Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some short notes about Zambia

While I was in Vic Falls, I did the border cross to Zambia in order to get supplies, like food, money, etc.

Because of the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, there isn't much to buy on the street. Most of the people cart stuff over the border

Seen at the border: Long line leaving Zim. Short line going back in. The border post has a special offer - no cost- for nationals who want to cross over to zambia for the day before 6am. Apparently so many have been going back and forth over the border to get goods from Zambia, they were trying to divert traffic.

By 10am, the border on the Zim side was packed. Waited about 2 hrs to get over to the other side. No touts, few money changers and relatively peaceful. The most excitement we got were from some of the baboons who kept running around trying to steal bread from people's bikes and bags.

The distance between the two border posts is pretty long. I would estimate that it is a 1km walk between the two, but I could be wrong because it was so hot.

It is cheaper for americans to enter Zimbabwe and then go to Zambia, then the reverse.

If you enter Zimbabwe, the USA single entry is 30 USD or 210 Rands (21USD).
Once you are in Zimbabwe, to enter Zambia it is only 20 USD for a day visa. They didn't even look twice at my visa on my way back into Zimbabwe and didn't ask for anything.

If you enter Zambia, the Visa is 50USD, and then to cross the border to Zimbabwe, it is another 50 USD.

You can walk the crossing, which includes the bridge over Vic Falls, and do a bungee jump along the way, or be lazy and cab it over to the Zambia side. Once you are past the Zambia border check, it's a taxi for about 2-3 USD to get to Livingstone, the nearest major town in Zambia.

During my walk across, I meet a woman who from Zimbabwe - she lives halfway between Harare and Bulawayo and is on her way to spend a month working/living in Namibia. There are a lot of people who are doing this. I help her carry her bags across the border. From talking to her, I'd estimate that probably a good 80% of the country has exited to any of the 5-6 neighboring countries for either temporary or permanent work.

I'm not familiar with livingstone, but she is; so we split a taxi over to the town. I ask for a place to shop and an ATM, she points me out to this giant 1st world market thing that looks like a Stop and Shop. I'm like um.... that's ok. we have plenty of those in the states. Let's go straight to town. So that's what we do. She is going to take the bus from Livingstone to Windhoek and then go from there.

There are nice commercial markets in Livingston. It is fairly busy and business is good. Tons of taxi drivers and a thriving market. I also visit a local market and hunt around for items. It is cleaner than the ones in east africa. I stumble across a zambian that actually speaks Swahili. Which is fair, since the tanzanian border is not that far away. I buy a lock from him because I lost mine. In contrast, the Zimbabweans that I run into haven't heard of sounds like chinese to them.

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