border to cross to Tanzania and there is also quite some trucks traffic.

There is both body and luggage scanning before you can proceed with immigration and this can take quite some time depending on the traffic. Factor this into your time planning.

REQUIREMENTS: –

COMESA INSURANCE

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

See details on the standard requirements above.

There were no other charges.

BORDER CROSSING – TANZANIA TO MALAWI

KASUMULU BORDER

Lake beautiful Lake Malawi

You can get a place to sleep or camp at the border.  Camping is way better. That is if you don’t have enough time to cross on the same day you arrive. Same as if you come from the other side (Malawi) with no much time to proceed.

Malawi is covered by COMESA insurance but you have to pay “road access fee” of $20 per bike. This amount is only payable in dollars and you have to deposit it in the bank and present the deposit slip with the paperwork at the customs. The good thing is, the bank is in the same hall. There can be a long wait as everyone crossing the border with a vehicle has to go through the process. The bank is semi-automated and therefore each transaction takes a bit longer as most of the transaction involves quite some paperwork.  There is a forex bureau right next to the building so if you don’t have dollars you can change some money there.  And that means you have to have some cash on you as there is no ATM at the border. Same rules about dollar notes applies here, only dollar notes from 2006 will be accepted.

Another thing you need to know is, there is a bit of paper work at the Malawian border at the customs. Whether you have a carnet or not, you will be required to fill up some paper work. In essence, plan your time very well for early arrival and to allow for the paperwork and custom process.

From the border, the next town with a petrol station or ATM is Karonga and it is 45 kilometers from the border. Make sure you top up fuel in Kasumulu and get some cash as well. If you miss topping up fuel and cash at Kasumulu, you can top up in Karonga but it would be a risk for cash as ATM’s are down sometimes or won’t accept foreign bank cards.  From Karonga, the next town that you can find a petrol station and an ATM is Mzuzu which is 218 kms from Karonga. Read more of Malawi here.

REQUIREMENTS: –

COMESA INSURANCE

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

See details on the standard requirements above.

$20 for road access fee per bike.  We do not have the charges for the bigger vehicles unfortunately.

BORDER CROSSING – MALAWI TO ZAMBIA 

CHIPATA BORDER

Vic falls

In Zambia we paid for Tar Levy of Zambia Kwacha 70/- (Kshs 700/-) per bike.  Since we had the carnet and the COMESA insurance, that was all we had to pay.  The process was first and efficient.

REQUIREMENTS: –

COMESA INSURANCE

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

See details on the standard requirements above.

Tar Levy of Zambia Kwacha 70/- (Kshs 700/-) per bike

BORDER CROSSING – ZAMBIA TO BOTSWANA

KAZUNGULA BORDER

This border has many trucks crossing to either side of the countries and is best crossed on a Sunday morning. If you are not able to do this on Sunday morning, arrive early and plan for the time at the border.  The crossing is on river Zambezi and it is the shortest ferry crossing distance you will ever do. Interesting it is also where four countries borders meet. Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The ferry is small and only takes two trucks plus one or two cars depending on their sizes.  The cars may increase by one some times. We had two trucks, one car and two bikes and it was full.

We cleared with Zambia side first – of cause. To note; don’t throw away your tax payment papers until you exit a country.  At the Zambian side they actually had a good look at those receipts.  May be because we always keep them in the Carnet booklet but we could imagine if they asked for them and we had already shredded them.  They scrutinized the documents more than other exit borders we have passed through.

Crossing the Botswana border once you clear with Zambia is a supper quick and efficient process.

REQUIREMENTS: –

COMESA INSURANCE

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

See details on the standard requirements above.

PAYMENTS:-

ZAMBIA

City Council Fee exit Zambia – Kshs 400/-(USD 4) for both bikes

Ferry crossing to Botswana – Kshs 1,000 (USD 10) for the bikes and us.

BOTSWANA 

Bike permit, Road permit, Road fund – Kshs 3,210 (USD32) per bikes.

BORDER CROSSING – BOTSWANA TO NAMIBIA

MAMUNO BORDER

Crossing this border was easy to cross. Exit from Botswana was pretty fast. Entry to Namibia was fast as well.  You clear with immigration, then head to customs, they will give you the required payment which you make in a different office then bring the payment receipts back to customs after which they send you to another desk for paper stamping and final clearance.  We were using the Carnet which is not required for African registered vehicles so they were hesitant to sign and stamp it, however, we needed this as it would indicate that the bikes never left Botswana. They finally understood and stamped for us.

REQUIREMENTS: –

No insurance was required.

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

PAYMENTS:-

Road fee – Kshs 1,316 (USD 13) per bike.

BORDER CROSSING – NAMIBIA TO SOUTH AFRICA

 VIOOLSDRIFT BORDER

This border is all electronic and easy to stamp out.  One thing to note is that you have to go through security clearance before immigration clearance.  They checkout your details online at the security (police) station to clear you.

REQUIREMENTS: –

No insurance was required.

LOGBOOK/TIP/CARNET (can be used by travelers from outside the continent)

PAYMENTS:-

No charges at this border.

 

We hope this helps you with your travel through East and Southern of Africa.  Enjoy.

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Throttle Adventures

Comments

Dennis
May 15, 2019
Thank you so much....headed to vic falls in dec and this is what I needed.
May 16, 2019
You are welcome. We are happy that our content is helpful to our Travel. YouTube has more videos we know you would enjoy including one for Zambia. Check it out.
Walter Ndegwa
June 30, 2019
Safe travels, fly that flag high up kabisa...! Making us a very proud country...! Asante...!
July 2, 2019
Thank you so much Walter for your kind words.

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