Client Handbook – Hardcopy included in each vehicle
Under The Bonnet/Hood
Our vehicles are fully serviced and fluid levels checked before they leave the workshop to go out on hire. Although nothing should change, please check every couple of days to make sure all is ok.
To open the bonnet – pull the catch underneath the dash to the bottom right of the steering wheel, and unhook the clip at the front under the bonnet.
If you need to top up with oil, there is a 5 litre container of 15-40 diesel oil behind the rear seats.
We carry 2 x 12v batteries. An engine battery – this is the one that starts the car, and a leisure battery. The leisure battery runs the cigarette lighter charger, fridge and rear inside lights. You can run the leisure battery flat and the car will still start. After a few minutes of running the engine, the leisure battery will start to recharge.
If the fridge, lights or cigarette lighter charger stop working, please check the fuses on the leisure battery first.
On the left hand side of the windscreen are road tax, insurance and – if necessary – roadworthy/fitness stickers.
The road tax is paid up for the whole year, i.e. 4 quarters. The number 4 you see does not mean it expires in April, but at the end of the year. e.g. 4/13.
Windscreen damage is not covered on insurance.
Inside the vehicle
You will find a map in the pocket of the front passenger door. In the glove compartment you will find some spare reflective tape, jack plugs for charging from the cigarette lighter and a spare gas cylinder key. Plus a Hi-Vis jacket for use in Zimbabwe.
Under the front driver’s seat, you will find a dustpan and brush.
Under the front passenger seat are 2 x warning triangles, a small first aid kit and a wheel brace.
There is a ratchet strap that holds the rear seat in place. Behind this you will find a small toolbox, 5 litres of 15-40 engine oil and a hi-lift jack.
Under the rear seats are two storage compartments. In here you will find a small bottle jack, the Toyota supplied jack, a jacking handle, the bracket attachment for the hi-lift jack and a wood block. The wood block should be used if ground is soft or uneven. Pull the handle to release the seat catch.
Also in the rear of the vehicle is a small cool box for drinks.
The cigarette lighter is 12v, there is a jack plug charging adapter in the glove box with various attachments. You can charge when the vehicle is moving or when it is stopped. It is recommended, if available, to use power facilities at a campsite when stopped for the night.
North of the Zambezi River, the plug system is based on the British 3-pin square. South of the River the plug system is based on the South African 3-pin round. Most universal adapters do not cover South Africa.
When you are ready to switch on the engine, turn the key half way until the dashboard lights are on.
You will notice an orange light:. This is the engine preheating indicator. You must wait for this light to go out before starting the engine, and allow the engine to tick over for a short time before driving.
You will notice 2 gear sticks. A long one and a short one. The long one is your normal 5 speed gear stick; the smaller is for putting the vehicle into 4WD and is known as the front drive control lever.
In normal driving conditions on a tarmac road, you will drive in H2 (high speed position, two-wheel drive).
On slightly loose gravel it is recommended to drive in H4 (high speed position, four-wheel drive) as you will have better traction and less wheel slide.
L4 (low speed position, four-wheel drive) is used for maximum power and traction. You should use L4 for deep sand, thick mud or for climbing and descending steep hills.
The vehicle must be stopped when you change gear. Place the car into neutral, keeping your foot on the clutch pull the small gear stick backwards into H4. If you wish to go into L4 then push the small gear stick across to the right and up. To go into L4 is a U shaped action.
The vehicle is now in 4WD and is indicated on the dash board in green.
If you are in L4 and you also want to engage differential lock, you must press the button to the right, below the steering wheel. You must be stopped.
Diff lock is indicated in red on the dash board.
Avoid high revs and aggressive use of the throttle in L4 as this can damage the transmission.
You do not need to do anything with the front hubs on these vehicles, all 4WD is operated from inside.
If you find, after engaging or disengaging 4WD that you are not moving at all, it is likely that you have selected N (neutral) and no power will be delivered to the wheels. It is an easy error to make, and fixed by re-selecting a gear.
