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Border Crossings Made Easy

Border crossings in Africa

Border crossings in Africa can be interesting and challenging but if you are prepared you will find them easy. Always remember the golden rule above all be kind and patient and because you use this guide to prepare yourself. Also to take note that border crossings are not all the same but in general they work as per this guide. Sometimes the officials at the border may be asking you extra information and sometimes they will just wave you through. I deal with two categories of borders. 1 to 4 and then 5 and above. These comments are based on my 1000 plus border crossing I have made over the years and border crossings in Africa can be interesting and challenging. If you are prepared you will find them easy. Always remember the golden rule. Be kind and patient therefore use this guide to prepare yourself. Also to take note that border crossings are not all the same but in general they work as per this guide. Sometimes the officials at the border may be asking you extra information or sometimes they will just wave you through.

Be Kind and Be Patient

I deal with two categories of borders. 1 to 4 and then 5 and above. These comments are based on my 1000 plus border crossing I have made over the years.Border crossings in Africa can be interesting and challenging. If you are prepared you will find them easy. Always remember the golden rule above all be kind and patient in order to use this guide to prepare yourself. Also to take note that border crossings are not all the same but in general they work as per this guide. Sometimes the officials at the border may be asking you extra information or sometimes they will just wave you through. I deal with two categories of borders. 1 to 4 and then 5 and above. These comments are based on my 1000 plus border crossing I have made over the years.

Border Crossing Level of Difficulty in Crossing :

 ( 1 to 10, 1 being easy, 10 most difficult )

  • Namibia – 1
  • Botswana – 1
  • Lesotho – 1
  • Swaziland – 1
  • Zambia – 5 ( the ferry crossing makes this interesting )
  • Zimbabwe – 6
  • Mozambique – 5
  • Malawi – 7
  • Tanzania – 7
  • Kenya – 8 – Carnet needed
  • Rwanda – 8
  • Burundi – 8
  • Uganda – 8
  • DRC – 10 – Carnet needed
  • Angola – 8
  • Gabon – 10 – Carnet needed

You will find that borders rated between 1 and 4 are fairly modern borders which are well marked and does not have runners and stalls. They are organised and in general a pleasure to cross.

Borders rated 5 and above have stalls, fixers and are in general poorly marked so you do not know where to go and you are not sure if you have cleared all the required stations. Be kind and patient.

What about Trucks and other commercial vehicles ?

When approaching the border you will see trucks and commercial vehicles lining up to cross the border. Most borders they have their own lane and checking area. You can drive pass them and stop at the light motor vehicle parking which are normally situated at the from of the office building where immigration, customs and other formalities are housed.

Use a Fixer

For borders rated 5 and above use a fixer to assist you. Also take note that some of the borders you will find that all the offices are not under the same roof and that you will have to walk from building to building to formalities done. These building are mostly not marked and you will need a fixer to point them out. The fixer will also assist you to jump the que and get you faster cross the border. In my opinion money well spent.

Safety with a Fixer

I will know in advance that you will be crossing a 5 plus border and I will share my fixer’s telephone contact. You are welcome to use this nominated person or if you wish get your own fixer at the border. When stopping at the border you will be swamped by a lot of people that want to sell you insurance, exchange money or assist you with the border crossing. Identify one person and chase the others away. Negotiate with this one person on what needs to be done and what it will cost you. Normally the guys at the border will state one fee which includes his service fee. Ask this person to break down the cost for you to ensure you are not being over charged. He also needs to make a living and in general I find that a 20 US$ fee for assistance is a fair payment. Make sure you know what he looks like and what his name is. I always take a photo of the fixer with the  as to capture the border crossing experience. It is also a good way to ensure you have a record should your fixer walk away with your money. Agree on the fees. Give your fixer the cash as requested or go with him for the card payments. Before exiting the border make sure you have all your documents ( TIP, 3rd Party Insurance, Road Taxes, Council Levy ). Check them yourself. Make sure they are correctly filled out ( your name is correct, vehicle registration is correct ) as you can still have it fixed at the border. Be kind and patient.

