Stuck in Africa

Mar 19, 2013 View Comments by

stuck in africa-wp2This is a picture of celebration. Five minutes ago we left the Yemen Embassy in Djibouti, Africa. We were told to come back in the afternoon to pick up our visas. We finally have a way out of Africa!!!

Backstory: In 2011 Nick Rader and I went on a five-month trip from the bottom of Africa to the top of Norway. As we rode north through Africa it became harder to obtain the necessary visas. In Kenya, we got our personal visas at the border but they wouldn’t import our motorcycles. (So we had to sneak in illegally.) For Ethiopia we were lucky enough to already have gotten our visas ahead of time back in the states. Other travelers were waiting up to a month to receive theirs, but we were able to cross the border in one day. But now we had a serious problem. Sudan was currently in distress having just come out of a civil war, which split the country in half. Add to that the fact that they already don’t like America, which we are heavily associated with, and traveling through Sudan wasn’t going to happen. We still tried though, jumping through the hoops at their embassies in both Nairobi and Addis Ababa.

With Sudan crossed off the list, we moved north to the small country of Djibouti next to the Red Sea. We were going to try to get a visa for Saudi Arabia and take a ferry up the sea. However, Saudi Arabia only issues land visas, which meant that we couldn’t enter by boat and had to go to Yemen in order to cross into Saudi Arabia by land.

Next we found ourselves standing on the side of a dirty street in Djibouti talking through bars in the Yemen Embassy building. We only needed one more letter from the U.S. Embassy and they would issue us a visa. This was good news, but we had to get this letter first. The U.S. Embassy explained that they would write the letter for us, but because they were not taking civilian requests today, we would have to come back tomorrow to get the letter. Always confused with government logic, we turned back for the hotel anxious to get a visa from any country.

The next day, as promised, we did get the letter from the U.S. Embassy; we took this priceless document over to the Yemen Embassy. They were satisfied. They told us to come back in the afternoon to pick up our visas. After all this work, you can imagine how happy Nick and I were to find a way out of Africa, so we could move on to the next leg of the journey. This is the moment when I shot this photo of success. A few hours later we returned to the Yemen Embassy to pick up our fresh visas, but the visas were not approved by the councilor. We were still stuck in Africa with no more ways out!




Tags: , , , Categories: Luke Swab

About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.