Mbala / Isopa Border Post | Customs and Immigration

Zambia

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Verified:
about 1 month ago
Altitude:
0.0 masl
Contributor:
hugmin42

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Description

Zambia Exit: A small 2m by 2m building with two guys who sat under a tree. They processed our Carnet and stamped us out without any problems. They even called someone who had shillings for us the exchange.

Tanzania Entry
On the Tanzanian side there were a few more buildings. We went into the immigration office where a guy who looked 25 sat in civvies. Just as we sat down in his ‘office’ it started raining hard again and he excused himself to go and take his washing off the line. We filled in the immigration forms while he was gone and then on his return he stamped us in. For the Carnet we had to go to another building, but it was completely locked. The immigration guy came out and then went somewhere to try and find the guy. We waited at least half an hour for the guy to show up and then sat in his office for what felt like an hour for him to type all the vehicles details into the system with one finger. We had to pay $25, which they prefer by card, presumably in an attempt to curb corruption. The machine however didn’t work so we gave him shillings, but then he had to transfer the money from his M-Pesa account to get a receipt number to enter into the system. This also failed to work so in the end he just wrote a note. Immigration gave us two months, but the customs officer only gave the vehicle 1 month in Tanzania. We exiting 5 weeks later we had to pay another $20 to exit.

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Crossed from Tanzania into Zambia.

When checking online it says that the Zambian side is open until 1800. We had arrived at the TZ side at 1745 TZ time. So figure we had ample time to cross. TZ side was very easy, immigration stamped us out and customs took out TIP and we were good to go. Normally we find that immigration will not stamp us out if they know the other side is closed.

Headed over to the Zombe border post to find every clocked off at 1700 Zambian time. I argued with the gate guard, which was a local chap as the border is tiny and there is a small village community. He called the customs officer who arranged our TIP. When asking about immigration he told us to rush to Mbala and go to the department of immigration there stating he clocks off at 1900. Got there and the office is shut, asked the locals who got us on the phone call and we were told to come back the next day. The officer over the phone kept pretending he couldn't understand and when the phone was handed back to the local there was a bunch of laughing. It seems that they need to update their hours if they want to clock off at 1700.

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Traveling to Tanzania in SA registered vehicle with a Zambia TIP. No problems exiting Zambia at this border contrary to earlier entries.

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fast and easy BUT you are authorised to leave Zambia with a vehicule only if 1/ you have a carnet or 2/ a special clearance from headquarters.

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Very nice and smooth border crossing from Zambia into Tanzania.
Two European passport holders
No PCR Test
Namibian registered vehicle with Carnet
Zambia out took 10 minutes including a nice chat.
Tanzania in took 45 minutes.
1. Health check of yellow fever certificate and free COVID quicktest
2. Immigration. They have no computers so don’t bother with E-visa. Bring correct amount of money. Change could be a problem
3. TZRA stamping carnet and paying road tax. They officially don’t take cash only bank transfer or credit card. As there is no card facility at this border bank transfer is the only option. Either pay via your own M-Pesa or have some Tanzanian shillingi at hand so that the officer can make an M-Pesa transfer from his phone. Otherwise you will have to pay at Sumbawanga.
Great border crossing without trucks, “helpers”, money changers etc.
Everybody was very friendly and helpful

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Very easy border crossing indeed. Very kind officers on both Tanzanian and Zambian side. We had to wait for the lady of the health check and the customs officer to show up, but had a nice chat with the immigration officer while we waited.
Zambia visa is now 25 US dollars single entry (since 1st Jan 2022)
Crossing took us about 1,5 hour (incl the waiting time)

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Fastest and easiest border crossing ever! We excited Tanzania going to Zambia. After stamping out our passports (5 min) we had to proceed to the health office where they checked yellow fever and temperature. They asked for Covid but never checked it.
Carnet was another 2 minutes.

