Our 9-year travel anniversary!!! Our new itinerary!!!…

Selfie of us in India in February 2020, before lockdown, excited to be on our way to the palace and Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India.

Here it is, October 31, 2021, a date celebrating Halloween in some countries but not here in South Africa. There won’t be any trick or treaters at our door tonight. Instead, we’ll celebrate. Differently, the ninth anniversary of the day we began our journey.

Last night, we had guests for sundowners, Carrie and Jim, who are much younger than us, in their 40s, who’ve been living a lifestyle almost exactly like ours. Their journey began in 2019. They arrived at 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, and didn’t leave until 10:30, 2230 hrs, undoubtedly indicative of the similar stories we had to share.

We’ve met a lot of world travelers over the years, but Carrie and Jim’s story was oddly most similar. We’d been to a number of the same places, experienced the same challenges, and like us, they’ve come away, hungry for more. The tremendous benefit they have is youth. With their resiliency and determination, they may continue for decades. One never knows, which we all agreed, how long we’ll choose to continue on this path or if our health in some manner prevents it.

The two of us, nine years ago, at Tom’s retirement party, about one week before we began our travels.

Last night, we were shocked when it rained in buckets, eventually turning into hail. We’d never seen hail in Marloth Park. Such an oddity for the bush. We were relieved our rental car was parked under the carport roof, free of any potential damage. The hail lasted about five minutes, but the pounding rain continued for about an hour.

At one point, we had to go inside the house when the wind was blowing, and we were all getting wet. The delightful conversation continued as we shared story after story of our travels and similarities. Surely, we’ll see them again before they leave Marloth Park on December 1st.

But, now today, as we celebrate our ninth anniversary with dinner guests coming again at 4:00 pm, we’re excited to share this special day/evening with friends Alan, Fiona, Nick, and Joan.

Today, I spent the entire morning in the kitchen, and now at almost noon, I have only a few items to fuss over once they arrive. The starters, the salad, the entree, and the vegetables are prepared except for last-minute cooking, leaving me free to spend time with our guests on the veranda while sipping our wine and drinks and enjoying the wildlife.

Without a doubt, we anticipate another enriching day in the bush. As I write here now, two Big Daddies came to call. The larger of the two ate an entire half of a massive head of cabbage before our eyes. His adeptness at breaking up the huge chunk into bite-sized pieces was a delight to see.

So, folks, here it is, our new itinerary, as promised, posted on our anniversary. Yes, there are several holes we have to fill in time, most of which will be dictated by how Covid-19 rolls out over the next few years. However, if the situation improves, even a little, we’ll be excited to fill in the gaps with fantastic adventures and visits to some new (to us) and different countries we’ve yet to explore.

The future looks bright for all of us world travelers, as long as we stay the course, maintain a positive attitude, manage our health and well-being and continue to strive to see those unique places on this planet that calls to us.

Marloth Park, South Africa Holiday rental 85 10/31/2021 1/23/2022
Flight – Nelspruit, South Africa to Tampa, Florida Travel Day 1 1/23/2022 1/24/2022
Florida -visiting friends, traveling thru state Travel 74 1/24/2022 4/8/2022
Cruise – Fort Lauderdale to South Hampton – Trans Atlantic Celebrity Silhouette 13 4/8/22 4/21/22
 UK – TBD Holiday rentals 68 4/21/22 6/28/22
Flight – UK to Istanbul, Turkey Hotel 1 6/28/22 6/29/22
Cruise – Istanbul to Istanbul – Black Sea Azamara Onward 11 6/29/22 7/10/22
Cruise – Istanbul to Athens – Greek Islands Azamara Onward 10 7/10/22 7/20/22
Europe – Non-Schengen countries Holiday rentals 111 7/20/22 11/7/22
Flight to Athens Hotel 1 11/7/22 11/8/22
Cruise – Athen to Athens – Middle East, Israel, Egypt Azamara Journey 11 11/8/2022 11/19/2022
Cruise – Athens to Lisbon – Mediterranean Azamara Journey 10 11/19/22 11/29/22
Cruise – Lisbon to Cape Town – West coast of Africa Azamara Journey 21 11/29/22 12/20/22
Flight – Cape Town to Nelspruit, South Africa Travel Day 1 12/20/22 12/20/22
Marloth Park, South Africa Holiday rentals 90 12/20/22 3/19/23
Africa travel – TBD Holiday rentals 132 3/19/23 7/29/23
Flight – Africa to Edinburough/Leith, UK Travel Day + Hotel 3 7/29/23 8/31/23
Cruise – Leith to Amsterdam – Norway, west coast Azamara Journey 17 8/1/23 8/18/23
Total Days 660

Yes, 660 possible days into the future, some planned, some not planned. But, only time will tell and guide us into the following number of years, God willing.

Be well. Be happy. Step outside the box!

Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #222. With no photos of us on our travel anniversary in the past few years, we posted this photo from October 31, 2017, our fifth anniversary of traveling the world, taken on the veranda at the villa in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos from one year ago, please click here.

Human visitors tonight and tomorrow night…New Itinerary tomorrow!!!..

Once the rains come, the bush will be greener, providing more food for the wildlife. In the interim, many of us are feeding them.

Note: Tomorrow, on our ninth travel anniversary, we will be posting our new itinerary!!! Please check back!!!

