Tourism

Univisa reinstated

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The Kaza Univisa, a common visa between Zambia and Zimbabwe, was introduced in 2014, only to be scrapped the next year. However, it has now been reinstated.

The Visa cost stays at 50 USD. Nationals of just 40 countries are eligible for the visa, these are mostly western countries. Nationals of most neighboring countries, on the other hand, can visit these countries visa-free.

Univisa will be valid for 30 days and allows multiple crossings between the two countries (limited by passport pages as it gets stamped at every crossing!). If re-entering from a third country, a new visa has to be obtained, even if the previous visa is still valid. The only exception is a day trip to Botswana (most likely a safari to Chobe National Park).

The visa can be obtained on arrival at these airports:  Lusaka, Livingstone, Victoria Falls and Harare. It is also issued at the two Kazungula border posts bordering Botswana with Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively. Unfortunately, those arriving by land from other countries, like South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi or Tanzania still cannot obtain the visa.

 

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Tanzania tax increases hit tourists hard

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Tanzania has recently introduced an 18% Value-added tax (VAT) on tourism services , including ground transportation, tour guides, parks fees and camping fees. Hotel fees are not affected, as these are already subject to VAT.

Tour operators and other tourism stakeholders have appealed the government to repeal the tax, so far to deaf ears. Both Kenya and Zimbabwe issued new taxes on tourism recently, only to scrap them after realizing how badly these affects tourism. Thanks to internet, tourists today are more price-sensitive than ever, and will easily change their destination in favour of a cheaper option. Kenya’s recovering tourism will certainly benefit of new taxes in their southern neighbor.

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Uganda next country to introduce E-visa

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UPDATE, July 30, 2016: Uganda now issues E-Visas, but visas can still be obtained on arrival. Meanwhile, the cost of single-entry visa has been reduced back to 50 USD, For latest information, it is recommended to visit the Brad Uganda update blog.

Following neighboring countries Kenya and Rwanda, Uganda is now set to introduce online visa application. It was to be effective since June 1, 2016, but has now been delayed indefinitely. Once the e-visa system is up and running, visa on arrival is expected to be scrapped altogether (though, as a precedent, this has never materialised in Kenya).

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Jovago.com – the site budget travellers in Africa use to book their hotels

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Jovago.com is a relatively new hotel booking machine, launched in Nigeria in 2013. Despite its short history, it is already considered a leading online booking service in much of Africa. While Africa-centered, Jovago has listings worldwide (probably through other booking machines). Their primary markets are in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in some Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. Jovago.com has already gained popularity among locals, but few western tourists have heard of it yet. Anyone travelling in Africa, especially those on budget, should make use of the service.

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Overland truck tours in Africa – not the ordinary tour experience

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Those of us used to travelling in Africa are likely to have seen trucks full of (usually) western tourists. That’s a fairly popular way of getting around Africa. Typical to overland truck tours is:

  • Trucks specifically fitted to sustain rough roads and carry passenger, equipment and luggage
  • Tours may last weeks, sometimes even months
  • Tours cover more than one country
  • Tours end at a different place (and country) than the starting point
  • Many tours are planned to minimise costs (e.g. camping)

Most overland tours take place in Southern Africa. East Africa is another hotspot. A few operators offer tours also in Northern or Western Africa. The most popular route is arguably from Cape Town via Namibia and Botswana to Victoria falls, this itinerary takes usually around 20 days. 

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Zambia-Zimbabwe UniVisa no longer issued

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Update January 2017: Univisa issued again

Last year we wrote about KAZA UniVisa, the tourist visa that allows tourists to visit both Zambia and Zimbabwe, mainly targeting those visiting Victoria Falls. In bad news, the issuing of UniVisa has been suspended, at least temporarily. There has been no official statement by either country, the issuing of UniVisa was stopped after UniVisa stickers ran out, first in Zambia, then in Zimbabwe. No information is available whether the visa will be reinstated.

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Visiting Kenya to become cheaper

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Kenya tourism industry has been hit hard last couple of years due to security fears following a series of terrorist attacks. The situation has improved since, and UK and US have lifted most of their travel warnings to Kenya. Recent high profile visits by Barack Obama and the Pope have further helped in restoring confidence in Kenya as a safe destination. To boost renewed interest in Kenyan tourism, the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta announced lower National Park fees, and waiving of visa fees for visitors under 16.

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