Same story going into Zambia. Quick health scan at a little tent where they only checked yellow fever. Showing our quick test results from 4 days ago on our phone was enough. Only adults need to show results. They only do a quick test when you have symptoms.

Immigration easy as well. Only adults needed to pay 50 dollars for the visum.
Carnet stamped in 2 minutes.

Altogether the whole crossing took us a little over an hour. So don't waste your time on expensive PCR tests.

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A few important points:

•The 20km gravel road on the Zambian side was recently graded, so it is very good (better than the tar roads in Zambia).
•They are not able to process vehicle import/export permits - they only stamp Carnet.
•We had to wait for the customs official to arrive - otherwise the exit process was quick and easy, and they are friendly and helpful.
•They accepted our covid vaccination certificates so no test on exit from Zambia

(South African residents with SA registered vehicle)

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Border post is open in both directions. We passed without any problems into Zambia. No PCR tests required. They did a free quick test.

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Border is currently open to pedestrians only and not available for crossing with a vehicle. We did not try, but have this on authority from owners of Isanga bay, Thorntree Lodge and someone else we spoke to. Have to use Nakonde at present

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Super easy crossing Tanzania to Zambia, yellow fever certificate asked for and temperature check on the Tanzanian side. On the Zambian side, the health officer deemed our COVID-19 vaccine certificates sufficient. Free antigen testing still available, although they didn't bother either with the 3 guys coming from Burundi who crossed the border at the same time as us. Moral of the story, don't bother with the mzungu-priced PCR test in Tanzania.

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This place is permanently closed.

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we tryed to go from Sambia to Tansania
here we where told that the border is closed

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the border is closed, we did ask a lot of people at Mbala and everybody sad it is ok to go there. But at the border we figured that it's closed 🔐😔

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Crossed this at this place within 60 minutes. The only thing that was holding us up was a rusty lock on the gate which the friendly customs officer eventuallyfixed with a lot of sunflower oil. No problema here otherwise. We crossed with a european registratered vehicle and CDP.

Note: They perform rapid antigene covid tests for free on the zambian side of the border. So no need to spend the 90$ in tanzania beforehand.

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Please be aware. It has been advised that foreign registered vehicles cannot use this border after 1st Jan 2021. Check first.

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We did the border crossing from Tanzania to Zambia. We showed our negative COVID-19 test and our visa was issued after one phone call. Everything went as usual and smoothly.

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TZ to ZM add:
- Health checks: temperatures taken and Yellow Fever cards checked both sides.
- Carbon tax ZM new prices: 1.18 horsepower is ZMK336.
- Road tax obtain at Mbala police station, Road Tax Office checkin in Kasame or at the Toll Plazas along the ZM roads.
- Road from border to Mbala not repaired as at June 2020 :)
[NOTE: crossing this border as at 10 June 2020 was only permitted through prior arranged Zambian governmental authorisation].

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Tanzania to Zambia:
Very easy border crossing.
Leaving Tanzania immigration took 2 minutes, however we had to wait for a customs officer approx. 15 minutes. But once he arrived we were stamped out in 2 minutes.

Entering Zambia, visit the immigration office- South African (Free entry) and Canadian (90 day single entry visa $50, but only 30 days granted at border. An extension can be made in Lusaka). After this go to customs- we had to pay carbon tax $45 (Vehicle over 3000cc). Try to have exact amount of $ or have enough Kwacha, money changers at the border give a terrible rate.

The road from the border for approx 25km to Mbala is in a terrible condition (Rainy season) allow 1hr30-2hrs. The customs official did say the road will be fixed by June 2020.

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When you take this border be aware that immigration cannot yet scan your fingerprint over there. The result is that you cannot buy a local Tanzanian sim card since your fingerprint needs to be scanned and compared with the one from immigration. This system is new as they told us.

