A new plan for the next year…

A marina in Apollo Beach.

As it turned out, we’re booking the new house in Marloth Park for one full year, during which we’ll leave from time to time for new visa stamps. We plan to do one more visa extension through the law firm, and we’ll be going for cruises at other times. Subsequently, we’ll only have to leave once for a visa run during the 12 months. This works out well for us.

Are we settling down in Marloth Park? No. We’re using it as a base until after we return from the Lisbon to Cape Town cruise in December, leaving us six more months of the one-year rental contract from which we’ll embark on more cruises. After that year ends, we will leave South Africa for new and different horizons. But, for this particular period, it works for us.

Are we done with staying in holiday homes for two or three months in various countries? Not necessarily. In the interim, we can live well below our budget to offset the cost of the cruises. But with the cost of holiday homes skyrocketing worldwide due to the pandemic, we’ve had no choice but to reconsider what works best for us.

We have seen an increase in holiday rents, not only in the UK and Europe but also worldwide. We are not wealthy people who can spend thousands of dollars a month on rentals. Nor are we willing to forgo our criteria of living in nice properties in safe neighborhoods, in excellent condition, with utilities included and unlimited WiFi. We can’t justify forfeiting any of these critical requirements.

For those of our readers who have grown weary of wildlife photos, we apologize when we say there will be plenty more to come once we return to Marloth Park on May 24. The difference will be an entirely new batch of animals, with new names, new behavior, and the plethora of peculiarities we find in the bush.

If we named our site Worldwide Wildlife Adventures, a steady stream of animal photos would be expected. So, from that point forward during the upcoming year, you may ask yourself, would I read such a daily blog? Would I become bored with one wild animal after another?

If your answer is that you would be bored, then please check back from time to time to see what adventures are upcoming or perhaps wait until we are on the move again. On November 8, 2022, we’re sailing through the Middle East, including visiting Israel and many other countries.

On August 1, 2023, we will finally be sailing to Norway, a new experience for us. Thus, during this one year, we won’t be sitting on the veranda the entire time, tossing pellets to our newly named animal friends and heading to Jabula every Friday night. There definitely will be some adventures along the way.

Our lives are not long-term vacation/holiday. It is a compilation of experiences in many cultures, focused on nature, building relationships we make along the way, and learning about the world’s ways. Our goal is to remain intrigued while continuing to grow and flourish in many environments. Staying stimulated by our surroundings is a fantastic means of maintaining a youthful outlook and demeanor.

As long as our health remains good, we will continue on this path. When that changes, which it ultimately will, we will make another plan. Also, based on great medical care, we feel incredibly at ease in Marloth Park.

So, there it is, dear readers, our plan for the upcoming year. It begins when we return to South Africa on May 24; after our two upcoming cruises, a two-week visit to Minnesota with another one-week visit to Nevada. From there, we’ll embark on the long journey to return to South Africa.

We are content with our plans and hope most of our readers will continue to share this peculiar life with us. We’ll be back tomorrow with some exciting photos of “safari luck” in Florida after sightseeing.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2021:

Frank was standing on the veranda railing. For more photos, please click here.

So much to do…So little time…

Another beautiful sunny day in Florida!

We didn’t realize until we arrived back in the US how much work we had to do when we got here. Perhaps, we were trying to keep our time in Florida easy and uncomplicated. But, once we arrived, we realized all the tasks facing us had to be completed before we will leave on April 8. They include:

  1. Purchase travel insurance for upcoming cruises – DONE
  2. Upgrading Costco membership to Executive and applying for the Costco Visa card. (As it turns out, we ended up having to provide extra proof of our identity due to “South Africa” popping up on our credit reports) – DONE
  3. Get a fraud flag off one of our best credit cards since we used it for multiple purchases worldwide, and it was flagged as “possible fraud.” Tom has provided all the documents except for an original social security card he doesn’t have. All social security offices are temporarily closed due to Covid, and applying online is a mess. We are still working on this.
  4. Purchase clothing and shoes for Tom for the upcoming Cunard Queen Mary 2 cruise – DONE (picking everything up next Wednesday, April 6, for our April 8 departure).
  5. Purchasing odds and ends and shoes for me to complete my clothing for the Queen Mary 2 cruise – DONE.
  6. Purchase various cosmetic items and costume jewelry for upcoming cruises – Almost done.
  7. Apply for renewal of our passports that expire in 20 months. (Most likely, we’ll save this task for Minnesota when we arrive on May 1)
  8. Cancel the changed cruise to Russia and Ukraine to ensure the credits go to our future booked cruises. Tom was on the phone for at least 90 minutes. Once the credits show up in our email in 30 to 45 days, we can go back in and transfer the credits to the future cruise. Azamara refused to make the funds transfer from one cruise to another. We have to call again when the credits appear to have this done.
  9. Order a new phone for me. DONE (More on that in tomorrow’s post with the solution to our Google Fi dilemma)
  10. Arrange for Covid PCR test at nearby CVS pharmacy – DONE