Last night’s dinner at Jabula was enjoyable as always. Kathy and Don joined us for our usual Friday night dinner of fabulous food and service at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant. The conversation flowed with ease as we each shared the stories of our adventures over the past few weeks. They had spent time in Kruger at a few remote lodges and us, our time in Zambia, and eventual return without issues from immigration.

We have been so blessed to have such good friends in Marloth Park, and as time goes by, we continue to make more and more friends. Today, as mentioned in a prior post, at 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, our long-time readers, Carrie and Jim, will be joining us for the first time for sundowners. They found us and also Marloth Park due to our posts and are also world travelers. It will be fun to visit with them.

Since our return on Tuesday, this is the first male kudu who stopped by, whom we call “Medium Daddy” instead of “Big Daddy” with much larger horns.

For today’s appetizers during sundowners, we’re making sliced bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, served chilled with a cucumber dip, with roasted vegetable slices, and our usual and popular apricot almond brie puffed pastry with crackers, olives, and nuts on the side.

At the moment, I am cooking the chicken for tomorrow’s dinner, a low-carb chicken and sausage cassoulet baked in a single large pan, which we’ll serve with chunky roasted vegetables, coleslaw salad, with a variety of light starters served during the cocktail hour.

We now have three young “Spikeys” who hang around most of the day. This morning we finished off the first of the three heads of cabbage.

Today, I am doing as much prep for both evenings. We don’t usually plan two social events in a row. But tonight’s food will be comparable to making an easy dinner for us, which we would have done anyway, even if we didn’t have guests coming. As of this moment, I have a good handle on both nights’ prep.

It’s hot today, so I thought I’d get as much prep as possible out of the way before the temps rise to over 90F, 32C. It will be cooling off for tomorrow with a high of 79F, 26C, making the final prep for tomorrow’s anniversary dinner easier on a cool day.

Impalas, who seldom care to be near humans, have been stopping by lately. They are hungry too.

Yep, tomorrow, October 31, 2020, is our ninth anniversary of traveling the world. With six of us, Alan, Fiona, Nick, and Joan,  for dinner on the veranda for whom we’re delightfully reciprocating for hosting us recently and me busy prepping the meal, we won’t be posting a recap of our prior year. However, we will post photos of our evening celebration.

After posting so many historical photos during our ten-month lockdown in Mumbai, India, we’ve already posted an endless stream of old photos. Next year, we’ll prepare a special tenth-anniversary post, providing our health is good, and we can continue for another year. At this point, it seems it’s entirely possible.

First, two males stopped by, who were later joined by a female.

A few moments ago, Louise sent us a message stating she’s renting a property to an American couple who will be here until December, asking us if we were interested in meeting them. Of course, we said “yes” and will contact them later today to set up a get-together in Marloth Park.

Next week, on Friday, Tom has his first appointment with Dr. Singh’s wife. Also, a dental surgeon, to have his two implants started from the teeth he had extracted over three months ago, leaving a gaping hole in his mouth; obvious when he smiles. We have no idea how uncomfortable he’ll be after the appointment, so we’ll play it by ear for any possible social events next weekend. But, for now, we’re thrilled to have plans for tonight, tomorrow, and Monday.

This morning we had 12 antelopes in the garden, sharing pellets.

This weekend, there’s no load shedding since Monday is a national holiday in South Africa, voting day! It’s nice we’ll have a reprieve when we’re cooking for guests, and it will be great to have the outdoor lights at dinnertime.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #221. A sunny view from our veranda at the Kenyan resort where we stayed on our first travel anniversary. For more photos, please click here.

Yesterday, no water, plus load shedding…TIS, This is Africa…Live with it!…

We purchased these giant cabbages for the kudus, bushbucks, and duikers, which love cabbage, for about US $0.70, ZAR 10.69 each. We tear off the leaves, break them in half and toss them their way.

There’s no doubt, living in Africa has its share of problems; outrageous weather, mozzies, crime, corruption, conservation issues, and ongoing issues due to a poor infrastructure resulting in power, water, fuel, and WiFi outages. Also, wild animals can harm humans and property, including attacks by snakes and venomous creatures. More people are killed by hippos than any other animals in the wild.

What do visitors expect? Locals often say “TIF,” which means “This is Africa,” when visitors complain about the inconveniences caused by any of the above. These conveniences may be found in many of their home countries. In reviewing many of the issues mentioned above, our own USA is not exempt from any of these problems and is based on locations and circumstances.

Many of the animals like carrots. Due to the warm, humid weather and lack of room in the fridge, we leave them out, and they spoil quickly. This large bag sells for US $0.98, ZAR 14.90.

Complaining doesn’t help. Proactive responses and behavior when these situations occur are the best and most logical solutions during tricky times. As I write here now, the power is out. Yesterday, Tom hauled buckets of pool water into both bathrooms for flushing the toilet.

Sure, I asked Louise when the water would return, and last night, it did, exactly as she stated. As for the power, I have an app on my phone to alert me to upcoming outages. Tomorrow, at sundowner time, we have guests coming, as mentioned in our prior post, who came to Marloth Park after reading our posts. The power will be out when they arrive at 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs.

Holey Moley was munching on a cabbage leaf.

Any cooking using the electric stove must be completed before the power goes out at 5:00 pm, 1700hrs. One of the appetizers we’re making requires 30 minutes in the oven. This will be done before the power outage. With a bit of planning, working around load shedding isn’t too tricky.

