ZAMBIA to MALAWI
Date: 25th June 2013
Border Post: Mwani (Chipata)
1. All formalities completed in one office with 2 counters.
2. Second desk first, the immigration official gave us Departure forms to complete.
3. While Viking Explorer was completing forms, African GirlChild was at the first desk doing customs: completing the infamous big book while the customs officer stamped the carnet – no problem. He also gave us a gate pass to pass into No Man’s Land.
4. By then, Viking Explorer had completed the departure forms and we handed over our passports to be stamped out of Zambia
The whole time, there were money changers hassling us to change our Zambian Kwacha into Malawian Kwacha. They were the most persistent we have met so far on our travels, and just didn’t take no for an answer.
Before we completed our exit procedure, we had called the insurance agent from Goldman’s Insurance to arrange COMESA Yellow Card insurance (the agent in Chipata had given us her contact as this couldn’t be done in Chipata, only at the border). Yafika was conveniently located in No Man’s Land and met us at the border to take us to her office.
Here, we bought 6 months COMESA Yellow Card Insurance, which covers Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. It also covers countries further north – Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt.
Still hounded by money changers who wouldn’t take no for an answer, we drove over to the Malawi immigration.
Entry and Exit for Malawi are conveniently located in the same room – surprisingly easy when it is quiet.
1. First up, we had to complete the arrivals forms for Malawi.
2. Then over to the immigration desk. We had to make our way through the large group at the “EXIT” counter to complete our “ENTRY”. We were asked how long we wanted, and opted for 30 days, being the longest they issue at the border.
3. Then, it was over to the Customs desk for Afrcan GirlChild to fill in the infamous big book with vehicle details, afterwhich the customs officer stamped the carnet – easy.
4. In the meantime, Viking Explorer had been chatting to the Malawi tourist information desk where he picked up some information as well as a Malawi SIM card.
We were done in a little over an hour. Aside from the extremely persistent money changers, it was an easy, stress-free, hassle-free crossing.
Last note – a few kilometres after we left the border were stopped by the police – who wanted to see our insurance.
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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