Of course, other situations might arise in the next several days, but we’re ready to tackle them as they occur. Karen commented on how much work it is for us to travel. She is so right. The mountains of documents and processes never cease to amaze us.

Whoever thinks traveling the world is a constant vacation/holiday is kidding themselves. The work required to book venues, stay on top of pricing, and take advantage of price drops, plus book flights, hotels, holiday homes, can be daunting.

Imagine how much time you spend planning one vacation, let alone where we’ll be for a year at a time or more. Record keeping is vital during these processes to ensure we don’t forget a thing. We keep detailed notes online on our travel calendar we can easily refer to at any time.

Staying calm and friendly when speaking to representatives is an integral part of all of these transactions, whether they’ve made an error or if we missed something. It’s not unusual for us to sit side by side, planning and handling obstacles for an entire day. Keeping an upbeat attitude is vital to this process, and after over nine years of doing this, we’ve learned the true meaning of “patience is a virtue.”

No, we haven’t had time to drive around and take photos of this lovely area. By the time we have completed our tasks for the day, helped Karen make dinner, do our laundry, shopped for groceries and other things, including preparing the post, and responded to countless email messages we get each day, we feel it’s important to spend valuable time with our generous hosts.

This leaves us little time to run around taking photos. Once we get on the cruises when all of our needs are included, we’ll have time to take photos since all we’ll have to do the daily post (WiFI signal permitting), take photos throughout the ships, and enjoy ourselves.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2021:

The previous night, we had a visit from a thick-tailed bushbaby. They are a threat to the smaller bushbabies. For more photos, please click here.

Shopping for Tom’s suit…Gee…I don’t like shopping…

More beautiful views of the canal.

While traveling the world, we have been unable to purchase many items we need at any given time. I’d often think of how nice it would be to shop as quickly as possible in the US. But, we were disillusioned. Yesterday, when we visited no less than five stores, I experienced a feeling I rarely experience…feeling overwhelmed.

The DSW shoe store was the worst. I needed two pairs of shoes, one for the upcoming dressy cruise and another pair of walking shoes. Walking into the store, I scoured the aisles for less than 10 minutes. Nothing appealed to me, and the prices were so high. I wasn’t about to pay over US $100 for each pair of shoes.

Gorgeous pool in Karen and Rich’s garden.

Tom had found a pair of black Cole Haan shoes, his favorite brand, at the Men’s Wearhouse, but when I looked online while in the store, I found them online for US $50 less. Once back at the house, he found the exact pair at Amazon and made the purchase. At that point, I found two pairs of shoes totaling less than US $100 and ordered them along with Tom’s.

With that part out of the way, now we can focus on the few odds and ends we need to complete our dressy attire for the Queen Mary 2 cruise while replacing some things that we could only find here in the US. We will be well-stocked with supplies by the time we return to Marloth Park on May 24.

Lovely flowers from a walk.

While at Costco, we extended our Costco membership to Executive to apply for a special rewards Visa card through them with Citibank. We’ll get tons of cashback for petrol worldwide and extras for the cruises we book through Costco Travel with this card. This will account for savings for us we hadn’t anticipated. Thanks to Gerhard for telling us about this benefit. The card will be waiting for us at our mailing service in Nevada when we arrive on May 15.

Costco gave us a fantastic cold storage bag for upgrading our membership. Since we were already paid up through July, we only had to pay the additional US $20 to upgrade the membership card. After handling all of this, we shopped for groceries to bring back to Karen and Rich’s, including some of the best deli meats and cheeses for Tom’s daily meat and cheese roll-ups that lately he likes having for breakfast.

Today, Karen and Rich had a tree cut down on their property, blocking some extraordinary views.

We continue to enjoy time spent with Karen and Rich. Soon, Karen and I will take another long walk on yet another gorgeous day with temperatures in the mid-70s and a gentle breeze. It couldn’t be more beautiful. We certainly came to Florida at the right time of year.

