A Border Crossing

When we arrived at the border town of Busia, Kenya, it was mass chaos.  There were tractor trailer trucks everywhere (like five lanes worth on a two lane road) waiting to cross the border.  That mixed with thousands of pedestrians milling about made it impossible to know where to go and what to do.  We were soon approached by a guy who said he could get us through in no time, so for a few dollars, we hired this “agent” to make it go quickly for us.  He then directed us to drive ahead of all the trucks, weaving in and out, until we reached the first of three gates.  Here we had to give him our car registration, driver’s license, insurance card, and 2500 Shillings ($35) so that he could deal with the car stuff while we went inside the immigrations office to get our passports stamped for leaving Kenya.  When we came out, he directed us to drive through the second gate into Uganda where once again he went off to deal with the car while we went into the Ugandan immigrations office to buy visas for Uganda.  When we came out, he had finished with the car, which amounted to importing it into Uganda and leaving the registration in Kenya.  This happens because Kenya doesn’t want anyone to cross the border and sell the car, but the import give you a temporary registration in Uganda.  We were then told that our insurance was invalid and we would have to pay nearly $100 dollars to buy insurance in Uganda.  They were only trying to fleece us and we knew it, so we had a standoff for 10 minutes on the issue and finally called our insurance agent in Nairobi who vouched for us.  The Ugandan officials finally released us and we were free to cross the third gate into Uganda.  This all took about an hour, and we realized that without our “agent” pushing us through the line, it would have taken who knows how long.  Upon returning to the border a few days later, we were required to export our car in order to get it out of Uganda.  What a mess.

Arial shot of Busia, Kenya.  This picture is still half a mile back from the border.

Arial shot of Busia, Kenya. This picture is still half a mile back from the border.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *