Driving across africa
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Mar 4, 2013 10:28 PM Last Post By: jedibain
Aug 19, 2012 10:23 PM
Driving across africaMe and two friends (3 kiwis, 2 with kiwi passport and 1 with kiwi/southafrican passport) are planning a trip through africa...
We want to buy a van in cape town and then follow the south coast east... looping around lethoso and onto pretoria.
Pretoria to namibia and up the west coast of namibia.
cross through the north of botswana and through zimbabwe...
On to mozambique and maybe cross of the sea to madagascar then back and up through mozambique to...
Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania up to nairobi.
Our plan is fairly vague with the idea that we'll find things to do and see on the way...
We thought wed give ourselves 6-8 weeks to get to nairobi
Has anyone out there completed a similar trip without the ease of being on a guided tour???
Is our time frame realistic?
How difficult is it passing through these borders and are there any in particular that are difficult to pass that we need to be aware of?
We have automatic 90day visitor visas being kiwi for SA, namibia, botswana.
Do we need to prepare tourist visas prior passing into the remaining countries or can we just organise this at border crossings?
Aug 20, 2012 1:36 AM
16-8 weeks is pretty tight for all that - I'd reckon on more like 3-4 months.
And you won't get to Madagascar by sea - fly from JNB.
Aug 20, 2012 1:46 AM
2I have traveled like that - though in a european registered car. Be aware that crossing borders in a car adds a layer of complexity. We had to have a carnet de passage (a kind of passport for the car). This operates slightly differently in different countries but it usually involves putting down some kind of bond to stop you selling the car elsewhere and not paying import duties. There are also various taxes and duties you need to pay when temporarily taking a foriegn registered car over borders.
This is a really good spreadsheet produced by the AA in South Africa which sets out the requirements. Link is here
You'll also find info on getting a carnet on their website.
NB The challenges of traveling by car (bueracracywise) get greater as you travel further north. If you stick within RSA/Bots/Nam/Lesotho/Swazi it is a doddle as they are all part of the same customs unions. Travel to Moz/Zam and Malawi may be possible using temporary import permits (though it can be expensive importing a car to say Zambia). Once you're into Tanzania you'll need a carnet.
Aug 21, 2012 11:28 AM
Aug 23, 2012 1:46 AM
4Thanks for responses. the AA link is really helpful.
To enter SA on kiwi passports we need to have a flight home or a flight onwards... since we're gonna be driving out of SA and onto other countries can we book a flight say from nairobi to london (as an example) and show proof of this as well as our planned driving itinerary at the airport? would airport immigration grant us entrance to SA based on this???
@itchyfeet38 - did you ever receive your bond back at exiting borders?
Does anyone have any experience buying vehicles in cape town? is it easy enuf to find cars with legit rego paperwork?
Aug 23, 2012 1:54 AM
5IIRC: An SA reg vehicle will only require a carnet to enter Kenya, however a C de P does make border crossings a bit quicker. Suitable vehicles are easily found in SA - even in Cape Town! Once you get a TRN then registration should be simple. Search the web and you'll find plenty however be aware of the many scam artists on the autotrader.co.za website.
Aug 24, 2012 2:00 AM
6mglenb - Ours was not a RSA issued carnet but I assume they all work much the same way. You get the bond back when you return the car and the carnet to the country of issue - in your case RSA. If you sell the car in another country I assume you have to show you have paid the necessary import duties before you get your bond back. Bundubasher may know how this works in practice.
Bundubasher - re carnet for Tanzania - we had a (UK) carnet anyway and used it but some south africans crossing the border at the same time as us were trying to avoid using their carnet (they didn't want to use a page) but ended up having to. And they seemed to be expecting to have to use it. This was last year BTW, crossing from Malawi.
Aug 24, 2012 2:14 AM
7Thanks for the info - when i traveled through a couple of years ago we used TIPs all the way from Zim to Kenya (in a Zim reg 4x4) where we got stuck - however it was a few years ago!
We got our carnet from the AA in Kenya, however we paid for an insurance bond rather than making a deposit.
I have found the various AA offices in Africa usually very keen to sell you a CDP and a lack of clear guidelines only increases one's concerns. All I can say is that everyone I have worked with over the last few years has got away with a TIP and not a Carnet however things might have changed esp. in respect to TZ who have been muting the idea for a number of years.
Aug 24, 2012 2:59 AM
Aug 29, 2012 2:59 AM
9What is a TIP? whats the acronym?
Ive been in email comm with someone from the SA consulate in new zealand. trying to find out how to be granted entrance into SA at immigration. He says we need proof of how we are exiting SA be it a bus ticket for example. Im still confused here though...
We want to drive our way out of SA and don't want any time constraints on this. So does anyone know the minimum proof required to be shown for how/when we will be exiting country required to be granted entrance at immigration?
Would a plane ticket out of nairobi suffice?
Aug 29, 2012 11:25 AM
10TIP means temporary import permit. It allows you to take your car into another country for a limited period (usually 30 days) without formally and permanently importing it.
I wouldn't worry too much about your onward ticket. In my experience this is often a requirement but I have never been asked for it in practice. If you are asked then I think a flight out of Nairobi back to your home country would be fine. They'll just want some indication you don't plan to stay in RSA.
One other word of advice from someone who's done what you're planning to. I think you are planning to cover too much distance in your available time. You will spend the majority of your time on the road and that really isn't the fun bit. Plus your biggest expense will probably be fuel. The less distance you cover the cheaper your trip will be.
Sep 10, 2012 1:48 AM
11Thanks for the advice itchyfeet we've come to the same conclusion and are reconsidering our trip duration/distance
Thinking about our trip budget...
@Itchyfeet - what sort of budget did you allow yourself for daily expenditures during your recent travels in these areas??
One of things we are wanting to estimate is the cost of fuel. What's the best way to go about this?
Can we expect fuel price to vary much over the southern countries through to kenya?
We've looked over your own website and it has been really helpful. What are some other common websites that used cars are advertised on in South africa???
We probably sound really green saying this but is camping pretty standard along these sorts of journeys in africa?
Im guessing its too dangerous in some areas to stop and pitch a tent. Itchyfeet - what sort of vehicle did u travel in? we are looking at maybe getting something big enough to sleep us.
Sep 10, 2012 2:05 AM
Sep 10, 2012 2:51 AM
13Costs can obviously vary a lot. We aimed to spend a maximum of $100 per day for the two of us. We could have done it for less but we wanted to visit game parks, stay in a room occasionally rather than camping, have a glass of wine and so on. But it will be more expensive than you think.
We were driving and living out of a Land Rover (Defender 300tdi) with a roof tent. It was a great choice.
As long as you camp in campsites I wouldn't worry about safety. It was never an issue for us. Camping on the roadside would be a different matter. There are loads of campsites in Southern Africa often in amazing places and with facilities and space that are way beyond what you would get in Europe. It is also very useful to be able to camp in national parks to keep costs down.
Just google for fuel costs - there are websites that will tell you current prices in different countries. Some places are the equivalent of european prices eg Malawi, Rwanda. Generally it's cheaper in Southern Africa. Remember if you are in a 4x4 you won't get great fuel consumption. We got around 8km to the litre.
Have a look at this website. It is a portal for blogs by people doing this kind of trip. If you invest a bit of time you will find all sorts of info on routes/borders/trip preparation/costs and so on.
Edited by: itchyfeet38
Sep 10, 2012 8:39 AM
14mglenb - TRN: A traffic register number (TRN) is issued to foreign citizens who are not in possession of a South African Identity Document and serves the purpose of an acceptable identification number used for road traffic transactions.
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