Travel Advice for Motorists visiting Zimbabwe - Aug 2016

Big Sky Supplies (Pvt. Ltd), Harare, Zimbabwe • 4 October 2016

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These guidelines are intended for the general motoring public visiting Zimbabwe. Although we refer to Beitbridge and South African visitors, the information applies generally for all of our neighbours. See footnote for further reference sources.


Entering Zimbabwe: In a nutshell on arrival you will pay the Bridge Toll, go through
Immigration, have your vehicle papers checked (an Interpol procedure), pay Road Taxes,and finally report to Customs, before exiting through the boom gate.

Good news for arrivals at Beitbridge is the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has stationed staff at the Beitbridge border specifically to assist any visitors into Zimbabwe. They will assist you with all formalities, all the way to through to the exit gate, at no charge. The ZTA Area Manager is Bertha Mutowembwa on +263-286-23640/1 office, or +263-772344317 or +263-712 320 428, email . You have the option of emailing Mrs. Mutowembwa who will assign a ZTA representative to assist you through the border formalities.

Take care of all border control documents as you will be required to produce them on exiting Zimbabwe.

Re-entering South Africa:

Chances you will spend between one and two hours re-entering South Africa as Immigration processing is notoriously slow. Unfortunately for South Africans, no preference is given to SA passport holders and you will queue along with everyone else. Our advice is to avoid re-entering SA during a weekend, and don’t forget water, hats and your sense of humour.


The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) apply a schedule of Deposit Fines for a range of vehicle equipment, use, licensing, etc. offences, discovered during roadside checks. Despite expectations, the great majority of visitors are usually treated courteously and professionally at checkpoints, however it is up to the visitor to prepare his/her vehicle according to local regulations. It is also useful to have accurate information to hand in the event of any confusion at a ZRP checkpoint.

The following are listed as the minimum requirements for vehicle livery and equipment. Note this is our opinion in respect of visitors’ vehicles, and listed for guidance only:

SAFETY EQUIPMENT (Per Statutory Instrument 129/2015)

Warning triangle:
1. To be reflective both sides. Retrofit red honeycomb tape on the reverse side of the triangle.
2. Length of sides: 42,5 cm. However, a large triangle of 39cm and above is generally accepted.
3. Two red triangles are mandatory. A pair is required for a trailer as well as for the towing vehicle.
Deposit fines:
Sect. 52 (4) appears in the Schedule of Deposit Fines three times. Fines don’t differ:
c.s 52(4) Fail to display Red Triangle (page 7) $10
c.s 52(4) (Owner) Fail to carry red warning triangles (one only) (page 8) $10
c.s 52(4) Fail to display red triangle as prescribed at night (one rear) (page 8) $10

The provisions of Sect. 53 (SI 129/2015) – Spare wheels, tools and fire extinguishers – do not apply to foreign registered vehicles that are in transit or on a temporary entry permit.

However the following equipment is recommended for safety reasons:

Fire extinguisher: Carry a 1kg (light vehicles) or 1,5kg (heavy vehicles). To be SABS approved or any International Standards Authority.

Fluorescent safety jacket: Is not mandatory for motorists but recommended for personal safety. (They are mandatory in Mozambique).


Trailers (including horse-trailers):
1. All trailers to have a white T (extreme right, front) and red T (extreme right, rear).
2. A light trailer (load capacity which does not exceed 550kg) to display red, 50 mm honeycomb type reflective tape at the rear of the vehicle, horizontally to within 400mm of each side of the trailer.
3. ‘Heavy’ trailers (load capacity exceeding 550kg) must be fitted with a rear warning sign (a red/yellow chevron plate) and GVM/NVM information.

Deposit fines:
c.s. 41(1) No continuous red rear reflectors (light trailer) $10
c.s 41(2) No chevron on the rear (heavy trailer) Not Stated
c.s 41(3)(a) No white front reflective “T” (except construction trailers) $10
c.s 41(3)(b) No red rear reflective “T” (except construction trailers) $10
c.s 72(4) Fail to display gross & nett mass on left side of the vehicle(trailer) $10

Reflectors on the sides of vehicles are required when a vehicle or a vehicle towing a trailer has an overall length exceeding 8 metres: Amber, 50mm honeycomb type reflective tape, horizontally to within 400mm of the outer edges of the vehicle (front and back). (Magnetic tape is a practical option as it can be removed when not in use).

Deposit fine:
c.s 40(1) No continuous Amber reflector on sides of vehicle (towing, length exceeding 8m) Not stated

Light motor vehicles must have two white reflectors at the front, and two red reflectors at the rear, within 400mm of the sides. Must be “honeycomb” type. The minimum size for reflectors is 50 X 60mm (an area of 3 000 mm2).

