Documents and Insurance

Written by Sven Larsen  -  Updated on 2020-05-09

The bureaucratic efforts for the time out in Africa wasn't insignificant. Here I report what to consider when do Carnet de Passage, Car and Health Insurance and how to organize.

Carnet de Passage

What is needed in any case for shipping to South Africa is a Carnet de Passage. The carnet is a customs document and should, if I understand correctly, give the South Africans the opportunity, if I sell my car there, to claim the customs duties. Namely the ADAC, which issues the carnet in Germany and where you have to pay the deposit for the case described. The required application documents can be found here.


Despite this good overview, I did not immediately understand many things: there are three categories in total, with the first category (Egypt, India, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) requiring the highest deposit. But then there are also the other two categories (South African customs union and other destinations) included. We initially thought that the deposits would add up, which would have strained my travel fund extremely. Because at the same time I have found out that my bank (Hamburger Sparkasse) dont't take over a guarantee.


The amount of the deposit depends on the value of the car, which is the time value and not the replacement value. How much the car is worth, you can calculate as ADAC member on the homepage. Expensive conversions and extensions should of course be taken into account. You can apply for the carnet up to four weeks before the desired date. It is initially valid for one year, but can be extended at any time. If in the end there are only a few weeks to go, you can contact the ADAC, which organizes an extension for two or three months through the South African Automobile Club. 


After a personal explanation on the phone, I finally understood how to use the carnet: When entering the top left stamped and at the border remains the lower section. On departure, then stamped on the right and the customs officer keeps the middle section. It is important for me to have two stamps on each page. Stamped incorrectly, start again from the beginning and do not tear out any side. If the car comes back to Germany, there is a completion stamp. If I have "the ADAC is entitled but not obliged to repay the deposit". Whatever this could mean.


Finally, it should be mentioned that I had some difficulties to locate the engine number. Meaningfully, that is not in the car papers. And if you open the bonnet, you will find quite a lot of numbers. The right one is the one milled into the engine block on the bottom side (Defender TD4 2.4).

Health insurance

After extensive research, I decided on the Envivas TravelXLO health plan (exclusive partner of the TK), which offers comprehensive services at reasonable prices. It is important to pay particular attention to whether the provider, only medically necessary or even useful treatments and transports. A medical evacuation may not be necessary if a doctor is on site. But if he can not do anything or has no equipment, the medical evacuation makes sense. Speaking of repatriation, I thought myselves safe in this regard by the Lufthansa Miles&More CC foreign health insurance. But if you read the fine print here, it is only valid for travel up to a maximum of 90 days. 

Transport insurance

As I board the plane, my Land Rover Defender travels in by RO-RO to Walvis Bay. For shipping we can recommend the forwarding company SeaBridge. Through the forwarding company, it is possible to insure the car against total loss with a premium of 1.00%. For example, you can take more expensive insurance against damage or theft during shipping, but you have to organize it yourself and it's expensive.

The cargo insurance policy was issued by Allianz Esa, the surveyor contact named in this policy is Rennie Murray & Co. (Pty) Ltd. in Cape Town, ZA. 

Car insurance in Africa

Getting the right insurance for your car is getting complicated.

Third party cover is provided by the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which is funded via a percentage charge on fuel and therefore cover all road users automatically. Note it only covers third party liability for personal injury/death not damage to a third party's property.

I was looking for a third party cover for third party personal/car insurance incl. fire and theft and working over the borders also in all countries of the SACU.


FNB Insurance

At FNB I contacted a broker to find an insurance that will cover only 3rd party, fire and theft. It should work in all countries I will travel and should expire in 4 month.

Unfortunately FNB was only able to offer a comprehensive cover for a premium amount of N$1420 per month.

Expecting the insurance will not pay anyway (experience from other travelers on the Internet), 350,-€ is still a lot of money.

FNB is located in Windhoek, 207-211 Independence Avenue. My contact is Annie Vries (


Welwitschia Insurance Broker

I contacted the Welwitschia broker over a contact I know from Bank of Windhoek.

Welwitschia was able to offer me the coverage I was asking for. The annual premium for this cover is N$3560,78.

       Contact is (061) 284 3111, WELW. INS. BROKERS HG (AGT0099779)

Car transport

There are two possibilities. You can ship the car in a container on a cargo ship or via roll-on roll-off, also known as RoRo: driving a car on the ship and down at the destination port - like a long ferry. Sometimes with, without own crossing, that varies from provider to provider.


Roll-On / Roll-Off shipping is not the safest but most economic maritime transport. Ro/Ro ships only transport cargo that can be driven into the ship over the loading ramp. Those vessels can load up to 6.000 vehicles with the maximum dimensions of 6m height, 30m length and a weight of 300 tons.


Even if RoRo is often cheaper than a container, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The car must be look empty. Only a limited list of personal belongings are allowed in the car. If you want to be on the road for half a year or longer, you have more than a bag of clothes with you. The Landy would be open on the ship, fortunately I was able to limit the access to the rear.


My first contact was with Andreas Ebert and we found a great solution with a HC 40' Container I could share with another car. Unfortunatly Andreas Ebert is no longer in business and I was forced to find another solution quite quickly.

After some offers from other forwarding companies (some didn't response at all) I decided to go with SeaBridge and the Ro/Ro shipping option.


Shipping from Antwerp to Walfis Bay (2019)

Basically I just had to take care of bringing the YETI to Antwerp in time on 2019-08-19. For everything else, harbor fees, loading, customs import at the port, Seabridge will take care.

Contact to the importer in Walfis Bay will be done later.


Shipping from Capetown to Amsterdam (2020)

Thanks to opportunity to met Duncan and his family from African Overlanders in Capetown, I choose to reorganize the shipping back from Port Elizabeth with Seabridge, now from Capetown with African Overlanders. Duncan offered me a transport with a HC container from Capetown for less and with a great service.

(Here a link to the web page: African Overlanders)


Before any long-distance travel, it makes sense to find out about the health situation in the respective country: what is the medical care and what vaccination should you take care of before departure?


On the pages of the Federal Foreign Office, you can find the "Medical Information" for each country under "Travel and Safety Information" and you can check in advance which vaccinations are recommended. In addition, the pages of the World Health Organization are interesting. Nevertheless, a personal consultation with a tropical medicine should not be missing.


Here a list of vaccinations