The Countries (and visas)
I’ll be visiting anywhere from 25–27 countries, in order of appearance:
Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt
Out of all these countries, the only ones that require a visa prior to arrival at the border are Ghana and Ethiopia. I’ll take care of both of these at the DC embassies.
Most of the countries shouldn’t pose any problems, but the few flight risks are:
- Based on security risks, instead of going Senegal → Guinea → Sierra Leone → Ivory Coast, we’ll take an alternate route from Senegal → Mali → Ivory Coast
- Angola’s visa has a validity of 60 days, and it can be obtained in Ghana. In 2013 and 2014 there were no problems getting visas, but in 2011 the group was unable to obtain Angolan visa anywhere in West Africa. There are two potential workarounds, both of which I discarded: (1) Get a second (concurrent) passport, and mail this back to the U.S. within the 60 day validity window; and (2) Get a visa ahead of time, knowing it will expire, and hope that Angola honors the visa. Option 1 sounds a bit pricey, and Option 2 seems needlessly risky. If I’m unable to get a visa en-route, I’ll be forced to fly from Congo →Namibia, bypassing Angola.
- Sudan should provide visas to U.S. citizens but there are intermittent cases of U.S. citizens getting turned away at the border, likely due to the dicey political relationships between the two countries (Sudan is still under economic sanctions by the U.S. government). If I’m turned away, I’ll have to fly from Ethiopia → Egypt, savings me the $400 (!) Sudanese visa fees.