Indescribable humidity today…A story from long ago…More Kruger photos..

Waterbucks are beautiful animals. Males typically weigh 198–262 kg (437–578 lb) and females 161–214 kg (355–472 lb). Their coat color varies from brown to grey. The long, spiral horns, …

It was June, 55 years ago, that I recall being as sweaty as I am today. I was 18 years old. I was married to my first husband, Steve, three months pregnant with my first son, suffering from severe “morning sickness, day and night.” We had moved from Indio, California, to Kansas City, Missouri, and we were staying with friends of his at their home in the city until we found an apartment.

It was only about 90F, 32C, but the humidity was so unbearable, it was hard to breathe. The friends had no air conditioning or even fans in their house. They had a six-month-old baby in a crib in the room where we slept in a single bed. Steve was very tall and took up the entire bed. I chose to sleep in a chair.

During the night, in the sweltering heat, the couple had a huge fight, actually a screaming match, and they both left the house, leaving us alone with the baby, never returning until 10 am the next day. Of course, the baby woke up screaming when they stormed out the door.

It’s unusual to see waterbucks lying in the grass unless close to a river or body of water.

I spent the entire night trying to quiet the baby by rocking him, changing his diaper, and giving him the last bottle of milk I found in the fridge. In no time, the bottle was empty, and there was nothing to replace it but tap water that I boiled and cooled while rocking the screaming baby in my arms. My husband Steve was passed out, so I got no help from him.

It was so humid, my clothes stuck to me. Nausea came and went in waves, and there wasn’t a cracker to be found in the cupboard or any other food for that matter. It was a miserable night, and as you can see, I remember that night like it was yesterday.

When Steve awoke at 9:30, and the couple hadn’t returned, I told him we were leaving that day as soon as they returned. We had to find an apartment immediately after less than 24 hours in their house. He wasn’t interested in leaving. He told me to see a place that day if I wanted it so badly and to take the car, which was hooked up to a U-Haul trailer. I asked him to unhook the trailer. He refused.

Such pretty animals. The waterbuck is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa. It is placed in the genus Kobus of the family Bovidae. It was first described by Irish naturalist William Ogilby in 1833. Its 13 subspecies are grouped under two varieties: the common or ellipsiprymnus waterbuck and the defassa waterbuck

When the couple returned, I left, driving the old beater car hooked to a U-Haul trailer to buy a newspaper and a map. I had no idea how to back up a trailer at 18 years old, back in 1966, but somehow I figured it out and found a phone booth and began making appointments to look at apartments.

While driving downtown through a rough neighborhood, I heard sirens go off. Growing up in California, I’d never heard such sirens. I pulled into a great parking spot, got out of the car, and asked a man who was running in the street what the sirens meant. He said it was a tornado warning, and I’d better take cover immediately. It was heading toward downtown Kansas City.

The closest shelter I could find was a meat market. The store owner let me take cover in a dark corner with him, away from the glass meat counters and windows. The tornado passed over our heads, stirring up debris from all over the street but didn’t touch down where we were. I was shaking like a leaf and terrified.

Zebras at a distance.

Once it was safe, I thanked the butcher and headed back to the car, grateful it was intact along with the trailer containing everything we owned. Still hot and sweaty, I became all the more determined to find a place to live.

By 6:00 pm, 1800 hrs, we were in the process of moving into a clean, roomy apartment across the street from a Montgomery Wards store. A month later, I got a job there as a “saleslady” (the term used in those days) but got fired when I started to “show” at seven months. At eight months pregnant, we moved back to California, where my first son, Richard, was born on St. Partick’s Day in 1967. My second son was born two years later.

What I remember the most about that awful night and the following day was the humidity. I’d forgotten all about this story for many years but was reminded this morning in the humidity, with my clothes sticking to me and sweat pouring down the back of my neck.

Zoom in to see the hippo at a distance.

That was my life then, and this is my life now. I can take the heat and the humidity. I have a wonderful life, feeling loved and fulfilled in more ways than I can count. In a way, I suppose, adversity not only makes us stronger but also makes us grateful. and more appreciative for what we have.

It’s hot. It’s humid, TIA (this is Africa), and we are grateful to be here.

May you and yours be well.

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

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #252. A beam of light reflected off the camera at sunset on the river. For more photos, please click here.

Kruger National Park visit this morning…Many new photos…Back and busy…

Two elephants flappped their ears as we passed.

This morning upon awakening, we decided to head to Kruger National Park and take advantage of our Wild Card entrance pass, which ends about the time we’re scheduled to leave South Africa in January (at this point, anyway). We’re always looking for a sunny day, not too hot, that will bring the wildlife out from hiding in the bush.

If the weather is terrible, rainy, and possibly stormy, they hide. If the weather is too hot, they hide. This morning was perfectly sunny and clear with moderate temperatures not expected to be too hot until afternoon in the 90Fs, 30Cs. We were excited to be on our way.

A colossal elephant from a distance.

But, once on the way, I realized we needed to stop at Spar in Komatipoort on the way home for a few items (which isn’t too far from the Crocodile Bridge entrance gate), get back in time to work on today’s post, and meet new American friends, Carrie and Jim at 2:00 pm, 1400 hrs, to see the property they’re purchasing here in Marloth Park.

Can you imagine, they found Marloth Park from our website, made their way here, and fell in love with it so much, they are now buying a fabulous property here, where they’ll live part of the year and continue to travel for the remainder of the year?