Yesterday, by the end of the day, we had the bulk of our shopping done, both in person for Tom’s suit and online. We were finally able to relax for the evening. Karen and I made sides and salad for dinner while Rich cooked pork tenderloins and zucchini on the braai. Once again, it was a lovely dinner and evening.

Removing the tree from the side yard opened up some excellent views.

On Wednesday next week, we will pick up his suit after completing the alterations. He was happy with everything he purchased, and the suit should fit him well.

For the next few days, we have nothing special planned on the horizon while we’re thoroughly enjoying fun and lively conversations with Karen and Rich. It’s very easy being here with them, as it’s always been on past visits.

The side yard now has a better view of the water.

Have a fabulous day while we revel in Florida’s warm and sunny days.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 29, 2021:

An oxpecker was on the back of a young male kudu, eating the bugs and debris off his body. For more photos, please click here.

Night out for dinner at popular Apollo Beach oceanfront restaurant…

We made a toast to our friendship and to being two happy couples.

Shortly, we are heading out to Brandon, a nearby town about 30 minutes from here, where a mall and many other stores are located. First, we’ll head to Men’s Wearhouse to purchase Tom a suit for the upcoming dressy Cunard Queen Mary 2 cruise, only weeks away.

Tom hasn’t had a suit since we began our travels in 2012, but with baggage weight restrictions, we had no choice but to donate it along the way. With several Azamara cruises upcoming and some dressy nights on those cruises, having the suit and my dressy dresses will come in handy. The trick for both of us will be getting rid of some items in our bags to make room for all of our new clothes.

Karen and Rich were married on February 11, when Omicron hit, and we stayed behind to avoid infecting the bride and groom.

We brought along an extra piece of luggage, and in the worst case, we will load it up and pay any extra charge for the additional bag when we fly. The cruise lines don’t charge for the number of bags or the weight of the bags. Thank goodness for that.

So, for today, we start at Men’s Wearhouse, DSW shoes, TJ Maxx (for odds and ends), and Costco, where we’ll upgrade our membership card to get petrol saving when using a Costco credit card to fuel up throughout the world. All the little details of our lives keep us jumping, especially when we spend time in the US between our world travels.

We enjoyed dining outdoors with Karen and Rich at Circle’s Restaurant in Apollo Beach.

Last night, as shown in today’s few photos, we went out to dinner, having a fantastic time. The food was good but not great, but we were shocked by the bill in a casual restaurant such as Circles. For the four of us with drink, tax, and tip, the total bill was US $290, ZAR 4257. Sure, we each had two drinks, but that amount surprised us when, of course, Tom picked up the bill.

When we returned to the house, we watched the end of the Academy Awards. All were shocked over the events of the night when Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock for tastelessly using his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s medical issue as the brunt of the joke. The controversy is all over the internet.

I’d planned to walk out to the beach to take photos, but time got away from me.

Tonight, we’ll dine in after Tom, and I pick up some groceries at Costco for our taco salad dinner. It works out well being here with Karen and Rich since mostly they eat like us. I can easily maintain my low-carb way of eating, and Tom is doing the same, now that we found out we can’t get his favorite plain old-fashioned cake donut. These days, customers aren’t interested in eating simple cake donuts when so many more appealing types are available.

It’s time to head out, so I am cutting it short today. We hope you have a fantastic Monday and everything goes your way.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2021:

The seed solution for Frank and The Misses. Now they both eat out of the little container. Once they’re done, we take away the container, so the pigs and bushbucks don’t eat the seeds. For more, please click here.

MacDill Air Force Base Air Show, as seen from the veranda in Apollo Beach, Florida…

It’s hard to believe we arrived here three days ago. The time has flown and before we know it, we’ll be on our way once again. We’ve been busy here, posting, researching, and doing some online shopping from Amazon, having the items sent to Karen and Rich’s home.

The air show was held at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

The days have been filled with lively conversations as the evenings rolled in a combination of good drinks, great food, and more engaging conversations. For the past three nights, we’ve both had excellent sleep, better than we’ve had in a long time. What the difference is, we’ve yet to figure it out.

The bravery of these pilots is astounding.

Karen and I walked in the neighborhood yesterday. It had been a long time since I’d walked on a level street and it felt great to be outdoors in the ideal cool weather. Recently, when I’ve been doing all the walking in the house in Marloth Park, it’s been doing frequent short spurts throughout the day, not a single extended walk.

