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TL;DR - Do US consulates "release" visa interview slots on a somewhat ad-hoc basis making it necessary to regularly check their web site in order to make a reservation for an interview a few weeks ahead of time?

I am presently in the USA on an H-1B visa along with my wife with an H-4.
We are planning to travel back to my home country (South Africa) over the Dec'16/Jan'17 holiday period and, since our original visas expired (but have ofc been renewed) we're going to have to pay a visit to a US consulate in SA (preferably Cape Town) in order to have new visas issued so that we can return to the USA in January.

When making our travel plans I checked the visa interview availability on the US State Dept web site for the consulates in SA and saw that appointments were open to be booked 8 or 9 calendar days in advance (and processing time should be 2 working days). So I finalized my plans and then proceeded to complete our online DS160s and continued through to book an appointment. After paying the MRV fee and getting to the booking calendar, I found that I could book a slot almost any day in November, but the only day open in December was the 6th (10 days before I planned to arrive).
So I called the US Consulate visa call-center in SA and was advised that the consulate had not yet released their full availability for December and that I should book a slot on the 6th, but check back daily and reschedule when new dates became available,

Does anyone know if this really happens?
Is there any real likelihood that I will see some appointment dates open up later in the month if I wait a few days or should I cut my losses now and make other arrangements ... ?

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    That sounds like a perfectly reasonable explanation. After all there are plenty of appointment slots open for this month, so it's not like they are exceptionally busy. Most people want an appointment as soon as possible, rather than several weeks away. – Michael Hampton Nov 8 '16 at 16:40
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    Thanks @MichaelHampton - makes me feel a little better. Planning too far in advance isn't something I'm usually guilty of ... – brhans Nov 8 '16 at 17:39
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So - to answer my own question:
Yes this does happen.
I've been checking interview appointment availability on the consulate web site twice a day since I made the original appointment, and today saw some new slots open up in the date range I was aiming for and I've now rescheduled for the 19th.

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Is there any real likelihood that I will see some appointment dates open up later in the month if I wait a few days or should I cut my losses now and make other arrangements ... ?

Since there is likelihood there is no need to bother with other arrangements. 'Push comes to shove' and you still have 10 days anyway.

According to the US Consulate visa call-center in SA:

the consulate had not yet released their full availability for December

It is not unusual in general for additional appointment slots to become available with time and some of the reason for this is considered at Taking someone else's cancelled German visa appointment slot - realistic?.

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