MY 10 TIPS FOR ROAD TRAVEL IN AFRICA

We recently did a road trip through Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi and travelled 5661km. So in lieu of that I leave my few tips for those interested in doing a self drive through these countries.

  1. At all cost try and avoid Beitbridge Border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.  Not only is it extremely busy, but you will most probably be “scammed”.  As soon as you stop, the “runners” are on you to assist and they will scam you out of huge amounts, under the pretext of “helping you”.  In fact, avoid all “runners” at any border post.
  2. Upon leaving South Africa, ensure you have your Interpol Clearance for your vehicle, obtainable at the SAPS.  It is worth it to spend a few hours in getting it, as you will be spared another bribe to pass the border out of Zimbabwe towards Zambia and further.
  3. Make sure you have US dollars when you travel through Zimbabwe, as they not only inflate the exchange to any amount they want, but at most places they now refuse the ZAR, even though it is their official currency.
  4. When changing money at any of the borders with the “black market” guys, make sure you keep track of your money and do your own calculations, as well as only deal with one person.  Most of the time, you will get a good rate, but they tend to flock around you and in the end you are bound to lose some money.
  5. Keep your vehicle papers together, as it quite confusing at the border posts, as they tend to send you from pillar to post and it can become quite stressful.
  6. Make sure you have all the correct markings and equipment on your vehicles, i.e reflective strips, triangles, fire extinguishers etc, as you are bound to be stopped and asked.  Specifically in Zimbabwe, as they are always ready to fine.
  7. Carry your drivers licence with you at all times, as there are numerous Police Checks on the road. 
  8. Keep to the speed limit, specially close to the villages and through the villages.
  9. Be careful of the bicycles in Zambia and Malawi.  Hundreds of them and should you bump anyone on them, you will be in for huge amounts of money, as well as a big fine and possible lock up until everything has been sorted out to their satisfaction.
  10. Make sure you put fuel in where you can, as lots of filling stations are sometimes without fuel.

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