On the last day in Bloemhof I booked a week’s holiday in Mozambique with a tour group. The trip logistics were all planned out and I just needed to get to a lodge outside of Maputo on the evening of March 25. I booked plane tickets that day (free with points on my credit card) and organized transport from the airport.
On Friday afternoon I got a call from the travel agent asking if I had gotten my visa to Mozambique already. I had read online that it was not necessary to get it in advance and told the travel agent so. She replied that on-arrival visas were becoming more difficult to get and that I should check with the embassy just in case. I called the embassy on Monday morning (since Friday was a holiday) and they said that yes, indeed, I needed to get it in advance but that it could be processed the same day. I downloaded and filled out the form and got everything together.
I had a big meeting on Monday morning that lasted much longer than expected so I only got to the embassy at 1 pm. I was told that I was too late that day! Visa applications were only accepted from 8 am to noon each day! I would have to return the next day.
Of course, my flight to Mozambique departed the next day but I was assured that I could get the visa at 2:30 pm and my flight wasn’t until 7 pm, so that should be enough time.
I also needed to get anti-malaria medicine. I asked at the equivalent of CVS and was told I needed to get a prescription. With no local doctor, I was unsure of how to solve this problem until Jessica suggested that I ask at the chemist. There’s one next to the office and in just a few minutes I was set (the day before my trip).
After dropping Jessica off at work on Tuesday, I headed back to the embassy to put in my application. I handed in the paperwork and was told that I needed to go to an FNB bank and deposit R750 ($70) into their account. The nearest FNB bank was 6 km away, with heavy morning traffic. Once I made the deposit, I had to return to the embassy to drop off the deposit slip as proof of payment. Then I had to wait until 2:30 pm to pick it up.
I tried to keep my anxiety level to a minimum but it was difficult because not only was I waiting for the visa, I was also waiting to borrow a sleeping bag from Suzy and she forgot to bring it Monday and Tuesday morning!
I went back to the Mozambique embassy at 2:30 and picked up my passport with the freshly assigned visa. What a sign of relief that was!
Suzy had her husband drop off the sleeping bag at the office just as I was leaving to go to the train so that worked out as well, but just barely.
It was nail-biting at times, but it all worked out at the last minute. I caught the train I wanted to, got to the airport on time, had a decent dinner there and waited for my one-hour flight.