These guidelines are intended for the general motoring public visiting Zimbabwe. Although we refer to Beitbridge and South African visitors, the information applies generally for all of our neighbours. See footnote for further reference sources.
The notes should be read with Big Sky’s Cubbyhole Booklet (published April, 207). The booklet and other useful information is available to download from http://www.bigsky.co.zw/traffic-guidelines/
In a nutshell on arrival you will pay the Bridge Toll, go through
Immigration, have your vehicle papers checked (an Interpol procedure), pay Road Taxes, and finally report to Customs, before exiting through the boom gate.
Good news for arrivals at major entry points is the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has stationed staff to assist any visitors into Zimbabwe. They will assist you with all formalities, all the way to through to the exit gate, at no charge. At the time of writing, the ZTA contacts are:
- Beitbridge: Tapiwa Mpofu – +263 (0)776 235 500 or landline +263 (0)85 2323641
- Victoria Falls: Lindarose Ntuli – +263(0)772 409 373
- Forbes-Mutare: Tsitsi Madzingo – +263 (0)772 911 616 or landline +263 (0)20 2066611/15
For updates and to contact ZTA visit http://www.zimbabwetourism.net
Take care of all border control documents as you will be required to produce them on
Re-entering South Africa:
Chances you will spend between one and two hours re-entering South Africa as Immigration processing is notoriously slow. Unfortunately for South Africans, no preference is given to SA passport holders and you will queue along with everyone else. Our advice is to avoid re-entering SA during weekends and peak holiday periods, and don’t forget water, hats and your sense of humour.
ZRP ROADSIDE CHECKS & TRAFFIC REGULATIONS:
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) apply a schedule of Deposit Fines for a range of vehicle equipment, use, licensing, etc. offences, discovered during roadside checks. The most common examples are listed in the Cubbyhole Notes. Despite expectations, and especially since the military intervention in November, 2018, the great majority of visitors are usually treated courteously and professionally at checkpoints, however it is up to the visitor to prepare his/her vehicle according to local regulations. It is also useful to have accurate information to hand in the event of any confusion at a ZRP checkpoint.
The following are listed as the minimum requirements for vehicle livery and equipment. Note this is our opinion in respect of visitors’ vehicles, and listed for guidance only:
SAFETY EQUIPMENT (Per Statutory Instrument 129/2015)
- Warning triangle:
- To be reflective both sides. Retrofit red honeycomb tape on the reverse side of the triangle.
- Length of sides: 42,5 cm. However, a large triangle of 39cm and above is generally accepted.
- Two red triangles are mandatory. A pair is required for a trailer as well as for the towing vehicle.
The provisions of Sect. 53 (SI 129/2015) – Spare wheels, tools and fire extinguishers – do not apply to foreign registered vehicles that are in transit or on a temporary entry permit.
However, the following equipment is recommended for safety reasons:
- Fire extinguisher: Carry a 1kg (light vehicles) or 1,5kg (heavy vehicles). To be SABS approved or any International Standards Authority.
- Fluorescent safety jacket: Is not mandatory for motorists but recommended for personal safety. (They are mandatory in Mozambique).
Trailers (including horse-trailers):
- All trailers to have a white T (extreme right, front) and red T (extreme right, rear).
- A light trailer (load capacity which does not exceed 550kg) to display red, 50 mm honeycomb type reflective tape at the rear of the vehicle, horizontally to within 400mm of each side of the trailer.
- ‘Heavy’ trailers (load capacity exceeding 550kg) must be fitted with a rear warning sign (a red/yellow chevron plate) and GVM/NVM information.
Reflectors on the sides of vehicles are required when a vehicle or a vehicle towing a trailer has an overall length exceeding 8 metres: Amber, 50mm honeycomb type reflective tape, horizontally to within 400mm of the outer edges of the vehicle (front and back). (Magnetic tape is a practical option as it can be removed when not in use).
Light motor vehicles must have two white reflectors at the front, and two red reflectors at the rear, within 400mm of the sides. Must be “honeycomb” type. The minimum size for reflectors is 50 X 60mm (an area of 3 000 mm2).
