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Computer Says No

Did we think that the visa nightmare was over? Well, Ethiopian visa just started giving us headaches. Most overlanders get theirs in their home countries. Others DHL their passports. We have no Ethiopian embassy in Bucharest and as we write we are working to verify which EU mission covers for Romania. So far our emails have remained unanswered. We had heard about a couple of happy accidents, so we investigated them, one by one:

[highlight color=’#393939′ background_color=’#ccff00′]Pretoria[/highlight]

Visas are no longer issued to non-residents. We were repeatedly told that in interviews with the secretary, the consul and later in the week by the ambassador herself, who called Addis to see if the rules could be bent for us. Go to Nairobi, she said, tell them I’d sent you. The consul suggested to get our SA visas extended to 6 months, but at Home Affairs it takes 30 working days to maybe get an answer and we could see why: hundreds of people are queuing  with far more legitimate issues than apply for a stamp in order to apply for another.

[highlight color=’#393939′ background_color=’#ccff00′]Harare

Even if our late dictator and Mugabe used to be buddies in the 80s, Romanian citizens do need to apply for a Zimbabwe visa. That proved to be not quite a walk in the park: hefty fee and 7-10 working days waiting time. A couple of phone calls to Harare at the Ethiopian embassy later the futility of the whole endeavor was certain. Non residents cannot successfully apply in Harare, so we will not go to Zimbabwe.

In the attempt to clarify our options, we have also emailed the Romanian diplomatic mission in Addis. Unfortunately our English is not good enough to translate their reply. It did not provide any useful information so we are [highlight color=’#393939′ background_color=’#ccff00′]back to square one.[/highlight]

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