I got woken up early, 5:30am by about 100 people gathering by the Lake near the hotel. I really don’t know what they were doing, but eventually it ended up as just clothes washing. I had to prepare for the border crossing. Get out by border crossing clothes (vest with lots of pockets to hold all the things). US dollars, all my Malawi currency. I am meant to have a copy of my drivers license and passport as well, so I dragged out the printer and plugged it into the 12v inverter to print extra copies of both. There was no power because it was Sunday. Why is there no power on a Sunday? Because on Sunday they do maintenance on the power network in Malawi, as Sunday pays time and a half.
I got going, weaving through all the people at the market up the road, and having a group of local kids chase after me. It ws 46km to the border. I knew when I was close because a couple of kms out the roads are jammed with trucks parked at the sides. I went through Immigration fairly easily, then it was handing over the TIP. There was a problem with this, because among the many mistakes customs did on the form when I entered Malawi, they put the exit as the same border post as I entered on. This required bureaucratic finagling, which they didn’t seemed to fussed about, but took another 30 minutes. Then I could leave. So I queued behind two trucks at the gate, and eventually after having my name written in yet another big book, I officially left Malawi. Except I didn’t. The exit gate and road was not big enough for two trucks, so the line I was in sat stationary for 30 minutes until there was room to leave.
Then the Tanzanian side. Immigration first. They accepted by vax certificate with no problems (some people had problems in the past). Then I had to pay $50USD for the visa in USD. Of course they are really picky about the notes. I don’t want this one, its got a tiny tear in it, I don’t like this one its too old. You have to carry another currency with you just to pay for these visas, and that US currency has to be in pristine condition.
The it was customs for the TIP (temporary Import Permit). I handed over the registration, then its this long process of the person entering it in the computer, while interrupted every minute by someone else wanting some other piece of paperwork. It took about 30 minutes or so, then it was off to the Bank ATM to get some Tanzanian Shillings to pay the 57,000 fee (about $A35).
Fee paid, trudge back to the TIP guy to get it approved and stamped and I was free to go to the third party insurance guy up the road to get insurance. I have found the insurance for East Africa confusing. I should have COMESA insurance, but I could never figure out how to get it. So much stuffing around and confusion I go back to the insurance guy to get third-party insurance for about $A75. It is now 4pm (lost an hour to time zones crossing borders). They can’t do the insurance because their internet is hopelessly slow, so they write me a letter, and say they will Whatsapp me the receipt tomorrow (I hope this works!). So I have picked the closed wild camp (in fact any camp), and its 80km away, and it gets dark in about two hours. I make it to the wild camp next to a river near Unyamwanga just before dark. Its close to a village, but it has good reviews on iOverlander, and seems quite enough. Its pretty high though, 1300m.
So I did 120km today and a long border crossing, always unpredictable.