We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Kariba Border Post Warning

Johannesburg, South...
Level Contributor
1 post
8 reviews
Save Topic
Kariba Border Post Warning

We have just returned from a road trip through Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. I just want to post a warning to other travellers who might be driving through the Kariba Border Post (on the Zimbabwe side), that we were denied entry because we didn't have a vehicle clearance certificate issued by the South African police for our vehicle.

We had researched the requirements for entry by using the information supplied the Automobile Association in Johannesburg. This stated that we MAY require a vehicle clearance certificate if entering Zimbabwe through the Chirundu Border Post, but mentioned nothing about Kariba.

We had already entered Zimbabwe from Botswana at the Kazangula border post earlier in our trip and had experienced no problems there. We decided to drive through Zambia from Victoria Falls to Kariba in one day and so we arrived hot and tired at Kariba at about 5.15pm.

We were informed by immigration that we required a vehicle clearance certificate to enter Zimbabwe and that we should speak to the "Interpol" agent outside. This person, who introduced himself as Det Sgt Pardon (unfortunately we didn't get the surname) led us to a wooden shack behind the immigration offices and informed us that it was mandatory for us to have this vehicle clearance certificate. Failaure to produce one would mean no entry into Zimbabwe. We asked him what we could do about it because we really needed to get to Kariba and board the houseboat for our trip on the Lake. He then made it quite clear that entry would be permitted if we paid him some money. We refused to do this and went back to the immigration officials and informed them that Det Sgt Pardon was eliciting bribes from us and we were not prepared to pay him. They said they could do nothing until we had a stamped authorisation from "Interpol". We asked to see someone in authority, but were told nobody was available. As it was now dark, my husband decided to speak to Det Sgt Pardon again. He requested a payment of USD 150 be paid to himself and in return we would get the necessary entry stamp. Eventually, Det Sgt Padon accepted USD 50 and we got the necessary piece of paper! This entire fiasco was a blatant exercise in extortion. It left a very bitter taste in our mouths and spoiled an otherwise perfect trip. It is totally unacceptable that an 'official' such as Det Sgt Pardon is being allowed to conduct his own 'bribery' business - preying on much needed tourists to Zimbabwe - whilst operating under the guise of being an Interpol official.

I have sent a letter of complaint to Zimbabwe Tourism in Harare, but haven't received a response, so decided to post this to warn would-be tourists travelling by road to be prepared with ALL the paperwork they MIGHT need, so that this type of bribery can be eliminated.


Sheffield, United...
Level Contributor
3,224 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

Hi I hope you also have passed this info on th the SAAA so they can amend their advice.to other drivers indicating they are intending to cross into Zim


Destination Expert
for Mana Pools National Park, Marco Island
Level Contributor
942 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

Sorry to hear about what must have been a difficult situation & a major inconvenience.

Edited: 1:07 am, April 08, 2011
Winchester, United...
Level Contributor
687 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

I had the same experience, the guy in the wooden shed showed us a letter on the wall saying we needed interpol clearance, he had been drinking so we did not want to hang around so just handed over $50 at which point he stamped a dirty bit of paper to take to the gate. I had a UK car and a UK carnet, the carnet office said that the carnet was all that was needed as this showed the car was mine. We crossed the border at Vic Falls and were never asked for any interpol clearance there. I think this guys is making alot of money.

4. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 11:35 am, May 22, 2011
1 post
Save Reply
5. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

Thanks for the warning!

Where can one get a "Clearance Certificate" in RSA?


Dave Swan

Level Contributor
1 post
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

I had a similar experience exiting Zim into Zambia at Chirundu, 6 years ago - a letter from the Swaziland police (vehicle was registered in Swaziland) was required by the "Interpol desk" outside, afterI'd completed all the other formalities. I didn't play ball, and climbed the hill to the police station and threw myself upon the mercies of the station commander there, who found the whole thing hilarious but called his supervisor in Harare who spoke to me briefly, then told the station commander to call the "Interpol" officer who panted up the hill and was told to expedite my exit into Zambia (now delayed by 3 hours). Sorry to hear they're still at it!

London, United...
1 post
Save Reply
7. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

A bit like TV licensing in Britain: you may never watch BBC channels but you still have to pay the fee. You might not be a monarchist, but you still pay royal tax. It may not be called bribery, but might as well be. At least in Africa it is direct: get with the programme!

Kempton Park, South...
1 post
Save Reply
8. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

Hi, We are due to go to Zambia via Zimbabwe on monday 10th, we know about Interpol at Kariba and have been desperately trying to get the required Police Clearance, however having spent 2 weeks trying i was told that South Africa no longer does Police Clearances for vehicles travelling outside of South Africa but do an "in transit" document. No one can clarify this for me ive tried and tried.. i just know we are going to have to "pay" at Kariba.

Wish us luck


9. Re: Kariba Border Post Warning

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:15 am, September 05, 2013