Month: June 2015
UPDATE JANUARY 2016: UniVisa no longer issued
UPDATE JANUARY 2017: Univisa issued again
A tourist on African tour will have to obtain visas to many countries visited, which will be a costly and time-consuming affair. To somewhat alleviate this problem, new cross-border visas have emerged. Recently I wrote a blog post on the East African Tourist Visa (covering Kenya Uganda and Rwanda), There is also UniVisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia (also known as Kaza Visa), which was launched in late 2014. UniVisa will be valid for 30 days and allows multiple entries between these two countries. Only certain nationals are eligible for Univisa (listed here). UniVisa is especially handy for visitors going to Victoria Falls, as travellers can now easily cross the border without having to pay for two separate visas. However, the visa is still not available from most border posts and some international airports.
This year’s edition of the biennial Under 20 FIFA World Cup held in New Zealand came to an end with Serbia beating Brazil in the final at the dying minutes of Extra time. The third place final saw two African teams playing each other, where Mali defeated Senegal 3-0.
All four African teams in the tournament reached playoffs (top 16). This is much better feat than in senior World Cup where Africa struggles to send even one team past group stage. Ghana is the only African team to win U20 World Cup, in 2005. They have also recorded two lost finals and one third place, as have Nigeria, but the latter lacks a championship. This year’s third place was the second for Mali, the first one dating back to 1999.
The government of United Kindgdom has now partially lifted its advise against non-essential travel to the Kenyan coast. Tourist destinations including Lamu and Malindi are still under the advise (Watamu resort just south of Malindi was left out), as are any areas close to the Somalian border, and Garissa, the town subject to a recent university attack. They also advise against visiting Eastleigh area in Nairobi, but no tourist is likely to go there anyway.
Prior to the latest ruling, Mombasa town and the coast strip north of it were included in the advise against non-essential travelling. The United States has similarly issued a travel warning on Kenya. This warnings have prompted much criticism by the Kenyan government blaming them for the downfall in tourism, not only to coastal Kenya but to the country as a whole.
Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa last week to attend the African Union (AU) summit. Since South Africa has ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty, they were obliged to arrest Bashir once he entered the country. African Union, on the other hand, would provide him diplomatic immunity. Therefore the South African justice system had a dilemma to deal with. Bashir was given a notice of not being allowed to leave South Africa until a court decision is made whether South Africa can arrest him, but in the meantime Bashir fled the country. The ANC-led South African government vocally opposed arrest of Bashir. Why would they protect Bashir, who is being accused of rather serious crimes against humanity dating from Darfur crisis? Most African countries are against ICC nowadays even if the court was formed with the noble idea of bringing justice for the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. All investigations by ICC have been in Africa (only preliminary investigations have taken place in other continents). This has led to the popular opinion that ICC has an anti-African agenda.
Since 2014 the East African Tourist Visa (abbreviated here as EATV), has been available so tourists can enter Kenya, Uganda and/or Rwanda using a single visa. The visa will be valid for 90 days, is multiple-entry (but read my experiences below), and can be obtained on arrival at airports (not sure about border crossing points). The cheapest single entry visas to Uganda and Kenya cost 50 USD, and to Rwanda 30 USD. So if going to Kenya and Uganda, obtaining EATV makes sense, but if going to Rwanda and only either Kenya or Uganda and not re-entering any of these countries, then it will be cheaper to get single entry visas instead.
FIFA, the world governing body in football (soccer) has been under headlines last week. Despite being elected for yet another term as the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter resigned after only few days later due to mounting pressure over corruption cases. Blatter has made big steps helping to develop football in Africa, thus gaining almost unanimous support by African football federations.
Now that the Women’s World Cup held in Canada is kicking off, hopefully the sport prevails and off-field events stay in the background, despite the importance of ongoing investigations on FIFA. The number of teams participating the in the World Cup has been increased from 16 to 24, three of them from Africa (previously two), namely Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
Effective since the beginning of this week (1st Jun 2015), South Africa has implemented new immigration rules which are summarised on ENCA website. This affects everyone travelling to South Africa with children and those who need to apply for a South African visa. Child trafficking is being cited as the main reason for the new rules. The South African tourism industry is, however, concerned about possible negative impact on the number of international visitors.