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Southern Africa

 

Digital maps

In Southern Africa nothing can beat Tracks4Africa, especially when it comes to remote off-road routes! They show even warnings about deep sand, locked gates or dangerous wild camping spots. Maybe Open Street Maps would be more useful for the cities but usually Tracks4Africa are more than enough.

 

Zambia (October 2014)

Visa

Issued: At the border or at the consulate in Lubumbashi, D. R. Congo

Duration: One month, single entry

Cost: 38 Euros (50 USD)

 

Border crossings

   D. R. Congo – Zambia (Kasumbalesa): The border post is facilitated in a big and modern building. Entering the country is hassle-free. Usually there is a queue of people waiting for a visa. They ask how long do you want to stay in the country and they write that on the entry stamp. So, it’s better to say you will stay as long as your visa is valid. Vehicle owners must buy insurance. The Yellow Card (COMESA) is not available at the border. Drivers must also pay a road tax according to their route in Zambia. I used my Carnet de Passages en Douane and I avoided the road tax. I was not stopped at any police checkpoint, so I had no troubles.

   Zambia – Namibia (Sesheke): I exited the country really easily in just 15 minutes!

 

Wild camping

   Some areas are full of farms, so there isn’t much free space for wild camping. On the other hand, most Zambians are discreet and won’t cause troubles to a wild camper.

 

Namibia (November 2014)

Visa

Most Europeans don’t need a visa but Greeks do need one!

From the embassy in Lusaka, Zambia (S15 26.15 E28 20.84333)

Issued: Applications are accepted every Tuesday and visas are collected every Thursday afternoon.

Duration: Three months, single entry

Cost: 38 Euros (50 USD)

 

Border crossings

   Zambia – Namibia (Wenela): Road tax must be paid for any foreign vehicle. It’s 140 N$ (10 euros) for a motorbike. Strangely enough, when I asked if I had to buy insurance, they told me it was included in the road tax!

   Namibia – South Africa (Sendelingsdrift): The friendly officers stamped my passport and my Carnet de Passages en Douane and I finished in just ten minutes!

 

Digital maps

Wild camping spots in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

   Namibia is paradise for a wild camper! It’s the second most sparsely populated country in the world, which means it’s really easy to find some free space to camp! Many areas are fenced for hundreds of kilometers. So, two times I had to camp next to the road, in front of the fence. However, nobody disturbed me even there! Just be sure you don’t wild camp in a national park or other protected area.

 

South Africa (December 2014)

Visa

Issued: Most Europeans don’t need a visa. They just stamp the passport.

Duration: Three months

Cost: 0!

 

Border crossings

   Namibia – South Africa (Sendelingsdrift): I crossed Orange River on a barge. It costs 60 R (4.50 euros) for a motorbike. The strict immigration officer was asking me again and again when I first entered in South Africa. When she realized I had never been in South Africa before, she stamped my passport and I entered in the country without using my Carnet de Passages en Douane. Strangely enough, insurance for vehicles is not required because it’s included in the fuel price!

South Africa – Botswana (Parr’s Halt): A tourist in South Africa cannot stay longer than 90 days per year. Extending the tourist permit is practically impossible. According to the law which is valid since May 2014, I was declared undesirable in South Africa, since I overstayed. There is no fine anymore for that. The only issue was that when I was exiting South Africa, the friendly officers at the border were worried that I would be in trouble if they would not grant me a visa for Botswana, since I would be stuck between the two countries. Initially, they wanted to send me to an airport and make me fly back to my country! Happily, when I explained them that Europeans do not need a visa for Botswana, I convinced them to give me the documents which declare me undesirable for a year and let me go though the border. If you overstay more than 30 days, then you will be declared undesirable for more years. They did not write anything about that in my passport.

 

Motorcycle repair shop

Mike (Cape Town): German overlander, very careful mechanic with a specialisation on suspensions. 4 Sardinia Drive, Capri Village, Noordhoek, Western Cape. michafux@hotmail.com, Telephone: (+27) (0) 788 44 88 30

 

Digital maps

A lot of off-road routes (Attention: some of them in the Wild Coast are rough trails, not providing enough space for a four-wheeler!) and wild camping spots in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

In some South African provinces wild camping is a bit tricky. Most land is private and fenced. As locals do, you can ask permission from the landowner to camp for free in his farm. In Western Cape wild camping is easy and safe. In the Wild Coast of Eastern Cape there isn’t much free space, since most of the area is inhabited.

