Import tax when ordering tent from AliExpress

Long time listener, first time caller :grinning:

I’m looking to buy my first backpacking tent. I’ve seen very good reviews of the Naturehike stuff and I’ve sort of got my mind set on the Mongar 2. Now, we have the Naturehike South Africa store, which is very convenient, but I’ve noticed that the tents are about 3x more expensive than on AliExpress.

I’ve used Ali before, and I’m not too stressed about ordering from them, but as we know, the site price + shipping excludes import tax, which must be payed upon collection.

So I’m wondering if someone here has ordered a tent from Ali, and what they paid for import tax? The Mongar 2 + shipping is currently available for under R1500 on Ali, leaving a comfy headroom for import tax before Ali would become the more expensive option, but it’s worth checking first.

Also, if anyone has ordered a tent from Ali, how long did you wait? I’ll need mine by mid-October.

I bought a 2 man TNF tent from ebay USA and I only paid R400 at Post Office upon collection for R2500 tent. Wasnt bad

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you will pay VAT (actually more than 15%) - see link below

the specific import duties over and above VAT are in a lengthy document here (under part 1):

to my knowledge no additional tariffs for hiking tents; but please double check.

other considerations are “time to” and security of delivery (I have lost my fair share of electronics in our mail system) ; as well as after sales service. generally i prefer to support local importers as they establish the local market, offer after-sales service and ensure that items are generally available on short demand. that said, i have imported the odd item myself to save money or get hold of something that’s not available in SA.


I bought a R1200 backpacking tent from AliExpress last year which was sent by post to Cape Town. Took about 4 months, but on collection I wasn’t charged anything by the Post Office.


I see it is about half price but how reliable is the shipping. Also, do any of the shipping options (other than DHL) offer insurance (R1.7k in shipping makes it more expensive that ordering through SA store)? I would worry about our SA postal service on a R2k order.

The thing about supporting local importers is something I haven’t considered, and now I’m leaning towards working through the local NH guys again – thanks for bringing it up!

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I believe the shipping from AliExpress is quite reliable. AliExpress themselves do the whole buyer protection thing. I wouldn’t use DHL, and just be prepared to wait (much) longer. But as you say, SAPO is a very risky link in the chain. I’ve been looking at services like Scott’s Shipping and Postbox Courier to get around the SAPO issue, but that pushes the price up beyond what the local importers ask. So I think in the end I will just use the local NH store for the tent. I’m still keen to try AliExpress for smaller items that I don’t mind the risk on as much.