Tag Archives: Shipping

How to extend a Carnet de Passages in South Africa

When we found out that our booked RoRo shipping from Port Elizabeth was cancelled due to a strange decision of the South African government, we had to find a new way to ship our car. Another difficulty that we now had was that our carnet would expire on the 5th August, less than two months later ... our time to organise a new shipping was very limited, especially so as one populat shipping method was impossible.

Obviously, one of the very first things we had to try to do was to extend the period of time in which our Land Rover could still legally be here in South Africa.

...

As our Carnet was issued by the German automobile association "ADAC", they were the first people we contacted. We were absolutely surprised when we got a reply from Germany within 18 minutes (absolutely impressive for German circumstances!). The lady from the ADAC who replied to my mail (contact details: Anna.Zinitch@adac.de, Hansastraße 19, 80686 München, phone: +49 (0)89/ 7676 3149, mail: 
anna.zinitch@adac.de , web: 
www.adac.de) told me that via the South African automobile association "AASA", it is possible to ask for a "Letter of Grace" from the South African Customs to extend the validity of the Carnet by up to three months. To get that "Letter of Grace", one has to send an informal email to the AASA which explains why the Carnet has to be extended and why exactly one will not be able to leave South Africa before the Carnet expires including all relevant personal details. Attached to the email has to be a copy of the Carnet (we sent the first page and the page that was stamped in when we entered Botswana and thus the customs and revenue union of Southern Africa and included) a scan of the Carnet holders' passport.

Here are the contact details of the people at AASA that can help with this procedure:
Odette Pombo: opombo@aasa.co.za
Cleodene Sauls cleodenes@aasa.co.za
Tel.: 0027 – 11 – 799 1042; Fax: -1040

After the AASA had informed us that the "Letter of Grace" had been approved by customs (within less than 24 hours), the AASA asked us to pay a fee of 650,00ZAR (at the moment around 38 €) via credit card.

After the AASA had received the payment we were then forwarded the "Letter of Grace" via email.

The complete procedure from contacting the ADAC in Germany until receiving the "Letter of Grace" via mail took less than 24 hours - for both European and African circumstances a very fast period of time!

If the "Letter of Grace" has to be used, a copy has to be forwarded to the issuing organisation of the Carnet de Passages (in our case the ADAC).

From Krüger NP to the South African south coast – back in “real Africa”, a great school in Swaziland and relaxed time at the Indian Ocean

 

Krüger National Park ... was just wonderful!

 

After having left Krüger National Park, suddenly we find ourselves back in "real" Africa. Before we enter Swaziland, we drive through an Africa we know from Kenya or Tanzania: small villages, tiny shops and supermarkets not really well-stocked on anything ... and considerably more poor people!

The border crossing from South Africa to Swaziland is by far the easiest ever, we show our passports, have them stamped, pay roadtax and have long long chats about our trip and about our experiences in Africa. Really nice people! The last border crossings on our Transafrican trip are easy - actually, looking back, we didn't have "real" border-problems anywhere on this whole trip!

The "Kingdom of Swaziland" then is even more African. To our European eyes it is a bit "strange" to come to a country which is one of the last absolute monarchies on this planet. The king Mswati III. (title "Ngwenyama" meaning "Lion") reigns together with his mother Queen Ntombi Tfwala (title "Ndlovukati" meaning "She-Elephant"), and has to marry different wives from different clans to ensure the country's unity! Even though the king is extremely rich and can make expensive presents for his countless wives, the Swazi people we meet on the street or in restaurants seem to really love their king because he and his predecessors ensure a peaceful life in the country. Or are they just too scared to state a different opinion in the open!?

But, we are mainly here to visit "Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa", a school belonging to an educational organisation, which concept we think is one of the best school concepts existing worldwide (see the INFOBOX below for more information). "Waterford College" was founded in 1963 by a group of dedicated teachers led by the British teacher Michael Stern as a multi-racial school in opposition to South Africa's apartheid policies.

