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Twenty seven days now.  That’s less time than fits in a February. At this point, gear shopping is complete (I will update the Cape to Cairo page more fully as soon as I have gone through everything and have a full idea myself of what is going in my backpack). Except for a lack of visas, I could set of tomorrow and get at least as far as Kenya. Which is to say both that I am now pretty darn ready – and that I still need visas.

Give my papers in to the visa processing person and then return later in the day to collect my passport, stamped with a nice, shiny visa. Except when it doesn’t work like that.

The process is, in general, a pretty straightforward one. Go to embassy in the morning with passport (sometimes with visa fee as well)  and appropriate form. Give my papers in to the visa processing person and then return later in the day to collect my passport, stamped with a nice, shiny visa. Except when it doesn’t work like that. Which is now the case at the Sudanese embassy. Giving in my passport at the beginning of the month, I knew it could take up to ten days before the application has been processed. 17 days later, they are still waiting for approval from Khartoum and I am beginning to fret a little, given that there are still a handful of embassies that need to be visited before departure.

There are, of course, workarounds. If I don’t manage to get a Sudanese visa in South Africa, then I can try again in Ethiopia, though it may mean a few days delay. If I don’t manage to get a Sudanese visa in Ethiopia, then I could try getting to Cairo via Djibouti or Eritrea and boat-based transport up to Egypt from there. For now, however, it is a matter of wait and see. My bag is packed, my life is nearing the point of being organised enough to up and leave and only collecting stamps remains – I have time still, even if it is not that much and decreasing rapidly.

It is also a state of affairs that bears getting used to. I don’t remember travel ever being about Plan A. Plan A was almost certainly the thing you would never get to do. It’s Plans C through H where the really interesting adventures tend to lurk.