From Zambia into Angola

Crossing the Chavuma/Caripande border between Zambia and Angola can be tricky. These notes might help.

By Leon Louw 

If you’re planning to cross the border at Chavuma in Western Zambia to Caripande in the Moxico Province of Angola, where a number of multinational mining companies are currently doing early-stage exploration work, and where there is significant development of the Lobito Corridor, these rudimentary notes that I made during the trip, might help.

When we crossed the border from Chavuma in Western Zambia to Caripande border post in the Moxico Province of Angola during last year’s Road Trip through Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Botswana, and South Africa, I made the following notes:

“At the Caripande border post on the Angolan side first stamp your passport at immigration before getting a road permit for 250 Zambian Kwatcha. Then follow the dirt road to Cazombo (yes, it is a road). Drive for 156km on this dirt road.  

“It is important to stop in Cazombo at the immigration and customs office in town to get a stamp and permission to enter Angola.

“You need to tell the officials where you’re going as you need permission to enter each province in Angola. I met a Zambian journalist at the border called John Kayelu who assisted with translation (the officials speak only Portuguese and do not understand any English).

“John’s suggestion was that we drive from the town of Cazombo to Luau then to Saurimo in Lunda Sol Province (on a tarred road) before visiting Luena (the provincial capital of Moxico) and from there drive down to Lucusse, Lumbala N’guimbo and then Ninda which was our destination.

“However, we wanted to see and follow the Benguela railway track and Lobito Corridor and to find out what projects are taking place as part of the development of the Lobito Corridor.

“We therefore decided to drive to Luau and then follow the railway line on an almost non-existent dirt road. This road will not be accessible during the rainy season as it traverses wetland areas in and around the Cameia National Park and even in the dry winter season a decent 4×4 vehicle is a must.

“Accommodation in most towns in the Moxico Province is limited and in certain villages non-existent. There are no official camping sites in and around towns in the Moxico Province.

“The 156km road to Cazombo from the Caripande border is challenging even in a 4×4 and should not be attempted at night or in a sedan.

“Make sure you have all necessary camping and cooking equipment with you in case you have to spend the night in the bush next to the road.

“There are more than 10 bridges in disrepair along the way. Those bridges or temporary structures that have been rebuilt are rickety and not safe.

“Therefore, make sure to walk over all the structures and ensure that it will hold and that you drive across solid material. Where you have to divert and cross rivers, walk it first and check the surface, water level etc.

“When you see a bridge or river crossing from a distance, make sure there are no offroad tracks into the bush from the main road. The unsafe crossings are usually circumvented by alternative routes, which is easy to miss when not focussing or when driving in the dark.

“Ask the local people and kids playing around these bridges if there are alternative sidetracks before you cross an unsafe bridge.

“Also be aware that there might still be landmines in the area as rain and floods have dispersed some of the old mines over a wide area in the Moxico Province and especially in the Cazombo area.

“Although most landmines have been removed by international organisations like the US based Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the Moxico Province was one of the most mined regions in the world.”

For more on the ground information and business intelligence please consult the 56-page 2023 WhyAfrica Road Trip Report which is available in the WhyAfrica online shop on  https://www.whyafrica.co.za/shop/

The report is only R1000 and gives you detailed day-to-day account of all the areas that we visited during the 2023 WhyAfrica Road Trip. In the report, we look at the challenges for companies operating here, the opportunities for new business, and the logistics involved in traversing borders and different regions in Africa. We also report about and analyse the projects sites we visited along the way.

Remember, if you become a WhyAfrica member, you receive our Road Trip Reports, and an additional four quarterly reports during the year for free. At only R6500 for a 12-month membership, you get a long list of extra benefits as well. Head to our website for more information. Click here to become a member: https://www.whyafrica.co.za/product/membership/

If you plan to visit or travel overland through Southern, East or Central Africa, and you’re not sure about all the details and logistics, or you need assistance with your travel plans, why not contact a consultant at WhyAfrica’s newly launched sister company Endorphin Expeditions.

Endorphin Expeditions is a travel planning company and tour operator that specialises in the remote regions of Southern, East and Central Africa. Head to the Endorphin Expeditions and discover the real Africa by clicking here:  https://endorphinexpeditions.co.za/

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