You can go as a foot passenger or with a vehicle.
If you are in a hire car you will need to check and get special permission. Mostly hire cars, due to insurance agreements do NOT allow you to take the car into Zambia. And, mostly because of the politial climate and perceived crime, most hire companies do not want their vehicles taken into Zimbabwe. We managed to get permission to take our car into Zimbabwe to the town of Victoria Falls only (because this is a touirst route and policed) but we were not allowed to overnight there. It was a strict daytrip only.
VERY IMPORTANT - To go across to ZAMBIA follow the road to the Zagungula border and keep STRAIGHT straight onto the sandy banks of the Zambezi River. Lorries will queue to the left but cars go straight down to the waters edge. There is nothing to tell you you are at the official crossing. Do not worry. Crocs and hipps abound - be VERY careful. To go across to ZIMBABWE TURN RIGHT before you get to the river bank. I believe there is some kind of police building here. NB we missed the turn and ended up in Zambia!
For Zambia you pay one way - on the way there you pay on the ferry. On the return you must go to an office and buy a ticket.
You MUST have special reflector stickers on your vehicle. There will be 'agents' who can sell you some.
When you arrive in Zambia you must have ALL the necessay paperowrk/documents to export/inport yourself and your vehicle (we did NOT have permission or paperwork to take the car into Zambia ut after delays they let us in with it regardless!). For a tourist with a car it is extremly confusing - there are many huts to go to, we were additonally confused because we thought we were in Zimbabwe!!! We ended up with an 'agent' who guided us (for a fee) through the process.
Ferry across ONE WAY for 1 vehicle 4 passengers : USD20 (approx £12) (TOTAL USD 40)
Carbon Emissions : 100,000zmk (approx £13)
Kazungula District Council : 20,000zmk (approx £2.60)
Zambian Car Insurance (lasts for 1 mnth) : 112,500zmk (approx £15)
Road Angency / Entry fee : (I think this was in USD not ZMK) $10 (APPROX £6)
We also had to go into a hut and pay the police (in USD) and I believe there was some other man we had to give cash to!
After that we had to pay for the visa NOTE Immigration knew we were only doing a day trip but tried to charge us for a full visa. There are special day visas if you are going to be confined to the town of Livingstone (i.e to see Victoria Falls).
As I said we did end up with an 'agent' as we didn't really know what was going on. They organised the carbon emissions for us whilst we were trying to clear another desk, so it saved a lot of time... after we left the gates (with heavily armed military) the 'agents' wanted thier money. They tried to get us to drive down to the bottom of a sandy bank to 'do business' (1) we were in 2WD so did not like the idea of that & (2) there were about 12 of these 'agents' and we considered our safety - now obviously they are not meant to do their 'agent' job so we appreciated why they wanted to be paidcovertly but we wanted in the open for safety. As it turned out they were very nice guys. They request an outrageous amount of money from my husband (i.e the man & the person in the driving seat). I quickly emptied my purse of all but a few notes in both ZMK & USD and shoed him that wsa all we had. He laughed, took it and gave me a bic biro in exchange. Laster when we crossed back we were greeted by them like old friends... just be careful though! (and I should mention we had asked the ferryman about our 'agent' and he assured us he was a 'good guy' - we felt that that was a better recommendation than none as we were concerned about being totally ripped off!).
REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR GUIDEBOOK OR LOCALS SAY - CHECK ON THE ZAMBIAN/ZIMBABWEAN SIDE WHAT TIME THE LAST FERRY IS AND MAKE SURE YOU GET THERE A COUPLE OF FERRYS BEFOREHAND. (The official on the Zambian side could not stress this to us enough!)
This information was correct as of August 2009.
I think it is best if I describe how I found it :
A short drive from Kasane under the cover of total early morning darkness (avoiding elephants as we went), we arrived at where we believed we caught the ferry from. A line of trucks down the left hand side of the road helped confirm this probably was the place but with no office, sign or official it really was relying on our best guess!
We had been advised the borders opened at 6am and the ferry would run then, too. W sat from 5:30am until about 9am happily (and bored) watching hippos, crocodiles, kingfishers and other assorted wildlife. We watched locals clean their teeth and wash in the Zambezi and played I-Spy! We could see the ferry on the other side and we were willing it to come to us!
We were the first car on the banks but when the ferry arrived a serious amount of agry-bargy fuelled with road rage was the ONLY thing that ensured our car got onto that ferry - vehicles suddenyl came from nowhere and at all angles and the ferryman who was 'directing' the vehicles onto the ferry did NOT want us to get on... but we were determined and on we bloody well got!
Once on you must follow Mr Ferrymans directoins - he is the king of this particular (barely-floating) castle! Then you exit your car and stand or sit along the front and sides (try not to slip in the oil). Nobody believes in highering the tailgate which is quite scary as the water starts to seep on and the ferry looks to be trying to imitate a submarine!!! Chaos rules supreme when you reach the other side and everybody and every vehile tries to get off asap and at the same time! There is nothing to help the virgin crosser PARK ON THE LEFT opposite the run of official huts.
Make sure you take ALL passenegers and ALL documents out of the vehicle as you do not want to prolong the agonizingly slow process of trying to get into the country. The more official agents will ALWAYS get themselves, their vehicles and their passengers through first. There is that fine line of letting the officials know you are aware and annoyed and being patient and polite because they are the officials (in their sunglasses) and they hold all the power!
NB When you return to Botswana the process is much much quicker but one thing to be very aware of.... remember you drove on from the sandy river bank in the morning... imagine how it looks after all day on and off heavy lorries... the sand is deeply ridged and how our 2WD managed to get off the ramp and up the bank I will never know but will always be thankful for... the god of the 2WD's was looking after us!!!
oh and don;t forget (like us) to veer off to the LEFT on re-entering Botswana... you have to do the old foot & mouth wiping feet and swashing tyres thing.... we merryily went past, got told in no uncertain terms to go back, got a stern ticking off before everybody collapsed about laughing at the stupid, white tourists!!! It had been a long day but we laughed with them!
To enter the city of Kasane, turn left on this intersection on the Chobe road from Namibia. Drive stright ahead to enter Kazungula (Zambia, Zimbabwe and Gaborone).
The road from Kasane to Zimbabwe pass through the intersection of Kazungula. From there it's a short drive (1-2 km) to Kazungula border post. It's easy to take a taxi.