We saw dozens of hippos but few coming up for great shots.

We just returned from seeing their new house for which they’ve already made an offer which has been accepted. The house was fantastic, only four years old, and of a beautiful design and functionality. The house would easily have cost four or five times more in the US. They are so excited, and we share their joy.

When we first came to Marloth Park, we considered the prospect of owning a house here for a second, but, after a short period, we realized that our vision of freedom and mobility wouldn’t make homeownership desirable for us. We’ve never regretted that decision.

We love the low gurgling sounds of the hippos.

This lovely couple is 30 years younger than me (not quite Tom, who’s five years younger than me), and they have a full life ahead of them. They have time to make such decisions and later change their plans again if they so choose. But, we couldn’t be happier for them making what seems to be a logical decision for them at this early point in their retirement. They’ll still be able to travel the world and have this fabulous home to return to at any time, in the bush, they love so much.

Today’s visit to Kruger went well, but we didn’t see as much as we usually do. We didn’t see any cats, rhinos, or Cape buffalos. Nonetheless, we had an excellent time driving through the park, visiting our favorite turnoffs along the way, spotting a few more wildlife here and there. But, we weren’t disappointed. Our goal isn’t always seeing The Big Five.

I was on the lookout for a “sausage tree” which grows these massive blooms in the springtime.

On several occasions, we spotted wildlife we often see here in Marloth Park. We didn’t mind that at all. A giraffe can easily turn our heads with enthusiasm, as do zebras, wildebeest, and kudus. Of course, we always love seeing elephants which we only see along the Crocodile River close to the fence between Kruger and Marloth Park. We saw several elephants today.

Over the next several days, we’ll share our photos from today, along with any exciting opportunities that present themselves in the next few days. As the day wears on, I still have some prep left to do for tonight’s dinner when soon, we’ll be on the veranda visiting with our animal friends during sundowner time.

A clo0ser view of a “sausage” growing in a tree.

Last night, we had a surprise visitor for dinner; our friend Lyn, the hostess at Jabula, stopped by to drop off some blood sausage for me, which a friend from Scotland had brought her. Tonight, I’ll cook a piece to go with our roasted chicken dinner. I have had any of this favorite of mine since we were in Ireland in 2019. What a treat that will be!

Wow, Marloth Park is such a fabulous place to socialize. It couldn’t be more rewarding! When Lyn arrived, we invited her to stay for dinner, and the three of us had a great dinner and evening on the veranda.

Have a pleasant evening!

Photo from one year ago today, November 29, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while we were in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #251. The Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, which we’ve been through twice on two separate cruises. For more photos, please click here.

Living in limbo…Uncertaintly prevails in times of Covid-19…

Holey Moley and a warthog pose for a photo.

Last night during our second night in a row at Jabula for dinner, the conversation centered around what will happen with many of us foreigners currently living in the bush when we choose to leave the country. Flights to many countries are being canceled right and left.

Fritz, a local we’ve come to know at Jabula, is scheduled to fly back to his home country on Tuesday, to The Netherlands, to be with his family for the Christmas holiday. It’s doubtful he’ll be able to fly out. The country is refusing flights arriving from South Africa.

A female kudu grazing on greenery in the garden.

This headline was posted online yesterday at this link:

“61 travelers from South Africa in Netherlands positive for COVID-19 -authorities

AMSTERDAM, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday tested positive for COVID-19, and they were conducting further testing early Saturday to see if any of the infections are with the recently discovered Omicron coronavirus variant.

Around 600 passengers arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on the two KLM flights on Friday and then faced hours of delays and testing due to concerns over the new virus variant.

The Dutch health ministry said early Saturday, 61 tests had come back positive.

“Travelers with a positive test result will be placed in isolation at a hotel at or near Schiphol,” health authorities said in a statement.

Of the positive test results, we are researching as quickly as possible whether they are the new variant of concern, now named ‘Omicron.'”

Young Daddy and others.

The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge determined that passengers already en route to the Netherlands would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.”

No doubt, this dilemma will impact travelers worldwide, including many of us currently in South Africa. We’ll likely fly to the US as planned, but we have to wait and see what transpires. From this article, we’re hopeful we’ll be able to continue with our plans to travel to the US with our booked flight on Delta Airlines on January 23, 2022:

“United and Delta say they aren’t cutting flights to South Africa as new travel restrictions throw a wrench in the recovery of international travel.

The US government will implement new international travel restrictions that will affect the two US airlines that fly between the US and southern Africa.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are currently the only American airlines serving South Africa, where travel will soon be restricted. Non-US travelers who have been to that country and seven others in Africa within the last 14 days will not be allowed into the US starting Monday due to new fears stemming from the COVID-19 Omicron “variant of concern.”

Both airlines currently fly to Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, and United plans to resume flights to Cape Town in December.

Delta confirmed to Insider that it is not currently planning any service changes in light of the new restrictions.”

Lori and Barbara checked out the pellet situation.

This is good news for us, but another aspect of this current scenario is that we’ll need to quarantine when we arrive in the USA. Staying in a decent hotel for 18 days in Florida, dining out for 18 days, paying almost US $100, ZAR 1627, a day for a rental car we won’t be able to use but need to get food.

