I spent a week in Nairobi after my first visit to the Embassy of Ethiopia. Wildebeest was a good place to while away the time as I searched for a way to get a visa without flying home. A visit to the Egyptian Embassy revealed I couldn’t get a visa for Egypt in Nairobi either, and I wasn’t sure about visas on arrival at the new land border. I found a nice group of people at Wildebeest, with whom I made friends quickly. Cheng, the cyclist from China, and I made trips to local restaurants, although the traffic did make this difficult. There was a group of Norwegian and Finnish medical students hanging around too, and we got along well.
It was around this time that I learned that the ferry from Israel to Turkey had been suspended too. It seemed like the routes heading north were closing down around me. 6 months earlier it would have been smooth sailing, but politically much of Africa and the Middle East is falling apart. It seemed there was a new wall of bureaucracy I’d have to climb, and that it couldn’t be conquered from Nairobi. So I booked a flight to Johannesburg, and early on a Sunday morning I flew back to South Africa, leaving my Alfa Romeo in Nairobi. By noon I was back on SA soil, where I picked up a horrid little rental car and made for Pretoria.
I took up a room in a local backpackers and spent a week running between different embassies trying to get my visas approved. I was met with resistance even here. If I fly into Ethiopia I can walk in and pick up a visa at the airport. If I drive I need to provide three month bank statements, hotel bookings, proof of onward travel and the details of my vehicle, as if it was my plan to sneak into Ethiopia and live off the state in lovely Addis Ababa. Or maybe they just don’t want tourists to spend any money in Ethiopia. While standing in line at the Egyptian embassy I met a courier for a visa agency (visas zone) and we got to talking and he recommended I fly home, and let them sort everything out for me, which sounded like a great idea, so that’s what I did. I returned the little Ford/Volkswagen/Toyota (Or whatever it was) and caught a small plane to Pietermaritzburg, where a friend of mine met me and took me back to good old Dargle.