We were thrilled to capture these photos. Karen took the above excellent video.

I was wondering how I’d do on one long walk with the problems with my legs not working well since the surgeries in 2019. I wasn’t able to go as far or as long as I’d hoped but we managed to cover a decent area and I felt fine when we returned.

It was fun to see the show from our excellent vantage point.

When we returned, we noticed Tom helping Rich with some yard work while Karen and I sat on the veranda, catching up and reveling in the beautiful day and scenery. Countless boats wafted by on the canal and since it was a Saturday, there were parties in the area with loud music filling the air. It reminded me of my days spent as a single mom and boat owner, having fun on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.

More stunning scenes.

I was one of few women boat drivers on that lake in those days, especially when I had a Chris Craft Boat with dual engines/twin screws, and could easily maneuver into a good docking spot in front of the popular restaurants on the lake. I was always a lousy car driver but somehow managed a boat with ease. Gosh, that was 45 years ago and I recall it like it was yesterday! Talk about time flying by quickly!

They almost looked like birds in formation.

But, now, we have this fabulous life and we’re cherishing every moment with our friends and during our continuing travels. The experiences have been varied and fascinating. Yes, at times, it’s quiet and mundane and we don’t necessarily have exciting days and nights with details to share here.

A sailboat mast is shown in this photo.

Even now, here in Florida with our friends, we aren’t necessarily out and about each day nor did we have any interest in sightseeing in Florida. Both of us have been here many times over the years and going to crowded venues is still not appealing at this time.

Then it ended as the four of us stood on the veranda enjoying the views.

Today, Karen and I will head to the market for more groceries and together will make another lovely dinner for the four of us, to share at their big dining room table. We love how easy it is to be with the two of them. But we knew this and didn’t hesitate to accept their generous offer to stay with them at this wonderful home and seaside location.

We hope each of you are enjoying your days and nights.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2021:

Such a handsome male bushbuck, we named Gordon Ramsey, later called Gordy! For more photos, please click here.

Easy life by the sea…Time flies when you’re having fun!…

The gorgeous sky at sunset.

It couldn’t be easier or more pleasing…life at Karen and Rich’s lovely home on a gorgeous bay in Apollo Beach, a sleepy seaside community, is exactly what we needed right now. The WiFi is high-speed, the temperature is a perfect 80F, 27C. There are no insects that we’ve seen and no load shedding. Life is easy here.

Yesterday was fantastic. Rich kept saying how time flies so quickly each day in Florida. At first, I didn’t think it was going any faster than usual, but before we knew it, the day whizzed by. We didn’t have dinner until almost 9:00 pm, 2100 hrs. By 10:30 pm 2230 hrs, I was ready to head for bed while Karen, Rich, and Tom stayed up for a few more hours.

Not smiling for a change, Tom was very content sitting on the sandy beach at Karen and Rich’s home while we had sundowners.

We’ve bypassed any possibility of jet lag after sleeping well the past two nights. But I usually start fading by 10:30 anyway, so last night wasn’t all that unusual. Once again this morning, we awoke feeling fantastic after another good night’s sleep.

As for yesterday, Karen and I went grocery shopping after making a quick trip to a CVS pharmacy for a few cosmetic items I could not purchase in South Africa. I was like a kid in a candy store while browsing through the countless brands and things in the store. I spent over US $80 on only a few things which would have been half as much as in South Africa.

My dear friend Karen, adorable as ever!

Again, walking through the Publix grocery store, my eyes were darting in every direction, almost overwhelmed by the unbelievable number of options from which to choose. I could have spent hours grocery shopping, but I didn’t want to keep Karen waiting for me. Of course, prices were much higher than I was used to in South Africa.

Back at the house, we unloaded everything, spending the balance of the afternoon relaxing. I took a break from the easy conversation and headed upstairs to our room to empty the box we received here from our mailing service, sent here a few days ago. Also, I had to try on the four dresses I purchased from Amazon for the upcoming Queen Mary 2 cruise at the end of April.

It took me a few hours to go through everything. The dresses all fit me, much to my surprise. All I need to buy while here is a pair of dressy sandals to go with all dresses. I thought about buying a small handbag to go to dinner on the cruises at night, but Tom has agreed to carry my lipstick in his pocket. I’d prefer not to add anything more to my luggage that would add to the weight of the bags.

