If you are in for driving from South Africa to Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, you will need to know how to cross the eventual border of Namibia to Zambia. It will also most likely mean that you have driven through the famous Caprivi region in Namibia, and have plenty of more adventures to come!
In regards to the border crossing, the process on the Zambian side can be quite confusing as you will be doing some office hopping around to get all the things done right!
Zambia Border Crossing Step by Step Process
- Health Check: As you enter the Arrival Hall, turn left for a health scan. The staff will give you a tiny piece of cardboard paper written « screening » on it if you are cleared.
- Immigration & Visa (payment): On the opposite of the Health office is the Immigration office. Hand in your health check in the tiny box and your passport. You can get a single entry for 40$US or double entry 80$US (haha you got it right, there’s no deal to buy a double entry right away). If you need a KAZA visa that is eligible for Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, you, unfortunately, can’t get it issued at this border crossing. (They only issue this in Livingstone, the closest main airport)
- Car paperwork certification: Go to the Asycuda Hall, on the right when you leave the arrival building to get your car papers and documentation verified and certified (they will give you another stamped papers)
- Car Customs Fee (payment): When you get back in the immigration hall, to the far corner left to customs, give all the documentation and pay 200 Zambian Kwacha. It must be cash and in Zambian dollars. There is a bank around so you are fine to go exchange. The staff will scan your passport while you have to fill up a registry book, then they will fill up their forms on their side on their system.
- Road Tolls (payment): It’s not done yet! Then go straight across to the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), hand in the driver’s passport and all car paperwork and pay 20$US tolls. You only can pay cash in USD, not Euro, not pounds, not Zambian Dollar! There is a credit card terminal but that is for trucks only. 🤷🏻♀️ We asked all the questions: you pay this fee here.
- Zambian Mandatory Insurance (payment): Cross again to the Insurance counter and pay cash only 522 Zambian Dollar for this require sticker that is the Zambian Insurance for driving your car in Zambia. The sticker is valid for three months.
1500 is the fine if you get caught driving without the insurance by the police officers.
- Council Tax (payment): You drive off to the 1st exit gate, pass it, park to pay a counsel fee of 30Z, again, have the cash with you!
- Paperwork Final Check: Drive 50 meters down to the next final gate where officers will go through all of your papers making sure you have everything, they may ask you to pop your trunk just as a formality.
Fees for Crossing to Zambia Border by Car
In a nutshell, here are the fees you should be expecting to pay and in which currency so you get everything ready. Note that this information is updated from May 2019. If you have new information, please contribute by letting us know about new fees in the comment section below. You can comment as a guest.
- Immigration & Visa (payment): single entry for 50$US or double entry 80$US
- Car Customs Fee (payment): 200 Zambian Kwacha – about 11$US
- Road Tolls (payment): 20$US
- Zambian Mandatory Insurance (payment): 522K – about 32$US
- Council Tax (payment): 30K – about 1$US
For a juicy total of 224$US for Mitch & I, considering we took 2 double entry visas.
How long does it take to Cross the Zambian Border by Car
Considering we did not go early and still had no one in front of us in lines, it took us almost two full hours to get through the whole process. This is considering we went twice to the bank to break our USD. Lucky for us, that day they did not exchange money because their “exchange machine” didn’t work. Lucky for us, the ATM just beside was very much operational to get some Zambian Kwacha out to pay the fees that were mandatory to be paid in USD.
Zambian Border Opening Times
The Zambian border crossing at the Zambezi river is open from 6 AM to 6 PM. The longer you wait, the more people you get. We got there around 8:45 AM but the lines were never long. Everyone seems to take their sweet time going to each process. Even though it seems like there were at least 50 cars and hundreds of trucks, it never felt like there were that many people at all at each counter we had to go through.
Road conditions from the Zambian Border Zambezi to Livingstone
After the crossing, you will eventually be driving slowly through a town, the road will then be at a beautiful 100 km/h speed limit road. NOT. The road will have tons of potholes so your GPS is wrong saying that it will take you less than 2 hours to get to Livingstone. Give yourself a 3-hour drive minimum to go through all the potholes.
Have a great journey and safe drive in the journey and don’t forget to read our day to day guide of travelling by car from South Africa to Zambia and Botswana. In this guide, you can read our exact path and journey in addition to all the important information about sights you need to see, where to stay, etc.