There are so many incredible places to go in Southern Africa that many travelers find it impossible to decide on just one country. If you're one of them, opt for a multinational itinerary instead; and if you have the time, consider traveling by road rather than flying. Overland adventures give you the opportunity to see more of the countries you’re traveling through, and to stop wherever you want to. They also allow you the freedom of exploring with your own vehicle (even if it’s only a rental) and are especially popular with self-drive safari enthusiasts.
Traveling internationally with a vehicle involves plenty of documentation and requirements change from one country to the next. Wherever you go, you will need a valid passport and if relevant, a visa. You will need a valid driver’s license, and possibly an International Driving Permit (IDP). Original vehicle registration and license papers (or certified copies) will certainly be required. If you're driving your own vehicle and it's financed, you will need a certified letter from the bank giving you permission to take it abroad. If it is rented, your rental company will need to provide similar documentation. Some countries ask for a police clearance certificate while others require third party insurance.
Travel Tips for Border Crossings
- Remember that African border crossings are usually busy and almost always chaotic. Allow plenty of time to get through immigration before the border post closes for the night.
- Try to remain polite and helpful at all times. Immigration officers are notorious for making the process more difficult than it has to be or applying arbitrary charges for travelers that offend them.
- If you're renting a car, double-check that the vehicle registration, VIN, engine and chassis numbers match the documents you've been given. You will also need to know where these numbers appear on the car in case you're asked to show the immigration officer.
- If your chosen destination requires an International Driving Permit, be aware that you will need to apply for this in your home country.
- Expect to pay several fees at the border. This usually includes a Temporary Import Permit, while several countries require you to purchase insurance from a third-party company with an office at the border post. Try to research the correct fees in advance so that you aren't taken advantage of.
- Certified copies should be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths. You can usually get this done at a police station.
Using This Guide
In this article, we have given the details of every Southern African border post to help you plan your trip. Timings vary online and ours are in line with official government sources (where they exist). Where they don't we have used information from trusted, frequently updated traveler forums. To view the border post's location on Google Maps, simply click on its highlighted name. Maps for remote border posts that are not listed on Google are sourced from Tracks4Africa, a popular overland travel site that provides GPS and automotive maps of the entire continent as well as traveler photos of facilities along the way. If the border post is known by different names in each country, both are listed.
South Africa and Botswana
- Bray: 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Derdepoort/Sikwane: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Groblersbrug/Martin's Drift: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Kopfontein/Tlokweng: 6 a.m. - midnight
- Makopong: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Makgobistad/Phitshane Molopo: 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- McCarthy’s Rest/McCarthy's Rust: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Middelputs: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Platjan: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Pontdrifs: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Ramatlabama: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Skilpadshek/Pioneer's Gate: 6 a.m. - midnight
- Stockpoort: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Swartkopfontein/Ramotswa: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Twee Rivieren: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- Zanzibar: 7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
South Africa and Eswatini
- Bothashoop/Gege: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Emahlathini: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Golela/Lavumisa: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Jeppes Reef/Matsamo: 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Josephsdal/Bulembu: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Mahamba: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Mananga: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Nerston: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Onverwacht/Salitje: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Oshoek: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Waverley/Lundzi: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
South Africa and Lesotho
- Boesmansnek: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Note that this crossing is open to hikers and motorcycles only.)
- Caledonspoort: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Ficksburg Bridge/Maputsoe Bridge: 24 hours
- Makhaleng Bridge: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Maseru Bridge: 24 hours
- Monantsa Pass: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Ongeluksnek Pass: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Peka Bridge: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Qacha’s Nek: 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Ramatseliso's Gate: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Sani Pass: 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Sepapus Gate: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Telle Bridge: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
- Van Rooyens Gate: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
South Africa and Mozambique
South Africa and Namibia
South Africa and Zimbabwe
- Beit Bridge: 24 hours
Namibia and Angola
Namibia and Botswana
Namibia and Zambia
- Wenela (Katima Mulilo): 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Botswana and Zambia
- Kazungula Ferry: 6 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Botswana and Zimbabwe
Angola and Zambia
Eswatini and Mozambique
Malawi and Mozambique
Malawi and Zambia
Mozambique and Zambia
- Chimefusa: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.