Not only do we have to consider our dear friend’s safety for their wedding and their friends and family members, but we also have to consider who else we may come in contact with during those days; the hotel staff, staff in restaurants and the shops where we’ll need to go to purchase clothing for the wedding and the three days we booked for the wedding at the golf resort.

Mom and three piglets often stop by.

I don’t think either of us is prepared for all of this, especially after the restrictions we faced in lockdown in Mumbai, India, for ten months.

Based on what President Ramphosa says in his next “family meeting,” usually conducted on Sunday nights at 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs, we may begin soon to make some decisions. At this point, there’s no announcement that such a meeting will transpire tonight.

A couple of young kudus and a Young Daddy.

We realize we wrote about this in yesterday’s post, and we apologize for the redundancy. But, we’ve always promised to be “real” and share our concerns as they appear in our lives of world travel. This is on our minds right now. It’s not realistic to avoid sharing our views and concerns. As we advance, we’ll share what we’ve decided to do about the upcoming trip to the US on January 23, 2022, but also attempt to avoid rehashing it over and over. Thank you.

Be well.

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

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #250. Many beaches in Maui are left in a natural state, with vegetation growing along the shoreline. For more photos, please click here.

Everything could change for us with the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron…

A beautiful red-billed stork.

Last night, our dear friends Karen  (and fiance  Ruch) texted us, whose wedding we are booked to attend on February 11, 2022, in Apollo Beach, Florida. We have a flight booked from South Africa to arrive in Florida on January 24, 2022.

We had planned to stay at their home, per their enthusiastic invitation, before the wedding, upon our arrival on January 24, and after the wedding, as well. The four of us have such a great time together. We’ve been looking forward to spending this time with them.

We rarely stay at the homes of friends when we travel. We prefer not to invade the space of friends or family members.  Also, we have our own routine that is best served when we’re on our own in a holiday home or hotel. However, staying with Karen and Rich on past occasions confirmed we are ideally suited to spend time together when we stayed with them in the past.

Three giraffes by the Crocodile River.

However, last night, Karen’s concerns were well-founded. Suppose we came to their home on January 24 and had contracted the Covid-19 variant Omicron while in South Africa. In that case, we could infect them and totally ruin their wedding and, also possibly infect the many guests arriving from far and wide to attend their wedding, many of whom are over 80 years old with precarious health as it is.

There’s no way we’d put this kind of stress on them at this critical time in their lives. After chatting back and forth, we realized our only option is to self-quarantine from the day we arrive in Florida until the time of the wedding, of course, testing on the last few days. That would be a total of 18 days in a hotel in Florida, somewhere close to Tampa.

But, now, as we listen to the news and conduct research, our quarantine plan may prove to be a moot point. As more and more flights are canceled to travelers entering South Africa, what easily could happen by January 24 is a simple and probable fact…our flight could be canceled.

A blacksmith plover was near the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

If airlines don’t transport passengers from Point A to Point B and bacn, the lack of flights out of South Africa will be a natural occurrence even with borders open. We could end up in the same situation as we were in India. The only flights available for US citizens leaving South Africa could be repatriation flights, which cost thousands and thousands of dollars per passenger, many as much as ten times (or more) the typical flight fare.

A repatriation flight for these exorbitant rates didn’t appeal to us when we were in lockdown in India and doesn’t appeal to us now. Here, we can stay put comfortably in a house, cook our meals, be outdoors and continue to live somewhat of a normal life.

We’ll know more when President Ramaphosa speaks to the nation on Sunday (tomorrow) night. Will he shut down the country as he’d done in March 2020, banning restaurants and other businesses from operating normally, banning the sale of alcohol, forbidding public or private gatherings? The holiday season is rapidly approaching. How will that be handled?

Impalas were grazing on the opposite side of the Crocodile River.

We’ll know a little more after Ramaphosa’s speech tomorrow but won’t know the full impact until the severity of the Omicron variant is fully understood. Immunologists could take weeks/months to determine the severity of this strain, allowing politicians/leaders to make decisions about travel to and from their countries.

Pfizer has stated they need two weeks to see if they need to tweak the vaccine to work with this new stain. Hopefully, soon, we’ll know. But, this won’t be available to us here.

So here we are again. Uncertainty. Will the President extend visas for foreign nationals currently staying in South Africa? That in itself is a significant factor for us. But, in any case, if we can fly to the US on January 24, 2022, we’ll have no choice but to quarantine upon our arrival in Florida.

Giraffes now have plenty of vegetation in the treetops.

Today, to be safe, we’ll book a  fully refundable hotel for the 18 nights and play it by ear from there. Undoubtedly, President Ramaphosa will speak several times over the next few months, from which we’ll be able to decide the future.

This morning, like many other South African and visitors, we headed to the liquor store to stock up on wine for me and Brandy for Tom. The TOPS liquor store and the Spar market in Komatipoort, where wine is sold, were packed with shoppers.  We weren’t the only ones motivated to stock up on our favorite sundowner beverages. We don’t drink much quantity but didn’t want to run out.  During those ten months in lockdown in the hotel in India, I never had a single glass of wine, and Tom never had a Brandy.

We’ll keep you updated here as we discover more and more in the weeks to come.

Stay safe.

Photo from one year ago  today< November 27, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago today while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #249. Note our talk scheduled at 11:15 am on the ship activities program. We did a two-day seminar on the ship on traveling the world. For more, please click here.

Differences between ordinary travel and world travel…Photos from the Crocodile River…

We spotted these two elephants on the far bank of the Crocodile River as we drove to Two Trees.   