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From Zambia to Tanzania, South African citizens with South African registered vehicle:

Zambia
- Immigration: stamped out no problem, filled in book.
- Customs: checked CIP, verified vehicle and we requested we took a copy of CIP into Tanzania which was given in case officials in Tanzania ask questions.
- 15 minutes in all, very pleasant and easy.

Tanzania
- Immigration: no forms filled in, free 3 month visa granted.
- Customs: provided our own certified copy each of drivers licence, passport and vehicle registration papers (retained by official), Carnet filled in, paid USD$25 for vehicle and fuel levy for 1 month; if vehicle will be longer than one month in country, pay an additional USD$20 per month at the nearest Tanzanian Revenue Authority. I.e. 2 months USD$45 and 3 months USD$65 payable at this border if you know you will be longer in the country.
- 45 minutes in total. Overall, a fantastic, pleasant and extremely easy border to go through. Highly recommend!

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Leaving Zambia
Nobody on duty so 20 min before Mr Immigration came and 1 hour before Mr Customs came.

Entering Tanzania
3 months visa for 50 US for Dutch passport. Took 40 min to get into Tanzania. Everyone is helpful and friendly.

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This post is from a cyclist’s point of view:
We crossed yesterday and it was definitely the best border crossing ever! Visas could be done at border directly. There were ready in 15min, no picture or passport copy needed.
The road to go there was a good dirt road on the Tanzanian side, and in very bad condition (full of gigantic potholes and some stretches of sand) on the Zambian side, though very passable with the bikes if it’s not raining just before or during your journey. The road between Mataï and Mbala is absolutely magnificent! And there was ZERO traffic at this border!

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Tanzania to Zambia.

Amazing that there is a border here! No one was in the around had to be called to come and clear us through customs and immigration. Done in 15 minutes. Crossed to no-mans land to the Zambian border. Got our visa $50 for German and UK citizens for 30 days. Then our TIP... guy that was there wasn’t sure what he was doing so he called his boss in Mbala and we had to take the official customs book and tax book including the sacred stamp with us for him to process us once we got to town. He met us at a lodge we paid 280 Zk for carbon tax and our TIP was valid for 30 days. They made us stipulate the border we intend to leave from, but I’m not sure how rigorously that’s enforced. The road for the border to Mabla is in a horrendous state and can take between an hour to two hours to cover the 25km stretch. however on the Tanzanian side the road is in good condition (graded gravel road). All being well you can cross this border in well under an hour in normal circumstances.

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Exiting Tanzania, crossing into Zambia. Only 10 minutes on the Tanzanian side to hand in our TIP at customs and get our passport stamped. Managed to exchange some Tsh for Kwacha with local guys hanging around- couldn’t find any foreign exchanges prior to that point.

Entering Zambia, passport control and customs in the same room- TIP and Carbon Tax (Kw200) then passport stamps and done- finished in 20 minutes. Customs official said it would have been even faster with a Carnet! One thing you can’t get here is road tax- you have to go to the Road Transport and Safety Agency office in Kasama to get that- note they only accept USD!

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Exit Tanzania: we had carnet, paid up road tax receipts and valid Visas, so all was very simple and quick. Less than half an hour.

Enter Zambia: no point in arriving early in the hope of getting on your journey! We waited well over an hour simply because the immigration officer just hadn't turned up for work yet this morning! He arrived at around 10:30 (Zambia time)/11:30 (Tanzania time).
Once he'd arrived he apologised and very quickly stamped our passports so we could get on our way. Would not allow us more than 30 days though.
Customs guy looked at our paperwork but then just told us we had to go to the ZRA customs office in Mpulungu to pay carbon tax (200kwacha for a 2.4 engine Hilux) and get the carnet stamped. He did call ahead for us and gave us directions, and also got some money changers for us to swap our remaining shillings for kwacha.

All in all, very easy and stress free. But we did then have to make a 60km detour from our planned journey to sort out the customs paperwork!

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Exit Zambia:
Slow but straight forward. Stamped passports and checked TIPs, carbon tax receipt etc.