When driving, please be aware of your speed and the Country speed limits. Even if the sign says 120kph, the road conditions may only allow for perhaps a maximum of 60kph. Be on the lookout for potholes, speed bumps, animals and people in the road. It is not uncommon for police to have speed traps. If you are stopped by police, be polite but firm and always ask for a receipt if they want to fine you. All the paperwork you have for the vehicle is correct and up to date.
Sometimes you may catch a pothole by accident. Brake before it, but try not to use the brakes as you go over it.
You are likely to cause damage to the vehicle as the front suspension will be compressed from braking; it might be bumpy, but riding over it is altogether better for you and the vehicle.
Crossing a Border
Border crossings are normally straightforward. Clear Immigration first and then move on to Customs. You will need to fill in forms, so make sure you take a pen with you. Fill in the export document – all the information you need is in the vehicle paperwork file – and get it stamped.
When entering the next country, again clear Immigration first and then you will need to fill out a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for Customs and pay the relevant local insurance/road tolls/permit fees. You should then be free to continue your journey.
When you re-enter Zambia, all you need to do is hand the export form back to Customs. Your carbon tax and insurance are still valid.
You may find lots of ‘helpful’ people at the border who will offer to do your paperwork for you. Please do not entertain these people, they will expect to be paid for their services and may not do it correctly.
Please take great care of the vehicle documents. The Interpol clearance is not something that can easily be replaced, and without it you will not be able to cross a border.
Do not take photographs at border crossings or of government buildings/bridges and people in uniform. If caught you will have your camera seized and you will be made to delete all of your pictures. Worst case your camera will be confiscated forever.
Always ask local people if they mind having their photo taken. If a person says no, then please respect their wishes – how would you feel if a stranger stuck a camera in your face and then walked away? Most people will be quite happy, but you may have to negotiate a fee for the photo. In today’s world of digital, it is a nice gesture to show the person their picture. Children will always be happy to oblige – beware of sticky fingers on your lens!
Beware of money changers at borders. It is illegal to deal with them, as blatant as they are, you will be arrested if caught, plus you are very likely to be ripped off by them. They are not to be trusted.
You will always get a better rate at a Forex in town, and it is a much safer option. If you find you need a little bit to cross the border, ask the Customs official on duty if he can help you out to change a few Dollars. This advice mainly applies to the Zambia/Malawi/Tanzania border, but road tolls are always paid in US Dollars. Remember USD notes should be dated 2004 or above. Old dated notes are no longer accepted.
When entering Botswana, all permits/fees must be paid in Pula. Sometimes they will allow Rand, but you will pay twice the price.
When entering Zimbabwe, all fees and tolls are paid in US Dollars.
When entering Namibia, cross border charges are payable in Rand or Namibian Dollars. The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are 1:1.
Do not rely on using an ATM/Credit Card. If there is no power, the ATM machine will not work!
The most widely used cards are VISA and MasterCard. Maestro very rarely, if ever, will work even though your bank will tell you otherwise.
Travellers Cheques are almost obsolete now, but if you do bring them, be prepared to wait in the bank all day. You will also be required to produce your purchase receipt (the proof you are supposed to keep separately) before the bank will even entertain cashing the cheque.
Vet/Animal Check Points
When travelling in Botswana and Namibia, you will be subject to search at the Foot and Mouth Vet checkpoints. You cannot take fresh uncooked meat/dairy and sometimes fruit across these check points. It will be taken from you and destroyed; you may also be fined depending on how much is found.
Check points are located:
Nata Vet Check approx. 50km north of Nata on the Nata-Kazungula road.
Ngoma Bridge Border with Namibia (incoming to Botswana).
Maun Vet Check approx. 60km before Maun on the A3 Nata-Maun road.
Habu Vet Check approx. 30km north of Sehithwa on A35 to Shakawe.
Ikoga Vet Check approx. 270km north of Sehithwa on A35 to Shakawe.
Kuke Vet Check approx. 72km from Sehithwa on the A3 to Ghanzi.
Mururani Gate, approx. 130km south of Rundu on B8
Werda Gate, approx. 78km north of Kamanjab on C35 to Ruacana.