The sun was setting over the water as we enjoyed our drinks and companionship.

On Monday, Tom and I will head to the town of Brandon, where there is a big shopping mall and a Men’s Wearhouse where we’ll buy him the suit, shirts, and ties for the upcoming dressy cruise. After that, we’ll head to a few shoe stores to find what we’ll need for the cruises and a pair of walking shoes for me. We’ll be relieved to have that done and out of the way.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with updates of our Google Fi phone service after our data plan had been suspended due to overuse outside the USA.

Wow! Time is flying by so fast this morning as we’re all sitting here chatting. Karen and I need to get out and do our walk before the day is gone!

Have a fantastic weekend and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 26, 2021:

The mongooses quickly gathered around the pan of whole eggs. Tom placed it on the ground. Also, we give them scraps of meat and fat since they are omnivores. For more photos, please click here.

We made it!!!…A longer than expected flight from Joburg…Now rested and feeling great!…

The view of Karen and Rich’s pool and bay from our bedroom’s veranda! Amazing!

Wow! What a long day and night. Our connecting flights worked out, but the most challenging flight was from Joburg to Newark. The plane was having mechanical issues, and we sat in our seats for two hours until it finally took off. It took us over 30 hours from door to door.

The remaining 16-hour flight was painstaking. My Fitbit showed I never slept since it only registers one hour or more. Once I laid down on the two seats between Tom and me, I couldn’t fall asleep when my legs hung into the aisle, and people walked by, bumping into them. A few times, I dozed off but woke myself up when my head dropped down to my chest.

We have two comfy chairs on our veranda at their lovely oceanfront home.

Instead, I watched parts of or the entirety of eight movies, none of which were any good. Most of the movies were old, and we’d watched them at some point, and many were genres I didn’t like. Tom watched a few as well but didn’t care for any of them either. The battery on my phone was dying, and the USB plug-in on the seat didn’t work, so I couldn’t play games on my phone. It was a long 16 hours.

We both wore compression stockings and got up to walk around every few hours. They served food three times, but I ate very little when there was no option for low-carb meals. Most of the food was awful, sugary, and carb-laden. It didn’t matter to me since I knew Karen and Rich would have some fantastic foods awaiting us, and they did.

Another view of the bay.

By the time we were in the air, we were concerned about making our connecting flight in Newark with only a 2 ½ hour layover ahead of us. We had to rush through immigration, collect our bags to go through customs and security, recheck our bags and make it to the gate a few minutes before boarding. Miraculously, it all worked out well.

On the last flight from Newark to Tampa, a lovely man in his 30s sat between Tom and me, and we chatted during the entire three-hour flight, which was also late taking off. We didn’t arrive in Tampa until almost 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs, picked up our bags and rental car, and made our way through rush-hour traffic to Karen’s and Rich’s beautiful home in Apollo Beach, Florida.

Their dock and beautiful new boat.

It was such a joy to see them both. It had been over two years since we stayed with them in November 2019. It was exciting to see our dear newlywed friends, their gorgeous home, and finally eat some fantastic food, including smoked salmon, deviled eggs, artichoke dip, baby tomatoes, and roasted chicken wings and legs. They’d planned a filet mignon dinner, but after eating the great starters, we were all full and will have the steaks on the braai tonight.

We decided to stay awake as late as possible, but I was done by 9:00 pm, 2100 hrs. Tom stayed up a little longer chatting with Karen and Rich and joined me an hour later. Much to our amazement, we slept like logs, only each getting up once to hit the bathroom but each going right back to sleep.

This morning we awoke alert and energized, feeling as good as ever. We have no remnants of jet lag whatsoever, but following the new time zone we’d entered yesterday afternoon, we bypassed any chance of jet lag.

Another gorgeous view. It couldn’t be more perfect than to be here with them both.

Once we upload today’s post and a few photos (more will follow in days to come), Karen and I will head to her favorite grocery store soon, and we’ll get a few things to last for a few days. When we return and put everything away, Karen and I will take a  walk in the neighborhood.

While we’re here, our posts will continue daily, and we’ll add photos of our surroundings, our friends, and anything we decide to do. A lot of sightseeing isn’t our intent while here in Florida, but we have plenty of sightseeing ahead of us over the next few nights.

Thank you, dear readers, for all the well wishes and encouragement. Well back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2021:

Tiny, who’s quite the loner, has a new friend, we called Narrow, due to his narrow face. Narrow used to hang out with The Imposter  (who imitates Tiny), but now Narrow has gravitated to Tiny. We’ll see how this works out when The Imposter returns tonight when these two are most likely cuddled up. For more photos, please click here.

