Travelling in Zambia
A while ago someone was asking about Zambia so I put together a few notes that may help a bit those travelling through this beautiful country.
As you arrive at the border with TZ you will be sorrouned by the usual crowd of fixers, money changers, sellers of all kinds mostly interested in emptying your pockets (even literally so, watch out...)
If you are wary of leaving your documents in the hands of strangers in the general chaos and do not want to waste money you can easily accomplish the entry procedures by yourself.
Here is how:
1) Change your TZ shillings or whatever currency you have in Cwachas at the bank on the border at your right as you arrive. Do not bother with money changers, do not show money in public, pickpockets are at work.
2) Go to the immigration counter, fill the entry form and pay for the visa (US$50 pp).
Watch out: the visa is usually valid for 90 days but often they will write down a validity of only 7 days, so check the dates on the visa stamp before leaving the counter, if you let your visa expiry you will risk a fine on exit from the Country.
3) Look for the Carbon Tax office on the other side of the road and pay the tax, keep the receipt.
4) Pay the road tax (average US$30) in the mobile nearby, make sure you indicate your farthest exit point from the country as the tax is based on the estimated mileage and not on duration, if you indicate a shorter route you risk a fine upon exit. Keep the receipt.
5) If you do not have a Jellow Card you have to buy insurance, do it now as it will be checked at every road block, keep the receipt.
6) Pay the Council Levy, keep the receipt.
Put all receipts in one place as they will have to be shown at the road blocks.
As soon as you cross the border there will be the first road block to check the Council Levy payment.
Make sure you have:
1) Reflector stickers (rear white/red, front white)
2) 2 Triangles
3) Fire estinguisher
Watch out for the infamous Mpika road block (check your T4A), slow down and stop right at the stop mark (a SA couple was fined for stopping one metre after the mark....).
If you are really forced to, limit your elargitions to a soft drink or something.
Do not underestimate the tar road condition: the pot holes are seriously dangerous especially on apparently smooth stretches, counting the trucks flipped over along the road can be quite a pastime should you get bored...
Zambia is generally expensive but if you buy food along the road you will save quite some money and help the locals, mushrooms are quite remarkable...
If you are leaving Zambia from Livingstone to Kazungula you will have to pay another Council Levy to use the only road that leads to the pontoon. The Levy is 20,000 but, they may ask for 40,000, do not concede.
On leaving ZA they will ask you for ALL the receipts in the hope that you may have lost some, they will try to tell you that some signature is missing somewhere, do not fall for this.
Exit stamp on the carnet and immigration only takes minutes.
Loose all the money changers and remember that the pontoon has to be paid ONLY in US$ (28 as of 2011).
Make sure you buy some Pulas for BOTS in town before arriving at the border, in case of emergency you can still get Pulas at the ATM not far from the BOTS customs.
A word of caution: this is... Africa, so take this post with a grain of salt and be ready for changes and, most important, use your own judgement.