Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12 Sep 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: On the road somewhere in Africa
Posts: 80
Weighbridges for trucks

We've bumped into a Swiss family heading south who have told us about weighbridges in Zambia and Tanzania "for all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes".
As they're driving a car they don't know the details - can anyone confirm if non-commercial vehicles such as camper trucks have to stop and be weighed - if so is it at every one (apparently there are a lot in Tanzania and big queues), or just at the "first"?
Any other countries in East Africa with similar requirements?


Reply With Quote
Old 13 Sep 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Germany/RheinMain
Posts: 45
Hi Ian

Don’t distress yourself too much, on approx 50.000 Km allover Africa (2003 -2006) in a 12ton truck we have never been weighted! Slow down, pass the queue, get eye contact to the “officer” (if there) and after they had noticed (sooner or later) your vehicle as a tourist one they typically wave you through. Finally you don’t have a commercial car, so even if they pull you over (never done with us) this should have no consequences.

Keep in Mind: none of the “road officials” in Africa is used to a camper truck, so sometimes you have to bring some kind of evidence…e.g. a typical conversation on nearly every Sudanese toll booth:

Officer: “Good morning, sir! How many peoples?”
Tourist: “Good morning, officer, just we two.”
Officer: “How many in the back?”
Tourist: “None.”
Officer: “None?! How many cows?”
Tourist: “None.”

Officer: “None?! How many goods?”
Tourist: “No goods.”
Officer: “What’s in there?”
Tourist: “Just a kitchen, it’s our house, we live in this car!”
Officer: “????”
Later, after opening the rear door and when the excitement about the “car with a sink” had calmed down, they let you go, usually paying just the car fee (if you are lucky).

Enjoy your time in Africa

Ps: take it slow, there are lots of speed traps in TZ! ;-)
Reply With Quote
Old 18 Sep 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 3
Hi Ian

the following was our experience two years ago (2010) in Tanzania with a 12ton camper truck.
We knew from a website from a german couple that they got problems at a weighbridge for failing to weigh their truck. So we decided not to take any risk and rather take the time in the queue to get weighed. After we went through a few of these without any issues, we still deliberately missed the one in Igunga west of Singida on the way to Rwanda. It didn't take long until a pick-up overtook and forced us to stop and return to the weighbridge. There the officers demanded to pay the US$ 2000 fine, which was clearly advertised on the boards at the site for failing to get weighed. It needed a lot of time and good arguments (no money though!) to get the officers to let us go without paying the fine.
My advice is clear: take your time and get weighed, it may save you some hassles.
And before I forget: As far as I remember, Tanzania was the only country, Cape to Cairo, where wheighbridges were an issue.

Reply With Quote
Old 18 Sep 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: On the road somewhere in Africa
Posts: 80
Thanks for the information, it seems like the best plan would be to join the queue then while waiting ask the "officer in charge" if they really need to weigh the truck as it's not "commercial".
Out of interest, were the queues very long? (we've heard that they LOOK as if they will take a very long time in places)

Reply With Quote
Old 18 Sep 2012
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 3

If memory doesn't fail me, I'd say average waiting time was probably half an hour. It may look worse, because the queuing is quite caotic. Asking the officers straight away is a good idea, but I would do that before joining the queue, because you might find it difficult to escape once your jammed in...

Reply With Quote
Old 30 Sep 2012
roamingyak.org's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Portugal
Posts: 1,062
Dutch friends in Mozambique with an 11 tonne DAF had problems - mainly language problems trying to explain their case and ended up paying about $250 altogether. They were very good travellers who came down the west coast and were good at arguing etc. River crossings are the hardest as you can't just drive through and speed off!

Use google translate to learn words like 'tourist' and 'not commercial' and 'private vehicle' in each language such as Arabic, Portuguese etc

Quite a few trucks had "Private Vehicle' painted across the front of them....
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 10:11.