Final post from Marloth Park…Surprising news on our itinerary…Some of our favorite photos…

We always had a reason to celebrate. Here is Don (Kathy and Don) and Rita (Rita and Gerhard) at Jabula celebrating our friendships.

Note: Due to the high volume of tourists in Marloth Park right now, during school holidays, the WiFi is sketchy and inconsistent. Subsequently, I am unable to make formatting corrections including spacing and adding some links. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. After all, TIA (This is Africa)!

It’s Wednesday morning, and we’re almost totally packed and ready to go. All that’s left is to pack the everyday toiletries when Tom showers soon, and we’ll close our bags. We aren’t worried about overweight baggage this time since we’re allowed two 23 kg (50 pounds) bags each, and we only have three.

We packed one of the duffle bags into another suitcase since we’ll need extra room when we go on the cruises for the dressy clothes we’ll be packing for the Queen Mary 2. Once we get to Minnesota on May 1, we can send the formal attire to our mailing service to hold for us until we need them again.

A female kudu, in a daze from oxpeckers cleaning bugs off her ears and head. For this post, please click here.

I suppose you are curious about our itinerary news, and I should get on with it. After days of research and discussion, we’ve decided to return to Marloth Park on May 24, only 62 days from today. A few factors contributed to this decision, including the difficulty we encountered in traveling to many countries at this time. We considered increased costs, fuel shortages, and overall excessive cost of living due to the ravages of each economy as a result of the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine.

I.B. (Itchy Butt) laying in the wet, muddy cement pond, attempting to ease the itching. For this post, please click here.

There is so much unrest in many countries with poor economic conditions, political unrest, poor medical care, prohibitive medical costs, and the list goes on and on. We’ve decided, for now, making Marloth Park a base from which we’ll continue to travel and embark on cruises makes all the financial sense in the world.

We never figured out what this peculiar apparition that appeared on the night cam could possibly be. For that post, please click here.

Yes, we’ll have visa issues, but we know how to deal with these issues. We can travel to other countries in Africa for short stay safaris and expeditions and then return with a new 90-day visa stamp. Once back here in May, we won’t have to leave until August for a visa stamp. We can either fly to a non-bordering country or start a new visa extension. The new stamp will be good until November when we’re planning to leave anyway.

Our friend Frank, of Frank and The Misses francolins, had a self-tour of our house, including the kitchen. For that post, please click here.

In November, we’ll make our way to  Athens, Greece, for three back-to-back Azamara cruises for a total of 42 days, which brings us to Cape Town, South Africa, when we’ll make our way back to Marloth Park and begin the cruising booking process all over again, as new cruises are posted. These new cruises will take us to many new countries we’ve never visited in the past.

This was the third photo I got of the leopard, hoping for a  better shot, the best of which is the main photo. For that post, please click here.

We realize that spending one or two days on a ship excursion is not the same as living in a country for a few months as we’ve done in the past. But, our travels are an ever-changing adventure, and we have to do what feels right to us. In between adventures, we’ll enjoy our lives to the utmost in our favorite secluded place in the world. Undoubtedly, South Africa has its issues but is tucked away in the bush; we feel far removed from many issues. For now, this plan is precisely befitting our needs.

When thick-tailed bushbabies are around, the usual small bushbabies run for cover. The larger species will kill the little ones. For this post, please click here.

We have lots of wonderful friends here. We have a constant stream of entertainment as wildlife visits our garden. It’s only a 20-minute drive to enter Kruger National Park. We have access to excellent medical and dental care at affordable prices and insurance covering emergencies. Although smaller than Amazon, we can shop at markets that have all the food products we like to purchase and the excellent online shopping service, Takealot, although smaller than Amazon, carries most items we need to buy from time to time.

This adorable zebra was lounging in our garden. He must have spotted something interesting on the ground. For this post, please click here.

On top of it all, we will be moving into a different house when we return, as shown in photos in this post and in this post. We are excited about moving into this property when we return in May. It has everything we could want or need.

Mom, with the perfect curled tusks, whom we now call Tail-Less Mom, who lost her tail, also lost one of these babies, since then only returning with the fast-growing two piglets. For this post, please click here.

