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Author Topic: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi  (Read 4780 times)

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Offline Duster

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2014, 08:41:43 am »
I just travelled through Malawi and Zambia. I travelled with Usd (hide some extras on the bike because when you are in trouble, cash is king). I exchanged at the borders without any problems. Know what the rate is beforehand and competition at the border will get you a better rate than the banks.
Bluefish, which border posts did you use?  We are leaving RSA on Saturday 04 Oct and will enter Zambia at the Kariba dam wall and Malawi at Chipata.  Coming back from Malawi, again at Chipata, and from Zambia to Zim at Livingstone/Vic Falls.
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Offline eberhard

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2014, 02:18:24 pm »
I agree with Bluefish. I have crossed those borders many times and never had a problem with the money changers. Know your exchange rate and sleep awake. I have met people that claimed that they were ripped off. The m.o. appears to be the same: the money changers double fold the bills so the same notes are counted twice. Keep a tight eye on them and count the money in their presence. Keep the bills as open and separate as possible. It appears that you will start your journey through Zimbabwe, so you will have USD to start with. Get all the money you estimate the trip will cost you in USD in South Africa. Split the money (as BF suggested) and keep in your wallet what you think the next move is going to cost you. Always out of sight, you replenish your wallet. Then when entering Zambia or Malawi, exchange what you think you will require in that country so that you exit the country with the least amount of excess currency. Though the exchange rates are generally better than the banks, as BF said (with a LOT less fuss and paperwork), you will lose when keep exchanging. Last year when coming through Vic Falls into Zimbabwe, I got a very good exchange rate for my excess Kwatchas. Always have the correct currency at the border posts. Take your credit card with as back up and for emergencies. Only use the credit card at places that you can trust. When at a border post, the money changers will approach you. That gives you the upper hand in the negotiations. Don't go around looking conspicuously for them. If not immediately approached, hang around a bit, smoke a cigarette or do something idle. They will come to you like a moth to a light. Then you call the shots.
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Offline Duster

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2014, 05:11:38 pm »
Thanks guys, I appreciate the info and will do so.  I see on the AA Cross border info it is compulsory to have the triangles and fire extinguisher. I presume that is for cars and bakkies, what about bikes?  Any feedback on that?
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Offline eberhard

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2014, 06:50:55 pm »
Over more than 20 years and dozens of trips I have never been searched (always on a bike). At worst they checked my lights and indicators, once, at a road block. I have not encountered or have been informed that these things are required. In Europe they check for it on a bike. In Africa my experiences were always that they leave bikes alone. They'll pull off the huge 4x4 in front of you and wave you on. Always have your papers ready. And don't look for trouble or create trouble. It will find you. Keep an ordinary profile and don't draw attention. At road blocks I would slow down and if not waved on, I'll stop, switch off my engine and remove my helmet and acknowledge them. Then usually I get told to move on, or they ask for my license and then tell me to move on. Never look rushed or agitated. Keep a packet of cigarettes ready and offer a cigarette casually. That undermines any requests for a bribe. That is all you have on you and you have offered what you have. Don't wear expensive and/or conspicuous watches and/or jewellery. Don't flash your wealth or status. Some years ago they shot and killed an American foreign affairs official like a dog at a road block in Zimbabwe because he did just that.
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Offline Bluefish

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2014, 09:28:13 pm »
I enetered Malawi from Mozambique at the Chiponde/Mandimba border post. Very quiet and it took me 20 minutes! I crossed over from Malawi into Zambia close to Chipata. If you are traveling on the Great East Road between Chipata and Lusaka I suggest that you do this in one trip as accommodation is scarce. I left Zambia at Katima Mulilo and entered Namibia via the Caprivi.

I drove from Pemba in Moz to Hermanus. Not once was I asked for my license! Do make sure you have a valid yellow fever certificate for Zambia and your return to SA. I had some issues at the Zambian border with that and had to get an update in Lusaka.
 

