There are two ways, forgetting flying, of getting your vehicle to Africa; drive it or ship it. A combination of the two could involve shipping there and driving back or vice versa, or driving part way and shipping.
We opted to ship both ways from UK to Cape Town; our reasoning being that we knew what countries we wanted to visit and that we wanted to do each one in a sedate manner. The whole philosophy for the trip was to tarry at places we liked and to move on if we didn’t. Another factor was the volatility of some of the countries we would have to drive through if we chose either the eastern route or the western route and quite frankly, we could do without the hassle. Having said that, we met numerous fellow travellers who had had absolutely no problems driving all the way. Next time; maybe!
Shipping is not a cheap option and cost us nearly £1,800 to get it on the ship and over £600 to get it off in Cape Town. The UK charges were for freight and ancillary charges including insurance, but only for total loss, not damage or theft. The off-loading charge included custom fees, handling fees and agent’s fees and was considerably more than we were expecting and the agent didn’t take debit/credit cards. The return journey cost nearly £1900, but this was a one off payment as the company operated both in South Africa and UK: again, we paid in cash (rand). We paid the UK agent £300 to deliver the Land Rover to our home address.
I wasn’t impressed with the out-bound shipping agent we used in the UK, or the handling agent and I wouldn’t recommend either. The shipping agent was recommended to us but the reality is, unless you regularly ship things, any recommendation is based on limited knowledge – I would recommend researching options on the internet. The agent we used in South Africa, the same one for arrival and departure, was very helpful and was readily available, with the added advantage of being a member of an international movers company that also operated in the UK. We delivered the carnet personally to the South African agent as it had to be available with the vehicle for customs clearance on arrival. They also couriered it back to the UK on departure to be available for customs clearance in the UK.
For South Africa (Cape Town) I would recommend Britannia Movers (www.britannia.co.za (Ryan Kruger) Britannia Movers, Unit 1-3, 65 Killarney Drive, Killarney Gardens, Cape Town. PO Box 36836. Tel: +27 (0)21 556 9448. S33 59.440 E18 32.236), and for the UK; Britannia Movers International Plc, Croydon, UK (www.britannia-movers.co.uk)
This is a recommendation based on our very limited experience so please research fully.
There are two means of transportation; RoRo (roll on, roll off) or Container. RoRo is the cheaper option but there are horror stories of vehicle parts and contents walking off, confirmed by one couple we met.
Containers are much more secure but costly. They commonly come in two sizes; 20 foot and 40 foot (6 metres and 12 metres), the smaller being the cheaper unless the larger one is shared. The small one we had for the outbound journey had a door height that was less than our ‘lifted’ Land Rover with the roof tent. See Departure Chapter for full details. We recorded the container seal number just in case. Apparently it is possible to get containers with greater height allowance so worth shopping around.
For the return we shared a 40 foot container. These have the advantage that the door clearance is an extra 12 inches (30 cm) so no worries over removing the tent, spare tyre or indeed the even higher jerry cans (not fitted on outbound journey) or dropping the tyres.
We itemised the contents of the vehicle and storage boxes in great detail and also listed each box with a generic content, in case it was required by customs or at future border crossings. As it happens the Standard Shipping Note completed by the shipping agent listed the contents as merely ‘Expedition Equipment & Personal Effects’. Also recorded on this note is the vehicle’s VIN and weight: I had previously visited a weigh-bridge to get an idea of the fully laden weight with two occupants – 3,250 kg was not a surprise but thankfully we had heavy duty suspension fitted.
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