Houston family stuck in South Africa since February due to pandemic

HOUSTON – A Houston family is stuck abroad after taking a vacation to South Africa.

Cecil Nidever and his son, Joshua, left Houston for South Africa on Feb. 29. The pair had been planning the 4-week motorcycle trip for two years, according to Joshua. Cecil had been to South Africa before and wanted his son to have the same experience.

“It’s a beautiful country. People are nice,” Cecil said.

“We’ve enjoyed it. Great scenery,” Joshua said.

The Nidevers, who live and run a business in Houston, were only planning to spend a month in South Africa.

“It’s been pretty much an adventure from start to finish,” Joshua Nidever said.

The coronavirus pandemic had altered their trip, extending it by three weeks and counting. The father and son are now stuck in their Pretoria Airbnb.

“Since everything sort of hit the fan over here about the fourth week of our trip all of our flights began to be pushed back and pushed back to the point they were basically canceled because the South African government was no longer willing to allow flights in or out,” Joshua Nidever said.

He said they’ve been unsuccessful in reaching out to the American embassy in South Africa regarding a flight home. They were offered a repatriation flight back in early April but decided to wait things out due to Cecil’s health.

“Not very much was known about this virus,” Joshua Nidever said. “My father is elderly. He’s almost 70 years old. He has health issues. We decided just to hold off a little bit.”

He said now they’re having trouble getting a flight home. Two of their flights last week were canceled and another scheduled for Wednesday has been grounded.

“If we can get a flight pretty much anywhere in the world I think we’d be able to get out,” Joshua Nidever said. But it’s just South Africa has put these Draconian type laws in their books that it’s preventing South Africans from coming back home to South Africa, they’re preventing South Africans from leaving South Africa.”

Commercial flights are not being allowed in or out of the country they said unless the embassy coordinates a repatriation flight, according to the Nidevers.