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Border Crossings: Kasane & Chobe

Kasane stands at a crossroads of countries, with Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe all within an hour’s drive of the town centre.

Namibia

The Ngoma Bridge–Kasane Gate (6am to 6pm) lies 57km west of Kasane and is handy for Namibia’s Zambezi Region (formerly known as the Caprivi Strip). As always, coming into Botswana your car will be searched for ftexresh meat, fresh fruit and dairy products (all of which will be confiscated if found), and you may be required to walk through a soda solution (and drive your car through the same) as part of measures to protect the country from foot-and-mouth disease. Otherwise, this is a relatively hassle-free border crossing.

Zambia

The Kazungula–Mambova Gate (6am to 8pm) requires a river crossing by ferry. Don’t be put off by the extraordinary queue of trucks (some of which wait up to five days to cross this border) – drive to the front of the queue. Leaving or entering Botswana should pose no special problems (save for the usual customs searches and foot-and-mouth controls). For crossing into Zambia, we recommend hiring a local fixer (agree a fee up front, never hand over money until all formalities are completed, and get your fixer’s mobile-phone number and check that it works). It is possible to do it all on your own, but it will take longer and the paperwork required can be confusing. All fees into Zambia are paid in kwacha, apart from the visa fee and road-toll fee (US$48 for Botswana-registered vehicles, US$20 for Namibian or South African vehicles). Sample costs include ZMW30 council levy, ZMW150 carbon tax and ZMW487 third-party insurance.

Zimbabwe

The surprisingly quiet Kazungula–Victoria Falls Gate (6am to 6pm) advertises that the border is open until 10pm, but we wouldn’t count on it. The border is generally hassle-free. Those on day excursions to/from Victoria Falls will encounter few difficulties, while self-drivers can expect around two hours in total, with whispered requests for small ‘gifts’ common among customs officials on the Zimbabwean side. As long as your documents are in order and you're not in a hurry, be firm but calm and refuse all requests and you should be on your way in no time.