We realize and accept the reality that we may lose some of our readers from making this temporary decision. But, we hope those of you who decide to opt-out make a note of days we’ll be visiting other countries and will stop back to see our stories and photos.

The beautiful Christmas dinner table at Sindee and Bruce’s lovely home in the bush. Dawn was taking a photo of Sindee and the serving table, a short time later filled with great food. For this post, please click here.

For now, the next two months will be exciting for us:

  • 15 nights in Apollo Beach, Florida
  • 13 nights on a transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Silhouette to Southampton, UK
  • 3 nights in Southampton, sightseeing
  • 7 nights on transatlantic return cruise on Queen Mary 2 to New York
  • 14 nights in Minnesota visiting family and friends
  • 7 nights in Henderson, Nevada, visiting family and friends
  • Return to Marloth Park
It was Rita’s birthday and she and Gerhard took all of us on a bush dinner and night game drive. For this post including great wildlife photos, please click here.
Louise and Danie hosted the best possible birthday gift for me, a visit to an in-the-wild elephant interaction. For this post, please click here.

The above number of nights doesn’t account for the 62 days we’ll be gone, but the long travel days to and from Africa make up the difference. There are many time zone changes in this period that, hopefully, we’ll adapt to with ease.

Today may be the last time we see Little since we’re moving to another house a few km from here. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll find us once again. Little was thrilled we’d returned from Zambia in October 2021 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). For this post, please click here.

So there it is folks, Next time we write to you, most likely it will be from Apollo Beach, Florida, unless we have time on one of our layovers for a quick update.

Be well. Be happy. Live life to the fullest.

Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2021:

A male bushbuck with a plant growing from his muddy hoof after a big storm. It made us laugh out loud. For more, please click here.

One day and counting…Final expenses for 14 months in South Africa…

Bossy’s baby suckling while another female looks for pellets.

Today, I started totaling the expenses we had incurred since our arrival here in Marloth Park on January 13, 2021. As I reviewed all the costs and started totaling them, I realized what a daunting, time-consuming task this would be. We still have a lot to do to be ready to go tomorrow. Plus, I need to do my walking after missing several hours while we were gone this morning for our Covid-19 PCR test, a trip to the pharmacy, and breakfast at Stoep Cafe.

Subsequently, the following figures are within 10% of accuracy in an attempt to get through today’s post in a timely fashion and rounded off to the nearest US dollar.

  • Final Expenses – 14 months*
    Marloth Park – January 13, 2021, to March 23, 2022
    US Dollar             ZAR
  • Rent & Hotel                  $ 38,056             566144
  • Air, Train, Ferry                  8,975             133533
  • Taxi, Car Rental, Fuel        8,256             122836
  • Entertainment                       898               13361
  • Dining Out                         4,760               70799
  • Groceries                         12,040             179079
  • Shopping (Misc.)               4,080                60684
  • Tips                                   2,460                36587
  • Legal Fees-Visa Ext.         2,280               33910
  • Medical, dental & Ins.      13,300             197810

TOTAL                                $95,105           1414487
Monthly Average                  $ 6,793             101029
Daily Average                       $   219              3245

* Included in these totals was the cost for the one-month trip to the USA in July and a 5 night stay in Zambia for a visa stamp.

Two moms and two babies.

When totaling up these numbers, I was surprised by how much we spent. But, since we arrived here, we’ve had several expenses that brought up the totals to the result. The trip to the US was three times higher than what we’d have spent living in Marloth Park. Also, we had expensive hotel bills, more expensive rental cars, and dining out daily (also included in these totals). When we left for that month, we kept the house and paid rent while we were away.

It makes more financial sense for us to be in Marloth Park than living in the US or many other countries. Prices are rising here but nowhere near as quickly as they are in the US.

Of course, I am busy as I can be today, making sure everything is in order, including what we’re taking with us and what we’re leaving behind, including clothing and household goods that we’ll use later when we return. Trying to get the walking accomplished today will be the biggest challenge. As I write this now, it’s already 2:00 pm, 1400 hrs, and we’re heading out the door at 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs to meet Louise and Danie at Giraffe for one last night together.

These moms often visit, looking for treats.

They returned ten days ago from their trip to visit family in Cape Town, and we’ve yet to have a moment to hear about their trip. With the school holidays in full force in South Africa now and all of their properties full, they’ve had their hands full with visitors at the houses and to their Info Centre.

