Back in Livingstone

It was time to exit Namibia again. Mbezi camp was close to the border, so we hoped that we could have an early and smooth border crossing. We were not disappointed. 

We packed our stuff quite early and quickly drove to the border town, Katima Mulilo. Here we withdrew some final cash, exchanged our Euros to Dollars for a decent rate and fueled the car. Then we fueled our bodies with a lovely breakfast and off we went. 

We wanted to have extra cash on our hand, to make sure we had enough to pay the different taxed we had read about on iOverlander. Our previous border crossing into Zambia was super easy and we didn't have to pay anything. We paid our road tax later, but with this border crossing we read about carbon taxes, Interpol charges, insurance and county taxes. We should have had enough cash on us. 

Exiting the Namibian side was fairly easy. The road was blocked by huge trucks though, so we drove a little against traffic to avoid being stuck. At the border post, we quickly received our stamps and we were off again. Some people tried to cut the line, but the official firmly told them to go back to the line. When we wanted to drive off to the Zambian side, we were stopped by a Namibian police officer, telling us we had to show the Interpol clearance. We were not 100% what this clearance should have been for, but we didn't have it. Online it seemed to be about making sure the vehicle wasn't stolen, so we showed all the documents that told him the car was really ours. He tried to be adamant about us needing the Interpol clearance, telling us 'we cannot help you if the car is stolen'. We told him that would not be an issue, as we were leaving Namibia. Then we said we would get the clearance at the Zambian side and he did not really have a strong response. When he tried 'this car is from Kenya, you should have it for Kenyan law', we knew he was just talking crap trying to get some money, because in Kenya no police officer has ever talked about Interpol clearances and if ANY police officer would abuse people not having such a clearance, it would be Kenyan police. We smiled and said, so we can go now, and he waved us through. 

Then the Zambian side was a bit more disorganized, but it still went relatively smooth. We got our health clearance (just a temperature measure) and the visa got stamped. Then we went to the revenue authority, to have the car stamped in. Here we needed to pay the carbon tax in Zambian kwacha. We didn't have enough, so Jeroen went to the exchange office to exchange some of the USD into ZMW. There are many crooks around trying to also change money, but such exchangers are famous for having terrible rates and shortchanging, meaning they just give less than they agree. Before you have been able to count the money you receive, they have already fled the scene. No thanks. 

We changed some money at the exchange office, but that took ages. The computer probably still ran on DOS. After returning to the ZRA officer, we did not have enough kwacha, so we still had to get some extra. We exchanged twenty Namibian dollars for twenty kwacha, which is a terrible rate. However, this was the best way to make sure we were not shortchanged, since it was one bill for one bill.  

Once we had enough money, we paid the carbon tax and we went for the road tax. We were told to stop by the insurance company, but our Comesa was sufficient (as we already knew it would be). We paid our road tax and we were off. Just before actually leaving the border post, we were stopped once more. They checked our documents and told us we still had to pay the county tax. We were able to pay in Namibian dollars at the official, so we asked her if she could change NAD for ZMW. She couldn't, but she brought someone who could, telling us the rest are crooks. 

Under the supervision of a police officer, we changed the NAD for ZMW, at a better rate than expected. We checked the bills before handing our dollars and when everything was double checked, we left. BACK IN ZAMBIA!

We were quickly greeted by the Zambian roads and were back to evading potholes. We put on the 'Pothole song' and went on our way. We drove faster than expected, but still took about an hour longer than the same distance would have taken in Namibia. Three hours after passing the border we were back in Livingstone.

We returned to our favorite places from six weeks earlier and at Kubu cafe and Jollyboys they still remembered us. We had agreed with the car doctor, Russell, to meet him and his wife for dinner at the Waterfront restaurant. Apparently Livingstone had not had a lot of rain, so we were sure to bring some. Just before we had agreed to meet, the clouds opened and rain and thunder came pouring down. You're welcome! 

We had an amazing evening, shared many stories and even had some time to discuss a little business. It was so strange being back in Livingstone and feeling so much better than last time. Also driving around Livingstone without a car that feels like it might break down was strange and great. Of course last time Gigi was also doing wonderfully, but our feeling was just so different from what it was now. The next day we had breakfast at Kubu cafe, worked a little and then went off to meet our next friends from before. 

Add comment


There are no comments yet.