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Yesterday afternoon, on our way to the Two Trees overlooking the Crocodile River, we spotted a pair of elephants playing on the river bank. Tom repositioned the car to ensure I’d have a good angle for taking photos. Unfortunately, as we waited, we couldn’t take photos of their faces other than in today’s main photo as shown. They were either playing or engaged in some confrontation. It was difficult to determine from such a distance.

We arrived at Two Trees shortly before 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, and Carrie and Jim arrived shortly after that. We set up our camp chairs, poured ourselves a drink, and settled in for what we hoped would be great sightings on the river and, as always, lively conversation with this couple who, like us, is traveling the world without a home.

While the four of us sat in our chairs talking and watching for activity on the river, we spotted these elephants less than 10 meters from us.

Soon, they’ll be leaving for their next adventure, but it’s been delightful sharing stories and travel tips between the four of us. It’s so interesting to learn that many of our mutual travel processes and procedures are similar, almost to the point of being oddly coincidental.

As we mentioned in a prior post, we met Carrie and Jim from their long history of reading our posts. Our enthusiastic description of Marloth Park brought them here and the next opportunity to meet. Well, of course, we hit it off with them, as we had with Rita and Gerhard, who also came to Marloth Park from reading our posts, as have many others over the years.

It was exciting to watch the three elephants crossing in front of us beyond the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

It means so much to us knowing that somehow, even in a small way, we’ve had the opportunity to provide information for our readers that may impact their travel decisions. This has been a huge motivator for us in continuing to post consistently. No, not all of our suggestions may appeal to all travelers. Nor do all of our suggestions prove to be beneficial for everyone.  It’s highly subjective.

Due to time constraints, we can’t really assist those embarking on traditional one or two-week vacations/holidays. We are not a travel agency, nor do we have any interest in becoming so. But, we encourage our readers to contact us if we can be of assistance should you decide to embark on a journey such as ours, without a home base, without storage, and with an intent to travel for extended periods, as we have done.,

No doubt, it was quite a thrill to be so close to the elephants.

If you have specific questions for traditional short-term travel, you may find suggestions by using our search box at the top right of our home page.  However, traveling the world full-time is very different from taking a vacation/holiday. Based on the fact we often stay in locations for extended periods, our perspective may be very different about a  specific location for many reasons, including:

  • Cooking our own meals, shopping in local markets
  • Renting cars for extended periods
  • Renting holiday homes for extended periods
  • Using cruises as transportation
  • Visa extension issues and concerns
  • Access to quality medical care if necessary
  • Negotiating with property owners for extended stays
  • Ensuring WiFi, aircon, and essential utilities are included in the rent
  • Safe drinking water
  • Proximity from the airport to the holiday home, to shopping and touring
  • Clothing needed for seasonal weather changes during extended stays

    One by one, they wandered away.

The differences between short and long-term travel are many and become evident once a world travel journey begins. We’ve encountered many challenges along the way, and we’re always happy to share our experiences and insights with other world travelers.

Have a fantastic weekend wherever you may be!

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

No photo was posted on this date one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends in the US and throughout the world…

Three little pigs are growing fast. They love pellets!

Thanksgiving was always one of our favorite holidays. The family, the friends, the comfort food, the games we played, and the lazy football watching while recovering after the big meal, while contemplating the next piece of pumpkin pie, often to be topped off with a dollop of whipped cream for those who liked it.

Once everyone left our home, the dishes and table linens were washed, dried, and put away. The next phase of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend began…a full three days of decorating the house for Christmas. Traditionally, I started this process every year, on this same date with a process I followed to a tee, year after year.

Tom brought down all the decorations from the attic, and my work began, often with Christmas music playing in the background or a favorite TV show on, to entertain me during the lengthy process. My two sons never seemed interested in decorating. Instead, once it was done, they’d revel in the beauty of it all if I say so myself.

They are so cute when they are chewing.

Richard was living in Nevada from 1988 on, and Greg had his own home in Minnesota, creating his traditions and decorating. His house. In the years since I became an empty nester before I met Tom in 1991, the process continued seamlessly, year after year, never missing a beat, until our lives changed in 2012.

Often Tom had to work on Thanksgiving Day, even getting called to work on the railroad during Thanksgiving dinner. He swallowed a few more bites and headed out the door, leaving me with the adult kids to continue. Usually, he’d return within 12 hours, help bring down the decorations, and head back to work again.

By the end of the weekend, he’d come up the driveway in the dark to see the Christmas lights on the tree. Most years, I decorated two trees, one by the window facing the private driveway and another in the breakfast room to be seen upon entry into the house. It was a festive time. We loved every moment, especially after the work was done.

Mom happily shares the pellets with them.

Following Thanksgiving weekend, although I worked long days, I began the Christmas baking, making plenty for us to have at home but even more to give away to the kids, other family members, neighbors, and friends. Every spare moment from the Wednesday before Christmas, when I made about a dozen pumpkin pies, to after New Year’s when the decorations were put away, I was busy.

I shopped, mostly online, wrapped numerous packages, each with a handmade bow made by me on every single package. We sent no less than 200 Christmas cards, each with a handwritten message inside, and took them all to the post office after placing matching Christmas postage stamps on each card. Oh, good grief. I worked so hard.

