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All the documents you need for a road trip to Botswana, Mozambique, or Namibia

If you’re planning a cross-border road trip to one of South Africa’s neighbours this December holiday, you will need to have all your affairs in order to ensure smooth travels between the two countries.

This includes doing important vehicle checkups such as inspecting fluid levels and tyre pressure, as well as having the necessary cross-border documents that will speed up the processes at the entry post.

A smooth entry

Depending on the ownership status of your vehicle, you will need a specific piece of paperwork to ensure a smooth entry into South Africa’s border mates, said Lebo Gaoaketse, head of marketing and communication at WesBank.

If your car is still being paid off, the finance house that provided the credit is the legal titleholder and you will need to obtain a “border letter” from said institution before the trip.

The letter will serve as authorisation to take the vehicle across the border and must be signed by the Commissioner of Oaths, and shows that you have the required insurance for the country you are traveling to.

To get the document, you will need to provide your passport number, driving licence number, all the countries you’re visiting even if you’re just driving through, and your dates of travel to the credit provider.

It’s important to note that you’ll also need a border letter if you’ve finished paying off your car, but haven’t transferred the title to your name yet.

Not to be forgotten, a number of finance contracts have a predetermined annual mileage limit that must be adhered to. “Be sure to check that the planned trip doesn’t push the mileage beyond the agreed limit,” said Gaoaketse.

For motorists whose cars are fully paid off and in their name, they will need the original Natis registration certificate to prove that they are not attempting to take a vehicle across the border without the owner’s permission.

This must be accompanied by proof that the vehicle is comprehensively insured for the country being visited, taking into account that different nations have different risk profiles, and what is covered in South Africa may not, for example, be covered in Namibia.

Finally, drivers of rental cars must have a letter from the rental company that authorises them to take the vehicle across the border into another country, said Gaoaketse.

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