Another example regarding our awareness of rampant crime in South Africa was when we returned from the airport on Tuesday, after our trip to Zambia to make the 90-minute drive to Marloth Park on the two-lane N4 highway, known for carjackings, especially after dark. Thus, we planned accordingly, totally prepared to stay overnight if we couldn’t make it back to our holiday home before darkness fell.

A thick Neck was involved in some scuffle, which resulted in a new injury. It doesn’t look too deep and should heal soon.

Shortly after we entered the house, load shedding began. Fortunately, we made it in plenty of time. We had the portable lights ready to be used if necessary. It all worked out fine.

Do we appreciate less of these issues while in the US or other countries? I suppose for a moment. But, it’s not unlike being in sweltering weather and going inside to air conditioning…immediately, we forget about how hot we were only minutes earlier.

As I sit here now, using the WiFi to prepare and post today’s story, Tom is watching US  football on his laptop, which lately has kept him busy for several hours each day. WiFi is a must for us. For us, a WiFi outage is harder to adapt to than power or water outages. When it’s out, we are at a loss about how to perform our usual daily tasks, conduct research, and escape into a bit of entertainment, especially in the evening after dark, when the wildlife hunkers down for the night.

Thick Neck also has a scratch on his nose. He was enjoying the cold, crisp cabbage leaves along with the other bushbucks.

When we have an endless stream of wildlife during busy times in the garden, we are easily entertained and preoccupied. It’s our favorite pastime! Plus, I can stay busy preparing meals, doing laundry, and tidying projects around the house. Next week, during a load shedding session, we plan to go to Kruger National Park, which keeps us thoroughly entertained and enlightened for an entire day spent driving through the park while searching for wildlife.

In many old posts, we discuss “adaptation” and how vital it is to enjoy where we’re living at any given time. Even during the lockdown in the hotel in India for ten months, we found ways to enjoy ourselves and make the most of the situation.

Traveling the world without a home is not necessarily easy. It requires an abundance of patience and resiliency, along with the ability to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances at every turn. We both have been and will continue to be committed to this lifestyle for as long as our health holds out.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 29, 2020;

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #220. When we arrived at The Sands at Nomad Resort in Kenya, we were welcomed with flower leis and orange mango juice for our anniversary weekend. (I politely declined, but Tom enjoyed his). For more photos, please click here.

They’ve all found us again!…Little, Thick Neck, Benny, Henny and Lenny, multiple Franks, and more…Meet Barbara and Lori from Shark Tank…

One Tusk is becoming quite popular around here. Perhaps, a replacement for Tiny, who never returned after we visited the US in July 2021.

We didn’t assume they’d all return to our garden within 36 hours of our return. We thought after being gone for six days that it could take several days until they’d return, having looked for us for the entire time we were gone. But, beginning yesterday morning, our regulars started arriving, leaving nary a single “familiar face” behind.

Little was thrilled we’d returned when he stopped by at his usual 4:00 pm. Immediately, he positioned himself on the right side of the veranda, near where I sit, waiting for his treats and words of affection (from me only).

Yesterday, at the little local market, I purchased the last head of cabbage for the bushbucks and kudus, and it’s already gone. Tom has refilled the big bucket of pellets at least three times already. Soon, we’ll be heading to Komatipoort to buy groceries, and we’ll undoubtedly purchase several more, plus a 10 kg bag of carrots to round out the pellets.

It was fun to see Benny, Henny, and Lenny this morning. We’ve seen Penny on her own but no longer with these three. She could be pregnant and no longer interested in hanging around with them.

Need I say, we’re having a fantastic time. The weather is relatively cool but cloudy. And, although load shedding is currently occurring three times a day for 7.5 hours per day, we are managing fine. Fortunately, as mentioned, we aren’t losing the WiiFi signal during these most recent outages.

With WiFi, the outages don’t bother us at all. With 2.5 hour outages, our food in the refrigerator and freezer stay safe, and with the WiFi working, we can still stream our shows at night when we hunker down for the night. Sleep comes easily for us both, now that our minds are free from worry about where we’d have to go if we hadn’t been allowed to stay in South Africa.

Frank and The Misses, back eating their seeds and drinking from their little container of water. They were so happy. They chirped the entire time they were pecking at the seeds.

Our friends and readers have been writing to us with the warmest of wishes that we’re able to stay, and we look forward to lots more socialization over the following months in Marloth Park.

Our long-time readers, Carrie and Jim, have arrived in Marloth Park for six weeks, and they’re coming over on Saturday for sundowners to meet us in person for the first time. What a joy this always is for us when readers like a location we’ve visited and end up meeting face-to-face! They came to Marloth Park based on our posts.

For a while, Little hung out with Barbara and Lori and their mom. Now, he seems less interested in the two girls. Could he be the dad of mom’s future piglets? There could be several little Little’s on the horizon. We’ll keep you updated.

Sunday is our ninth travel anniversary, and our friends Alan and Fiona and Nick and Joan will join us for dinner to celebrate with us. What a great way to celebrate the special day! We’re making one of our favorite dishes, and hopefully, they’ll be able to enjoy it, along with us.

Last night we made bacon-wrapped fillet mignon on the braai, along with red wine infused sauteed portabella mushrooms, salad, and rice for Tom. We both enjoyed the satisfying meal and are making a repeat for tonight since we had plenty of uncooked tenderloin and mushroom left for a second round.

