MALAWI to ZAMBIA
Date: 29th July 2013
Border Post: Mwani (Chipata)
We parked the car outside the boom, and walked into the Malawian Border control.
Entry and Exit for Malawi are conveniently located in the same room – surprisingly easy when it is quiet, tricky when it isn’t.
1. First up, it was over to the Customs desk for African GirlChild to fill in the infamous big book with vehicle details, afterwhich the customs officer stamped the carnet – easy. I was also given a gate pass for the boom.
2. Then over to the immigration desk. We had to complete the departure forms for Malawi – at speed as we wanted to beat the tour group of school children who were filling out their forms.
3. We joined the queue of the “EXIT” counter (not to be confused with the “ENTRY” counter next to it). It didn’t take more than a few minutes and we were stamped out of Malawi.
Then, we proceeded the 100m or so through No Man’s Land and parked outside the Zambian border office.
1. All formalities completed in one office with 2 counters.
2. First desk, the immigration official gave us Arrival forms to complete. Again, this was completed at speed to keep ahead of the tour group.
3. The officer was very friendly, and after Viking Explorer showed his receipt for a double entry Zambian visa, his passport was stamped without any via fee being paid. (Normal visa fee for Norway is US$50 single entry / US$80 double entry). African GirlChild stamped in without a problem (no visa fee).
4. Then, it was time for customs. African GirlChild handed over the carnet for stamping. The officer also asked about Carbon Tax, but fortunately ours was still valid from our original entry (90 day validity) which the officer was happy with. Viking Explorer completed the infamous big book while the customs officer stamped the carnet – no problem. He also gave us a gate pass to pass into Zambia.
Our vehicle insurance for Zambia was still valid, so there was no need to purchase insurance. Road Tax $20 last time – nothing this time. Community tax N$50 last time – nothing this time.
The whole time, there were money changers hassling us to change our Malawian Kwacha into Zambian Kwacha. They were less persistent than last time we crossed – presumably because there lots more tourists to hassle. We changed the last little bit of Malawian into Zambian.
We were done in 45 minutes. Aside from the extremely persistent money changers, it was an easy, stress-free, hassle-free crossing.
FYI: COMESA Yellow Card Insurance, covers Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. You need to purchase normal insurance for the first country you enter, and then COMESA is an endorsement purchased once you are in the country. The cost of the COMESA endorsement depends on the number of further countries you want to travel into: 1, 2 or 3+. Zambia appears to be one of the cheapest places to buy COMESA insurance.
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