South Africa to Namibia

Border crossingsPosted by Espen Thu, May 24, 2012 21:36:21

This was our first overland border crossing on the African continent. Travelling in Africa and Asia requires in many cases a Carnet de Passage. I have of course heard of travelers that have been able to travel across Africa without one, but in order to do things right and relatively easy at the borders, the Carnet is the way to go. We weren't sure, by the way, if we had to stamp our vehicle out of South Africa and into Namibia. The reason for this is the Southern African Customs Union, and it turned out that our passports was the only thing they looked at. In other words, there is no vehicle paperwork between South Africa and Namibia, and we are expecting it to be the same between Namibia and Botswana.

So. What was this border crossing like? Fast and easy. No touts waiting at the border. Drive in and park in front of the customs building. As you drive in you get a note with three "points" you need to go through. The person handing you the note is "step 2" (???), and the note is stamped.

Point 1 is the immigrations. The door to the far left on the building. When we were there there was no line, and it took about 5 minutes. Maybe less. The above mentioned note is stamped, and you are told to move on to "point 3", which I think is the police. That is behind the door to the far right. The door in the middle is "point 2", but those guys seems to prefer standing at the border entrance and just handing you a prestamped note. Fine with me. At the police office they look at at you passport, and stamp the note. Get back in your vehicle, drive to the exit gate, and hand in your stamped note to the guard there. He will probably ask you some of the standard border questions (where are you going, where are you coming from, etc), and try to sound like you are just about to get shot. After a couple of questions, he will go back to talking normal, and was actually quite funny. We were on our way in a couple of minutes. Total time on the South Africa side was about 15 minutes including using the restrooms.

The Namibian side was also very easy. Here, however, a coule of guys came over as we parked outside and wanted to help us through. And as usual, we told them thanks, but no thanks.

Park outside the Customs building and go the the door with "Immigration" written over it in big letters. You can't miss it. As I mentioned above, the Carnet is not required to cross between South Africa and Namibia, but you do need to get a proof for paying your fee to the Road Fund Administration. this is the Namibian road tax, and we got a picture of the rates for those interested:

For a normal car or SUV the price is 220 Namibian Dollars (= 220 Rand), about 30 USD. You can pay with N$ or Rand. The permit looks like this:

Leaving the border, there is one last gate out from the Namibian Customs, and in front of us there was a South African vehicle being searched. We were waved through, and nobody looked in our car at all. Namibia here we come!


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