Time for an update
We have been trying to ascertain if we can extend our stay in South Africa and, if so, how we go about it. Technically we don’t have visas. Just an entry stamp granting us a 90 day stay. Like shipping, it has been quite frustrating. We have tried emailing, phoning and searching the internet for answers. Getting nowhere, we decided we would make a trip to Durban Airport and talk to someone in Immigration. Durban Airport is not too far away.
Durban King Shaka Airport (named after a Zulu king) was lovely and quiet. We went to the information desk and asked to be directed to the Immigration Office. I was directed to call them on the desk phone. I asked if we could speak to someone face to face and a very helpful, young Immigration Officer came to talk to us.
It seems if our 90 day stay in South Africa has expired, if we re-enter South Africa from a neighbouring country, we should be given another 90 days. If there is still time left from our original entry date, we will only have this remaining time, though. The way things are going there won’t be any time left!
Adam had been waiting to get the name of the correct person to help us with our shipping issues in CMA CGM’s Durban office, from a contact at the shipping agent, who will handle our vehicles arrival in Durban. Due to the long weekend this had not been forthcoming.
We decided, as we had to pass CMA CGM’s office, on our was back to Kingsburgh, we would get some lunch first and then visit them. Adam wanted to take us to Umhlanga’s Gateway shopping mall, as there is a big selection of cafes and restaurants there. I also needed more airtime on my SIM.
While we were waiting for our lunch to be served, Adam spoke to his contact and managed to get the names of the senior management in the CMA CGM office. He called the National Service Delivery Manager and asked for an appointment during the afternoon.
Although we had not heard back from the National Service Delivery Manager, he agreed to meet with us when we arrived at CGM CMA’s office. We were taken to a meeting room and so we could all see the information on our reservation, he projected the information onto an overhead screen.
The reservation information was quite a revelation. It appears our container is due to leave tomorrow on the GH Maestro bound for Kribi, arriving on 7th. Where’s on earth is Kribi we asked? It’s in Cameroon! It should then transship to the CMA CGM Rabelais bound to Cotonou leaving on 13th and arriving on 17th. From Cotonou it is booked on the Leonidio leaving on 24th and arriving in Durban on 8th June.
This means two transshipments, so double the chance of things going wrong and yet another week later arriving in Durban than we had hoped. However, we left feeling more confident now we have a contact directly in CMA CGM, who knows what’s going on. He has promised to let us know tomorrow, if our container is loaded on the vessel and to send a message to the two transshipment ports requesting urgency and if there should be an earlier connection, to load our container on this.
I think if we get confirmation tomorrow that the container has left Lome we will feel better. Lome was a bad choice of shipping port. Two other overlanders we met en route, shipped from Abidjan and Tema (the port for Accra) without any delays. We await further news tomorrow, with trepidation.
An Addendum. Wed. 3 May.
Joy! Although no one has contacted us to say so, we see from the CMA CGM tracking site, that our container has been loaded.