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seppo 3 Jan 2001 02:41

Temporary import to Kenya!
I am planning to move down to Mombasa for one year (working, temporary working permit).
I would like to temporary import my Harley from Finland to Kenya. Is it possible to temporary import it with the Carnet de Passages-certificate? How long time can the temporary import last (with carnet)? Can I use my Finnish licence plates in Kenya?
Can I get the insurance from Kenya?
Your help is highly appreciated!!!
Thank you already beforehand!
Best Regards

Stephan Solon 6 Jan 2001 01:37


You should in theory be able to keep the bike in Kenya as long as the Carnet is valid but customs will in fact limit the amount of time the bike can be in the country. You will have to buy Road Tax and there may also be a time limit on this. Insurance will generally be valid for a year and is cheap. If you do encounter any time limits it is always possible to ride to Tanzania or Uganda and return. Taking a bike into the country overland is generally far less hassel than freighting it in.

You may find it easier to buy a bike in Kenya, however, if you want to ride a Harley there are very few to buy there. If you want to see a lot of the country a trail bike is far more usable as you do need a reasonable amount of ground clearance.

If you do take your bike there I strongly advise you to use airfreight to Nairobi. Sea freight is a pain as there is a lot of potential for delays and when you do get the bike out of Mombasa docks you will find that roughly first 20km of road from Mombasa to Nairobi is a potholed dirt road used by everybody. I travelled this route last July two up on an NTV650 an only grounded the centre stand once so, provided it is dry, it should be possible on an unloaded Harley if you travel very slowly.

Hope this helps.


seppo 7 Jan 2001 20:03

Hello again!

Thank you Stephan for your valuable reply!

You are absolutely right, that it would be better idea to buy a dirt bike from Kenya (maybe I still will). But it is actually so that I will buy a new tax free Harley from Finland before I will move down to Kenya(sell my old Harley in Finland and buy new with only 1/2 of the normal price!). I will get so called Finnish export licence plates for the new bike, which I am planning to use in Kenya. Of course it is meaning that I will use the bike in Kenya while I am working/staying in there (depending of the road condition etc.), but the main purpose is to return back to Finland after one year with a new Harley!!! (according Finnish law you have to work/stay abroad for 1 year to be able to bring a tax free vehicle into the country!!!)

We will be staying in Mombasa, so I don't need to take the bike into Nairobi! I am planning to ship it from Finland as a sea freight (together with my employer's project goods) directly to Mombasa! I am sure that there will be some problems with the customs etc., but I believe that it is worth to take the risk!

Wish me luck, let's see what will happend!!!

Best Regards

Stephan Solon 10 Jan 2001 09:41

Hi Seppo,

Interesting idea! I'm sure you can make it work. I think your worst case scenario is having to ride the bike to Tanzania or Uganda on 4 separate occaisions. You'll need at least 3 days for each return journey from Mombasa to Tanzania. Customs clearance at a land border will be far more straight forward than getting the bike out of Mombasa Port and you are less likely to have any time limit imposed. Kenya Port Authority are trying to improve their procedures but it still took my agent a whole day to get it out and he had 20 years experiance working there. Maybe your employer can have the bike cleared for you as equipment required for the project... That will save you some cash in agents fees. KPA no longer permit you to clear the bike yourself according to notices I saw in the customs office at the port.

Road tax needs to be obtained within one week of clearing the bike through customs and you get that fron Nyayo House in Nairobi. That took me about 3 hours but can take anything from 20 minutes to a whole day and you need to show your carnet and certificate of insurance. This is a purely paper exercise and you don't need to take the bike there to do it. I don't know if you can get road tax for a foreign vehicle in Mombasa.

Good luck and do get yourself a trail bike while you're there. You will have a lot of fun!


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