Entrance Tanzania:
90 day visa $50pp (Brit, Oz and NZ) - they said they would only take USD, not even Tanzanian shillings. We only had Zambian Kwacha (which we were going to change at the border) and eventually they accepted this.
No option for multi-entry visa, apparently only US citizens can get this.
Car TIP $25 USD or 57,000tsh.

Unbelievably slow!!! No one else there and it still took about 4hrs.

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Good border, the road from Sumbawanga to Mtai is tar, Mtai itself is dirt in the usual poor town condition, from 5km south of town it improves and was generally very good to the border. The 24km from the border to Mbali was rough with patches of deep mud but easier than predicted (2 hours taken).
Same comments as others on Tanzania side, Zam immigration guy was absent and drunk when he arrived, did not have visas left so we had to get them from immigration office in Mbala. Customs officer happily took Tan Shillings for Carbon Tax at previous nights bank rate (I told him what it was!). Need to get road toll from somewhere in Kasama.
We rate this border alongside Tarakea/Loitoktok as the best African border post crossed so far.

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best border we've been through in southern and east africa.
tanzania exit: quick, easy process. met the 25 year old in civvies. stamped us out without issues and the customs guy met us at the car took the paperwork and that was it.
zambia entry: immigration officer was not there but he arrived stoned out of his mind about 5min later. stamped us in and left. customs was very friendly. allowed us to pay in tsh for the carbon tax as we did not have kwacha yet. cannot pay road tax there but they give you directions to the revenue office in kasama.
30min in total and you gain an hour by coming back into zambia!
road from border to mbala (20km) is a complete disaster and best avoided during the rainy season.

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Zambia Exit: A small 2m by 2m building with two guys who sat under a tree. They processed our Carnet and stamped us out without any problems. They even called someone who had shillings for us the exchange.

Tanzania Entry
On the Tanzanian side there were a few more buildings. We went into the immigration office where a guy who looked 25 sat in civvies. Just as we sat down in his ‘office’ it started raining hard again and he excused himself to go and take his washing off the line. We filled in the immigration forms while he was gone and then on his return he stamped us in. For the Carnet we had to go to another building, but it was completely locked. The immigration guy came out and then went somewhere to try and find the guy. We waited at least half an hour for the guy to show up and then sat in his office for what felt like an hour for him to type all the vehicles details into the system with one finger. We had to pay $25, which they prefer by card, presumably in an attempt to curb corruption. The machine however didn’t work so we gave him shillings, but then he had to transfer the money from his M-Pesa account to get a receipt number to enter into the system. This also failed to work so in the end he just wrote a note. Immigration gave us two months, but the customs officer only gave the vehicle 1 month in Tanzania. We exiting 5 weeks later we had to pay another $20 to exit.

Report Check-In

Zambia Exit: A small 2m by 2m building with two guys who sat under a tree. They processed our Carnet and stamped us out without any problems. They even called someone who had shillings for us the exchange.

Tanzania Entry
On the Tanzanian side there were a few more buildings. We went into the immigration office where a guy who looked 25 sat in civvies. Just as we sat down in his ‘office’ it started raining hard again and he excused himself to go and take his washing off the line. We filled in the immigration forms while he was gone and then on his return he stamped us in. For the Carnet we had to go to another building, but it was completely locked. The immigration guy came out and then went somewhere to try and find the guy. We waited at least half an hour for the guy to show up and then sat in his office for what felt like an hour for him to type all the vehicles details into the system with one finger. We had to pay $25, which they prefer by card, presumably in an attempt to curb corruption. The machine however didn’t work so we gave him shillings, but then he had to transfer the money from his M-Pesa account to get a receipt number to enter into the system. This also failed to work so in the end he just wrote a note. Immigration gave us two months, but the customs officer only gave the vehicle 1 month in Tanzania. We exiting 5 weeks later we had to pay another $20 to exit.

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