After what seemed an eternity my South African visa finally came through! Relieved to have a passport back in hand, for a few nights I slept with it tucked under my pillow.
In the past I’ve entered African countries on one- to three-month visitor visas. Applying for an extended non-business visa in a foreign country was a new experience. The humbling process took longer than anticipated. The consulate delves deeply into your background, health, and finances. After gathering the extensive information required, you must appear in person at the nearest South African consulate (Los Angeles for me) to present your application during an intense one-on-one interview with an immigration officer. Then, you wait weeks or months to learn your fate – visa approved or denied.
My only point of comparison was obtaining a ten-year visitor visa for India many years ago. That process had the support of a San Francisco spiritual center and seemed a breeze compared to the tribulations of this procedure which began in July and ended with the four-year renewable visa being granted in December, almost six months later.
Part of the delay was an FBI Police Clearance which involved fingerprints and took several months. There was further delay at the consulate. South Africa’s summer is a busy time of year, and many people visit.
No matter where I travel, my heart pulls me back to massive, mysterious Africa. The last visit was in 2011, the first in 1988. The attraction is deep, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time there enjoying Africa’s people, animals, and exquisite landscapes! As they say in South Africa – lekker – it’s a magic palce!
After spending a few weeks in Cape Town visiting friends and favorite places, I begin an exciting two-month, nine-country overland safari ending in Nairobi. During the adventure safari, you can simply enjoy the marvelous African scenery or participate in a variety of adrenaline-producing activities.
Safari members must provide proof of travel insurance before departure :). The more challenging activities include scuba diving, rock climbing, abseiling, shark cage diving, sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, gorge swinging, white water rafting, zip lining, and unbelievably even more! Think I’ll stick with kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling, but white water rafting on some of Africa’s well-known rivers and hot air ballooning over a game park both sound fascinating!
Memories of an overland safari in 2005 are still vivid. We began at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe experiencing the “real” Africa while traveling north bush camping through wild, rough backroads and treacherous terrain in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. My body wouldn’t agree to more extended bush camping, so this “comfort” safari covers similar terrain but with basic accommodation.
Pitching a tent in the African wilderness wondering what critter might visit you during the middle of the night no longer seems like fun. The “sissy” :) comfort safari is reasonably priced and led by a well-qualified local crew. It will be a be a rich experience with a group of about 15 adventurous people from all over the world – none of whom I know yet.
If you’re interested in the details along the way, check out the posts on my travel blog. The itinerary covers vast, incredible African terrain and is an opportunity to enjoy nature and learn more about the history and culture of each country. See attached media photos of some of the places we’ll visit.