The preparation

There is a plethora of documentation required to embark on travel through third world states. Most is justifiable when considering the movement of locals between neighbouring countries, and the need to track the whereabouts of tourists.

Passport & Visa's

Passport validity needs to be well beyond duration of travel, with sufficient empty pages and arabic translation of the important details stamped within. A large pack of spare passport photo's is also a useful addition.

Based on a South African / British passport combo, visa's are required in advance of entering Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania & Mozambique (for the Rovuma border). The Libyan visa requires an invitation from a government approved tourist agency. The Sudanese visa is only obtainable in Cairo on a Southbound run, by recommendation from the South African embassy in Cairo. Visa's for Tunisia, Kenya & South Africa are obtainable at point of entry.

Carnet (Carnet de Passage en Douane)

This is effectively a passport for your vehicle, ensuring that its entry & more importantly exit from each country is monitored. It acts as a temporarily import permit, providing a guarantee that should the vehicle be sold within the country, enough funds exist to pay the appropriate duties, taxes & fines. These funds are most commonly guaranteed by your bank. Some travellers are put off entering countries where carnet's are required, however there are a number of options for affording the costs of a carnet, such as to pay into an insurance premium which provides the financial cover. On my route, a carnet is mandatory in; Egypt & Kenya. It is also accepted in; Libya, Tanzania, Malawi & Mozambique as a means of making vehicle entry into these countries easier. The UK finds itself without the need to comply with this international standard, and as such requires a different, separate temporary import permit (form C110). It is worth noting that countries which the carnet originates from have different requirements (e.g. In Egypt 800% value for a UK vehicle but only 200% for a South African vehicle.)

Important contact details

An all important addition is an exhaustive list of important contact details such as local embassies, mechanics, spares distributors & banks.

Internation Certificate of Motor Vehicles (ICMV)

Simply a motor registration certificate in an international format. It provides vehicle registration, ownership & identification details on multiple languages, and although only mandatory in Libya also useful in other countries.

Vehicle Insurance

3rd party, fire & theft. Rarely provided by one insurer for all countries, however 3rd party is obtainable (and sometimes mandatory) at most borders.

International Driving Permit

Simply a more formidable version of a card-based drivers licence, with some language translations.

Travel & medical Insurance

Most common policies do not cover overland travel by motorcycle above 125cc. Navigator Travel insurance in the UK provide very reasonably priced policy without the 125cc restriction.

Vaccinations & certificates

Vaccination (and proof thereof) against yellow fever is mandatory in various countries along this route. Meningitis, Polio, Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitus A & Meningitis jabs are also a good idea. Malarial proholactics or alternatevily testing & early treatment aids are also a reasonable idea. Nomad travel in London or The Medical Clinic at Jan Smuts airport in Johannesburg are useful centres for some needle action.

Copies of all of the above

It is advisable to carry certified photocopies of all of the above paperwork. This is the exhaustive list if the documents required;

  • Passport(s)
  • Original drivers licence
  • Internation drivers licence
  • Carnet
  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • International Certificate of Motor Vehicles
  • Vaccination certificates
  • Spare passport photo's
  • Travel insurance policy
  • General contact details