 

INFOBOX KURT HAHN and UNITED WORLD COLLEGES

The "United World Colleges" is an educational organisation which currently has 15 schools in 14 countries. The idea of the UWCs was introduced by the German Jew Kurt Hahn (who also founded "Schloss Salem" in Germany, "Gordonstoun" in Scotland and the first UWC college, the "United World College of the Atlantic" in Wales) on the background of the two terrible world wars.
Hahn's idea was to make schooling international to create a "United World". Thus, all schools and colleges are multi-national having students from between 50 and 90 countries to ensure an international and intercultural understanding.
Through scholarships the UWCs can choose from the students who apply for them instead of being open for only a limited circle of children from an "upper class" or "rich" family background. It is the student's motivation that counts in the first place!
As indicators for the need of a new education, Hahn discovered "six declines of modern youth", namely
the decline of fitness due to modern methods of locomotion,
the decline of initiative and enterprise due to the widespread disease of "spectatoritis",
the decline of memory and imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life,
the decline of skill and care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship,
the decline of self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquilizers,
and the decline of compassion due to the unseemly haste which modern life is conducted. Even though this was "discovered" in the 1950s, all these aspects seem to be very "modern" and up-to-date to us!
Hahn's concept had four "solutions" to overcome these six declines: fitness training (training the discipline and determination of the mind through the body), expeditions (engaging in long and challenging endurance tasks), projects (interdisciplinal learning in context involving crafts and manual skills) and rescue service (e.g. sea rescue or fire fighting). ... Overlanding definitely involves many of these "solutions".

(source: Wikipedia ... and our brains)

 

Unfortunately, Anouk is feverish again, so we spend most of our first day in Swaziland in a private clinic in Mbabane, the country's capital. Luckily, it is not Malaria!

In Mbabane we stay at "Mvubu Falls Lodge", a very good recommendation if you want to stay near the capital of Swaziland.

 

Our house at "Mabuda Farm B&B" ... another very nice place to stay!

 

From Mbabane we continue to the East to a farm recommended to us by our Dutch friends Bas and Esther. We stay at "Mabuda Farm B&B" for two wonderful days and there bump into a German family of five who planned to travel southern Africa in their old converted Magirus truck (here is a link to their blog).

What a great truck!

We exchange guidebooks, ideas, travel experiences and plans ... and place the Transafrican travel bug deep into them ...

Kitchen-party

... and as usual we go to bed far too late!

 

New friends again!

 

Will they change their plans and travel home to Germany from southern Africa? We are impressed by the fact that they managed to be allowed to officially homeschool their three kids even though the German rules and regulations officially do not legally accept that! Mmh ... so it works somehow! New perspectives!

 
 
 

Another "Good Bye" to new friends!

 

Again, we make great new friends on our way! Wonderfull!

 

Misty family photo ... early in the morning - very early! ... After the kitchen party!

 

...

After Swaziland we plan some beach days at the Indian Ocean. Friends recommended "Mabibi Camp" to us.

 

Getting to "Mabibi" is not easy ... but sooo beautiful!

 
 

Indian Ocean beaches are just great!

 

Kids just love beaches! It is important to ensure some beach time every now and then when on an extended overland travel.

136 steps down to the beach

The campsites are extremely wonderful and the beach is just gorgeous. Because of the weather conditions (rain and wind), we decide to "upgrade" our accomodation and not camp but stay in one of the safari tents with ensuite bathroom instead. As the days are warm, we spend wonderful two beach days there until we continue to C(h)intsa near East London, where we are planning to stay with our friends Stan and Anne Weakley (here is a link to their wonderful and most informative blog).

Our "new home" ...

... Thank You, Stan and Anne!

Stan is on - yet another - overland trip, this time to Angola, but we spend some wonderfully relaxed days together with his wonderful wife Anne (our kids just love her!), Stan and Anne's daughter Sarah, and their son Pete with his partner Christel ... and the two cool dogs "Bella" and "Jackson".

 

Cool! Jackson and Bella!

 

Cooking, braaiing, exchanging travel experiences, strand outings, collecting seashells ... Another "holiday from traveling".

Pete and Christel ... going fishing

Rock pools

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

...

As for the completion of our Transafrican adventure we definitely "have to" go to Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope, after a couple of days, we continue on our way westwards. Also, we want to meet up with a couple of people there, old friends from home and new friends "from the road".

Our first stop on our way is Jeffreys Bay. We like the surfer style atmosphere there, but the place also is quite touristy and most people seem to be there because of the cheap factory outlets from Billabong, Rip Curl et cetera.

 

Landy children!

 

On our second day, we are informed that our booked shipping has been cancelled. After some more research, it seems that the South African government has forbid all RoRo-shipping companies to ship private vehicles from South Africa for June and July, completely! Really strange and disappointing! We had booked our flights home just two days earlier and had planned our last few weeks here in Africa ... and now, everythig is open again. What makes everything even more difficult is the fact that our Carnet de Passages expires on the 5th August, meaning that our Landy has to be shipped back to Europe before that date.

At the time of writing this blog entry, it seems as if the only chance to ship our Land Rover back home to Germany will be a container shipping from Cape Town to either Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium. Safer but also considerably more expensive! Also, with the help of the German ADAC and the South African automobile club AASA, we manage to get an extension for our Carnet de Passages (within one day!). We will share all our experiences, contact details et cetera on a separate blog entry soon.

