09 March 2010
passport control woes
so, the cape argus cycle tour is coming up. the organizers of the cycle tour scored a major coup in getting lance armstrong to attend.
lance arrived last nite. well, sort of.
see, for south africa [as well as namibia and lesotho], you need to have two blank pages in your passport, or they won't let you in. rubbish.
as i said on crackbook, this does not fare well for world cup visitors from other parts of africa, especially people flying from the united states or europe on african passports. you see, with african passports, you need visas for almost everywhere, and you are very likely to fall foul of this while flying to south africa for the world cup.
this has been mentioned in thought leader, and i'm going to give a bit of advice stemming from this article. if you are flying into joburg and fall foul of this, they will deport you. instead of letting them deport you back to the country from whence you came, ask to be deported to swaziland, which doesn't have this rule. if you're a first-worlder, there's probably an embassy for your country in swaziland, so you can quick get some extra pages. if you're not a first-worlder, then you may have to stay in swaziland for a few days until your passport can be replaced in pretoria. depending on the country, it's very likely that you might miss the matches for which you have tickets. it may be a good idea to consult your embassy before embarking. oddly enough, he very presciently says "i wonder if they're going to say anything about this for the world cup"... and if you look closely, the blog entry was written in 2008.
also, in the comments section of that thought leader entry, i've mentioned some really crappy experiences that i've had at the hands of immigration officials. [you should be able to spot it fairly easily.]
but it was worth a chuckle. and even a black-belt traveller like lance hints at the phallic nature of the passport control officials in this situation.