In the 1990s, we started making bottles of homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream, later called “Lyman’s Irish Cream.” Tom did all the prep work making the delicious recipe and filling the bottles while I designed and printed the decorative sticky labels, placing them on the bottles once the outsides were dry.

We love how perfectly shaped Mom’s tusks are.

The first year we may have made about 25 bottles. During our last Christmas in Minnesota in 2011, before we decided to travel the world, we made over 120 bottles to give to special friends, which we both personally dropped off to the recipients. Whew!

Then, of course, there was a holiday dinner party for friends, the celebration of Tom’s birthday on December 23, Christmas Eve dinner, and festivities on Christmas Day. As the years passed, our children created their own traditions at their own homes with other extended family members, and those special traditions we’d hosted year after year changed with the times.

Yes, 2011 was the last year we tackled all of these projects. And now? What do we do? We don’t send Christmas cards. We don’t buy all those gifts. Instead, we send gift cards to the grandchildren. We stopped sending gifts to our adult children, requesting they don’t buy anything for us either.

They stayed in the garden for quite a while.

Once we began traveling, we stopped purchasing gifts for one another. We never have a Christmas tree or any decorations. We no longer make Lyman’s Irish Cream. I don’t bake cookies and Christmas treats. It’s all over now. And what do we do on Thanksgiving today? And over the Christmas season?

We celebrate the meaning of the holidays without the usual merriment associated with these special times. We are thankful. We are grateful, and we never feel lost, alone and sad about having let go of all that embodied the holidays for us years ago.

This will be the 10th holiday season we haven’t celebrated as we had in the past, and we are content and fulfilled in many other ways.

Today, on Thanksgiving, we’re meeting up with our new American friends, Carrie and Jim, at Two Trees on the Crocodile River (we were rained out a few days ago), and together we’ll all have a toast to Thanksgiving in the US. As for Christmas, we’re planning to spend Christmas Eve at Jabula with friends, along with others like us, who may not have nearby family members to join in the celebration of the holiday season.

On Christmas Day, we’ll stay at our bush house, cooking a nice meal on the braai and enjoying our wildlife friends who come to call any day of the year.

It’s all good. We’re content.

May your day be content and fulfilling.

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

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #247. View of houses on the channel heading out to sea in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more photos, please click here.

A stunning sighting in the garden…Thanksgiving in the US tomorrow…Thankful in the bush every day…

This was the total size of the foam tree frog nest before it rained. After it rained hard for hours, it was half the size as shown below. We aren’t sure if the rain destroyed it or if the male tree frogs will fertilize it.

Yesterday afternoon, while situated on the veranda on a rainy day, we happened to look toward the right to the rainwater-filled cement pond. Hanging in the tree was something extraordinary we’d first seen in December 2013 during our first foray to Marloth Park…a tree frog foam nest.

For the details of that sighting, check out our link here, which includes a fascinating video that we’d made when a dozen male tree frogs arrived at the foam nest to fertilize it after the female tree frog made the nest, laying thousands of eggs inside it overnight. How unusual is that?

The foam tree frog nest after the rain.

We were enthralled by this event eight years ago, and we’re equally enthralled now. If we’re fortunate to capture the males fertilizing the foam nest again, we’ll make another video and share it here. We keep checking every half hour or so. But, we could easily miss it if it occurs overnight.

The female makes the nest over a body of water. In 2013, she made it over the splash pool. The tadpoles didn’t survive when they landed in the pool due to the chlorine in the water, although we spotted one that survived. This time, the nest is over the cement pond, filled with rainwater. The tadpoles could very well survive when they drop out of the nest to swim in the water as they mature.

The mating sounds, particularly after dark, over the past few weeks, have been earsplitting, continuing well into the night. For some odd reason, although the female frog, the tree, and the pond are outside our bedroom window, they haven’t kept either of us awake. Somehow the sounds of nature, however loud, don’t seem to disturb our sleep.

It was hard to get this photo while sitting at the table on the veranda. Each time I grabbed the camera, it flew away. Finally, I got this blurry photo of what we think is a lilac-crested bee-eater.

Late yesterday afternoon, we took off for Two Trees on the Crocodile River to meet with Carrie and Jim, our new US travel friends. By the time we arrived at the meeting point, it was pouring rain, preventing us from getting out of the car. When they came a few minutes after us, we all decided to get together at this same site on Thursday (tomorrow) as a quasi celebration for the US holiday, Thanksgiving, which will be observed tomorrow.

Some of our readers have kindly written to us, asking what we’re doing for Thanksgiving, if we’re making pies, and the traditional turkey dinner. First off, we can’t buy canned or fresh pumpkins here in the bush. The few pumpkin pies I’ve made here have been using canned pumpkin Kathy brought here from the US in her luggage. There will be no pumpkin pies this year.

As for a turkey, they may be found in Nelspruit at one or two of the big markets, but we saw no sense in driving for three hours to buy a small turkey, no larger than a good-sized chicken. Then, the ingredients for side dishes aren’t available here either; no fresh cranberries, no marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole, no canned onions for the green bean casserole, no Cool Whip for the fruit whippy, and it goes on and on.

Another cute little bird we spotted last night.

In 2018, we did a Thanksgiving meal for friends, using chickens, as detailed in this post, and side dishes for which Kathy had brought other ingredients from the US, making it all possible. Please click here to see our menu and food photos from that Thanksgiving for 12 guests at the Orange house.

