“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment”.
• Tanzania – Zambia via Tundumu border post.
• Kapishya Hot Springs campsite.
• Distance covered 415km, taking 9hr 10min.
We had previously crossed from Zambia into Tanzania via the little used Kaseya Border Post alongside Lake Tanganyika in the far west. Tundumu border post had the reputation of being very busy and chaotic, one of the worst in East Africa and we approached it with some trepidation. We need not have worried too much, it was not all that bad. It took us 2hr to travel the 98km from Utengule to the border on quite an unpleasant stretch of tar. It is busy with trucks and the quality of the tarmac is so poor that the trucks have indented deep tracks in the surface making it very difficult to move into and out of these ruts when overtaking.
TUNDUMU/NAKONDE BORDER POST.
Tanzanian side, Tundumu.
Park at S09 18,912 E32 45,816. Immigration is on the right of the road, Customs on the left. A fixer will offer to assist and they do help.
Immigration: Complete an arrival/departure form, passports stamped out. No problems.
Customs: Hit a bit of a snag here. At Horohoro Border Post on entering Tanzania from Kenya on the 26th Dec, the official should apparently have issued us with a (free) Temporary Import Permit document for our vehicle but had failed to do so. Horohoro is a computerized border post (unlike the small one at Kaseya) and she had even failed to enter the vehicle particulars on the computer data capturing system. We reached a bit of an impasse with the Tanzanian customs official as he initially refused to process us across the border because of this omission. I pointed out to him that the carnet had been completed correctly and that this was where my legal obligation ended. If the official at Horohoro had failed to follow their protocol I could hardly be expected to suffer for this omission. I pointed out to him that we crossed on the 26th Dec and that perhaps the computer system was down at the time. Fortunately I recalled the earlier non-computerized border crossing at Kaseya and that we had been given no problems on exiting Tanzania despite not being “on the system”. I suggested that just completing the carnet exit portion would fulfil all legal obligations and that he takes up the poor admin with his colleagues and with the lady official at Horohoro. After much humming and ha-ing he eventually allowed us through after completing the carnet (which I supervised very carefully). He carried out a perfunctory vehicle inspection but could find no irregularities. I had the feeling that he was hoping for a bit of financial lubrication to ease our passage! I was not going to bend over, following the same policy that had for the large part served us so well during the entire trip. This delay cost us at least an hour.
“One can always impress an African by being willing to waste more time over a matter than he does himself, only it is a difficult thing to accomplish”. Karen Blixen.
Zambian side, Nakonde.
Here a fixer also joined us. On the whole these guys do ease your passage through the intricacies and pitfalls of African border crossings and I have found the small gratuities they expect to be worth every cent. The Zambian offices are less than a 100m down the road.
Immigration. Nice new building on the left. Finger prints and photo, no paperwork. Passport stamped in. I asked for a visa for 1 month just in case of problems. South Africans do not have to pay for a visa.
Customs: Our fixer guided us through the next part which was more complex. Leaving the vehicle parked next to the Customs we walked down the road a short distance through the gate to a small building on the right where the carnet was filled in but not processed. We then went back to the customs window in the same building as immigration, where the customs official completed the entrance section of the top stub of the carnet and stamped the document in the appropriate places, retaining the bottom stub, all very carefully supervised by myself. We had some payments to make and having only a small amount of TSh left changed this into Zambian Kwacha before seeking an ATM. The one at the gate was not functioning so we had to walk about 400m up the road to a bank with an ATM. Payments required were Council Road Tax of Kw25, paid at the small hut where the carnet had been completed; then we had to pay for vehicle third party insurance although I am still not completely convinced that we should not have been covered from the original insurance paid in Zambia when we entered when passing northwards. We had no choice to take the word of the insurance agent sitting in a minivan equipped as a mobile office. Zambia apparently does not accept Comesa and this I am also not absolutely convinced of. We had to pay Kw313, not a small amount.
Fortunately we had retained our receipt for carbon tax of US$20 which we had paid when entering Zambia. The receipt specified that this payment was for a “round trip” and if you remember if in our position of passing through Zambia twice, specify this first time round. A little further down the road when driving out there was a customs check for the carnet and council levy and also a traffic official checking the carbon tax and insurance.
We spent altogether 2hr20min getting through this rather hectic border post, much of it with the Tanzanian customs. In Zambia remember to change your time by 1hr earlier. The Great North Road in Zambia is known as the T2 and is in excellent condition. In fact all the roads in Southern Africa are better than those in the East and North.
We arrived at Shiwa N’Gandu and Kapishya Hot Springs Campsite to find we were the only campers. Mark Harvey was in attendance and confirmed that things were quiet after the school holidays over the festive season. We booked supper with them and later had a good 3 course meal with Mark and his wife. Kapishya is not cheap as we had discovered on the way north but is a lovely destination, not to be missed. After the long drive we headed straight for the pool at the hot spring and soaked the stiffness from our bodies, lovely! Camping is US$15pppd, the dinner US$30 each. Once again we could not make time to take the (expensive) tour of the historic Shiwa N’Gandu farm homestead. For further information on this amazing colonial relic and farm read the book, An African Farm, the history of the original Gore-Brown family. It is entrancing. The Harveys are the first generation descendants of one of the Gore-Brown daughters. I had posted on Kapishya quite extensively when we visited there going north.