Carnet de passage en douane

We started to explore countries across our (South Africa) borders many years ago.  That includes visits to countries such as:

  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Swaziland
  • Zimbabwe
  • Zambia

Never ever was a carnet de passage required to cross the borders, until our visit to Zambia in December 2015.  We did managed to cross the border with Zambia without the carnet de passage but only after spending long frustrating hours at the border post explaining to the one after the other official that the vehicle is legally ours and showing them our original registration papers, passports and proof of residence.

On our trip now in December 2016 we will be crossing the border into Zambia on our way to Malawi and again on return from Malawi.  We have also read on the Overland Forum and also on the 4×4 Community Forum of travellers that spend long hours at the Kazungulu Border Post between Botswana and Zimbabwe and had to pay deposits before they were allowed into Zambia without a carnet de passage.

We therefore opted to obtain a carnet de passage from the Automobile Association (AA) for our planned December 2016 trip in an attempt to avoid delays and paying deposits at border posts with Zambia.  You can read more about it on the AA website and also get an idea of the costs involve.

Tracks4Africa(T4A) on their webpage has the best description of what a carnet de passage is that I have seen:

“You cannot travel across borders without a passport. A Carnet de Passage en Douane (CPD) can be seen as a ‘passport’ which allows your vehicle to be temporarily imported into a foreign country when you overland.”

We will keep you updated on our website and our Facebook page about our December 2016 travel to Malawi and update you on our border experience making use of the carnet de passage.


Pieter & Gerida