Our neighboring country is place to avoid at all costs. If you are going hunting there or just passing through it is better to find alternative routes. It is simply a nightmare from start to end.
I recently had the burden of traveling through Zim to Malawi and back and if you have the need to see what a broken country looks like you must go. From our entry at Beitbridge on a Sunday morning till our return on Saturday evening it was , bar two individuals, an ordeal of note.
If you are not prepared to spend 4 hours at Beitbrigde you have to use the "touts"Â� otherwise you are send from pillar to post. $400 later and you are through with the first roadblock not even 500 meters away. And subsequently at every police checkpoint it was harassment for money. After fines etc and even at our departure into Zambia an official was trying to solicit a bribe for the fact that I do not possess a police clearance certificate for a vehicle registered in my name.
The place is expensive as there is no appreciation of the value of the Yankee dollar.
Camping costs is at the equivalent of a reasonable 3 star hotel in SA. A run down motel is the costs of a 5 star hotel in SA and so it goes. The food is terrible.
But beware as to what happened next. My vehicle broke down 80 km east of Harare on our return journey. The towing guy Tendai was the first of two individual that were helpful. The vehicle was towed to the dealer in Harare but it was a Saturday and no work could be done. There was a conundrum however. I towed a trailer that I rented from a trailer company in SA. One of the vehicles in our convoy was not towing and the problem was solved. However the trailer was registered on my TIP (Temporary Import Permit). We realize that this is going to give problems at Beitbridge on our departure. However we arrived late at Beitbridge and went through without a glitch about the trailer. (there were other glitches however).
After arriving in SA I contacted the dealer who confirmed a blown engine and I decided to courier the vehicle back to SA for repairs. And this is where it gets messy.
The first issue now is what happened to the trailer. I had to make an affidavit and send out two policemen to the trailer company to verify that the trailer is indeed in SA and not in Zim anymore, together with the registration papers of the vehicle that brought the trailer through. This took 2 weeks. By then my TIP for the vehicle expired. Aha - why did you not report the broken down vehicle to Customs? The ZIMRA official went and impound my vehicle where it was and removed it to the ZIMRA compound.
It will only be released once a fine of $500 was paid. After the fine was paid the renewal of the TIP need to be issued for $70. Then I had to transport it back to the depo of the courier company. But before the TIP can be issued where is the trailer? After explanation another fine of $500 is issued. Now they can only release the vehicle to a South African citizen. I had to find somebody in Harare with a South African passport so that they can release the vehicle to him.
But this is not the end. At Beitbridge the refused to let the vehicle through as it is now regarded as the exportation of goods, which was not previously declared. Another spot fine was issued which I had to pay. I need to interject here that payment is via my bank to a bank account in Zim . That takes the best part of 2 to 3 days. The impound costs at Beitbridge levied is $600 per day.
Finally the vehicle arrived here and beside the damages to the engine the costs of the fact that the vehicle broke down cost me the following:
Towing costs to dealer $180
Inspection by dealer $160
Towing cost to courier $70
Fine for not reporting break down - $500
Fine for trailer $500
Towing cost back to courier form ZIMRA depo $70
Impound at Beitbridge 2 days $1200
Courier costs to SA = R4100
Total = R37 600
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