It was so hot during those days, while I prepared many pumpkin pies, rolling the dough in the heat, an impossible task. I’ll never forget my “pie day from hell,” found at this link. Heat and rolling dough for pies don’t go together. It was an experience I’ll never forget, but I got through it.

Much to my surprise, as I sweated up a storm in the heat, I did so with three of my coronary arteries 100% blocked. Less than three months later, I had open-heart surgery, being told it was a miracle I could function at all with only one artery pumping blood to my heart. Lucky, I guess. Grateful, I know for sure.

Frank and The Misses still stopped by during the rainstorms of the past few days. She waits patiently for him to finish.

Sure, the traditional foods and festivities were always fun and rewarding, spending time with family and friends. But, now Thanksgiving has a very different meaning for us. It’s not about the food, the wine, and the festivities. It’s all about being thankful. And that is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Without a doubt, we are thankful for so much; our loved ones and friends, our good fortune to be able to continue to travel the world, our health, and of course, each other to revel in the treasures Mother Nature has to offer every day in the bush or wherever we may be at any given time, together, living this extraordinary and exciting life.

For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving in the US, have a blessed holiday and long weekend. For everyone else, may your days be filled with joy and wonder.

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

This photo was posted one year ago today while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #246. My dinner at Sails  Restaurant in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013 was too heavy with oil, very different from the first time I’d ordered this entrée. For more photos, please click here.

Free entrance to Kruger this week…A little of this and that!…

An Egyptian goose, fluffing her feathers while on an island on the Crocodile River.

There is no entrance fee required for our South African friends to enter Kruger National Park this week. This doesn’t apply to non-citizens/tourists.  See details below:

“For one week each year, there is free entry to Kruger National Park for South Africans. Free entry week for 2021 has been announced for 22-26 November. Free entry week began in 2006, as part of South African National Parks Week, to promote the country’s national parks.”

This is great for citizens and legal residents with ID. The usual fees are as listed below:

Daily Conservation Fees for 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022
South African Citizens and Residents (with ID) R110 per adult, per day R55 per child, per day
SADC Nationals (with passport) R220 per adult, per day R110 per child, per day

ZAR 110 equates to US $6.96 and ZAR 3.48 (child rate)

ZAR 220 equates to US $13.91 ad ZAR 6.96 (child rate

We’d planned to go into Kruger this week, now that the rain has stopped. But not this week; based on the waived fees for citizens and residents when the park will be bustling, we’ll wait until a sunny day next week. We prefer to visit the park on sunny days that aren’t too hot for good photos. Lately, it’s either been too hot when animals stay undercover, or it’s been cloudy and rainy.

Another Egyptian goose on the bank of the Crocodile River.

This afternoon, we’re meeting up with the lovely couple from the US, Carrie, and Jim, at Two Trees, overlooking the Crocodile River. They, too, like us, are traveling the world full-time, having sold everything they own, committed to a years-long journey. A  few weeks ago, they visited us for sundowners, and we had a great visit that extended well into the night. It will be fun to see them again.

Recently, they’ve been on a surprise trip to celebrate Carrie’s birthday. It will be fun to hear about their adventures. They are 25 to 30 years younger than us, younger than our adult children. It’s interesting to listen to their perspective of traveling the world at their younger age. Gosh, we didn’t get started until Tom was 60 and I was almost 65. How the time has flown!

Next week, my free afternoon time will end for several weeks. I will be getting to work on the SEO posts (search engine optimization). These long, somewhat repetitious posts are necessary to increase our exposure on the world wide web. It’s a laborious and time-consuming task, and again, I’ll be thrilled to have this behind me.

Many guests gathered at the railing to observe a snake resting on the end of a branch on a tree. Zoom in to see the snake more clearly.

I will alert you when a particular SEO post is coming up the following day, so you’ll be prepared for the repetition, redundancy, and extra-long, overly wordy posts.

As for how I’ve been using those several extra hours each day, I can hardly explain what I’ve done. I’ve slowed down the pace of my usual daily tasks, including laundry, cooking, and organizing around the house. I’ve been lazy for several days and sat and watched a few sci-fi movies and TV series. It’s been a fun escape.

Also, over the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with having shingles and a very itchy and painful left thigh. Resting with my leg elevated has been helpful, forcing me to sit and do nothing! Now that it is almost completely healed, I contacted our web people in India and told them that finally, I would begin the SEO posts, which were initially scheduled to be completed in October.

A cattle egret and its shadow on the river.

I haven’t missed more than a few days of exercising to maintain a level of fitness and made a point of getting up and walking around the house at least once an hour. It’s so easy to get caught up in sitting for hours at a time resulting in muscle atrophy, which is a sure-fire way to age quickly. We both must stay agile and fit if we want to continue traveling.

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

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #245. A man-made pond on the Kahili Golf Course in Maui, Hawaii, created a pretty scene. For more photos, please click here.

Many requests for recipes…Posted here today…Sorry, non-foodies…

Many of our readers are curious about my way of eating, whether low-carb, keto, ketovore, or carnivore, and write to us asking questions. After eating this way since 2010 and having experimented with each of these, I’ve found that keto is best suited to me, which limits carbs.