Are these two young girls Barbara and Lori? See the photo below.

Of course, as usual, as we sat on the veranda at sunset, Little appeared for the first time since we returned. He, like Broken Horn, let us know he was happy to see us. Whoever said animals aren’t emotional hasn’t lived in Marloth Park. Many of them appear animated and enthusiastic when they see us each day, let alone after we’ve been gone for a while.

The mom with the perfect curly tusks has kicked her two daughters to the curb now that she’s pregnant again. Now, the two girls with big white whiskers hang around here nearly all day. We’ve named them Barbara and Lori after the two female leads on Shark Tank, a show we often watch in the evenings. We’ve gone back and re-watched every episode from the beginning. We’re now on season 8 of 13 seasons. We only watch one episode per evening, so we have plenty more to go with as many as 25 episodes per season.

This is Barbara and Lori, now ‘kicked loose” from their mom, arriving on their own with their big white whiskers and bossy attitude, just like their mom. She arrived yesterday with a big pregnant belly without these two in tow.
The power just went out. In an hour, we’ll head to Komati, so hopefully, by the time we return, it will be back on, and we can put away our groceries without much worry over the door to the fridge being open as we load it up once again. Before we left for Zambia, we finished off most of our food, and now it’s time to restock.

Starting tomorrow, Friday, we have social plans for four nights in a row. We love being busy with human friends, as well!

Enjoy the day and weekend to come. Stay healthy and content!

Photo from one year ago today, October 28, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #219. Cows are always curious, and we laughed when this grazing cow picked up her head to check us out while we were in Fiji. For more, please click here.

The immigration issues unfolded…Hearts pounding, holding our breath!…

There’s our boy, Broken Horn. He was so happy to see us he was shaking his head and moving his feet up and down. Funny, boy!

The flight from Livingstone was delayed. We later discovered it was due to a mechanical issue before it took off for Zambia. As we sat in the cafe at the airport, we were only concerned about the delay in the event we wouldn’t get to Nelspruit in time to hit the road, the dangerous N4, before dark.

It’s never wise to travel on this two-lane highway at night due to heavy truck traffic and carjacking risks. If our flight didn’t arrive at the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport by 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs, we’d have no choice but to book a hotel room for the night. Sunset was at 6:05 pm, 1805 hrs, and with the usual 90 minutes required to make the drive to Marloth Park, at no point during such a drive would being on the road in the dark be worth the risk.

Broken Horn and Bad Eye. Her eye has healed nicely.

Finally, after an hour-long wait, the plane arrived and prepped for our flight. By 2:30 pm, 1430 hrs, we were on the runway with only six passengers, including the two of us. It took off with the lowest number of passengers we’d experienced on this particular small jet with Airlink.

The flight was smooth and uneventful, and we arrived in Nelspruit by 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs. All we had to do at that point was get through immigration without a hitch, collect our two duffle bags, pick up the rental car and hopefully be on our way. We approached the immigration desk with passports, documents, PCR tests, and proof of rental in hand, hearts pounding, hoping for the best.

Four female kudus are regular visitors. They wasted no time visiting us today.

The immigration officer was immediately well aware we’d done a “visa run” often frowned upon. With the thought that we’ve been classified as “undesirables” twice in these past nine years of travel, we were prepared for the worst. The first time was in Australia in 2017 when we made the mistake of “assuming” going on a cruise out of Sydney, visiting other countries, with the cruise ending in Sydney, only to discover we’d “overstayed.”

After days of stress, documents and worry, we finally were able to work it out with the Australian immigration department to stay until our next cruise a month later that had us officially leaving Australia.

One Tusk and Lonely Girl were happy to see us too, especially when we tossed pellets.

The next time we were “undesirable” was after we had no choice but to overstay after I’d had open-heart surgery in February 2019. We were banned from South Africa for five years, requiring us to hire a lawyer to lift the ban, successful many months later.

Had we not had these two scary experiences,  yesterday we may not have been so apprehensive when we tried to re-enter South Africa. After all, we’ve been here since January 2021 and hoped to stay until January 23, 2022. When the immigration officer carefully examined our passports, checked our records on his computer, he asked one question:

“When are you returning to the US?”

As usual, Lonely Girl arrived alone. She appears to be pregnant.

Without hesitation, Tom held up a copy of our return ticket to Tampa, Florida, USA, dated January 23, 2022. He read it carefully, pulled out his stamp, and proceeded to stamp each of our passports, writing that date as our final day without saying another word.

With only six passengers on the plane, the bags came up quickly. We struggled to keep from cheering instead of walking away briskly to collect our bags which were already waiting for us on the carousel in the next room. Tom grabbed a trolley, the bags, and we were on our way to the rental car area. By 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, we were on the road.

Female kudus (including Bad Eye), along with Broken Horn, harmoniously shared pellets.

How did we get away with staying in South Africa for so long after receiving our original 90 days upon entry?

  1. President Ramaphosa issued a visa waiver for those who’d arrived around the time we had – 90 days.
  2. We went to the US for a month and received another new visa – 90 days
  3. Yesterday’s new visa was issued for traveling to Zambia, luckily accepted – 90 days

Until darkness fell, Tom drove fast and aggressively, never forsaking the law or safety with only a short time. We pulled into the Gate 2 entrance to Marloth Park 70 minutes after we left the airport. Safari luck? Perhaps. In any case, we are grateful.