Flow of traffic

Border can be one right next to each other ( Komatipoort / Ressano Garcia ) or you may need to drive a distance between the borders ( Ariamsvlei / Nakop borders )

All borders have more or less the following flow. Sometimes the border officials will leave out some of the steps, just check with the person if all is ok before leaving and sometimes they may add an additional step. One of the additional steps I find that the South African borders do from time to time is to get you to stop at the South African Police Services to check if your vehicle is not stolen. Co operate and assist where you can. You are on holiday and make a border crossing part of the experience. Be kind and patient.

Flow of traffic at borders in southern Africa - 4x4 Rentals Africa
Flow of traffic at borders in southern Africa – 4×4 Rentals Africa

Diagram Explanation

Lets use the diagram above as example and in this case we are travelling from South Africa to Swaziland. At the gate you stop and collect Gate Pass ( Sample below ). Stop in front of the offices. Clear emigration and then clear Customs. Have the stamp your gate pass. Pay at the paygate ( usually situated at the Customs side ) for any fees due. Stop at the exit gate. Hand in your Gate Pass. Now you are out of South Africa. Repeat to enter Swaziland.

Documents at the border

We supply what we call the 5 page border pack. This will get you through any borders. Borders rated 5 and above will have a Police Clearance for the vehicle to assist you. For Kenya and West Africa a Carnet de Passage ( Carnet ) will be supplied.

5 Page Border Pack :

  • Letter of Authority to use the vehicle
  • Copy of the NATIS ( registration document ) of the vehicle
  • Letter to confirm insurance
  • Letter from the bank to give permission that the vehicle is allowed to cross the border
  • Copy of the ID of the person who prepared all these documents . Usually me, Carel Pienaar.
  • Carnet as needed

Border Gate Pass

As you drive in at the gate of the border you will be given a slip that needs to be stamped by Emigration and Customs. Sometime this slip will be available at the Custums counter. On exiting the border the exit gate will check this slip and ask for it. It is returned to the border gate official. This process is repeated at the next country gate.

Gate pass - Crossing Border in South Africa - 4x4 Rentals Africa
Gate pass – Crossing Border in South Africa – 4×4 Rentals Africa

Third Party Insurance / 3rd Party Insurance

All countries you enter raises a 3rd party insurance fee. This is payable by the driver of the vehicle and can be paid by card ( Master and VISA only ) and cash (usually the local currency). That is why there are money exchangers at the borders to exchange. They give horrible rates so exchange only enough for the border crossing. Draw cash at the ATM once in the country for the use of your holiday.

Third party insurance - Crossing borders in southern Africa - 4x4 Rentals AfricaGate pass - Crossing Border in South Africa - 4x4 Rentals Africa
Third party insurance – Crossing borders in southern Africa – 4×4 Rentals Africa

Safe travel !

Carel Pienaar

SOUTH AFRICA 4×4 Hire, Land Rover Defender 110 ( TD5, Puma and Puma Expedition ), Toyota DC 4×4, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Fortuner.

All rentals with unlimited mileage and 100% insurance. Satellite phone included.

Long Term Rentals – 1 night’s FREE accommodation in Johannesburg on rentals of 25 days or more.

www.southafrica4x4.co.za   – Hire of Defenders

www.4x4rentalsafrica.com  – Hire of Land Cruisers and Hilux 4x4s

www.sa4x4blog.co.za  – Travel Information

Also follow us on Social Media – Links at the top right of the page.

We 4×4 Africa

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Congo DRC, Cameroon

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TANZANIA, MOROGORO, DAR-ES-SALAAM, ZANZIBAR

Exploring East Africa – TRIP REPORT

Exploring East Africa with a visit to Tanzania, Mororgoro, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar coming up ! Right, here I am again with an adventure of a lifetime!  It is advisable to travel in convoy with a couple of other vehicles for safety reasons.  This one is not for the faint hearted. Yet again, 4×4 Rentals Africa came trough with excellent vehicles and thus our group came back with unforgettable memories.

