Advice on which border to use





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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on which border to use

    Howzit all,

    I have a trip planned (SA -> Bot -> Zam -> Mal -> Moz -> SA) and was hoping someone could give some advice on a particular border crossing which is worrying me.

    The plan was to head North through Botswana and cross into Zambia by the Kazungula border. We however heard from a local that there is currently only 1 pontoon/ferry operating and the border is an absolute mess (it is a mess at the best of times I hear). We leaving in about a month and will see if we can get some info closer to the time again but at this stage I am considering other border options. I was thinking of the following:

    1. cross into Botswana by Martins drift border, cross into Zimbabwe by border close to Francistown, cross into Zambia by the Livingstone border.

    2. cross into Botswana by Martins drift border, cross into Namibia by the Ngoma bridge border, cross into Zambia by the Katima Mulilo border.

    We are spending 2 nights in Zambia close to Mambova. This is an important part of the trip which is why we need to cross over to Zambia close to that vicinity which is why as I see it these are my only 2 alternatives if Kazungula is a no go.

    If anyone has any comments or advice it would be much appreciated!

    For those who are interested the following is our basic planned route. We have an idea of campsites around our route but have not set anything in stone. We are just going to see where the wind blows us.

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  2. #2
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    Hi Dougm

    Kazangula was no problem for us. If you are a trucker then you have a problem. There was probably 2+ day wait for trucks. But for private vehicles incl. 4x4's and trailers, you can sail through. The reason is that the ferry will first put 2-4 vehicles up-front, before putting a big truck on the ferry. This is about its capacity. So private vehicles go to the front of the queue, and trucks go 1 by 1, and there are usually a lot more of those, hence the queue. The truckers queue up on the side of the road (sometimes as long as 1km or more) so the private vehicles can drive straight to the front quite easily. Although we did it in the opposite direction to you, it does apply to both directions.

    A lot of the guys do Katima Mulilo, but I think Kazangula has got some bad press. Perhaps we caught it on a good day, but I would definitely do it again and am glad that we did.

    I am not sure if you have done Chobe river by sunset cruise from Kasane before, but it is one of the best game-viewing experiences you can have. Definitely let the wind blow you to Kasane and then you can see for yourself what is happening at the border the day before and be prepared. Even if it is slow, it is still going to be quicker than the extra 200+km's and double border crossing via Ngoma and Katima Mulilo.

    Regards
    RSG
    Cape Town to Cape Maclear and back in 3 months (click here for trip reports)
    Vehicle knowledge is more important than trip knowledge imho (click here for expensive lessons)
    We will never be the same again.

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  3. #3
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    When we last did Kazungula, the trucks at the front of the queue had been in the line for five days. We drove straight to the front and did the entire crossing, including all paperwork, in under two hours. Many people say don't use a fixer - I have crossed more African borders than I can remember, and at the very busy congested ones I always use a fixer. You don't pay them a cent up front, just follow them around and let them handle all the paperwork. You may get ripped off a dollar or two here and there, but it is worth the pain. During the upfront negotiations, get their cellphone number and test it immediately to see it rings.
    If Kazungula is daunting, the Katima Mulilo - Sesheke crossing takes 20 minutes.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback guys!

    When you guys crossed the Kazungula border was there also only 1 ferry working?

    The main reason I considered changing plans was because a lady who lives in Mambova warned us that it is bad at the moment due to only 1 ferry being in operation but if that is the norm then I think it would make sense to cross there. But if it means that a 2 hour crossing becomes a 4 hour crossing then I would rather take the detour through Katima Mulilo which seems to be about 3.5 hours and enjoy a scenic drive through the Caprivi.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougm View Post
    When you guys crossed the Kazungula border was there also only 1 ferry working? The main reason I considered changing plans was because a lady who lives in Mambova warned us that it is bad at the moment due to only 1 ferry being in operation but if that is the norm then I think it would make sense to cross there. But if it means that a 2 hour crossing becomes a 4 hour crossing then I would rather take the detour through Katima Mulilo which seems to be about 3.5 hours and enjoy a scenic drive through the Caprivi.
    Hi Doug

    I can't actually remember. I think only two can operate at a time, and there may have been two operating when we crossed. The one we were on actually got stuck on the shore and then had engine failure. So what could have been a 20 minutes cross ended up being more than an hour. But the fact that they got the engineer out quickly and fixed the ferry shows that there is good support. Therefore, two ferries should hopefully be operational again soon. It seemed to me to be quite a well run operation.