 

Lesotho (February 2015)

Visa

Issued: Most Europeans don’t need a visa. They just stamp the passport.

Duration: 14 days

Cost: 0

 

Border crossings

South Africa – Lesotho (Sani Pass): South Africa does not allow 2WD cars to ascend Sani Pass but Lesotho allows them to descend. Sometimes the pass is closed because of the weather. The procedure to cross the borders is very easy.

Lesotho – South Africa (Ficksburg Bridge): The procedure is easy but it is only a stamp which shows that you crossed the border. The staff cannot change the date in the South African entry permit. This means the days you spent in Lesotho count as if you would not exit South Africa.

 

Digital maps

Wild camping spots and off-road routes in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

The mountains of Lesotho are great for wild camping and the locals are discreet. If you are close to an inhabited area, it is good to ask permission before camping.

 

Swaziland (March 2015)

Visa

Issued: Most Europeans don’t need a visa. They just stamp the passport.

Duration: One month

Cost: 0

 

Border crossings

South Africa – Swaziland (Lavumisa): The procedure was easy and quick. I crossed without any trouble.

Swaziland – South Africa (Bulembu): This border post closes at 16:00. After that time the staff is not there, so nobody can cross.

 

Digital maps

An off-road route and a wild camping spot in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

The forests in Western Swaziland are wonderful for wild camping and they are unfenced. Unfortunately, they are private, so you are supposed to ask permission from a guard of the company which owns them. Fires are strictly prohibited!

 

Botswana (April 2015)

Visa

Issued: Most Europeans don’t need a visa. They just stamp the passport.

Duration: Three months

Cost: 0

 

Border crossings

South Africa – Botswana (Parr’s Halt): The procedure is easy and straightforward. You must pay 140 pula (about 15 USD) for road tax and motorbike insurance.

Botswana – Zimbabwe (Kazungula): I was sorted out in a few minutes without any trouble.

 

Digital maps

The off-road route in Makgadikgadi Pans and wild camping spots there in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

The endless bush of Botswana offers plenty of space for wild camping. You can wild camp anywhere in Makgadikgadi Pans. There are a lot of wild animals even next to the road from Nata to Pandamatenga, so it’s better to avoid camping in that area.

 

Zimbabwe (May 2015)

Visa

Issued: At the border

Duration: One month, single entry

Cost: 30 USD

 

Border crossings

Botswana – Zimbabwe (Kazungula): The procedure is easy and straightforward. You can buy at the border your visa, motorcycle insurance (20 USD for one month) and carbon tax (6 USD for one month). You also have to pay an 1 USD toll fee. The rest of the tolls around the country are free for motorcycles.

Zimbabwe – Mozambique (Machipanda): I crossed the border in a few minutes without any trouble.

 

Digital maps

An off-road route, a wonderful wild camping spot and a shop for motorcycle spare parts in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

Some parts of Zimbabwe are dotted with small settlements but there is still enough space for wild camping. Zimbabweans are very friendly and polite people, so they shouldn’t give you any trouble.

 

Mozambique (May 2015)

Visa

From the embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe (S17 49.371 E31 2.556)

Issued: In one day

Duration: One month, multiple entry

Cost: 50 USD

 

Border crossings

Zimbabwe – Mozambique (Machipanda): I stamped the Carnet de Passages en Douane and I bought an insurance for the motorcycle at the border (10 USD for one month).

Mozambique – Malawi (Mandimba): I crossed the border in a few minutes without any trouble.

 

Digital maps

Long off-road routes and useful waypoints for travellers in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

The coastal areas are quite densely populated and it’s hard to find free space for wild camping. Further inland, happily, the bush has plenty of space and people are friendly.

 

Malawi (June 2015)

Visa

Most Europeans don’t need a visa but Greeks do need one!

From the embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe

Issued: In one day

Duration: Three months, single entry

Cost: 70 USD

 

Border crossings

Mozambique – Malawi (Chiponde): I used my Carnet de Passages en Douane, so I did not need to pay anything at the border.

Malawi – Tanzania (Songwe): I crossed the border in a few minutes without any trouble.

 

Digital maps

Very beautiful but rough off-road routes (strictly for motorbikes only!) around Zomba in GPX format.

 

Wild camping

It’s hard to find secluded places, especialy around the lake. However, there are lovely places on the mountains!

 

Where is mad nomad
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