Visa Woes

Submitted by Cecil Hill on Fri, 2017/07/07 - 17:59


The Angolan Embassy in Pretoria today rejected my visa application, which I submitted  on Tue 27 June 2017, on the grounds that, not only should one lodge a visa application in one's home country, said application should be made in one's home city - Cape Town in my case. This despite a motivation letter, detailing how I came to be in Gauteng at this particular juncture, accompanying the application.

To say that I am deeply disappointed would be the greatest understatement of my entire existence. I have spent the last 3 weeks in pursuit of this visa. The only bright side to the entire episode had been, ironically, an opportunity for me to spend a little more than a week at home in Cape Town, while waiting for today's outcome.

I believe it would take, at the very least, 2 more weeks for a Cape Town application, without any hint from the authorities that it would be successful. I am, besides the obvious risk of another failed application, simply not mentally able to "hang around any more"; I have to move on!
So the bottom line of this outcome is that I cannot proceed up West Africa.
The safety and security situation on the continent has always been a concern, but one that I have long ago decided I would deal with as and when I get there, i.e. now, rather than months in advance.

Given the long-running turmoil in the central african countries of the Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Chad and South Sudan, it was always inadvisable, if not impossible, to cross from one side of the continent to the other through that region. That left the DRC, the largest country in Africa after the split of the Sudan, as a critical country in moving from east to west, and vice versa. The DRC, however, poses its own challenges in this regard. The northern and eastern parts of the country have long been considered unsafe. The news coming out of the DRC from around the 4th quarter of 2016 has not been encouraging, but there was, until recently, a relatively safe "corridor", from Lubumbashi through Kinshasha, which I had hoped to pass through. That corridor, based on current advisories issued by the governments of the US, the UK and Canada, is now closed due to current events in the Kasai region.

The shortest, and for the moment still safe, passage across the DRC is the narrow strip at the mouth of the Congo river between Angola / Cabinda and the Republic of Congo. The only way to reach that narrow strip, safely, is via Angola!



Submitted by sndevilliers on Wed, 2017/07/12 - 11:48


Hi Cecil, what a disappointment! I assume that you'll now proceed along East Africa as far North as you can through safe regions. Perhaps the regional issues up West Africa get sorted while you travel up East Africa so that you can hopefully end your trip with a safe route up West Africa. Let's hope... Fanie

Hi Fanie,

That was my intention, until yesterday morning :-(

The best I can do up East Africa with any degree of "certainty", in respect of relative safety, is to reach Tanzania at the moment. I had intended to trek up the eastern border of Zim, through Tete, into southern Malawi, i.e. the route I had originally intended to follow south to SA before going to Vic Falls, then straight up along Lake Malawi into Tanzania. This is of course pretty straightforward but I am no longer doing so, for the following reasons:

  1. Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia are simply off-limits for the foreseeable future.
  2. Ethiopia is under a state of emergency.
  3. Rwanda has presidential elections scheduled for the 4th of August. There is great unhappiness with the current president, who has changed the constitution to allow himself to stand for a 3rd 7-year term, so conditions on the ground can change very quickly.
  4. Kenya has general elections scheduled for the 8th of August. General advice is not to visit before the end of August.
  5. Uganda is OK, but there are some hotspots to avoid.

I really don't want to travel all that way and not get into the above countries or, worse still, get caught up in their local issues.

So I am, as of tomorrow, heading to the eastern lowveld, then I will swing west into and through Botswana, then south through Namibia, unless something more appealing comes along...


Submitted by sndevilliers on Thu, 2017/07/13 - 17:12

Permalink is probably asking too much after your failed visa attempt for Angola, but is it completely off the cards to try to get a visa for Angola in Cape Town to make your West Africa dream a reality? I sincerely hope that a window will open somewhere. Hou moed! All the best!