I tried carnivore (zero carbs, all meat) for many months but found it didn’t work for my digestive system for whatever reason. I need to eat some vegetables each day and can tolerate a small amount of dairy. Here is an excellent description of the differences of these various manners of eating from this reliable site:

“The ketogenic diet, better known as the keto diet, is a popular style of eating that restricts carbohydrates — but it’s by no means your average low-carb diet. While low-carb and keto diets overlap in a few key ways, they vary significantly from their potential health benefits to the foods they discourage.

We spoke with Pamela Nisevich Bede, a registered dietitian for ZonePerfect and medical manager for Abbott’s scientific and medical affairs team, about low-carb and keto diets. Here are the insights she shared, as well as some tips to consider if you’re looking to try either of these diets.

What Is a Low-Carb Diet?

Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are known as macronutrients — they provide calories for the body and are needed in more significant amounts than micronutrients, primarily vitamins, and minerals. Many eating plans, including keto and low-carb, involve emphasizing or restricting certain macronutrients.

“Technically, any eating style recommending less than 45% of calories from carbs can be considered low carb,” Nisevich Bede began, “but many research studies home in on approximately 10% to 25% of calories coming from carbs.”

A low-carb eating plan replaces the calories you’d typically get from carbs with protein-rich foods and certain fats.  While the exact distribution of calories varies from plan to plan and person to person, an example of a low-carb macronutrient breakdown might include 10% to 25% of calories from carbs, 40% to 50% from protein, and 30% to 40% from fats. The emphasis on protein provides you with energy and supports appetite control and muscle health.

“Some of the protein in the diet may be used to make glucose for energy,” she explained. “If you’re on a lower-calorie plan, watch out for signs of fatigue or muscle soreness.”

How Is the Keto Diet Different From Other Low-Carb Diets?

While Nisevich Bede noted that people tend to use the terms interchangeably, the keto diet is very different than traditional low-carb diets in terms of its macronutrient breakdown.  It requires you to get 5% to 10% of your calories from carbs, 15% to 30% from protein, and at least 70% to 80% from fat — that’s nearly twice as much fat and half as many carbs as what typical low-carb diets recommend.

“A ketogenic diet highly restricts carbohydrate intake, and it’s purposely high in fat,” she explained, “while a low-carb diet focuses on moderate protein and moderate fat.” The keto diet outlined here is for the general consumer. It is not therapeutic, she continued, with the ultimate goal being to promote ketosis — a natural metabolic process in which the body burns fat for fuel. Ketosis begins once the body’s glycogen stores are depleted.”

Please check with your medical professionals to aid you in deciding which may be best for you should you choose to embark on a lower-carb way of eating. Years ago, my integrative medicine doctor sent me on the path of keto, and I have maintained it over all these years. As many of you know, this way of eating was instrumental in us being able to travel the world with my improved health.

Naysayers may say that eating this way contributed to my heart disease. My cardiologist and surgeon assured me that is not the case, which I confirmed with hundreds of hours of research. In essence, it may have prevented me from having a fatal heart attack.

The problem is with my arteries, and it is hereditary. I was told most likely I had developed coronary artery disease 30 years ago or more. Cardiologists throughout the world recommend that inflammation and blood sugar be kept to a low level to prevent heart disease. A low carb/keto diet can accomplish this.

The recipes requested since yesterday’s post were the two treats we mentioned, Low Carb Cream Cheese Clouds and Low Carb Chocolate Fudge. I can’t take credit for creating these recipes. Please note: these are treats. Eat in moderation.

  • Low Carb/Keto Cream Cheese Clouds at this link. This particular website has some fantastic recipes we’ve enjoyed over the years. Cut into squares, place into containers, and freeze, eating small portions frozen.
  • Low Carb/Keto Chocolate Fudge at this link. Also, from a fantastic website. Follow the above freezing and storing suggestions.

One reader requested our Low Carb Cheese Pie recipe. This is my mother’s original cheese pie recipe which I’ve adapted to low carb/keto with a low carb/keto almond flour crust.

Jess’s Low Carb Cheesecake Recipe (makes one pie)


1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup melted butter

Liquid sweetener to taste (purchased at at this link). I use ten drops for the crust.

3/4 tsp cinnamon

Spread in a pie pan and bake in the oven at 180C (350F) for 20 minutes until it appears light brown and done to the touch. Let cool before adding the filling.


2 8 oz packages full fat cream cheese

2 eggs beaten

Liquid sweetener to taste – I use 40 drops of liquid sucralose I purchase at at this link.

2 tsp real vanilla

Beat well and put into baked almond flour crust after it’s cooled.

Bake at 180C (350F) for 35 minutes until done (test by inserting a butter knife in the center. It should almost be clean but not wet). Let cool before adding the topping.


1 cup sour cream

Liquid sweetener to taste (I use 6 drops)

2 tsp. vanilla

Also, we did a very long post with low carb/keto recipes last year which may be found here at our link.

Last night for dinner, we had low-carb meatloaf covered with bacon. Here’s my recipe for the above-shown meatloaf:

Jess’s Low Carb Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf 2 eggs, beaten 1/4 cup low carb ketchup (Heinz has a low sugar option) 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded 1/4 cup onion, chopped fine 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef, 1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup,

4 hard-boiled eggs,12 strips of nitrate-free (or regular) bacon

Boil the eggs, cool, and peel, keeping them whole.

Combine everything except the bacon and hard-boiled eggs in a large bowl. Mix well, then shape into the bottom half of one large loaf using ½ of the meat mixture.

Evenly place the hard-boiled eggs into the center from end to end. Top with the remaining ½ of the meat mixture, sealing the two sections evenly and tightly.