Let me tell you guys it is a long trip, 7 days drive from Johannesburg to Tanzania, 12hrs per day.  Then you average about 500 – 600km per day.  The further you move away from South Africa, the slower you drive because of road conditions.  Some places there is no road, so be prepared.

Make sure your personal and vehicle rental documents are 100% correct, these guys in deep Africa borders does not play and is quite difficult to get across.  Patience and friendliness are probably what saved our heads even with the necessary documents required.

4×4 Rentals Africa provides all client with border documents and information on how to cross borders in Africa. – www.4x4rentalsafrica.com

Off we Go !

And so our long trip begins.  The roads you see now is fairly good, but a lot of speed limits are imposed.  There are a lot of animals, and small towns on route.  Night time driving is an absolutely NO GO!!  The huts next to road consist of small villages and are built all traditional ways with grass and mud because ingenious as they are quite sturdy and provide good shelter for the people.  It is amazing how they survive in such harsh conditions, but always a smile on their faces.  That is really inspirational to me personally.

As we plod along in convoy here and there to get some refreshments we realized and the further we go there is more limited bathroom facilities, yes guys!  So, wet wipes and a spare toilet roll comes in handy in the middle of nowhere. If you got to go, you got to go maybe some places does have bathroom facilities, but yes well…not worth it! For instance.

The potholes are marked by branches, never have I seen this before.  Then we came upon 2 young children with a spade of some sort trying to fix the road….yes I suppose they wanted something and we gave them something.  Always make sure before you take pictures of people to ask first, it can be seen as rude or disrespectful. 

The traffic near borders in Africa are quite a challenge and you need to keep your wits sharp at all times.  No which way to go?  Left or Right?  Yes guys, sometimes a good old fashion map book of the country you are visiting is even better than GPS.  We obviously did extensive research about our route, but sometimes even that is not enough.

Morogoro

As we neared Tanzania after about day 6 we were absolutely knackered from driving and sleep deprivation.  So we got a fairly good hotel in Morogoro to rest for a couple of days.  Believe me, that first cold beer was heaven!

Water is also scarce, so mind you water use for washing or showering.  Morogoro is a big fairly big city with an enormous amount of people.  Motorbikes and the 3 wheeler Tuc Tuc is your local transport, and boy that scared me.  It is such an adrenaline rush to ride on or in one of those but definitely a must.  These guys know what they are doing.

Local Food

Local food is also interesting, with a wide variety for every possible taste.  If you are not so adventurous, there are upmarket hotels with restaurants where you can beat any hunger pains, but it is going to cost you a pretty penny.

There is definitely no shortage of fresh fruit, vegetables and roots at the street vendors.  This lady was selling vetkoek at a local bus stop and was absolutely delicious!  And the custom made drum to fry them, wow just awesome…

So far the trip was without major mechanical issues, and all going well.

Dar es Salaam

Off to Dar-Es-Salaam and Zanzibar.  I am so privileged and excited to share this, it is however impossible to put down in words how it affects you in the most wonderful way as a human being.  And the pictures are countless.

Now, this towns is even more congested with almost everything imaginable however more people, bicycles, vehicles, animals and many more.  The streets are also very narrow and seriously test your driving skills.  You definitely need to be the more well travelled in order not to run into any unnecessary problems.

In the major towns there is a good supply of fuel or diesel.  The smaller towns on route, no.  Make sure you have extra jerry cans filled up for your more remote small towns.

In Dar-Es-Salaam there is a multitude of cultural experiences with modern elements interweaved to make it such a special place.  Sightseeing on foot is a must.  But keep your valuables safe and no shiny jewelry for the ladies, just do not put yourself on the spot for temptation by the regular street thugs.

