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Lusaka and Livingstone Zambia to Namibia By Road

Zambia is a pretty large country,  an exciting one and with no shortage of potholes. 

For instance, take the direct route from Lusaka - Livingstone to Namibia through the Sesheke - Katima Mulilo border crossing. Typically, roads are either good or tend to have potholes here and there. However, the last 120 kilometres of the Livingstone to Sesheke/Katima Mulilo route are best described as potholes dotted by some road here and there for the just thirty kilometres past Kazungula town, which is also the Zambia - Botswana border crossing. 

Trying to drive to Sesheke is so bad it will take you anywhere between 4 hours to 6 hours to navigate those 100 kilometres. You may or may not have your dignity at the end and your vehicle may be in more than one piece. 

If you really must use the Sesheke - Katima Mulilo crossing as of December 2022, then take the 900 kilometre longer detour from Lusaka to Mongu then back to Katima Mulilo. It doesn't guarantee you absence of potholes, but at least there's more road and less pothole. 

Otherwise, the only other option is to cross through Kazungula into Botswana then drive about an hour to the Ngoma Botswana - Namibia border crossing. 

Crossing through Botswana is not cheap. If your car is not registered in Zambia, you will either need the AA Carnet or get a Botswana agent to register a bond for your vehicle. A car/SUV with no trailer will get a bond for a total of 300 Pula one way (about $25) and a cancellation of 200 Pula when you cross back (or are no longer going to cross back). 

On top of that,  you will have to pay about 480 Pula one way to drive to Ngoma or 680 two way (to and fro) paid in advance. In addition, you will need to pay 150 Pula one way to cross the new Kazungula bridge across the Zambezi. It's a masterpiece and an essential piece of infrastructure, and while you may be used to burning bridges, what you will burn is real cash to cross this bridge. 

Besides the eye watering fees, other requirements are not having a fever (they don't check for Covid vaccinations but simply take temperatures) and Yellow Fever vaccination (not sure whether there are national exemptions here). 

Do note that Botswana accepts card payments for the road fee and bridge fee. You will find lots of entrepreneurs as you get to the bridge from Zambia who will try to convince you that Botswana only accepts hard cash in Pula and you need to buy currency from them at exorbitant rates.

You are about to pay exorbitantly for the bridge and the one hour transit through Botswana, you don't need to cause yourself self-inflicted harm by falling prey to these guys by changing money with them. In the words of a misogynistic T.I. "Never mind what the haters say ignore them till they fade away"

Whoever you are, whatever you do, please do not try the Kazungula - Sesheke road till it's fixed. That road is one of the reasons why Jesus was crucified. 

Zambia is exploring its options here as it says it lacks funds and is highly considering a toll road(Not that there aren't enough toll stations in Zambia). The road is good for about 20 kilometres, then you will see things. 

Be wise. Take the Kazungula crossing into Botswana, pay unto Caesar your entire inheritance, and drive at 80 kph limit to the Ngoma border. It's a scenic park road,  but this is Botswana - don't question their many rules including the 80 kph limit. Note,  both the park and the border close at 6 PM. 

Both borders are extremely efficient - the only delay you will face is trying to find an agent if you hadn't arranged for your car bond in advance. The AA Carnet eliminates the need for a bond. But a bond is way cheaper 🤠. Compared to the typical chaos of a Zambian border post, this one will shock you by it's efficiency.

Again, remember your options from Lusaka are either 900 extra Kilometres through Mongu to Sesheke - Katima Mulilo,  or pay the about $150 through Kazungula - Ngoma. 

Should a little or big devil try suggest driving from Kazungula to Sesheke, banish that devil to the tenth level of hell. 


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