When it comes to border crossings in Africa, it helps to have your wits about you. These are some basic guidelines to help make crossing the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia Border Post (also called the Komatipoort Border) go smoothly.
Navigating borders in Africa can be a stressful experience, especially if you are un-prepared to face the bureaucracy. The most important thing is to have all your papers in order. Here is a quick survival guide of tips to help things go easier when crossing the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia Border Post and travelling into Mozambique.
PLEASE NOTE: Border rules are constantly changing - this is a rough guideline.
Stock Up at the Komati Oasis
It is a good idea to stop off at the Komati Oasis situated on the N4 approximately 1,4 kilometres before the border. This is a good place to fill up on fuel and grab supplies for the road. There is a small supermarket, ATM and a Bureau de Change where you can get Meticais - (the local currency).
The Bureau de Change is open from 08:30 - 3:30 during the week. You can also pay a small fee to use a clean toilet rather than use the facilities at the border.
Insurance - Have you remembered to get third party insurance?
If not then you can get insurance at the Global Alliance kiosk. You can also purchase insurance at the border post.
Make sure that all your paperwork is in order and have a working pen handy.
Once you arrive at the Lebombo Ressano Garcia Border Post
The border post is busiest over weekends and Christmas and Easter and if you are travelling at these times, it pays to be patient. If you are self-catering, remember that you are only allowed to take goods of a certain value into the country (Check with one of our Destination Specialists what the latest regulations are).
You may have to produce your till slips to prove the value of the goods so have them handy. However, Mozambique has fantastic fresh produce, so do not take to many provisions; rather enjoy the famous local cuisine.
The South-African Side
- As you enter the border post you will be given a gate pass.
- Once inside the customs building you will need to fill in the paperwork, including a Temporary Export Permit for the vehicle.
- You will have to declare any valuables worth over R3000, such as laptops, iPads and Cameras. The lower you can realistically declare them at, the less likely you are to have hassles.
- Check that the form is stamped and keep it in a safe place as you will need to show it upon your re-entry into South Africa.
- Next you will have to complete immigration, so have your passport handy.
- Then go back to your car and as you drive through to Mozambique you will have to give your gate pass to the guard.
The Mozambican Side
- On the other side of the border you will be stopped by a guard and given another gate pass.
- Take some Rand in small denominations in with you and your passports.
- You will need to fill in a temporary vehicle import form.
- Each person in the vehicle will need to fill in an immigration form and have their passport stamped at the immigration counter
- You will each have to pay a nominal processing fee
- Then your vehicle will be checked by a customs official. Have your South African declaration form handy.
- You will need to pay the vehicle tax before leaving and handing your vehicle pass to the guard.
Self-drive Tips for Mozambique
Planning is one of the most important steps of a self-drive holiday. This is a rough guide of how to ensure that your vehicle is ready for a self-drive holiday in Mozambique.
Many people have stories about their encounters with the notorious traffic cops of Mozambique. This is a rough guide to the essentials of getting your vehicle ready for travel in Mozambique; however, please contact one of our Destination Specialists or the Mozambican Embassy for the latest advice.
If stopped by a traffic cop (official uniform is white shirt and navy blue trousers) for a traffic offence, you might be asked to pay a spot fine. When you pay you must always insist on a ticket and an official numbered receipt containing the officers name. Regular police officers (official uniform is grey) have no authority to issue traffic fines. They may request to see your drivers license and search your car for weapons. Never hand over your passport or drivers license, you are only required to show your documents to officials. If you are asked for a bribe by any traffic or police officer, contact the Anti-Corruption Hotline +258 82 965 7804
When to go on a self-drive Holiday to Mozambique
Try to avoid travelling during the rainy season, as the roads can become, muddy, rugged and difficult to negotiate. If you can avoid going in the middle of summer from November to April as this is when it is uncomfortably hot. This is also the time of year when it can rain daily and is cyclone season.
Avoid the South African school holidays; Mozambique is a popular destination for South African families. If being in a crowd is your thing then the vibe during the holidays is great, but if you are looking to escape the crowds, then its better to travel out of season.
When travelling in Mozambique you will need to carry your cars registration papers or if you are paying off a vehicle, you will need a letter of permission from the bank. Take along your licence paper as well. Take along your valid driver's licence. South African's do not need a Visa to enter Mozambique, but you will need your passport which needs to be valid for at least 6 months after your return.
You will need to make sure that you have third party vehicle insurance. You can sort this out at the border, but it saves time to do this before setting out on your trip. Make sure that your car insurance covers travel in a foreign country and off-road travel. If your insurance does cover Mozambique get a letter from your insurance broker stating that Mozambique is covered.
By Law in Mozambique all vehicles must carry reflective vests which must be worn by the car's occupants when repairing or loading a vehicle at the side of the road or at the scene of an accident.
Two Red Triangles
All vehicles travelling in Mozambique must have two red hazard triangles. If you break down and are conducting repairs or loading and unloading the vehicle you need to place one triangle about 50 meters in front and behind the vehicle one for the front and another for the back.
Many South Africans not in the know wonder when they see a vehicle with a yellow-and-blue triangle sticker. More than likely, this vehicle has been taken into Mozambique. You need to display this sticker if you are going to tow a trailer, boat or caravan.
Service the Vehicle
It is always a good idea to service a vehicle before a long journey to ensure that it is in good working order. It is especially important when travelling to Mozambique, as many of the roads are rough and it may be difficult to get the vehicle repaired.
It is a good idea to have an idea of what goes on underneath the hood of your vehicle. Take along a few spares such as a fan belt, fuses and a basic tool kit and jack. Do not forget to check that the spare tire is in good working order.
For Comprehensive Border Information visit the following Links
South Africa & Swaziland Border Gates
South Africa & Zimbabwe Border Gates
Zimbabwe & Mozambique Borders Posts
Zambia & Mozambique Borders Posts
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