Even if the meat you purchased is vacuum packed from a supermarket, you are still not allowed to take it across the checkpoint. Anything that is cooked is fine.
Using the Hi-Lift Jack
The Hi-Lift jack is a dangerous piece of equipment, and if not used correctly can cause serious injury.
• Securely chock and stabilise the vehicle to prevent it rolling or shifting as you lift it – look for rocks at the side of the road.
• Place the jack’s base plate securely on a firm and level surface (use the wood block if necessary) with the steel standard bar pointing straight up.
• Lift the reversing latch until it locks in the up position.
• Place the large runner into the bracket on the bumper, and make sure it is secure.
• Grasp the handle with both hands and carefully pump the handle up and down to raise the load. Make sure you move the handle all the way to the top and all the way to the bottom.
The load will be raised on each down stroke of the handle. Watch the load and the jack carefully. Stop lifting if either one starts to move. Do not continue until safe to do so.
• When the load is raised to the desired height, place the handle in the upright position clipped to the steel standard bar.
• To lower the jack drop the latch until it locks in the down position.
• Repeat the process to lower the load.
• Do not forget to remove the bracket from the bumper.
Instructions for using the tow rope
The vehicle carries a 70 litre water tank. The water is not treated therefore should be used for washing up and boiling only. Most city water is safe to drink, but may not be to Western taste. If you are not sure, buy bottled water.
Your 4×4 vehicle is equipped with kitchen/cooking equipment and also tools.
In the kitchen compartment, you will find 4 cups, bowls and plates along with a kettle, cooking pot, sharp kitchen knives plus knives, forks and spoons. There is also a black box containing tea towels, oven gloves, more pots and pans and utensils.
There is a washing up stand, with bowl and drying rack.
4 stools, a gas cooker plus 2 gas bottles and the table slides out from a frame in the roof.
The fridge will run off the leisure battery. However, if you are camped for a few days in the same place, please use the 10m extension cable to plug into mains power. You do not need to unplug the leisure battery connection; the fridge is clever enough to know different power sources. If you want the fridge set to freeze, it should be plugged into mains power overnight. (If the fridge is not working, check the fuses – one on the leisure battery and also in the back of the fridge itself).
Along with the small toolbox we also provide a panga, axe, saw, tow rope and shackles plus a small compressor in case of a flat tyre, spare bulbs and fuses.
You will be charged for any loss or damage to the equipment.
Your vehicle is supplied with two roof tents. Each tent contains a mattress with bottom sheet, 2 sleeping bags, 2 pillows and 2 towels. They are straight forward to put up and down, and it should only take a couple of times to perfect the operation.
Loosen the ratchet strap around the base of the tent and peel back the cover, then turn down the corners with the grommet holes.
By pulling out the ladder you are able to lever the tent open. Do not worry; it will not fall on you!
With the ladder propped level and secure, you can climb into the tent and unclip the bungee cords inside. The bungee cords are used to keep the tent in shape as it is folded away. Take note of how the bedding is folded. It must be in the same place for the tent to close correctly.
Place the spring steel arms into the grommet holes on the corners of the window fly sheet. Attach at the base first and then onto the fly sheet itself.
To dismantle, reverse the process.
Campsites vary quite considerably in their quality and facilities. Most should have running water – sometimes it might even be hot! And some are now providing mains power – but it is not to be relied on.
Not all will provide toilet rolls in the ablution blocks, so it would be wise to bring your own, just in case.
As a matter of safety, if you are bush camping or in a known wildlife area, do not leave any food out overnight or inside your tent, even if in the cool box. Make sure it is locked away securely along with any rubbish.
If you do happen to be visited by wildlife, particularly elephants, remain quiet and do not shine your torch/flashlight at them. Watch them from your tent, or inside the vehicle. If undisturbed they will pass without a problem.
Your vehicle is fitted with a standard Toyota 80 litre tank plus another 70 litre tank making the total of 150litres. These tanks feed into each other with the pick up being in the main Toyota tank. When your fuel gauge reads empty, it really is!