Offline Duster

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2014, 07:42:27 am »
I enetered Malawi from Mozambique at the Chiponde/Mandimba border post. Very quiet and it took me 20 minutes! I crossed over from Malawi into Zambia close to Chipata. If you are traveling on the Great East Road between Chipata and Lusaka I suggest that you do this in one trip as accommodation is scarce. I left Zambia at Katima Mulilo and entered Namibia via the Caprivi.

I drove from Pemba in Moz to Hermanus. Not once was I asked for my license! Do make sure you have a valid yellow fever certificate for Zambia and your return to SA. I had some issues at the Zambian border with that and had to get an update in Lusaka.
We do the Great East Road between Lusaka and Chipata and sleep over at Chimwemwe lodge, at Petauke.  Seems reasonable and had some correspondence with them as well.  Where did you fuel up between Chipata and Lusaka?
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Offline Duster

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2014, 07:44:29 am »
Over more than 20 years and dozens of trips I have never been searched (always on a bike). At worst they checked my lights and indicators, once, at a road block. I have not encountered or have been informed that these things are required. In Europe they check for it on a bike. In Africa my experiences were always that they leave bikes alone. They'll pull off the huge 4x4 in front of you and wave you on. Always have your papers ready. And don't look for trouble or create trouble. It will find you. Keep an ordinary profile and don't draw attention. At road blocks I would slow down and if not waved on, I'll stop, switch off my engine and remove my helmet and acknowledge them. Then usually I get told to move on, or they ask for my license and then tell me to move on. Never look rushed or agitated. Keep a packet of cigarettes ready and offer a cigarette casually. That undermines any requests for a bribe. That is all you have on you and you have offered what you have. Don't wear expensive and/or conspicuous watches and/or jewellery. Don't flash your wealth or status. Some years ago they shot and killed an American foreign affairs official like a dog at a road block in Zimbabwe because he did just that.
Thanks eberhard, the info are valuable and we will hold to that.  Unfortunately not one of us smoke, but maybe it will be a good idea to have a packet at hand to offer, as you said.
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Offline Bluefish

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2014, 08:11:56 am »
I fuelled up at Nyimba, which is close to where you are stopping over. I did my trip on a day to day basis and did not book accommodation in advance and ended up at some funny places. What I have learnt is that when you enter a lodge/campsite premises and the pool is empty, turn around! Quickly!
 

Offline eberhard

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2014, 08:19:05 am »
Forgot to mention: get your currency in as small denominations as possible. It makes the bundle very thick unfortunately, but with big denominations you run the risk that they won't have change or that you have to wait for them to get change or that they return counterfeit bills. Nobody bothers to print fake $1, $5 or $10 bills. Keep your change in that range. And always obtain or insist on small bills. At fuelling stations in Zimbabwe you won't get change in coins. So before you fill up, make your calculations as to how much fuel you require, round it off to an even number and pay for that, e.g. ask for $20 of petrol as to fill up my tank.  
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Offline Duster

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2014, 11:35:42 am »
I fuelled up at Nyimba, which is close to where you are stopping over. I did my trip on a day to day basis and did not book accommodation in advance and ended up at some funny places. What I have learnt is that when you enter a lodge/campsite premises and the pool is empty, turn around! Quickly!
:imaposer:
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Offline Duster

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Re: Traveling to Zambia/Malawi
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2014, 11:48:06 am »
Forgot to mention: get your currency in as small denominations as possible. It makes the bundle very thick unfortunately, but with big denominations you run the risk that they won't have change or that you have to wait for them to get change or that they return counterfeit bills. Nobody bothers to print fake $1, $5 or $10 bills. Keep your change in that range. And always obtain or insist on small bills. At fuelling stations in Zimbabwe you won't get change in coins. So before you fill up, make your calculations as to how much fuel you require, round it off to an even number and pay for that, e.g. ask for $20 of petrol as to fill up my tank.  
The small bills I did, but a good idea for the paying of the fuel. :thumleft:
"Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live!"   (Vittorio Alfieri)