The architecture is quite magical if that is what you’re into.  From opulent European buildings, Indian/Asian zones to mixed African/Tanzanian buildings can be explored.  Really a wonderful mix for every taste.

Zanzibar

Next, we take the ferry to visit the magical island of Zanzibar.  About 3hrs from Dar.  Such a hustle and bustle at the port and absolutely overwhelming at times.  This island is spectacular with its old buildings.  Wooden doors are locally made and the craftmanship is extraordinary.  This island is part of the Indian Ocean which has a great biodiversity of marine life, long sandy beaches and warm water.

The historic Stone Town is a must if you are there and we stayed at Malindi Hotel but it is very basic and sometimes with no water because of no real reason.  But all good and a traveller makes a plan.  The sunsets and views are breathtaking.  Then there is a night food market on the island where there are literally 100’s of food sellers to cater for every taste bud imaginable

A relaxing drink at the Freddy Mercury bar is a MUST!  Named after this iconic singer and lots of memorabilia can be seen there.  He was born in Zanzibar as Faruk Bulsara and what a wonderful way to explore this icon’s history with Zanzibar.

All I can say that this trip was unforgettable and I would love to share more stories and photos.  However, this hopefully is enough to encourage you to start saving for that awesome holiday.

Thank you again for 4×4 Rentals Africa and for everyone travelling with for the use of the vehicles. 

Until next time when another adventure awaits!!

Carel Pienaar

Toyota Hilux Double Cab with Equipment - 4x4 Rentals Africa
Toyota Hilux Double Cab with Equipment – 4×4 Rentals Africa

4×4 Rentals Africa – www.4x4rentalsafrica.com

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Southern Africa 4×4 for All Seasons

Southern Africa 4×4 for all seasons because I having travelled southern Africa extensively over the last three decades, I can honestly say that there is no must see season in Africa. Each season has a special touch and reason to travel. I have added some highlights of what not to miss and assist with your planning with a 12 month a year travel program in mind. We have also added some specials to encourage our adventurers to seek more than what you will find on Google and the 4×4 travel forums.

Hi Season Time Periods

Do not avoid these areas. Plan in advance and make the essential bookings ( Kruger, Chobe, Okavango, Kgalagadi, Kafue, Etosha )

Best Season will depend where you want to go and what you want to experience. Southern Africa truly has something exciting for everyone 12 months a year

Take into Account :

  • Namibia – All year / Dec & Jan hot. Rain is little and thundershower type
  • Namaqualand Flowers – July to September
  • Whales – St Lucia – June to November / Gansbaai – July to December
  • Turtles ( St Lucia ) Nov to February
  • Vic Falls – Feb to May best water
  • Mgadigadi Pans Bird & Animal Migrations – November to March
  • General Game Viewing – All Parks – June to November ( just before the first summer rains )
  • Zambia – Kafue – 12 months a year – certain camps close for the wet season. Book correctly. Flood plains fill and cuts off certain camps that closes.
  • Luangwa – ( April to Oct – best ) Feb / March ( birds ) Rest of the year plenty to see
  • Lower Zambezi – Opposite Mana Pools if you cannot get in ( Tiger Fishing Sept & Oct )
  • Serengeti – December starts Feb calf season April to May starts moving. Mara River – June to October
  • Drakensberg & Lesotho – Sept to November and March to May
Start in Namibia - 4x4 Rentals Africa
Stars in Namibia – 4×4 Rentals Africa – Carel Pienaar

Real Experiences :

We could not list all event, concerts or festivals as there as simply to many. Above is the some of the main attractions.

Try something different. You will surprise yourself !

Carel Pienaar / 4×4 Rentals Africa

SOUTH AFRICA 4×4 Hire, Land Rover Defender 110 ( TD5, Puma and Puma Expedition ), Toyota DC 4×4, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Fortuner.

All rentals with unlimited mileage and 100% insurance. Satellite phone included.

