TANZANIA to UGANDA
Date: 20th August 2013
Border Post: Mutukulu
This was another unusual borderpost – more because it appeared completely chaotic but was actually OK!
As you approach the borderpost, it doesn’t seem that there is actually a border. You feel as though you have arrived in the middle of a large chaotic village in the middle of a truck stop! There are with lots of stalls, and large truck parked everywhere. We kept passing through barriers until finally we had gone too far and were redirected backwards a bit and pointed at a “building” which consisted of 3 shipping containers in a U-shape!
1. First, a visit to the customs office which was in the “office” straight ahead of us. The officer was very friendly, and first put on his tie before he served us! He offered me a seat – Viking Explorer left to stand. We were told it was polite for ladies to have a seat.
2. Etiquette dealt with, he looked at the carnet and asked to see the car. He wanted to check not only the registration number of the vehicle, but the VIN number too. This is the first time since we left South Africa that this has been checked!
3. Return to the office with a happy official, who stamped the carnet.
4. Then, we headed to the right into the container with for immigration. Again very friendly. We didn’t fill in a departure form, but had they had electronic passport readers and we had to smile into a webcam. There was another chap in this office who also checked the carnet had been stamped.
We hopped back into the car and weaved our way between trucks, village stall, through barriers, until once again a barrier wasn’t opened for us.
1. This was a little less clear, but the people milling around pointed us in the direction of an office on the right of the road.
2. We filled in the arrival forms, and requested 60days for the visa. We handed over $50 each for the visa. We also had to compete full electronic set of fingerprints – 4 fingers then thumb for each hand.
3. The immigration officer was very friendly and kind, and gave us 90days “so that we could enjoy the country”.
4. All entered, we were then pointed to the customs office, which was on the other side of the road above a banks with a green sign.
5. Again, the people were very friendly and helpful. Once official wasn’t that familiar with the carnet, but his colleagues helped him out.
6. Then, we had to pay $20 for some sort of vehicle permit which is valid for 30 days. This involved us taking the necessary forms and receipts downsairs to the banks to pay, and then return back upstairs. We also changed currency while we were there.
7. Back upstairs, we gave the receipt for payment and were wished a safe journey.
8. We returned to the car, and the police officer manning the barrier wasked to check the vehicle for anything illegal. I think he giggled when we opened the back and he saw our ‘house’ on display. We were let through.
9. Not quite done yet, we reached another barrier where Viking Explorer had to go into a small office and fill in the infamous African big book. While he was in the office, another police officer wanted to check the vehicle – again. I made it a game, and gave him a tour of our home, including showing him our ‘kitchen’ (pulled out the stove) and ‘bathroom’ (a drawer with our toiletries). He enjoyed the tour, shaking his head at the crazy mzingus, and was happy we had nothing illegal.
10. Viking Explorer returned from the office and we were left through the barrier and wished a pleasant journey!
Our COMESA vehicle insurance was still valid, but there did look like there were places on the border to buy insurance. Despite apparent chaos, it did have an element of order. This appears to be a busy border post for people travelling by bus, so they were slick.
All in all, it took us an hour – about standard for border crossings in this part of the world.
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.
Keywords: border crossing from Tanzania to Uganda; overland border crossing from Tanzania to Uganda, Tanzania Uganda border crossing