To sort things out properly, we stay another night in Jeffreys Bay before we continue to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the African continent.

Shipping Cars from Greece to Egypt – Part Two

For everybody who did not read Pt. One, here ist the link!

 

Thanks for doing a great job, Nermien (not in the photo), Salah, Fatih and all the other people at CFS in Alexandria!

Our new Egyptian license plates.

 

For everybody who did not read Part One, here is the link ...

As it is not possible to go on the same ship the car is on as a passenger, the only way to get to Egypt is by plane. Flying to Egypt (Cairo) is not that expensive ... we paid 179€ per adult and 168€ per child (i.e. 694€ for the family alltogether; 20kg luggage + hand luggage). This is the travel agency in Athens we did the booking with:

Joy Tours (Mairi Stathopoulou, stathopoulou@joytours.gr)
162 Patission Str.
11257 Athens
Tel.: (+30)2108620103, 2130002250
Fax: (+30)2108628717
Mail: info@joytours.gr
Web: www.joytours.gr

After having arrived in Egypt, we now had to start the procedures in Alexandria with our customs broker and, thus, had to go there in person.

The trip from Cairo to Alexandria can easily be done by train (also very cheap). Morning trains leave at 6:00 and 8:00 in Cairo and take about three hours (as there are more trains, it is even possible to go back and forth within one day to save extra hotel costs). The cost is about 45EL (back only 30 EL). Even the 2nd class is quite convenient. We were the only tourists on the train. It is always important to be in Alexandria as early in the morning as possible as offices open at 9 o'clock in the morning and close at one!

Finally in Alexandria, we took a taxi from the main station to the customs broker's ("fixer") office (Consolidated Freight Service (CFS), Nermien Mamish, nermien_mamish@cfsegypt.com,125, Hurreya Ave., El Radwan Bldg., Bab-Sherk, Alexandria - Egypt., Tel : 002 03 3914671 /2 / 4, Fax : 002 03 3914679 , Mobile : 002 0122 240 4884, Web: www.cfsegypt.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cfsegypt).

We went off with Fathi El Said, one of Nermien's colleagues (mail: import1@cfsegypt.com, tel.: 0100 3919333) and first

went to the Immigration Department in Alexandria. There our passports were stamped and signed by an official stating that we were really within Egypt as all private persons shipping cars to Egypt have to be present when the car is freed out of customs.

... and second, we had to go to the Document Verification Department to sign a statement to give the customs brokers power of attourney to be allowed to act on our behalf.

The following documents we had to leave with the customs brokers:
- passport
- Carnet de Passages
- national car registration
- bill of loading

All the rest of the clearance procedures after that is done by the customs brokers who contact you via mail or mobile phone to keep you updated or if they need you to be present in Alexandria. We went back to Cairo.

In our case, the ship did not arrive as expected (it took six days to reach Alexandria, the shipping agency stated three to six days). As the name of the ship is on the bill of loading, you can use "AIS" to track the ship (see http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ ).

Finally, we had to come back to Alexandria on the second working day after the ship had docked in Alexandria and had to present ourselves to customs. The team at CFS then started the customs procedures on that very day so that we could get the Land Rover back the following day, within three working days after docking as promised by Nermien Mamish. A bit problematic was the fact that we had to leave so much gear in the cars, because they have to officially be empty. One should definitely not leave any money, food or medication in the car. Money and medication can easily be taken on the plane. We blocked the rear door to make stealing more difficult ... and only one petrol lamp was stolen.

On the day we got out the car, the VIN and engine numbers were checked, we got the Egyptian registration and license plates, got two 6kg fire extinguishers (mandatory even if you have some already), had to pay for port storage (paid for by CFS), show up at customs and - after about three hours of going here and there, sitting and drinking tea - I was able to drive out of the port, fuel up (at 0,22€ per litre!) and do the first 200 and something kilometres of our Transafrica trip.

The English family were not as lucky as we are because all Landcruisers have to be checked not only by police, customs and traffic department, but also by the military who have the power to decide and even reject cars which then could even mean that they would have to be shipped back to where they came from. This is due to the fact that recently a lot of Landcruisers have been car-jacked and used for terrorist purposes. In the best case, this means a delay of another three to ten days.

For the complete process it is absolutely necessary to have a mobile phone with an Egyptian number. We got local Sim cards at a vodafone shop for 41EL (500 min without data; 141EL for 500 min with 7,5GB data). Make sure that your phone is not Sim-locked before traveling to Egypt!