Once back at the house, which smelled clean after the spring cleaning Zef and Vusi did in our absence, we quickly unpacked, plugged in our equipment, freshened up a bit, and made our way to Jabula, where Dawn and Leon greeted us with the warmest of hugs. It was great to see them again, and we all sat at the bar, listening to great music while Dawn ran back and forth serving customers. We didn’t head out the door until 9:30, 2230 hrs.

A good night’s sleep was had by both of us. I awoke at 5:00 am, chomping at the bit to get outside to welcome our furry friends back into our lives. But, I stayed in bed to avoid awakening Tom. Throughout the day, they’ve returned, one after another making us laugh over their apparent enthusiasm at seeing us back here. We’ve yet to see Frank and Little but give it a few more hours, and I imagine we’ll see them too.

We couldn’t be happier to be back among our human and animal friends. Life is good.

Have a spectacular day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 27, 2020:

This screenshot was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #218. I received this message from Fitbit that I’ve earned my India walking badge. For more, please click here.

Final expenses for our five night Zambia trip…On our way back to the bush!!!…

Sunset over the Zambezi River, the longest river in Africa. Notice the spray from Victoria Falls in the left rear of the photo.

Note to our readers: This is the last day we’ll be posting this notice. Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

At the moment, we’re sitting on the bed in our hotel room in Zambia, after a lovely breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, packed and ready to go. At 11:45 am, Chris, from Chris Tours (see his link here), a highly reputable tour and transport company in Livingstone, Zambia, will pick us up for the short drive to the Livingstone Airport.

We’re scheduled to arrive in Nelspruit at 3:35 pm when we’ll pick up our rental car and commence the 90-minute drive back to Marloth Park. If all goes well with immigration (fingers crossed), we should be at our holiday home in the bush by about 5:30. Before unpacking, we’ll freshen up a bit and head to Jabula for dinner.

We’re looking forward to seeing Dawn and Leon, our friends and the owners of our favorite restaurant (and lodge) in Marloth Park. They’d been on holiday for a few weeks before we left for Zambia, and it will be fun to see them again, to catch up, and dine on their fabulous food. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating our return for another 90 days, providing all goes well at immigration in Nelspruit.

Load shedding has resumed in the park, so the power will be out while we’re out to dinner, hopefully back on when we get back to the house. Supposedly, it will be off and on until Saturday, after which they’ll be suspending load shedding for a few weeks, or so they say. It can change on a dime. Then again, TIA, “this is Africa,” and that’s what happens. We love it anyway.

We’ve had a great time in Zambia. We accomplished a lot of research, and I am down to page #18 (with 20 posts per page). At this rate, I will have completed this year-long project by the middle of November. I can hardly wait to be done and have my afternoons back to further enjoy life instead of working on my laptop.

Now, for the expenses, we incurred for this trip to Livingstone, Zambia:

Flight  (round trip) from Nelspruit to Livingstone:  US $1288.00,   ZAR 18938

Taxi: US $46.81, ZAR 690.68

Hotel (using some rewards): US $425.09, ZAR 6258.06

Food: US $339.00, ZAR 4992.29

Visa Fee (entry to Zambia):  US $100.00, ZAR 1472.65

Tips: US $125.0, ZAR 1470,80

Total:  US $2323.90, ZAR 32204.32

We were pleased with this total. The high cost of the airfare was over half of the total expenses. Flights through Airlink have increased during times of Covid, but the convenience of avoiding the five-hour drive to Joburg is worth it to us. Plus, we could get a direct flight from Nelspruit to Livingstone, saving another half day of travel time.

If we have no issues with re-entry, the expense will have been well worth the time and cost. We have documents with our negative Covid-19 PCR test results, our flight information out of South Africa in January, a rental letter from Louise stating we have a place to live, and all should be in order. The question is: “Will they (immigration) accept the fact we only left SA for six days?” If so, all will be good. The laws are vague on this topic, so we hold our breath when we check-in.

That’s it for now, folks. In a few minutes, we’ll zip up our duffle bags, call for help with our bags, pay the balance of our hotel bill at reception and wait for Chris to arrive to take us to the airport.

Hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll be writing from Marloth Park with the good news that all went well. Thanks for “traveling” with us!

Photo from one year ago today, October 26, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #217. Rasnesh, our driver, took this photo of us in front of the Vuadomo Waterfall in Fiji. We were hot and sweaty, but the long trek was worth it!  For more photos, please click here.

Final photos from Livingstone, Zambia…Final Expenses will follow tomorrow…

Zebras were grazing on the grass at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

Wow! The time has flown by so quickly. Tomorrow morning, we head to the airport to return to South Africa. At the moment, we’re awaiting printed copies of our PCR test results and a copy of proof of our airline tickets proving we are exiting South Africa on January 23, 2022, which may help at immigration if we run into any issues for our short time away.

Our favorite photo is of the sunset from the hotel veranda.

In the past, we only encountered one negative comment from an immigration officer upon return to South Africa, but we were allowed re-entry. However, we felt by showing our airline tickets for January. They may be convinced we’re not “border-hopping.”  We’ll see how it goes.

