Namibia to Angola Border Crossing – Oshikango to Santa Clara
The Namibian side is easy. Fill in the departure form which you might need to request from behind the counter if there are no forms out at the back. Get stamped out. Its that simple. You should get the RFA cancelled but its not really required. If you’re feeling like you can be bothered, get the RFA cancelled. Even if its still valid (3 months) they are only valid for a single entry and you need to get one, and pay again when you come back to Namibia.
One thing to note is Namibian Visa dates run January to January and technically you only get 90 per calendar year although extensions are possible in Walvis Bay for example. However we never get a straight answer and when we do get a straight answer it usually contradicts all the previous answers. We usually ask the rules every time we cross a border and we rarely get the same answer twice. So when you return to Namibia if you’re coming back you might get 90 days again if you ask or you might only get 30. We’ve been told they will always issue 30 if you ask and have a tourism based reply. How true that is, we’re not sure. We got 30 as we only asked for 30. One other thing is switching passports into Angola is possible as long as you applied for the e-visa on the new one. It did raise a few questions at the desk as they didn’t understand two passports and did request to see the other one. It was only one lady that had a problem. Why is it always females with the arguments at borders. The guys just understand and in this case had to explain it to the woman. Not the first time the lady said no.
Once through the very short no mans land (don’t forget to switch road sides and drive on the right). You first stop at the hut (on the right) immediately through the gate. (picture below). Here the hassle started for us. There was a border health guy who snatched our passports. He was trying to get us to pay for a COVID test. Which isn’t needed any more. I eventually lost my temper with him and told him to go away although I might have not been so polite. This theme continued into what is the border with the most hassle we’ve ever had. And we’ve done a lot!
Proceed right past the gate and park up in one of the huge car parks. We opted for the one on the very right as it looked like it had more cars and less people. The building immediately in front of the gate is the customs storage hall (you’re not interested in that) the building on the right is the Administration Building (you might be interested in that) and the small hut in the middle of the two buildings is the way out (you are VERY interested in that).
So the fun begins. Immediately fixers swarm you. If you want one that’s up to you. We did not use one. If you don’t use one you will need to be prepared with the paperwork and photocopies and you need to do a bit of negotiating to get things you cannot possibly already have. Don’t be worried. There is no photocopier in the border. Absolutely stupid! The Administration Building has one and if you are desperate you might be able to get one there if you are bold and willing to ask. We did. However there should be a way round that if you are prepared and remember this write up.
So firstly you need your visa. Top tip time.Do not pay in US dollars. Pay in Namibian Dollars. Tell the guy you have no USD. Offer to pay in Namibian and he will get someone to change the money from Namibian to AOA (Angolan Kwanza). The official fee for the e-visa is $120 USD but in AOA the visa is about 36,000 and based on the official conversion that’s actually only $70 USD. So if you pay in Namibian dollars the guy converts it to 36000AOA and you’ve only paid the equivalent of $70USD. Understand? Thanks To Lutz for the tip.
So where do you get this visa? See that little gate right in the left corner of the Customs Warehouse (picture blow) go through that. Turn right. Go a short distance into the door and look left. There will be a couple of immigration booths in front of you. Ignore those! Look left there’s a mirrored one way window and a door. Hop round the rope barrier and go knock on the door. That office behind the one way mirror has the laptop to process the e-visa and that’s the only place you can do it. Have your e-visa paper in hand and wave it at anyone who asks or you think is asking you a question. They all speak Portuguese. The guy in the office speaks English. If he’s not there wave the e-visa paper at the guys at the booths. They will get someone to come.
So once you’ve paid and he’s printed the visa and carefully stuck it in your passport, ask him to do you a copy. If you don’t do this you can’t leave! The exit process needs a copy of your visa. So he’s a guy with a copier and if you don’t ask him then you will need a fixer to go out into town to get you one. So ask him!
Once you have that go to the booths you initially ignored and get stamped into the country. They will ask the normal questions and the lady will hassle you about switching passports. I’ve mentioned that.
Return to your vehicle. If the gate is locked you can walk through and all the way round the building or walk through the customs warehouse. You’ll figure it out. If you get hassled by port health show them a vaccine card. We just said we’d rapid test in the car and we’d come back with it. He backed off.
So now to the fun part. The very slow, very long and not so fun part. (List of copies below). Where to go. Go to the Hut between the Administration Building and the Warehouse. That’s the road out.
Copy of Passport, Copy of e-visa, Copy of Driving License, Photos of Vehicle (we didn’t but some did), Copy of Vehicle Registration. (Black and White seemed fine)
There’s a bank to pay the TIP (import permit for the vehicle) round the corner to the right at the back of the administration building. You can see where everyone is going as you wait in line. For us this took 2 hours. You can change NAM$ to pay for the TIP. You need your passport to pay if you’re converting money. They accept many other currencies and the rates are on a paper on the counter. Its a bank so its all fine.
So firstly go in the little hut (or queue up wherever the line ends) hand over all your copies when its your turn. He will do a load of tapping on the PC and print you out a paper. Take this to the bank and pay the fee. Just walk into the bank and hand over the paper and they will tell you how much. Its no a lot! ( we think its 6400 AOA approx $220NAM) Its that simple. Walk back to the hut, bypass the line and stand near the PC guy. When he’s finished processing someone he will take your payment paper and do an couple of things, staple your paperwork and hand you the complete TIP. If you’ve been in the line for ages you will have seen this done by everyone before you. That’s it you’re done.
Go get your car, drive up to the Police guy at the right of the hut. Maybe get an quick inspection and you’re through.
When you return to exit Angola its a lot easier. The (opposite side) little hut you used to do the TIP on the way in does EVERYTHING for the way out. Just go directly there. Park up, go into the hut with passports and TIP and in seconds they process you out.
Obviously entry into Namibia is as normal (get another form from the counter) but do not stand in the line of people on the Namibia side as they are day-pass people. Bypass the line and go straight to immigration. The people queuing are going to a desk. You don’t need to go to the desk. You go to the left around the wire fence with the day-pass people queuing.