The Info Centre is indeed a fabulous place for tourists and locals to stop to arrange safaris and other events and hear about what’s going on in the park. They loan out books and puzzles at no charge. What a fantastic resource for visitors! It’s a wonderful place to stop and meet Louise and sometimes Danie when he’s not out at building sites.

An impala mom and her baby visit our garden. Impalas are very shy around humans, so I had to take this photo through the screen door, or they’d run away.

This morning’s trip to Komatipoort accomplished everything we expected, except our expectation of finding a large plastic tote with a lid. If a person wanted to buy these, they’d have to make the long drive to Nelspruit, the same drive we’ll make tomorrow when we head to the airport in the afternoon for our flight to Johannesburg to begin the long journey to Florida, USA.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 22, 2021:

These same three wildebeests are lounging in the driveway right now. They were happy to see us when we returned from Komatipoort today. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…A smooth transition so far…

Mom and Baby mongoose sucking out white and yolk from an egg.

It’s all going well. We are feeling organized, and everything is getting sorted and packed. It seems it works better for us when we pack over several days rather than rushing on the last few days, especially when we’ve accumulated more stuff than usual during the past 14 months.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. We’ll be heading to Komatipoort for the required Covid-19 PCR tests and will get the results by email on Wednesday morning, the day we’re leaving. We’ll have Louise print off the report, the only item we need to have printed.

Over the years, we’ve found we don’t need paper copies of flights, hotels, cruises, and car rentals as long as we have the reservation or confirmation numbers on our phones. The documents may say to print a copy, but we’ve done fine without hauling pages and pages of documents. It’s wasteful and unnecessary in the majority of cases. Once we show our passports, providers can easily find us in their system.

How quickly the youngsters learn the value of an egg.

We’ve gone through all of the Covid-19 restrictions for this upcoming flight and our two upcoming cruises. It’s all under control. We’re pleased with how organized we’ve become over the years. But, it took us a while to learn the best way to handle all the necessary documents clearly and concisely. There is so much paperwork it can be overwhelming without an easy-to-use system.

But, who knew how to travel the world? In the beginning, technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. And yet, in some countries, technology is far behind, and actual printed pieces of paper are required for many venues, rentals, and other services. We continue to learn as we go.

Today, I did laundry for the last time. With the high humidity, clothes usually take two days to dry, so today was the day to wrap that up. The cupboards are empty of our foodstuffs, and the refrigerator only contains enough food for tonight’s dinner. Tomorrow morning when we head to Komatipoort, we’ll have breakfast at Stoep Cafe.

This little one was unsure how to crack open the two eggs.

We’re going out to dinner at Giraffe with Louise and Danie tomorrow evening. We always enjoy their company. It will be wonderful to spend our last evening in the bush with them.

Throughout all of this busy packing, I’ve continued walking, staying at a full 25 miles, 40 km, per week. Even when we’ve been out for the majority of the day, I catch up when we return or, in a few cases, add to the next day. Surely, while traveling, I should be able to keep pace with all of the walking at airports.

There’s no doubt we’ll be exhausted when we arrive in Tampa. Thank goodness the drive to Karen and Rich’s house is less than 40 minutes, in regular traffic. They are planning a nice dinner for us. Karen wrote a thoughtful message, asking if we would prefer to eat a light meal when we arrive since it will be later at night to us, after being awake all night.

It pays to learn from Mom how to do it.

I explained how that wouldn’t be an issue for us. We prefer to immediately adapt to the new time zone, eating and sleeping based on the times of the day and night where we are currently. This helps us to acclimate more quickly and avoid severe jet lag. Usually, after two good nights’ sleep, we are back to our “old selves.” But, on a few occasions, we were a little tired for a few more days. Missing a night’s sleep in itself can cause that!

When we arrive, we’ll avoid napping and get into the groove as soon as possible. Surely, by 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs, we’ll be ready for bed on Thursday, our day of arrival. Thanks to Karen and Rich for thinking of us and inviting us to stay at your lovely home. I can’t wait to see the ocean once again!

Two little ones were trying to get in on the action.

That’s all for today, folks. It’s time for me to start walking again to ensure I stay on track. When we get to Florida, I may be able to walk outdoors, hopefully, avoiding running into any alligators!!! Then again, it would be fun to take a photo!!!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 21, 2021:

Frank eats out of the seed container. There were so many warthogs in the garden I set this down for Frank. The warthogs love to eat the seeds, leaving none for Frank. This was a good solution at that point to ensure Frank and The Misses got their share. For more photos, please click here.