    Also, they were busy constructing a new landing dock on the Botswana side at the time, so there is evidence that they are trying hard to make this border crossing efficient. Just huge demand from the trucks, probably because they all still try to avoid Zimbabwe.

    Regards
    RSG
    Cape Town to Cape Maclear and back in 3 months (click here for trip reports)
    Vehicle knowledge is more important than trip knowledge imho (click here for expensive lessons)
    We will never be the same again.

    Jurgens XT140 Off-road trailer (sold)
    Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 S (2005) (sold)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReadySteadyGo View Post
    Hi Doug

    I can't actually remember. I think only two can operate at a time, and there may have been two operating when we crossed. The one we were on actually got stuck on the shore and then had engine failure. So what could have been a 20 minutes cross ended up being more than an hour. But the fact that they got the engineer out quickly and fixed the ferry shows that there is good support. Therefore, two ferries should hopefully be operational again soon. It seemed to me to be quite a well run operation.

    Also, they were busy constructing a new landing dock on the Botswana side at the time, so there is evidence that they are trying hard to make this border crossing efficient. Just huge demand from the trucks, probably because they all still try to avoid Zimbabwe.

    Regards
    RSG
    I think I will check just before we leave again whether both ferries are operational and will only choose to avoid Kazungula if there is a ferry issue. Thanks guys, your feedback is much appreciated!
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  7. #7
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    I need help with planning for a tour from South Africa to Kenya by road. I have a web side running where people can c where we like to go. How can i get intouch with the people that have done such tour before . I would like to drive from South Africa to Kenya But would like to visit the following places
    1.South Luangwe NP - Zambia
    2.Kariba dam -Zambia
    3.Ruaha NP - Tanzania
    4.Tarangire NP -Tanzania
    5. Ngorongoro Crater - Tanzania
    6. Serengeti Np - Tanzania
    7. Lake Victoria -Tanzania or Kenya
    8. Masai Mara - Kenya
    9. Lake Nakuru NP - Kenya
    10. Amboseli NP - Kenya
    11. Tsavo East NP Kenya
    12. Cahora Basa Dam Mozambique
    13.Lake Malawi - Malawi
    14. Gorongosa NP - Mozambique

    If some one give me advise on a good road and places to stay I will be grate full
    Best regards
    Niel

  8. #8
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    Doug M

    If you by any means do not want or cannot do the Kasangula ferry, it is quite quick to enter Zambia at Sesheke from Katima. Meaning an extra border post and extra distance though. Katima is a nice stopover.

    But seems to me the ferry don't pose any problems.....!

    NielBig5, why don't you start a new thread? You can get very interesting answers. Why not include Lower Zambezi?

    Bostoe

  9. #9
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    Doug, if you do Katima, come stop by for a beer or cooldrink. You can look our place over and maybe decide to stay a day. ;-)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandbug View Post
    Doug, if you do Katima, come stop by for a beer or cooldrink. You can look our place over and maybe decide to stay a day. ;-)
    I only saw this message now, got back from my trip on Sunday. A belated thank you for the invite!

    We ended up going through Kazangulu and it was okay. The girls were a bit stressed as they were being followed around by shady characters while we were busy running around like headless chickens trying organise the mountain of paperwork, fees, forex, etc. but all in all the crossing was not too bad.

    Next time we will definitely stop by your spot for a beer and there will be a next time, the trip was epic!

    I will share more on this trip a bit later.
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  11. #11
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    Your loss

    No problem. See you some day

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