So much paperwork! Unfortunately, you won’t get far without it. Don’t leave home without the following:
First, check the expiry date. This should be at least 6 months after you plan to return home. Also make sure that you have enough pages – many countries like to only stamp visas on the right hand page. Also if you have valuable items, some border posts will stamp a list in your passport so that when you leave this can be checked.1
Make sure you bring at least 20 passport sized photos to use for visas and border crossings along the way.
We have Australian and British passports. For the African countries we plan to visit, we’ve determined we can get these at the border. This seems to be fairly normal practice in Southern Africa depending on your nationality. In fact, in most circumstances, it’s cheaper to buy your visa at the border than to pre-arrange.
This internationally recognised document allows you to drive your vehicle through participating countries, avoiding the normal import taxes. You can think of it as your vehicle’s passport. The Carnet is an A4 size booklet made up of either 5,10 or 25 pages. A separate page is used to enter & exit a country. Each page is divided into three sections. The lower section is removed by Customs on entry into a country, the middle section is removed on exit and the top (counter-foil) is stamped once on entry and once on exit. Make sure you don’t lose the top section as this is your only record that your car actually left the country.
Each country will have an organisation that issues Carnets. In the UK, it is RAC. As security, RAC require a bank guarantee, insurance indemnity or full cash deposit, calculated according to the vehicle value and countries/region of visit. This security deposit is held by RAC. In the event your vehicle does not leave a country, that government can make a claim to RAC and you can lose your security deposit. For Africa, most countries require a security deposit of 150-200%, though Egypt is 800%, meaning you need a security deposit equivalent to eight times the value of your vehicle! We decided to leave Egypt out based on this and went with 200% insurance indemnity. Further information can be found on the RAC website. Paul Gowen is the main guy at RAC and is well known amongst over-landers. He is more than willing to talk you through the entire process and answer all of your questions. He also has plenty of invaluable advice. Contact him directly by phone, 0800 046 8375 / Int +44 1454 208304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to bring this. Ensure this does not expire before you get home.
You normally obtain these from the relevant motoring organisation in your country. For Australia, vist RACV for more information. I was able to get mine from within the UK by printing the form and sending it by mail. For the UK, visit The AA for more information about the different ways to apply.
The ICMV is a translation of your vehicle registration document (V5 in the UK). Visit The AA’s International Motoring Department for more information.
This translates to your vehicle registration document. Apparently some travellers have been asked for this on overland trips and producing the vehicle registration document is fine.
Of all the travelling we’ve done, this is by far the most important place to have travel insurance. We decided to go with Campbell Irvine Direct Travel Insurance as the premium was the most reasonable and the policy includes all types of adventure activities. It also has excellent medical cover including helivac just in case. Cost was £265 each for 6 months with the option to renew.
We decided to go for full comprehensive insurance given the value of our vehicle. We found Lockton International Vehicle Risk Management to have the best and cheapest policy. This covers us for Mainland Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The only other company we could find that even offer this insurance is Campbell Irvine.
In South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, Third Party Insurance is included in your fuel so you don’t need this. For most countries north of these, you must purchase this at the border or have a COMESA Yellow Card which can be obtained in participating countries if you ask around. We plan to purchase ours in Zambia. For further information, check out The HUBB.
Ensure you make a trip to your GP at least two months prior to leaving, to enquire about what you will require. Most southern African countries require you to have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate, so ensure you have this at border crossings. Other health risks in Africa include Typhoid, Rabies, Malaria, Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal Meningitis, Diptheria and Tetnus. See African Overland Safaris for excellent health and safety information.