The past 24 hours have been relatively quiet while we both worked on projects on our laptops. I am working on the corrections fast and furiously and now have less than 19 pages of 20 posts left to correct. At this point, I can correct 30 posts a day when in the beginning, it was slow and cumbersome when I could only get through 15 posts a day.

The spray from Victoria Falls from the Zambia side of the river. We visited the fall on both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides last time we were here in 2018.

No, the old posts won’t be perfect. It is easy to miss a few corrections on each page, even after reading and re-reading it. Halfway through, I added the paid, highly-rated editing program, Grammarly. But, it, too, like humans, is not exempt from making errors. Yesterday. I did a post that had 126 errors on a post prepared while in lockdown in India. I had all the time in the world to proofread, and yet, I still made countless mistakes, mostly commas, occasionally sentence structure, and less so spelling.

I often say if someone asked me if I’d write an essay every day, 365 days a year, that would be presented to the world online, I would have said they’re out of their minds for asking me to do that, and I would have flatly refused.

An elephant on the opposite side of the Zambezi River, most like more than a kilometer from our view from the hotel veranda.

Weirdly, I am doing exactly that now, 3355 posts later. Good grief! How in the world did that happen? How in the world have I continued to motivate myself to keep doing this, day after day, month after month, year after year? Now, as we approach our ninth anniversary of traveling the world, having begun posting on March 15, 2012 (before we left), even I am shocked by how consistently this mission has continued.

The first year or so, we only posted a few times a week. But, as time marched on, we realized we needed to write more often to maintain the continuity of our peculiar lives without a home, without storage, and with only a few bags in our possession.

A bloat of hippos in the Zambezi River, rarely picking up their heads.

Based on interest and comments from readers, they’ve always seemed more interested in the challenges we face daily, not unlike their own. Life isn’t always about famous sightseeing venues and tours. At times, daily life is tough and for many of our readers, seeing how we resolved a particular issue(s) is equally, if not more interesting.

We try to “shake it up” with a mix of exciting events and daily life events. But, like most of you, some days are dull and uneventful. Have you ever wondered what you’d write about after 3355 days of writing a daily essay? It, in itself, is sometimes challenging.

A halfhearted yawn from a hippo.

Regardless of how often my mind is blank when I sit down to begin. Within minutes, my fingers fly across the keyboard as if possessing a mind of their own, and the words flow. Once I start, the rest follows suit. But, the easiest part is writing down the thoughts. The hard part is editing, editing, and more editing.

Then, the photos always take a good portion of the time I spend at my laptop, formatting, positioning, and editing. Although I may do a few photo edits, mainly consisting of brightening or resizing a scene. Remember, I am not a professional photographer and have little interest in pursuing that path when I know how much time it would take to learn more. Gee…I want to have time left in my day to embrace it!

The spray from the falls at sunset.

The concierge just dropped off our negative PRC tests. Tomorrow morning, we should have time to do another post with our expenses for the six days, five nights we’ve spent in Zambia. Please check back for that.

More spray from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.

Happy day and evening to all of you, dear readers!

Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in a hotel in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #216. The waterfalls at Vuodomo, Fiji, were still, at quite a distance. We gasped with delight over our first peek at the waterfall, which is much larger than it appears in this photo. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic evening overlooking the Zambezi River…The longest river in Africa…More photos tomorrow…

As soon as we were situated on the veranda, we were excited to see the spray from Victoria Falls at a distance.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

Last evening, the taxi driver picked us up for the short drive to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for game viewing and the sunset over the water on the Zambezi River, the longest river in Africa. Upon arrival, we walked through the five-star hotel’s lobby and then proceeded to the perfectly groomed grounds toward the veranda closest to the Zambezi River.

As we entered the grounds to the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel.

It was early enough. We managed to get front row seats at the railing and settled in, ordering a beer for Tom and a glass of wine for me. The wine list on the veranda was marginal at best, so I had no choice but to select their “house red,” which I sent back after a few sips. It came from an open bottle, and I think it had gone bad.

We took this photo on the long drive into the hotel. I wish we’d had a better shot, but other vehicles were also trying to enter the hotel grounds. This giraffe looked different than those we see in South Africa, “The South African giraffe or Cape giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis Giraffa) is a subspecies of giraffe ranging from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. It has rounded or blotched spots, some with star-like extensions on a light tan background, running down to the hooves. The Rhodesian  (or Zambian giraffe, more commonly known as Thornicroft’s giraffe, is a subspecies. It is sometimes deemed synonymous with the Luangwa giraffe. It is geographically isolated, occurring only in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley. An estimated 550 live in the wild, with no captive populations.”

Instead, I ordered a sauvignon blanc, not my favorite, but found it acceptable. With that settled, we began searching for wildlife sightings on the river. It didn’t take long when we spotted a “bloat” of hippos halfway across the river. Tom perused the river banks using his binoculars and spotted some elephants at quite a distance, resulting in our less than ideal photos. We were happy to see them.

The pool looked refreshing on a scorching day.

The sunset wasn’t perfect. It was shrouded by clouds at its final descent, but we managed to take a few decent shots before that. We couldn’t have been more relaxed and comfortable, chatting endlessly about our lives, past and future travels, and upcoming cruises. Of course, no sundowner time would be complete without mention of our wildlife friends back in Marloth Park, wondering how they’re doing with us away.