Long Term Rentals – 1 night’s FREE accommodation in Johannesburg on rentals of 25 days or more.

www.southafrica4x4.co.za   – Hire of Defenders

www.4x4rentalsafrica.com  – Hire of Land Cruisers and Hilux 4x4s

www.sa4x4blog.co.za  – Travel Information

Also follow us on Social Media – Links at the top right of the page.

We 4×4 Africa

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Congo DRC, Cameroon

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Angola 4×4 Self Drive

Be a part of history by visiting this beautiful country still in the transitional phases between a war torn area and a vibrant tourist destination. From 1975 all the way through to 2002 Angola was locked into a brutal civil war, and has only recently become a place that is slowly transitioning towards a tourist destination. Because of this new time of change Angola does not have very many destinations that are specifically tailored to the needs of tourists; this is one of the things that makes Angola a beautiful place to visit now.

The lack of tourist tailored destinations makes for a very interesting trip and an absolute must see for any person interested in military and war related history. The beautiful landscape of Angola allows for many 4×4 Rentals Africa self drive opportunities.

  1. River & Fishing tours: Angola is fast becoming a sought-after angling destination. The waters are teeming with fish which have been left untouched by human interference for many years due to the civil war. This makes Angola, and especially the rivers winding through the beautiful country, a popular destination for anyone who finds enjoyment in fishing. The river tours that can be taken along the larger rivers in Angola are also an excellent way to experience the country.
Fishing Village Angola – 4×4 Rentals Africa Self Drive
  1. Battlefield Tours: The battlefield tours in Angola are an absolute must see for anybody interested in military history. The Angolan civil war started in 1975 directly after Angola gained independence from the Portuguese. This war also served for one of the battle grounds of the cold war, and is rife with cold war history for any enthusiast to seek out. Southern Angola is popular with many visits from SADF members reliving their days spent in the bush. Thank you to the men and woman that made it possible. I think of a couple of units that were instrumental in the fight.

Calundula Waterfall: based on the Lucala River  the Calundula falls are 105 meters high (344 feet) and 400 meters wide (1312 feet). Beautifully set in the tropical rain forests of Angola the Calundula Falls are one of the largest waterfalls in Africa.

Calundula Waterfalls – Angola – 4×4 Rentals Africa
  1. Tigres Island:  Baia dos Tigres or Tigers Island is the largest island off the Angolan coast. Situated in the Namibe Province Tigers Island has an area of 98 km². It once had a small but well established fishing village named Tigres. Because of rising sea levels, Tigers Island was separated from the Angolan coast in 1962. Tigres Island became an Island overnight with no water supply, Tigres Island and the pump station at the Cunene river mouth were abandoned, and have become ghost towns slowly being reclaimed by the desert. This makes Tigers Island the perfect destination if you enjoy a good ghost hunt.
Flamingo Lodge Angola – 4×4 Rentals Africa

Over all a visit to this vibrant, up and coming country is a must for anyone looking to get in touch with nature or looking to claim a little slice of history for him/herself. For more information please visit https://www.4x4rentalsafrica.com

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Why You Should Go On A 4×4 Selfdrive In Africa

Tick Off Your Bucket List: Why You Should Go 4×4 Selfdrive In Africa

  1. Getting back to nature.
  2. Taking the path you choose.
  3. Seeing incredible sights with just your friends, loved ones and family.

These are just three of the many reasons why a 4×4 selfdrive is a must-do for anyone who gets a buzz from exploring and travelling in a completely fun and wild way. Instead of flying thousands of miles to hit a resort and stay there, half the fun of a 4×4 selfdrive is the journey you take to get to your destinations.

Confident in your purpose-built truck that’s ready for adventure, your 4×4 selfdrive experience will be a trip like no other. Need more convincing? Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should choose a 4×4 selfdrive for your next exhilarating holiday.

  1. Experience life as a nomad

Where do you really want to go today? Where do you want to sleep? With an 4×4 selfdrive experience, you get to decide exactly where you want to go and how you want to get there. With you, your passengers and your truck, you have all you need for a self-sufficient tour that is completely up to you.