Lay the whole bacon strips across the width of the loaf, tucking the ends underneath the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees, 180C, for one hour or make it into two loaves and bake for 45 minutes.

If bacon isn’t fully cooked, turn on the broiler and set the kitchen timer for 30 seconds, and broil until bacon is cooked, repeating if necessary.  Watch the timer carefully.

Makes 8 servings

For those non-foodie, we apologize for boring you today. We’ll be back tomorrow without the mention of food.

Happy day to all!

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

This photo was posted one-year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #244. My low blood sugar from eating very few carbs reads 78 (US numbers), 4.33 (SA and other countries, numbers). I am still holding great reading with no diabetes medication. (See your health care professional to) accomplish this safely if you are taking diabetes medication). For more on this post, please click here.

Rainy Sunday in the bush…New Crocodile River photos!…Food photos…


It was wonderful to see this elephant from the veranda at Amazing Kruger View Restaurant last night while dining with Dorthy and Arthur.

It was a good night. We met Dorthy and Arthur at Amazing Kruger View at 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, for sundowners and dinner. The menu has a few items that work for my way of eating, and I managed to order two items befitting my special diet; a small starter plate of grilled squid tentacles and a grilled chicken salad. Both were the perfect amounts and rather good, but not necessarily great. Both are shown in the two photos below.

We spotted this hippo at quite a distance.

Tom ordered chicken schnitzel with chips, as shown in the photo below. Dorthy ordered the prawns (with the heads preferred by South African and creamed spinach and butternut squash) and two popular South Africa side dishes (often served at Jabula). Dorthy enjoyed her meal.

Arthur had the Chicken Curry Penne pasta, which he said was good, and the portion was large enough for him to take a “doggie bag” to enjoy for today’s lunch. We laughed when we saw he’d order Chicken Penne Pasta. That was what Tom ate for dinner (minus the curry sauce) every night for the first eight of ten months we spent in lockdown in the hotel in Mumbai, India, until he was so sick of it, he quit eating dinner altogether.

Moments later, I spotted a second hippo and a waterbuck. It was getting dark, and the distance prevented clear photos.

Tom gained 10 kg, 22 pounds, from eating that pasta those eight months, along with breakfast and four bananas each day. No wonder he gained all that weight, most of which he’s lost since we’ve been here. Speaking of weight, he gained about 2 kg, 4.4 pounds, from eating the lemon poppyseed muffins I made for him as comfort food after having his dental surgery.

Storks on the river.

Now that the muffins are gone, he’s determined to eat only low-carb foods when we dine in, not necessarily when dining out. But Tom isn’t insulin resistant and by no means pre-diabetic, so treats for him when we dine out aren’t an issue like they are for me. My blood sugar and blood pressure will go through the roof if I eat bread, potatoes, starchy foods, or desserts which impacts my heart health. It’s not worth it to me.

Arthur’s dinner of Curry Chicken Penne Pasta.

So this morning, to add a little comfort food to our daily menu, I made a few treats, each very low-carb and to be eaten in moderation; Low Carb Chocolate Fudge and Low Carb Cream Cheese Clouds, both delicious and in the freezer now firming up to be cut into bite-sized pieces.  Each evening after dinner, I’ll make up a little plate for each of us to be savored in small portions.

Dorthy’s prawn dinner with heads, creamed spinach, and butternut squash, both popular South African side dishes.

While in the kitchen this morning, I worked on tonight’s dinner, and all of that is under control. With dishes piled up all over the kitchen, I made breakfast of “butt” bacon and scrambled eggs with cheese. After breakfast, Tom licked the beaters and the bowl from the Cream Cheese clouds and then proceeded to all the dishes. I don’t mind cooking and making special treats when I know he’ll do all the dishes.

My starter, a small plate of tiny squid tentacles.

Back to last night’s dinner with Dorthy and Arthur…while we sat at the big picnic-type table on the veranda, completely covered over with a tent-like roof as it drizzled off and on, the conversation was lively and animated. We have many common interests as retirees, and they can be more adventurous, although a bit older than us. It was delightful chatting with them.

As we enjoyed our drinks and food, we noticed several other customers standing at the railing overlooking the Crocodile River. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a table closest to the railing without a reservation, so each time we spotted something, I had to get up with the camera and scan the river for any possible sightings.

My grilled chicken salad. The chicken looked fried, but it wasn’t. Spices made it look like it was battered.

On one occasion, there was a snake in a tree that was hard to spot. I took a photo but found the result to be obscure and hard to visualize. But, as the sky darkened, the sightings of the photos we’re sharing today were satisfying and exciting.

Imagine being out to dinner and watching the activity in one of the most wildlife-rich national parks in the world. Imagine our delight when we have to stop on the road to let two giraffes pass on the way out to dinner. Imagine waking up in the morning, drawing open the shade covering the window to see a 227 kg, 500 pounds, wild animal, a kudu, looking in the window with an expression of anticipation on their face.

Tom’s Chicken Schnitzel topped with cheese sauce with chips on the side.

This is Marloth Park, the most unusual place we’ve found in the world that fills our hearts with joy and fulfillment, not only due to the exquisite abundance of nature but also the fine people we meet along the way.

We are grateful and never take it for granted. No, not for a moment.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 21, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #243. Proud mom showing her youngster the ways of the bush. For more photos, please click here.