Heavy vehicles (exceeding 2 300kg NVM) – Sect. 36 & 37:
- Must have a continuous strip of white retro reflector at the front, extending horizontally to within 400mm of each side of the vehicle. Sect. 36
- Heavy vehicles must be fitted with a rear warning sign (a red/yellow chevron plate) at the rear of the vehicle, extending horizontally to within 400mm of each side of the vehicle. Sect. 37
- GVM/NVM information to be displayed on the left side. Sect. 72 (4)
Commercial vehicles – Sect. 38 & 39:
- Must have 2 white retro reflectors at the front, within 400mm of each side of the vehicle. Sect. 39
- GVM/NVM information to be displayed on the left of commercial vehicles (see registration book for details). Sect. 72 (4)
The provision of Sect. 38 – Retro reflectors: rear of commercial motor vehicles – do not apply to foreign registered vehicles that are in transit or on a temporary entry permit. Sect. 38(1)(d)
Note: “Commercial vehicles” include pick-ups and double-cabs, not exceeding 2 300kgNVM. SUV’s (station-wagons) are not classified as commercial vehicles.
Speeding Offences: Road Traffic Act, Chapter 13:11 – All Light Motor Vehicles (Urban and rural)
- 1 to 5 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit…………………………… Caution
- 6 to 15 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit…………………………. $10.00
- 16 to 25 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit……………………….. $10.00
- 26 to 35 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit……………………….. $15.00
- 36 to 50 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit……………………….. $20.00
- Over 50 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit………………………… Court
The maximum deposit fine a police officer can legally impose is $30 per offence. (A level 3 fine). A fine higher than level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance. Deposit fines are imposed per offence, and if found with more than one ‘issue’, the police member can ‘add them up’.
ZRP personnel at roadside checkpoints are occasionally confused on the issues listed here for clarification:
A. The use of headlamps and fog lamps simultaneously.
Pass-lamps or fog-lamps – Sect. 19
- A motor vehicle may, in addition to headlamps, be equipped with not more than two “pass-lamps” or “fog-lamps”
- To be fitted at height not exceeding 600 mm above the ground, and so focused and directed as to avoid dazzling the vision of the driver of any approaching vehicle on a level road.
Note: The Schedule of Deposit Fines states: c.s 19(2) Use fog or pass lamps together with headlight, per lamp – $20. Motorists are being fined $20 per lamp, total $40, for a) use of fog lamps and headlamps simultaneously, b) in daylight and c) at night
The opinion of Big Sky and our advisors:
- There is no reference under Sect. 19 to it being an offence to use Fog lamps and Headlamps simultaneously, either during daylight hours (6:30am to 5:30pm) or at night.
- ZRP might be relying on RGN 412/1972 which stated “The driver of a motor vehicle on a road shall not use pass-lamps or fog-lamps at night when the headlamps of such vehicle are being used.” However, RGN 412/1972 was repealed by SI 154/2010 and subsequently by the current SI 129/2015.
- Therefore, the fine listed in the Schedule of Deposit Fines has no legal basis and should be removed. Finally, although academic, a fine of $20 per lamp, a total of $40, exceeds the Level 3 fine limit of $20; and cannot be imposed as a roadside fine but only by a magistrate after a court appearance.
B. Vehicle lights. We recommend that ALL lights be kept in good working order, including the registration plate lights. To be kept clean, particularly when coming off a gravel road such as at Mana, and before arrival at the first ZRP check point.
OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO MOTORISTS WHO FEEL THEY HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY:
A motorist can decline to admit guilt by referring to the warning at the top of the Admission of Guilt form (Z69 (j)) that provides the option of appearing in magistrate’s court. However, a good starting point is speaking to the officer-in-charge of the roadblock, who being more senior might treat the issue with discretion and experience. If not, the motorist can request to speak to the officer-in-charge of the police station from which the roadblock originated. At all times calm and courteous behaviour will contribute significantly to a fair outcome.
If the motorist decides to pay the deposit fine but wishes to take the matter further, when the ZRP member completes the Admission of Guilt form, the motorist should politely request that the Charge (Section and Statutory enactment) field, be completed legibly and with the relevant information. Every police member has a force number which should be given out if requested. Motorists with traffic related queries can call the Complaints Desk at Police General H.Q. on +263 24 2703631
Visitors to Zimbabwe – Embassy Contact Numbers
- Zambia: (024) 2773 777/80
- Botswana: (024) 2794 645/7/8
- South Africa: (024) 2760404 / 2706136
- Mozambique: (024) 2255871 /72 /73
Contact Numbers – Zimbabwe Republic Police
- Police General H.Q. – Complaints desk – +263 24 2703631 (24-hour)
- ZRP Public Relations Assistant – Sergeant Govere – +263 772 969485
- Spokesperson Traffic – Inspector Chigome – +263 782 951537
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Download PDF: Travel advice for motorists visiting Zim June 2018