4×4 Rentals Africa – Essential list of equipment

Stop being a ‘yes man’ and take control of what you want to do. With a 4×4 selfdrive, you can go in the direction you choose and take a route that suits you. The trucks are designed to work on low-quality roads and even where there are no roads at all.

Let the spirit of adventure take you.

  • Have a tech-free holiday

There are so many amazing sights to see in Africa that there is no reason to be glued to digital screens. The amazement is there, right in front of your eyes. When touring across the African plains, there may not be WiFi, and you may not receive phone signal, so use this to your advantage and take a break.

Pack up your gadgets and let the beauty of the journey inspire you. With the freedom, you get from this experience, if you see something you like, you can go and get a closer look.

Experience everything first-hand, rather than through a screen.

  • Relax under the stars

Instead of finding your hotel, with a 4×4 selfdrive, your bed for the night is wherever you want it to be. When you find the perfect spot, pull up, prepare a campfire and sit comfortably marvelling at the beautiful starry sky without the city pollution.

After a day of thrilling driving and incredible sights, you’re bound to be wiped out, so you’ll really appreciate this relaxing, natural space to get some of the best night’s sleep you’ll ever have. Your body will become in tune with sunsets and sunrise which will help to sort out your body clock too.

  • Experience a road less travelled

Life is too short to be the same as everyone else.

4×4 Selfdrive gives you the flexibility and capability of finding places that most people won’t. You’ll probably feel like you were the first ones to discover it. With the robust 4x4s, you can take a path that would often be considered inaccessible, so get off the beaten path and look forward to finding the unexplored.

With your truck having all you need for eating, drinking and sleeping, you can go for days exploring the unknown without having to worry about a thing. There are not many trips where you can feel so much contentment of not having a single thing to worry about and can enjoy not knowing what’s around the corner tomorrow.

Are you ready for an adventure?

SOUTH AFRICA 4×4 Hire, Land Rover Defender 110 ( TD5, Puma and Puma Expedition ), Toyota DC 4×4, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Fortuner.

All rentals with unlimited mileage and 100% insurance. Satellite phone included.

Long Term Rentals – 1 night’s FREE accommodation in Johannesburg on rentals of 25 days or more.

www.southafrica4x4.co.za   – Hire of Defenders

www.4x4rentalsafrica.com  – Hire of Land Cruisers and Hilux 4x4s

www.sa4x4blog.co.za  – Travel Information

Also follow us on Social Media – Links at the top right of the page.

We 4×4 Africa

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Congo DRC, Cameroon

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No under 25 4×4 Rentals

No under 25
No under 25

No under 25 rentals ? Why ? If i analyse problems on rentals 95% of accidents and incidents happens to my younger clients. My insurance will only cover so much and at some stage they will no longer provide cover because of this group. Therefore I have to exclude under 25s from future rentals.

4×4 Rentals Africa does not provide rentals for clients under the age of 25. Sorry guys! Just cannot do this anymore. Thank you for the understanding.

SOUTH AFRICA 4×4 Hire, Land Rover Defender 110 ( TD5, Puma and Puma Expedition ), Toyota DC 4×4, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Fortuner.

All rentals with unlimited mileage and 100% insurance. Satellite phone included.

Long Term Rentals – 1 night’s FREE accommodation in Johannesburg on rentals of 25 days or more.

www.southafrica4x4.co.za   – Hire of Defenders

www.4x4rentalsafrica.com  – Hire of Land Cruisers and Hilux 4x4s

www.sa4x4blog.co.za  – Travel Information

Also follow us on Social Media – Links at the top right of the page.

We 4×4 Africa

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Congo DRC, Cameroon

So where is your 4×4 taking you in 2020 ? Zambia ? Malawi ? That remote part in the Koakaveld that you enjoyed so much last year ? Need some ideas and assistance with accommodation bookings ? Go and have a look at some of the more popular trips our clients are doing . Tour Plans