Visa and Passport 

Written by Sven Larsen  -  Updated on 2019-09-01

Passport, visa, certified documents ... who goes on a long journey, should deal with the necessary immigration formalities at an early stage. What papers you need for traveling to southern and eastern Africa, I summarize here.


The African Union has recently announced its intention to simplify travel within the continent for nationals. There will be a uniform African passport in the future. This suggests that in the future perhaps the immigration and visa formalities for tourists will be easier. Until then, however, tourists may continue to collect the pretty colorful stamps.


Be sure to inform yourself in good time about the entry requirements of each country. A very useful app to always be up to date on the current immigration formalities of all countries, is "safe travel" from the Foreign Office. Mostly: a passport should be valid for more than 6 months at departure and have enough free pages for stamps and visas.

Second passport or passport with 48 pages

One recommendation I wanted to follow is to apply for a second passport. At Africa Expedition there is also a very detailed article. At the many border crossings, which lie ahead of me, the life in the car, without hotel safe that seemed reasonable and justified.


However, not for the Schenefeld public office. There you only get a second passport for really urgent reasons. For example, if several visa applications overlap. To travel in crisis areas. Or has a stamp in the pass, which makes it difficult to enter another country, such as Israel or Iran.


I was unfortunately unable to convince the official that I have valid reasons for this request. Alternatively, the responsible official recommends a passport with 48 pages, which is also valid for 10 years. If the pages go out at the umpteenth African border, you can apply for a new passport at the next Consulate General. The colleagues get an authorization from the responsible administrative department and the passport is issued and sent.


The cost amounts to foreign surcharge on 115 €. An express application costs between 150 and 200 €.

Entering Namibia

As a German you need a visa for Namibia, which you get when you arrive at the airport for the usual 90 days in many countries. The only condition: the customs officer wants to see the return ticket. Since I leave with my car and did book a return flight from Port Elizabeth, I asked for safety's sake at the Namibian Consulate whether I would have to apply for a special visa for this case. And the good news: no, I do not need a visa in advance. All I had to do is to translate my car and port papers into English so that I could prove my intentions on arrival.

Which visas do I need in southern and eastern Africa?

The only country in southern and eastern Africa to apply for a visa in advance is Mozambique. This allows you to stay for 30 days. An extension in Mozambique is possible. Since Mozambique is not on my itinerary, I can save myself the VISA application in advance.


For all other countries you can get the visa on entry: Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. It may cost a little more and sometimes there may be waiting times.