Deposit fines:
c.s 39(1) No red rear reflectors $10
c.s 39(1) No white front reflectors $10

Heavy vehicles (exceeding 2 300kg NVM) – Sect. 36 & 37:
1. Must have a continuous strip of white retro reflector at the front, extending horizontally to within 400mm of each side of the vehicle. Sect. 36
2. Heavy vehicles must be fitted with a rear warning sign (a red/yellow chevron plate) at the rear of the vehicle, extending horizontally to within 400mm of each side of the vehicle. Sect. 37
3. GVM/NVM information to be displayed on the left side. Sect. 72 (4)

Deposit fines:
c.s 36(1) No continuous White retro reflector in front $15
c.s 37 No continuous red retro reflector on the rear (Big Sky: should read warning sign [chevron]) $20
c.s 72(4) Fail to display gross & nett mass on left side of the vehicle (trailer) $10

Commercial vehicles – Sect. 38 & 39:
1. Must have 2 white retro reflectors at the front, within 400mm of each side of the vehicle. Sect. 39
2. GVM/NVM information to be displayed on the left of commercial vehicles (see registration book for details). Sect. 72 (4)

Deposit fines:
c.s 39(2) No white front reflectors $10
c.s 72(4) Fail to display gross & nett mass on the left side of the vehicle $10

The provision of Sect. 38 – Retro reflectors: rear of commercial motor vehicles – do not apply to foreign registered vehicles that are in transit or on a temporary entry permit. Sect. 38(1)(d)

Note: “Commercial vehicles” include pick-ups and double-cabs, not exceeding 2 300kgNVM. SUV’s (station-wagons) are not classified as commercial vehicles.

Speeding Offences: Road Traffic Act, Chapter 13:11 - All Light Motor Vehicles
(Urban and rural)

1 to 5 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit…………………………… Caution -
6 to 15 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit…………………………. $5.00
16 to 25 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit……………………….. $10.00
26 to 35 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit……………………….. $15.00
36 to 50 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit……………………….. $20.00
Over 50 k.p.h. in excess of speed limit………………………... Court

Deposit Fines:
The maximum deposit fine a police officer can legally impose is $20 per offence. (A level 3 fine). A fine higher than level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance.Deposit fines are imposed per offence, and if found with more than one ‘issue’, the policeofficer can ‘add them up’. The deposit fines listed here will assist withcalculations.



ZRP personnel at roadside checkpoints are occasionally confused on the issues listed here for clarification:

A. The use of headlamps and fog lamps simultaneously.
Pass-lamps or fog-lamps – Sect. 19

1. A motor vehicle may, in addition to headlamps, be equipped with not more than two “pass-lamps” or “fog-lamps”
2. To be fitted at height not exceeding 600 mm above the ground, and so focused and directed as to avoid dazzling the vision of the driver of any approaching vehicle on a level road.

Note: The Schedule of Deposit Fines states: c.s 19(2) Use fog or pass lamps together with headlight, per lamp - $20. Motorists are being fined $20 per lamp, total $40, for a) use of fog lamps and headlamps simultaneously, b) in daylight and c) at night

The opinion of Big Sky and our advisors:
1. There is no reference under Sect. 19 to it being an offence to use Fog lamps and Headlamps simultaneously, either during daylight hours (6:30am to 5:30pm) or at night.
2. ZRP might be relying on RGN 412/1972 which stated “The driver of a motor vehicle on a road shall not use pass-lamps or fog-lamps at night when the headlamps of such vehicle are being used.” However, RGN 412/1972 was repealed by SI 154/2010 and subsequently by the current SI 129/2015.
3. Therefore the fine listed in the Schedule of Deposit Fines has no legal basis and should be removed. Finally, although academic, a fine of $20 per lamp, a total of $40, exceeds the Level 3 fine limit of $20; and cannot be imposed as a roadside fine but only by a magistrate after a court appearance.

B. Hazard lights. Although there is no legal basis for it, some ZRP personnel will impose a fine on motorists for not using their hazard lights when arriving at a roadblock. We recommend that getting into the habit of doing this will avoid unnecessary roadside debates.

C. Vehicle lights. We recommend that ALL lights be kept in good working order, including the registration plate lights. To be kept clean, particularly when coming off a gravel road such as at Mana, and before arrival at the first ZRP check point.


A motorist can decline to admit guilt by referring to the warning at the top of the Admission of Guilt form (Z69 (j)) that provides the option of appearing in magistrate’s court. However,a good starting point is speaking to the officer-in-charge of the roadblock, who being more senior might treat the issue with discretion and experience. If not, the motorist can request to speak to the officer-in-charge of the police station from which the roadblock originated.At all times calm and courteous behaviour will contribute significantly to a fair outcome.

If the motorist decides to pay the deposit fine but wishes to take the matter further, when the ZRP member completes the Admission of Guilt form, the motorist should politely request that the Charge (Section and Statutory enactment) field, be completed legibly and with the relevant information. Each Police Officer has a force number which should be given out if requested. Motorists with traffic related queries can call the Complaints Desk at Police General H.Q. on Police complaints hotline: Harare +263 24 2703631 or Police Traffic Public Relations: Harare +263 24 2754334.


Visitors to Zimbabwe – Embassy Contact Numbers

Zambia: (024) 2773 777/80  Botswana: (024) 2794 645/7/8
S.A.: (024) 2760404 / 2706136  Mozambique: (024) 2255871 /72 /73

Contact Numbers – Zimbabwe Republic Police

Police General H.Q. – Complaints desk – +263 24 2703631 (24-hour)

Reference sites:


This information is provided for guidance only. Any comments, corrections or queries are
welcome, please email , or post at

Copyright Reserved © Individuals, community organisations, online sites and printed media: In the public interest we encourage the distribution of this information; however Big Sky Supplies (Pvt) Ltd should be credited as the source.


Related information is available on the Wild Zambezi website at these links:-

Getting Around the Zambezi Region  ( Wild Zambezi Travel Advice)

- Self-Driving- Tips & Practical Advice (Jan 2017)

- Assistance for Self-Drivers – List of Zimbabwe official fines for road traffic offences (Dec 2015)

- Advice for self-drivers in Southern Africa (Dec 2013)

- Police Roadblocks – help for travellers  (July 2009)

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