Is it worth driving from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe?
One of the most popular ports, when it comes to importing used Japanese vehicles to Zimbabwe, is Dar es Salaam. For a number of years now, Zimbabweans have been trekking to this Tanzanian port to collect their exjaps. But, is it worth driving all the way from Dar Es Salaam when importing a used Japanese car to Zimbabwe? Isn’t it better to simply have your vehicle delivered to a nearby port?
Why its not worth driving from Dar Es Salaam to Zimbabwe
If you plan on importing a used Japanese vehicle of your own, the choice of port to which you are going to have your car delivered will probably be one of the things that you will seriously think about. If you think Dar is the best, then you are greatly mistaken. Indeed, it is our firm belief that its not worth making the journey to and from Tanzania to import a used Japanese vehicle. But why is that the case?
- The distance:
The first reason why Dar Es Salaam is a bad choice when it comes to importing used Japanese vehicles has to do with the distance. In fact, the Distance from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe is 2,432km via Zambia. It’s actually nearer to use the road through Mozambique, but you don’t really want to go that route, what with occasional cases of Renamo banditry.
- The Time
The second reason why it’s not worth importing your ex-jap to Zimbabwe via Tanzania has to do with the time that you need in order to get to and from there. As noted above, Dar Es Salaam is a long way to the north of Zimbabwe, and driving from there, according to Google, requires 38 hours via Zambia. Driving from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe is clearly not for the fainthearted. Indeed, you should set aside at least 4 days to get here from there while driving. And that’s not including the amount of time that you need to get to Tanzania from Harare.
- The Hazards
This is, perhaps, the biggest argument against importing your exjap via Dar es Salaam. The are so many hazards on the road that it’s not really worth putting your life in danger for sake of a few dollars in saving. I mean, I have heard stories from several people who have made the journey, and a few of them are quite gory.
The good tales are like that of a brother who traveled to Tanzania to collect his exjap. He had sworn himself to a speed of 100km per hours while on the journey there. However, after collecting his BMW, it soon became clear that at that speed, it would take him around a week to get back home, what with border delays. Driving from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe, therefore, pushes you to go outside your comfort zone. My brother ended up driving at speeds that averaged 170km per hour, which is clearly not good. Fortunately, he and his car got here in one piece.
- You risk losing your car
For many unfortunate individuals, the drive from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe has proven to be costly, both in terms of financial loss and in terms of lives lost. Another brother of mine had his Subaru breakdown somewhere in the mountains along the way. He ended up having to hire someone to tow it all the way here, only to discover when it got to the garage that the engine had suffered irreparable damage.
The thing is, the car that you will be buying will be an unknown to you. Driving from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe in a vehicle that you hardly know does not seem to be a very good idea. Indeed, other than damaged cars, many people have had life changing accidents along the way, after colliding with other vehicles, donkeys and other animals. This makes driving from Dar es Salaam to Harare really risky.
- There are no real cost savings
The reason why so many people are willing to drive all the way from Tanzania has to do with the presumed cost savings. However, it’s clear, upon analysis, that you don’t save anything, when compared to having your vehicle delivered to Plumtree or Beitbridge.
Let’s assume that you wish to import a Toyota Corolla, one of the cars that I recommend to Zimbabweans. The above image outlines how much it is going to cost you to import your car from Japan to Zimbabwe via various ports.
Having your car delivered to Plumtree, my favorite port, costs $3298. Note that the amounts given above do not include duty. So, how much does it cost to have your car delivered to Dar es Salaam? Well, the amount, as you can see, that you will need to import your car to Zimbabwe via Dar es Salaam is $2888. We are going to use the amount that includes clearing costs because those will have to be for anyway.
There is, therefore, a difference of $410 when importing your car via Dar es Salaam. Note that importing a car via Plumtree costs almost the same with importing it via Beitbridge. So, is it worth driving from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe for a cost saving of $410?
- It costs more to import your car via Dar es Salaam
The reality of the matter is that it actually costs more to import your car to Zimbabwe via Dar es Salaam, when compared to using Plumtree or Beitbridge. Just consider that most people who are in the business of driving cars from Dar to Harare charge $500 for their services, and you will realize that your costs are already ahead even before you have started the process.
The costs keep piling up
If you decide to make the journey yourself, instead of hiring a driver to do the driving from Dar es Salaam to Zimbabwe, then your costs will also almost be the same. Just consider the cost of traveling there by bus, fuel for the car that you are importing, hotels etc, and you will realize how easier it would have been for you to have your car delivered somewhere nearer Harare.
Which port should I use?
Now, I am not saying that you should deprive yourself of a story to tell your grandchildren, but should sanity prevail, which port offers the best alternative to Dar es Salaam? Well, we have previously stated that the best port for importing used Japanese vehicles to Zimbabwe is Plumtree.
Be Forward and other Japanese vehicle sellers, offer city deliveries. You can, therefore, even choose to have your car delivered to Harare! In any case, when it came to importing my own car, I chose Plumtree, for the simple reason that the border post there is not as busy as that at Beitbridge. There was also the fact that the road to Plumtree is in a great condition, which cannot be said of the drive from Beitbridge to Harare. Anyway, hope this article helps someone. If you have already made the journey from Dar es Salaam to Harare, tell us, was it worth it?