For going to all customs, police and other offices, I would advise everybody to dress properly (i.e. long trousers, proper shoes and shirt) and be able to greet and say thank you et cetera in Arabic. Mutual respect can speed up the process as well, I am sure!

We would highly recommend taking a "fixer" (i.e. customs broker or freight forwarder) unless you speak fluent Arabic and exactly know all the procedures. Nermien Mamish, Fathi El Said and their team did a great job and their speed (three working days) impressed even expats who have been living here in Egypt for decades! We highly recommend them!

Of course, the team at CSF can also arrange shipping cars in the opposite direction!

 

Costs:

customs broker Greece 30,00 €  
port storage Pireias 6,47 € i.e. 3,24 € per day
costs Minoan 116,85 €  
shipping costs 309,00 €  
customs broker Egypt 870,00 €  
port costs Alexandria (storage et cetera) 79,03 € 658,00 EL
costs shipping 1.411,35 €  
flights 694,00 €  
train tickets 12,61 € 105,00 EL
costs including flights and trains 2.117,96 €  

 

Just a few days away from the “big step” to Africa …

After having taken a holiday-break from traveling between visiting the island of Lefkhada and the Peloponnes during the last two to three weeks, more and more preparation work for the onward journey and the big step to Africa sneeks in. Of course, ahead of traveling to Greece we had gathered all information on the route, visa matters et cetera. Still, now the shipping of our cars to Egypt and the visa for Sudan and Ethiopia have to be concretized and organised. The really great thing about overlanding is that you are supported in that process by many people who before were completely unknown to you.

One of them, Konstantinos, member of the international "Land Rover Family", helps us very energetically to make sure that shipping our cars from Pireias in Greece to Alexandria in Egypt will really work. At the other shore of the Mediterranean, Bas and Herman Zapp do all they can for us with the help of their experiences, personal contacts and local communication. We feel in good hands in this network of overland travelers (and especially in those of other overlanding families)!

 

Our invitation letter for Sudan has arrived!

 

In spite of this help we have to update all pieces of information on the visa for Sudan and Ethiopia and at the same time many emails are going back and forth to get invitation letters for Sudan and Ethiopia which are maybe not absolutely necessary to get the visa, but still can speed up the process immensely.

First German-English camp

Let's winch the kids back home, darling!

Parallel to this extensive organisational work which actually is real fun for Mischa, we meet an English family in Delphi whom we had before only met on the internet but have planned to travel together through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and northern Kenia.

Delphi, another magic place in Greece!

Our first photo of the "new team".

Living and working together in the camp with the Mittons instantly works like a charm and it seems that from the professional and personal background, but also concerning gear and travel preparation we supplement each other greatly. At the same time, we discover many private similarities.

 

Meeting Dominik Schenke who is doing "our" route by bicycle

 

Back in Athens, we spend our last few days on the European continent in a hostel situated directly in the historic district of "Plaka". The touristy bustle on the streets certainly needs getting used to after so many weeks in the countryside, but we can do all the transactions, shopping et cetera that are on our lists and also indulge in wonderful Greek food.

We meet Anna again and go on a tour through the Turtle Rescue Station.

Aphrodite's Temple

On the 4th October we celebrate Sóley's 3rd birthday ... the programme consists of a visit to the Akropolis and spending time on a playground ... it is impressive for adults and kids alike!

 

At the custom's warehouse in the port of Pireias

 

On monday we drop our cars at the port of Pireias from where they will be shipped to Alexandria in Egypt on Thursday. This day, which has been expected with a lot of excitement, unexpectedly turns out to be rather relaxed one and even reasonable concerning the costs (here are the details concerning the shipping).

Well, and on Wednesday, tomorrow, we will fly to Cairo and will stay at Bas' place, also a new internet-friend who also loves overland travel and plans to do Cairo - Capetown soon as well and who has massively supported us during the last weeks in preparing for te shipping of our cars to Egypt.

Sometime in roundabout one week, we will hopefully be comfortably sitting in our cars traveling along the River Nile to Ethiopia.

Shipping Cars from Greece to Egypt – Part One

 

The other cars do look cool ... but still I'd always go for the Land Rover!

 

Today, we have handed over our car(s) at Pireias port ... this is how we made it:

Long before even the beginning of our trip in July, I had tried several times to reach several Grimaldi offices in Italy, Greece and Turkey. It was always the same procedure: whenever I sent an email, there was no answer, when I phoned them, they told me to send an email ... and then there again was no answer. Finally, after a lot of unnecessary fuss, a friend from Cairo called the Grimaldi office in Egypt (contact details: "Rasha" (export department), phone:+20 3 4863647, email: export@smarina.com), and suddenly, there were answers. Sometimes, Africa is not so bad after all!

Here in Greece, it was again the same situation: we sent emails and nobody replied. Luckily a Greek friend helped us immensely and continuously contacted Grimaldi via email and phone, and suddenly, everything worked. So, I would highly recommend everybody who wants to ship their car to Egypt with Grimaldi, to find persons local to where the Grimaldi office is to help with the communication. 

Handing over the cars ...

The procedure: We had to first go to the customs office at the G2 car terminal in Keratsini. The address (G2 car terminal, Ichtioskala, Keratsini), though, could not be found on our Garmin GPS (if you type it in in Greek letters in Google maps, though, you will find it). Finally arriving there, the customs officials told us that we needed a customs broker and contacted one for us. We had hoped that we would not need one, as we expected an expensive rip-off here, but this recommendation really was a good one: the customs broker that helped us, actually only wanted 30€ per car for his services (we had another offer for 150€ per car, so it is really good to compare prices!).

Here are the contact details: Georgios Kapelas, Akti Ionias 36, Keratsini 18755 (Garmin has this address!), phone: 210 4314886, mail: kapelas@ektelonismoi.gr

They were extremely helpful and all we had to do was sign some papers and wait for about two hours.

The documents needed here were:
- car registration
- passports of the car's owner
- Carnet de Passages (they did not ask for us to bring it in advance but we brought it and it was really important to have it there)

In addition to the 30€ per car for the customs broker, we paid another 6,47€ per car for the port storage of our cars for two days. So, that was 36,47€ instead of over 150€!

After that we brought the cars into the customs warehouse-part of the harbour which is just next doors to the custom's broker's office. There, only the VIN-numbers were checked and we could drop them there and hand over the keys.

We, then could proceed and go to the office of Minoan Lines SA in Pireus who act as Grimaldi agents in Pireus.

This is the address and the name of the lady who helped us there:
Mrs. Xanthi Nannou
Grimaldi Car Carriers &  RoRo Piraeus Agency
MINOAN LINES SA,  As Agents only
Thermopylos 6-10
18545 Piraeus
Τel.     0030 – 210 – 4145720
grimaldi.ccrr.pir@minoan.gr

Everybody there was very helpful and after another hour, we were free to leave. The total costs  were 116,85€ for the service at Minoan Lines and another 309,00€ for the shipping (sea freight: 307,00 € per van; stamp b/l : 2,00€ per shipment; free in: 95,00€ + VAT per van under 3to (over 3to the cost of driving the car up the ship is 235 + VAT))

We did not need any other documents than stated above, but were asked to give our VAT number (i.e. our German/English tax numbers) ... as I did not have it they simply did not add it on the document.

The only other thing that is important is that during all procedures the owners of the car (i.e. us) had to be present.

Fixer in Alexandria:
We don't know what we will have to expect in Alexandria ...
We thought that it might be important to find a customs broker ("fixer") for Alexandria as well. As the prices here vary immensely from fixer to fixer (we even had a ridiculous offer of US$ 5500 per car!) it is good to compare the prices. The customs broker we chose is Nermien Mamish who was recommended to us by Herman Zapp and is highly recommended on the HUBB ("Horizons Unlimited"). We will have to pay 870€ for her services (including all port & traffic charges, plates & receipts; excluding only Carrier DTHC (discharging cost)).
The expected duration of the clearance for the two cars will be 2-3 working days.

These are her contact details:
Nermien Mamish
Managing Partner - MBA,
nermien_mamish@cfsegypt.com
Consolidated Freight Service (CFS).
125, Hurreya Ave.
El Radwan Bldg.
Bab-Sherk
Alexandria - Egypt.
Tel : 002 03 3914671 /2 / 4
Fax : 002 03 3914679 
Mobile : 002 0122 240 4884
Website : www.cfsegypt.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cfsegypt 

Needed documents for entry procedures in Alexandria (we sent them in in advance as scans):
- passport
- Carnet de Passages
- car license (i.e. the car registration documents)
- shipping line BL ("Bill of Loading")

Other documents that might be needed
- visas
- national and international driver's licenses
- vaccinations certificates (yellow fever)
- a list with all spares and tools on board
- a list with all electronic equipment on board (cameras, GPS, sat. phones...etc.) with serial numbers.

...

We have extremely "itchy feet" now and are so much looking forward to finally make the "big step" to Africa, going to Egypt and proceeding down south through Sudan and Ethiopia ...

We just hope that our cars will reach Alexandria unpilfered and undamaged ... Anouk, after me telling her that now the car is going to be shipped to Egypt ALONE, told me that the Land Rover is a family member not to be left alone! ...