Malawi to Tanzania Border - Songwe to Kasumulu

Quite a difficult border. I have no idea how long this will be good for as the border is being consolidated into one building. At the moment its a mess with Malawi in the old building at their side and Tanzania partially operating in the new building.

At the Malawi exit border park in the small car park to the left. There will be probably loads of trucks lined up and they all go the same way as the cars which is surprising. Bypass the line waiting on the road coming into the border of course. Get past the trucks wherever you can.

The little office there are about 6 counters and a bank to the right go immediately to the left hand set of windows, I think there were 3, this is immigration there is a paper notice saying immigration. Go there and get a paper departure form which you need to complete then hand that in with your passport. Simple.

Hand your carnet in at the windows to the right. There was a lady who took ours and immediately tried to solicit money treats, sweets, sodas or anything out of us. I just said no but I think this put all into the slow queue.

You also need to hand her part of the import paperwork which is the “road access clearance fee document”. Other than being slow it was no problem. Get your carnet and the paper ready as this might show her you know what you are doing!

Then drive to the Tanzania side.

There is a new building being built on the left go through the no entry signs (do not turn right at the roundabout) go through the no entry signs with the new building on the left it looks like it’s not completed park on the right of the road near a generator you will see cars parked there you will immediately be swamped by fixers and sim card guys.

5. Go inside show passport and yellow fever and have your temperature check.

6. Go down the corridor turn left and immediately left and there is immigration. We did not need to fill out the little form on the counter BUT you need to ask for a visa on arrival form which is a A4 paper he keeps behind the counter. That’s if you haven’t done EVisa. If you did EVisa complete the little form on the counter.

He was very pleasant, you pay him the $100 US dollars for 2 people. But you don’t get a receipt so who knows where it went.

7. Behind your left shoulder is a counter on the other side of the hall which is the place you do your TIP. We used our CARNET and she took ages to process the paperwork. She gives you two pieces which you then need to take to the bank. This is a monumental trek outside of the border zone. STEP 8

8. Go out of the hall back through the corridor and turn left pass the other roundabout and past the exit gate into Tanzania, turn right at the end of the fence. If the bank is not busy you can do it there but you should go there anyway and use the ATM to draw out some cash. It will only give you 400,000 but €5 commission. This is what it needs to be as you can then pay the TIP with Shillings.

Bank Opening Times

M-F 8:30 to 16:30

Sat 8:30 to 12:30

Sun CLOSED !!!!


-9.58500 33.77816 BANK NMB & ATM

If the bank is busy go back down the hill you have just walked up and on the right hand side is a banking agent that will also do it. It’s a small shop near the place selling beer. Location below.


-9.58418 33.77730 WATALA MONEY where we paid for tip as the bank was busy.

Just hand over the two forms and 60000 and you will probably be short changed but she will do it and staple a receipt to the paperwork and stamp both copies of the paperwork. Maybe she’s open longer hours?

Once you’ve done that go back to the customs hall to the customs lady who has held onto your CARNET and hand over the receipts. Blast past the Yellow Fever guy. You’ve done that already.

Once you have handed in your receipt the lady will give you your CARNET back and you can be on your way. Bypass the trucks if you can. Stop at the gate and fill in the simple departure book. STEP 10 and its over.

50 Kmph most of the time in Tanzania, You go faster, you get stopped. We just stuck at 50 all the way to Mbeya pretty much. The signs on that stretch are pretty good to be honest but there are plenty of police. We didn’t get stopped once!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.