Need-to-know for cross-border bike travel (ie Namibia)

Compliance guide for transporting your bicycle across the border

Sending your bike from SA to NAM, and back? To Vioolsdrif, and beyond!

When doing cross-border bike travel there are a few things to consider. And I am writing this just as my in-laws are making their way (some of the already there) to go fishing in Hentiesbaai. It’s a magical place, where you have the cold Atlantic ocean in front of you and the vast expanse of the desert behind you, and you feel like the only person on earth.

When you get a quote for sending your bicycle across, most often it may exclude things like insurance, all clearance, VAT and import costs. And the same charges will apply when you bring the cargo back into South Africa again. How much is the clearance? For a a temporary export / import it will be minimal.

Travel time

This will depend on where your are sending to and from, but will be disclosed in the quote (although not cast in stone or guaranteed). It typically takes 7 working days from the far corner of South Africa into Namibia. Across the border and through all the paperwork (more on that below). 7-days croissants, anyone?


You will be asked for a declared value (and description of your goods), and should you be taking Liability cover, the values must be the same. However, it may be much quicker, cheaper and easier to just arrange your own insurance through your own broker, rather than taking up liability cover for cross-border transport through a courier company. 


You will need to Download the clearance instruction from the link below, complete in full and attach to the shipment. Here is an example template from DSV. Plus a generic one. The CIFF contains importer/exporter and shipment details, plus delivery instructions, authorisation and acceptance. Have a look, it’s pretty straightforward.

Kindly note an exporters code is required and the Namibian CIF must be completed and stamped by the receiver. And, off course, it goes without saying, that there will be a transit delay should invoice and other necessary and/or required documents not be uploaded. So do it right the 1st time round.


You also need an Invoice for each bike detailing purpose of export and value.

What to pack and what to leave

Firstly, leave your CO2 bombs (don’t shout that at the airport!) behind.

Secondly, don’t have water bottles filled with energy drinks or even powdered sachets in your packed bike box. Reason being is that All liquids and powders require additional Material Safety Data sheets and other regulatory documents to be uploaded and will incur additional handling and shipping charges

Thirdly, refrain from packing fragile items as far as possible, and if you must, mention this upfront. Medication, Foods, and supplements are subject to destination restrictions, permits and/or legislation — in short: NO EPO 🙂

Finally, Confidential and legal documents are sent at client’s own risk.


Destination Vat, Duties, taxes, clearance, and storage fees excluded from the quotations and freight charges. All cargo is shipped on the Incoterm 2021 DAP (Delivery at Place and receiver to pay taxes). Should you wish to change this please, contact the International Contact center. Or your local courier company or agent.

However, this might not be a case where you are selling your bike and sending it cross-border to someone who is buying it from you. You might be sending your own bike, like going on a biking holiday or to a race and returning it back to SA afterwards. Then obviously you ultimately remain responsible for the taxes. Makes sense, right?

PS, Incoterms are a set of International Commercial Terms that are globally recognized. It clarify buyers’ and sellers’ obligations in international trade agreements. For more on this and DAP (Delivered-at-place) or DPP (Delivered Duty Paid, ie seller responsible), check out this great explanation on project44.


Surcharges and auxiliary charges will be billed on a secondary invoice. For example, Delivery areas that are not in Main centers / capital cities may be subject to a surcharge. Therefor it is important that you specify the full delivery address accurately upfront. While a Game Farm 100km North of Windhoek may be ‘quick’ to get to in Nam terms, but it is certainly not the same as Windhoek CBD for freight charges.

Should a dimension of the package exceed 120cm there will be an additional surcharge. The maximum allowed dimensions for bike boxes on most airlines are capped at 140*30*80cm. This is also the exact dims of our Ultimate BikeBox (no coincidence there). And we specify same upfront when doing a quote.

Plus, Should the weight of any one piece exceed 70kg please contact the international contact center. The volumetric weight of your bicycle will typically be 140*30*80 divided by a factor 4000 or 5000 (depending on which courier company you use) to get a volumetric weight of either 68kg or 84kg (rounded up), respectively. However, it is highly unlikely that the actual weight of your bicycle will exceed this. For example, road bikes are typically sub-10kgs. MTB’s just over, say 10-15kgs. Whereas e-bikes are double that, around 30kgs — but certainly not 70kg.

But what does it cost?

You can send a large e-bike in 160*30*80 boxed dimensions from a remote area in South Africa to Windhoek Namibia for R1500 to R2000.  Correct at the time of writing. This depends on whether you have to use another providers exporters code etc. And sending multiple bikes reduces the marginal cost of each, as there are some fixed and sunk costs already covered. So there you have it, ballpark figure.

Sounds daunting?


We’ll make it happen.

Leave a Reply