We’ve certainly had some ups and downs over the past few years, but that is true for most of us who have survived the pandemic. For many of us, we sadly lost loved ones, while many of us managed to recover from Covid-19, albeit with long-haul symptoms for some. I am grateful to finally recover from an awful bout of Omicron with symptoms that lingered for eight months, from April to December 2022. Whew!
Today, we are reminded that we traveled from Mumbai, India, to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger, South Africa, taking 2½ days. I recall being so grateful to be here that neither of us was very tired when we arrived.
We’ve left several times over the past two years for a new 90-day visa stamp. Here’s what we’ve done in each case since our arrival in January 2021, keeping in mind that each time we go to our “home country,” we can re-enter South Africa without incident.
January 2021: We started a new 90-day visa. We self-quarantined for 11 days upon our arrival. Louise grocery-shopped for us so we could cook our meals during the quarantine period.
April 2021: We had booked a tour to Kenya for a few weeks, but then Kenya closed its borders, and we had to cancel everything. At that point, South African immigration provided free 90-day extensions without application to travelers already here.
July 2021: Traveled to Minnesota to get vaccinated and see family. We returned to South Africa with a new 90-day visa since we were coming out of the US.
October 2021: Traveled to Zambia and Botswana for one week, receiving new 90-day visas upon our return.
January 2022: Visa extensions were applied for and received for a new 90-day period with the law firm’s assistance in Cape Town, South Africa.
March 2022: We traveled to the US, sailed on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton, and got Covid on the ship on April 20, having to cancel the next cruise we’d booked, losing our money. Stayed in the US for several weeks. We returned to South Africa with a new 90-day visa since we were coming out of the US.
May 2022: We returned to South Africa with a new 90-day visa since we were coming out of the US.
August 2022: Traveled to Zambia and Botswana for a week and received a 90-day visa (with dissatisfaction from the immigration officer that stated, “you are border-hopping.”
November 2022: A failed trip to Seychelles due to government regulations at the last minute resulted in our traveling to the US. Returned to South Africa in December for a new 90-day visa, expiring on March 9, 2023
March 2023: Currently working with the same law firm in Cape Town, hoping to receive another 90-day visa extension. Once received, we’ll be able to stay until early June, when we’ll leave South Africa for about a year to embark on other travels.
We had sent the request for the extension process, including the necessary documents to get started on December 22, allowing ample time for the law firm to get our file started. The country now has a requirement that applications for extensions must be submitted within 60 days of the current visa expiration date, but it also states on other sites that it’s 45 days. On some government sites, it says the 60-day period allows ample time for processing. So, now we are waiting to hear from the law firm today that applying will be acceptable.
There’s always a Plan B. In the worst-case scenario, we can fly to Newark, New Jersey, one of the closest US airports, spend three or four days and then fly back here for another 90-day visa. We are prepared to do this if necessary or if our request for an extension is denied for some reason.
My arm continues to improve. Last night, I slept for a much-needed nine hours. It feels good to be rested to this extent, and now without the lingering Covid-19 symptoms, I feel better today than I have since last April before we got Covid. Tom is doing great as usual and is content to spend the better part of each day on the veranda, watching US football and reviewing his other interests.
Photo from one year ago today, January 11, 2022:
Two years ago today, I was wearing my N-99 mask, face shield, and gloves continuously during the entire 2½ days of travel from Mumbai, India, to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport. The post may be found here. For the year-ago post commemorating this date the previous year, please click here.