Kazungula border crossing: Botswana to Zambia

kazungula ferry border crossing botswana zambia
Maggie boarding the Kazungula ferry, crossing to Zambia

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12 Responses

  1. SteveP says:

    Good info – esp the remark about getting a double (or is it “multiple”?) entry visa if you intend to visit the Zim side of the Falls. Note the road from Kasungula to Livingstone is in quite good condition. It’s straight and mostly flat as well. However, the same road in the other direction, toward Shesheke, has suffered from lack of maintenance and has HUGE potholes that are hard to spot at times. The tarred surface has broken up, leaving deep, jagged holes. In some areas, traffic has gone back to driving off-road on the verges. You will be lucky to average 50 kph on this section. It’s a shame because the road was rebuilt only a short time ago, but seems there has been zero maintenance since.

    The route via Shesheke takes you over the Zambezi on a new bridge (the old ferry there made the Kasungula ferries look like the Queen Mary)and into Katimo Malilo in Namibia. This is one of the nicer border crossings, although the Zambian entry is still as described above, with seemingly endless chunks of cash payable (plus a tent in the parking lot where a doctor asks you if you feel OK and takes your temperature – all very good-natured but with a couple of military guards). From KM you can either continue across the Caprivi through Namibia or turn south into Botswana at Shakawe and drive along the Okavango. These are all tarred roads in good shape. Both KM and Shakawe junctions have fuel.

    Expect a couple of Zambian police stops. Usually low-key but note the local vehicle requirements (extra white reflectors front, red rear, etc) or you may have to make a contribution. And also BTW – Botswana enforces speed limits quite effectively, using laser.

    We don’t bother with the Carnet as we are just touring around southern Africa. I’ve been visiting Vic Falls for 40 years now, so I have seen lots of changes and ups and downs. I must say that Livingstone is really perking up and offers quite a few diversions beyond the usual touristy helicopter flights, etc. We did a mountain bike tour of surrounding villages that was very interesting and in support of a local school. Shame about Zimbabwe, but we can hope for better days.

    Finally, the Kasungula ferries have been know to sink, so keep your wits about you. It’s a short crossing, but there are many crocs in that river.

    http://mg.co.za/article/2003-09-18-death-toll-rises-to-18-in-zambian-ferry-disaster

  2. Marilu Peries says:

    Hi SteveP, thanks for your comment! Indeed, it is only double. There was no multiple entry option when we crossed, sadly.

  3. Grey Malambo says:

    Awesome article. Am zambian residing in Botswana and what you said including charges is what I prepare for everytime I cross the Kazungula border with the the Bots plate vehicles. Ihear toll fee has now been increased from $48 to 55$….. Its rough

  4. Brian says:

    Hi!Steve, can I pay the Road tax, council tax and third party insurance in South African rands? Also, Where do I change South African Rand into Kwacha to pay for the carbon tax? or can I pay some fees using Pula. What is the best time to cross the border post with the ferry to avoid any problems? Thanks

  5. Noel Peries says:

    Hi Brian, thanks for your comment. Paying in Rands was not an option when we crossed – just Dollars, Pula (for the ferry) and Kwacha. Some fees like the carbon tax must be paid in Kwacha, others in Dollars (visa, road tax). For some fees they might offer you an exchange rate but is is likely to be less than market rates. For instance, in Kwacha the ferry is just K150 but in Dollars it’s $30 – that’s double. There are money changers who can help you with Kwacha. But it would be a good idea to take some Dollars with you.

    Regarding time to cross the border – we set off in the late morning and were finished by the early afternoon. Try to give yourself 2-3 hours to cross and try to finish at least an hour and a half before sunset to make it to Livingstone / another town on the other side (to avoid driving at night). Fortunately, smaller vehicles skip ahead of the queue of trucks and have priority for boarding the ferry. Most of the time is spent queueing to pay the various fees.

  6. Noel Peries says:

    That is too high! I wonder why they are punishing just Batswana vehicles… RSA vehicles were only $20 when we crossed.

  7. Natasha says:

    Great info. We are making this cross tomorrow so I am happy I found this.

  8. Marilu Peries says:

    Thanks Natasha! Wish you good luck on the crossing – let us know how it goes 🙂

  9. Brian says:

    Thanks Noel for the info. Appreciate it. Are these money changers legal? How do they determine the exchange rate? IS the 30 dollars ferry cost for a return trip on the ferry or single trip?

  10. Noel Peries says:

    Hello Brian no worries, glad you found it useful.

    I believe they know the exchange rate every morning and work from that as their baseline and try to add their cut on per transaction. We recommend you know what amount you are going to exchange and know the approx amount you should get and if it’s close to that then you are good to go.

    The cost is for one journey.

    Cheers

  11. Hi Maggieinafrica,

    Is it possible to take a combi / kombi from Livingston to the Kazungula ferry crossing? Would you know the cost? Am heading to Kasane so hopefully there would be combis on Botswana side for the ride into Kasane as well. Thanks I’m heading your way early next year. 🙂

  12. Noel Peries says:

    Even if you didn’t find someone who was an actual combi taxi, there are plenty of people looking to make a little money there so wouldn’t be surprised if you could pay someone to cross with them

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