Normal driving on tarmac roads should give you between 8 and 10km to the litre – as a guideline a full tank is approx. 1200km.
If your adventure takes you off the beaten track into the bush, you must make sure you have plenty of fuel and water.
Tyres and Spare Wheels
Tyre pressure on the front is 2.5 bars.
Tyre Pressure on the rear is 3 bars.
You have 2 spare wheels. These are secured with padlocks, hidden in a small bag to protect them from dust. The keys to the padlocks are on the main key ring.
If you need to put air in the tyres you can either go to a garage or use the compressor provided.
To use the compressor:
• Attach the crocodile clips to the engine battery.
• The engine must be running when you switch on the compressor.
• Let the compressor run for a few seconds before attaching the line to the tyre valve. If you attach the line then switch it on, it will blow the fuse.
• Inflate the tyre.
Tyre damage is not covered by insurance; therefore if you damage a tyre and it cannot be repaired you will have to pay for it.
On the whole, most of the places you will travel are reasonably safe. However, common sense should be used at all times. If a situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
• Do not carry large amounts of money on you.
• Do not display any obvious wealth, such as a lot of jewellery or big cameras.
• Keep the vehicle locked at all times when unattended, if you are not sure, have someone remain with the vehicle, while you are shopping.
• Try not to have anything on display in the back of the vehicle.
Thefts from motor vehicles are unusual but becoming more common in larger cities. Quite often there are car park guards that will watch your vehicle for a small fee. A few coins or small notes will be sufficient.
If you are unfortunate enough to get something stolen, in order to claim from your insurance, you will need a police report. This potentially can be a mission to obtain, and you will have to pay for it. If it is a minor crime such as a theft and you were not injured or involved, tell the officer at the station you do not wish the crime investigated and all you need is a report. You should be dealt with fairly quickly.
Dehydration can happen without you realising, and can make you feel quite ill. The African climate is very different to yours at home, and it is important to drink plenty of water. If you cannot guarantee the tank water is safe to drink, you must either boil and treat it, or buy bottled water.
You are in a malarial hot spot, and the best way not to get malaria is not to get bitten. Take care to cover up and spray up as darkness falls. Always keep the zip closed on your tent to avoid unwanted visitors. The tents are mosquito proof, but if you are still not sure, you can buy Doom from any supermarket and spray the inside of the tent 20 mins before bedtime. Doom, as the name suggests, kills everything!
It is unlikely that you will catch Malaria whilst you are here, and it normally takes between 5 and 14 days to show itself after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If you start to feel unwell, for example feeling like you’re getting a cold or have a hangover you can’t shake, it would be wise to get tested. Most clinics, wherever you are, will be able to test you straight away and you will know the result within 20 mins.
If you are unlucky enough to catch malaria, it is recommended not to drink any alcohol for 1 month after treatment, to allow your liver time to recover.
As you are in an outdoor environment, it is important to remember to wash your hands before preparing or eating food.
Always make sure any vegetables are washed thoroughly or peeled before use.
You will find supermarkets in all major towns. Some may even be well stocked. Always buy meat at a supermarket. Vegetables can be bought either in the supermarket or from market stalls or individual sellers at the road side. You will find it is probably cheaper at the side of the road, and will give you some good interaction with local people.
There are some excellent souvenirs to be had, but please bear in mind that deforestation in Africa, and in particular Zambia is widespread and although you may be told that a woodcarving came from sustainable foresting, we cannot guarantee that to be true. Be wary of anyone wanting to sell you something made of Ebony. Ebony is a protected wood and therefore it is illegal to cut it down.
Also bear in mind that the beautiful wood carvings on offer are not treated and due to humidity changes when you get home, the carving is likely to split.
When shopping in markets, particularly for souvenirs, it is customary for you to bargain. Never pay the first price asked. As a rule half the amount of the first price and come up a little bit. Set yourself a limit. If you cannot get it for the price you want, then try another stall.
In shops, prices are normally fixed. However, it is always worth to ask for a ‘best price’, sometimes it works!