Day 16 – Zimbabwe

27 Sep

I’ve been through many border crossings, and plenty of them more expensive, tedious, slow, or intimidating, but none quite so chaotic.

Today required two crossings. First the exit procedures from Namibia and entry into Botswana, then later exiting Botswana and entering Zimbabwe.

Botswana entry was slow because I arrived just behind one of the stupid “adventure tour” busses and had to queue behind 3 dozen clueless tourists who don’t know that you need your passport to clear immigration.

Trying to get ahead of them, I didn’t stop to take photos of the dozens and dozens of elephants in the trees along the short stretch of Botswana’s Chobe national park that forms the route to Zimbabwe.

The process was crowded and chaotic. Crowded because off all the “customs clearance agents” who you first take to be scammers as they offer assistance you didn’t ask for, but then later you discover that the officials on the other side of the desks require you to get papers from these agents. They’re all in on it together, and just like every other border, all these bits of paper you have to buy for insurance and customs guarantees and temporary import permits are worthless if you do get into an accident.

And the whole thing was so slow because all the forms had to be done in two copies using carbon paper.

There was one piece of carbon paper.

For the whole building.

So we all stood around waiting for our turn with it.

Then you proceed to the next desk, discover another form you have to do, and go back to queuing for the carbon paper.

Anyway, I got in, and arrived at the rather nice Kingdom Hotel. 

I had planned to spend 2 nights here then a night in Zambia, but I can’t face that customs procedure again on the morning of departure when I have a very long drive into Botswana to follow, so instead, in order to still tick Zambia off the list, I’m just going to cross the border on foot, visit the Zambian side of the falls, then return for an extra night at the Kingdom Hotel.

Now to go and see the falls. The good news is that uploading photos should be easy because Zimbabwe seems to have super fast Internet!

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