At dark, we wandered to the Old Drift outdoor restaurant on yet another veranda while we watched zebras munching on the dense grass, drinking from a fountain, and walking the grounds as if they owned the place. We doubted they’d ever wander away far from the hotel when everything they needed was right there.

Later in the evening, we dined at this end table for two.

We sat at a white linen-covered table for two, ordered one more drink, and relaxed a while before ordering our food. The menu was typical African/Continental cuisine with the popular local fish, bream, pork chops, steaks, half chicken, and so forth. I ordered salmon for the first time since we left India and a plate of steamed vegetables, and Tom ordered the sirloin steak with mashed potatoes. Of course, he was thrilled to eat the breadsticks with soft garlic butter before the meal was served.

The food was good, fresh, hot, and pleasingly served. It wasn’t quite the gourmet meal we expected, but both of us were content and will give it four stars on our upcoming review at TripAdvisor. Our food and drinks totals were US $89, ZAR 1322. We were back at our hotel before 8:30 pm, streamed a show, and dosed off by 11:00 pm.

As we made our way to the veranda overlooking the Zambezi River.

Today, at 10:00 am, a doctor from the local clinic arrived to do our PCR tests for our return to South Africa in a mere 48 hours. The time has flown by so quickly. Other than a few WiFi issues at the hotel, we’ve been delighted with the room, the food, the service, and the ambiance. Oddly, it feels somewhat like a mini-vacation. We’re having an excellent time, even more than we’d hoped for this short visa stamp trip.

We paid US $172, ZAR 2554, for the two tests, and the email results will arrive sometime tomorrow. In the interim, we’re looking at possible options if we aren’t allowed another 90 days in South Africa solely to give us peace of mind. But we aren’t apprehensive. We are proactive, just in case.

It was hot, but I often wear long sleeves (plus repellent) to keep from getting bitten by the mozzies, who are fierce in Zambia.

Today, we’re hanging out at the hotel again. Zambia’s Independence Day weekend is in full force, with the holiday extended through Monday. The number of guests at the hotel has thinned out today, and we love having the quiet solitude as we spend all day and evening outdoors.

There’s my guy, content on the veranda at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Life is good. No complaints here. More new photos will follow in tomorrow’s post.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 24, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #215. Handmade raft for fishing, I Fiji, which our driver and guide explained is safer than a boat when there’s no chance of being stranded or sinking. For more photos, please click here.

Tom loves his doughnuts!…Fun outing planned for tonight…

    Tom was in doughnut heaven when “fritters” covered with white and chocolate frosting were available at the breakfast buffet. He sure loves doughnuts and seldom finds any he likes.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

Booking hotel rooms with breakfast included is our preference, although we don’t always eat breakfast at our holiday homes. But, if we chose a room without this option and didn’t order breakfast separately, we’d be in trouble if we became hungry during the late afternoon. We don’t eat typical vending machine snacks or lunch since we don’t eat when not hungry.

I can only imagine the struggle we’d have with our weight if we ate three meals a day with snacks. In an effort to maintain a healthy weight, overeating and to eat too often doesn’t make sense. Besides, not knowing the preparation of food unless otherwise specified is especially tricky for me.

Dining on the veranda at the hotel’s restaurant is pleasant.

Over the past several years, I have gotten away from eating restaurant foods made with vegetable oils. I have done tons of research on this topic, and over these years of world travel, I’ve learned to ask what oils were used in food preparation. Here’s an excellent article by Dr. Mark Hyman, a highly regarded physician, and health advocate.

In restaurants, they often use cheap oils, not unlike industrial oils. When we went through the buffet (staff served) this morning, I asked about many items I may have selected a few years ago. This morning, after ordering the same oil-free vegetable omelet with a side of steamed vegetables, I asked if the chicken livers, which I always loved, and various other offerings, were made with oil. They were. I chose to pass on them.

We didn’t bring swimsuits. With Covid-19, we aren’t interested in swimming in public pools.

Then I asked what may seem to be a dumb question, “Is vegetable oil used in the preparation of the bacon?” The answer was an emphatic yes. I passed on the bacon. I could eat nothing else on the buffet, but I appreciated the oil-free omelet and the steamed vegetable platter. Very few restaurants in this mid-range use butter for cooking unless requested.

In some African countries, even butter isn’t “real” butter. It’s some highly processed trans-fat-laden butter lookalike. No thanks. I am better off with poached, steamed, or grilled foods.

As you can see from the above photo of Tom, he’s less concerned. He doesn’t have heart disease, like me. And, he has excellent genes, when mine is awful with many inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and a variety of auto-immune conditions. I am trying to extend my lifespan by being very diligent about what I consume and the quality of my life.

The breakfast buffet only had a few options for me, a veggie omelet and steamed veggies.

I guess I won’t know if this serves me well until my number is up. But, I bear no hardship in selecting healthy options, especially when dining out.

As for tonight, we have a reservation for fine dining at the Old Drift Restaurant at the luxurious Royal Livingstone Hotel, a short taxi drive from the hotel. See details here from this site:

“Royal Livingstone Hotel Dining Options

The Royal Livingstone Hotel offers fantastic dining experiences serving world-class cuisine. The most famous is the Royal Livingstone Express, a luxury dining experience aboard a steam train that also stops on the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge for sunset drinks. A fine a-la-carte menu is available in their Old Drift Restaurant, or their lounge offers light dining in a room full of fascinating history and artifacts from the area. We would highly recommend doing either lunch or high tea in their Kubu Restaurant, which is on the deck, giving you unrivaled views overlooking the Zambezi River, some of the rainforest, and the spray of the falls. Animals such as baboon, zebra, warthog, bushbuck, and giraffe roam the lawns of the Royal Livingstone grounds, really giving you that “Out of Africa” feeling.”

