Avoid unnecessary delays and fines – use our checklist!
We’ve been inundated with letters about troubles experienced whilst driving through Zimbabwe on holiday. Gone are the days when you could just hit the road with your passport in hand! Make sure you have everything in order before you leave home, so as not to be confronted with fines – or individuals eliciting bribery!
The regulations below have been in play since early 2011 (after being postponed in 2010), but are now being enforced strictly by officers in Zim.
CHECK LIST: Must haves for travelling through Zim:
On your vehicle: Your vehicle MUST be roadworthy. In Zimbabwe, your vehicle is NOT roadworthy if does not have ALL of the following:
– Spare wheel
– Suitable jack
– Wheel spanner
– Fire extinguisher: make sure it’s inside the cab of your vehicle, and that it’s SAZ (Standards Association of Zimbabwe) approved, and clearly visible. This goes for light and heavy vehicles
– Reflectors: Your vehicle needs red reflectors on the rear and white reflectors on the front.
– Breakdown Triangles: You’ll need two per vehicle, and two for each trailer. The official gazette states that these need to have serial numbers, manufacturer name and year of manufacture – all as approved by the SAZ. This is where it becomes sticky, as these are hard to get hold of. Some say the triangles have to be a specific size as well. We spoke to an AA outlet, and they provided us with standard triangles. These are to be placed in front and behind your stationery vehicle (30 to 50m away). Click here to see the requirements for Mozambique i.t.o. triangles.
– ZA Stickers: “It is compulsory for any South African vehicle, caravan or trailer to have a ZA sign displayed when it crosses any of the borders. The ZA sign must be placed on the rear of each vehicle, caravan and trailer in a visible position and may not be within 150mm of the rear number plate.” www.aa.co.za
– T-Stickers: “When travelling in Zimbabwe and towing any caravan or trailer, you will be required to display a set of T-signs. The white T-sign must be placed on the extreme right of the caravan or trailer whilst the red T-sign must be placed on the extreme right rear of the same caravan or trailer.” www.aa.co.za
On your person:
– Your papers must be in order: vehicle insurance/authorisation etc.
– Have copies of your drivers licence as well as International Driving Permit
– Reflective Jacket: One for each driver: “The vest must be worn when at the scene of a car accident, when repairing your vehicle on the side of the road and when reloading cargo that has fallen from your vehicle on to the road.” www.aa.co.za
Visitors not from SA:
– Make sure you have your VISA papers, licence papers, and return tickets handy and in order
From the (local) horse’s mouth:
Residents in Zimbabwe are baffled by the amount of bribery being elicited from South Africans by policemen there. Being a foreigner is often rather obvious, and you may be taken for a ride simply for that reason. Here are some tips, from the horse’s mouth:
– Be polite – don’t get irate with Zim officials for any reason
– Be legal – stick to speed limits, wear your seat belts, have all the things on our check lists. Failing to have just one thing could be grounds for a fine or fodder for bribe elicitation!
– Know you’re within your rights: spot fines are rarely legal, so ask what you’re being penalised for specifically. If you’re within your rights, and they insist that you go to the police station, then co-operate. Insist, however, to speak to senior officials. This way, if you weren’t in the wrong and it was a bribe, you won’t be the one paying the price.