We’re excited to be able to have sundowners on the deck of the famous hotel and then dine on their gourmet food which, I expect, won’t be cooked in “bad” oils, but I won’t hesitate to ask. If I am uncertain about the butter they use, I will order poached, grilled, or steamed items. One never can be too safe.

Tom was waiting for me while I took a few photos.

Of course, our big motivator for choosing this location is its reputation for great food, its high-rated ambiance, and views on the Zambezi River, where we hope to see wildlife and take many photos.

The time is going so fast, and we can hardly believe it. We’re having a great time together, meeting new people. Last night we met two corporate pilots from South Africa and had a great time chatting with them. We’re so fortunate always to find ourselves interacting with others during our world travels.

We couldn’t have it done on Monday since it’s a national holiday in Zambia, Independence Day, and the PCR clinic closed. Tomorrow, a doctor from a local clinic will come to the hotel to do our PCR tests for our return to South Africa. As it stands right now, we’re returning to Marloth Park in a mere three days.

Hmm, I wonder how our 12 bushbucks, Frank and The MIsses, Little and Broken Horn, and all the others are doing while we’re away! For now, we’re enjoying every moment of our time away while still looking forward to making it through immigration without a hitch (hopefully) and getting ourselves back to the bush.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2020:

Today’s photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #214. Ordering the seafood platter for two in Kenya resulted in a fabulous meal we enjoyed, each receiving our huge platter like this. That sure looks especially good now! For more photos, please click here.

Tom and his rolls!…Limited sightseeing options due to Covid-19 and past experiences…

Last night, Tom couldn’t stop smiling while eating the tiny hot buns served at our table in the hotel restaurant. He was in “bread heaven!”

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

We’d hoped we’d find some activities we hadn’t done during our last two visits to Livingstone. One that appealed to us was a diner and tour on the Royal Livingstone Express Steam Train. This was a logical option for us with a multi-course gourmet dinner and the opportunity to see Victoria Falls (for the third time) from the bridge overlooking the falls.

I don’t know what the intended pattern was here but, he surely enjoyed the butter with the warm rolls.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the train is only running when they have confirmed and paid 30 guest reservations. At almost US $400 for two, this may not be a logical option for many tourists based on budgetary concerns. It’s expensive for most travelers, including us, who have waited a long time to travel once again but have experienced financial losses due to Covid-19.

We lost a considerable sum in the past 20 months due to Covid-19, including the added cost of living in a hotel in Mumbai, India, for ten months. Freely spending on tours and events that aren’t new to us doesn’t make sense. But, if this dinner train can book 30 people, the concierge at the hotel will notify us, and we will join the others.

Since I never eat bread, he loved not having to share these little treasures.

As for other tourist options right now, we’ve already experienced many possibilities in this area. Neither of us cares to have to get visas and more PCR tests at our expense. We just spent ZAR 1700, US $116.34, for our tests to come here and pay a similar amount before we leave next Tuesday.

The cost to fly from Nelspruit to Livingstone was more than we’d ever paid on our past two visits at US $1289, ZAR 18841. We did get two free nights from Hotels.com for our remaining rewards but will have to pay for three nights. In total, with meals, transportation, hotel, tips, airfare, and PRC tests, this short five-night stay will cost about ZAR36566, US $2500. This total doesn’t include any unique venues.

Shortly after we arrived yesterday, we waited in the lobby for a room with a king-sized bed to be prepared. The hotel is busy since it’s a holiday weekend but hasn’t been for over a year due to Covid-19.

We have to face the fact that we’ve booked many expensive cruises in 2022 and 2023, to many countries we haven’t visited in the past nine years, which is a huge motivator to keep tightening our belts as we pay them off, one by one. The cruises are of the utmost importance to us to further enhance our experiences worldwide.

The hotel lobby is unassuming and straightforward but clean and inviting.

Unlike most citizens of the world, we always consider the “bigger picture” instead of spur-of-the-moment expenses that may be regarded as luxuries. As a result, we are content to enjoy our third time together in Zambia on a low-key basis. We aren’t disappointed or frustrated. We are cherishing every moment of the time away from Marloth Park and blissfully look forward to our return as well.

Today is a warm, beautiful day here in Livingstone. Right now, as I write this, we are seated in an outdoor lounge area. Earlier, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast buffet. Tom had scrambled eggs and a side of bacon, while I had an oil-free vegetable omelet with a side of steamed vegetables along with one piece of bacon.

I was unable to get a better shot of our plane from Nelspruit to Livingstone. There were only 10 or 11 passengers on the 90-minute flight.

No, most likely, we won’t be taking many photos hanging around the hotel, but we’ll keep our eyes open for any exciting photo ops to share. If the train works out for Saturday night, we’ll be excited to share those photos. If not, we have another exciting option we’re pursuing.

We hope your day and evening are special!

Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2020:

The gorgeous Maui scenery on a drive to Maalaea Beach. This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #213. For more photos, please click here.