Fun photos from friend’s holiday home in the bush…Email posts issue resolved…

Zoom in to see a warthog between the table and the bench, hoping for some pellets and hiding from the wildebeests.

It was a busy morning, not in the way of animals since we’ve had few in the past two days, but in the household. Tom is finishing off the last of the blueberry muffins (not low carb) since he’s decided to give them up for a while when they cause him acid reflux, a sure sign that eating sugar and flour is not suitable for him.

When we arrived at Marylin and Gary’s holiday bush home, we were greeted by a dozen wildebeests living at their house for days.

I had avocado toast using the keto bread I’d purchased online from local keto bakers with salad for breakfast, a weird combination but a delicious and nutritious way to start the day. I am full and won’t eat another morsel until dinner tonight.  Tom will have bacon-wrapped filet mignon with rice and salad, and I’ll have seasoned garlic prawns with green beans and salad. I don’t mind making two separate dinners a few nights a week.

They had lucerne delivered, and within hours, the wildebeests had consumed all of it.

I’ve already prepped everything for tonight’s dinner except cooking the steak and the prawns, which we’ll prepare at the last minute. The salad is made, the green beans cleaned, and Tom’s seasoned pan of purified water for his rice is ready. Since I make rice for him every other day (two batches at a time), I’ve got it down to a science. I can get everything ready in about 30 seconds, other than later, boiling the water, adding the rice with the lid, and cooking it for 20 minutes at a low temp. So far, he’s not tired of rice with dinner since we don’t eat potatoes, bread, or other starches.

Marylin and Gary get a huge kick out of their resident wildebeests but are disappointed they can’t feed the bushbucks and warthogs when the wildebeests won’t allow it.

After breakfast and some work online, we both got busy making our favorite breakfast, a crustless quiche with cheesy Russian sausages, mushrooms, onions, and hand-grated mozzarella cheese topped with parmesan cheese. The two big pans are baking in the oven now.

Once cooked and cooled, I’ll cut the quiche into single serving squares and freeze them to take out one at a time to reheat in the microwave. There should be enough to last Tom for a month since I’m on this avocado and keto toast kick right now. Once I find something I love, I tend to eat it day after day until I’m sick of it and then switch to something new.

A determined female warthog hung close to the veranda, hoping for a pellet or two. Marylin didn’t hesitate to give her a little pile of her own.

Right now, while I am not feeling well, I am focusing on good food, good sleep and rest, and a degree of exercise via steps in the house. I am taking the meds Doc Theo prescribed, but it could be weeks before I see any improvement. From time to time, the headache and facial pain are gone for an hour, and I get hopeful. But a short time passes, and even a single hair brushing my face hurts like an electrical shock, typical symptoms for trigeminal neuralgia, in this case, triggered from having Omicron in April.

With the increased dose of meds, my blood pressure is back to normal, which is a huge relief. Regardless of how I feel, we continue to live as we would, socializing, cooking, and spending time with the animals. Oddly, we haven’t seen Norman and his family since Monday.

After eating, they all lay in a clump, cuddling with one another to nap. We couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s been cold and windy, and the animals tend to stay in the bush when the wind blows. Finally, this morning the wind stopped, so hopefully, they’ll all return soon. Of course, Lollie, several kudus, our favorite bushbucks, and some impalas have stopped by. Now we wait for the rest.

We don’t have big social plans over the next few days except for Jabula on Friday night, a visit to friends Sindee and Bruce’s home on Sunday, and a group get-together again at Jabula on Monday evening. It will be the last time we’ll see Rita, Gerhard, Lee, Marylin, and Gary for a while when they are all moving on to other adventures or back to their homes in the US.

Since Rita and Gerhard haven’t returned from their trip to Botswana yet, their friend Lee joined us. At the table from left to right; Lee, Tom, Gary, me, Marylin’s sister Jean and niece Debbie (from Pretoria). Marylin was taking the photo.

The time we’ve all spent together has been fantastic, and we’ll miss them all. Soon, in a little over two weeks, friends Connie and Jeff will arrive to spend two weeks with us. We’ll undoubtedly be busy with game drives, bush dinners, drives through Marloth Park, dinners in and out, and enjoying time together in the bush. We are looking forward to their arrival. I will not let this pain in my head and face impact our time together while sharing this magical place with them.

Yesterday afternoon, I started receiving messages from many of our readers that they are now receiving the auto email with our daily posts again. I hope this problem is resolved once and for all. However, if you have an issue, please let us know, and we’ll try to figure it out. Thank you for your continued patience through this tricky situation.

Be well.

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

A young giraffe drinking from Frikkee’s Dam in Lionspsruit. For more photos, please click here.

Results on medical issue…Immigration concerns at the border…

The baby baboon is getting a ride on mom’s back.

Note: Once again, we are having problems with the auto email posts arriving in your inbox. This is frustrating since we aren’t doing anything to cause this. I have notified our hosting company to resolve this issue once and for all. I appreciate your patience. In the interim, if you type our web address once a day, a new post will pop up:

Tom, at dinner at the restaurant up the hill at Chobe Safari Lodge.

We feel so fortunate to have Doc Theo as our family physician. His knowledge, compassion, and commitment to getting results are mind-boggling, nothing like any other doctor we’ve seen over the years. He not only hugs me warmly each time I see him, but he instantly makes me feel at ease when I’ve always felt uncomfortable going to a doctor.

Dinner with my hubby at Chobe Safari Lodge.

In addition, he doesn’t rush through the appointment, giving me plenty of time to express my concerns. It didn’t take long, after a thorough exam, to determine I have” long haul” Covid-19, particularly Omicron, which left me with inflammation that has caused me to have an awful headache, face pain, and ultra high blood pressure, a big concern with my cardiovascular problems.

Another boat passed up while we were on the Zambezi River in Zambia.

It was Doc Theo in 2019 who diagnosed my serious heart condition when I only mentioned pain in my jaw. A whirlwind of medical tests resulting in my having open heart surgery (as most of you know) in February 2019 leaves me grateful for his accurate diagnosis and ultimately saving my life.  Without a doubt, I’d travel back to South Africa for his medical care, even if we didn’t love it here so much. The fact that we love it here makes it all the easier.

Egyptian geese on the Chobe River.

So here’s the scoop. I have what is referred to as TN, or trigeminal neuralgia, precipitated by Covid-19 when the virus resulted in an intense inflammatory response. The headache, face pain, and high blood pressure started during Covid-19 when previously I had no headache or face pain, and my blood pressure was totally under control with low-dose medication.

A croc, sunning himself on the island in the Chobe River.

This inflammatory response has also caused an itchy skin condition, eczema, that often keeps me awake at night.  I never had this until I became ill with Omicron. Nothing can stop the itching. I’ve tried at least a dozen creams and lotions and often find myself awake at night. It’s hard not to scratch, but I try to avoid doing so.

Hippos on an island in the Chobe River.

Doc Theo prescribed medication to reduce the pain, itching, and discomfort…non-narcotic options, and also doubled my dose of blood pressure medication to get me through this crisis. He ordered several tests, which were done yesterday at the lab across the road in Koomatipoort. I have another appointment next Monday to review the test results and progress. We’ll see how it goes. I am hopeful.

Tom, lounging with me at Chobe Safari Lodge before dinner.

As for our ongoing immigration concerns while attempting to spend more time in South Africa, when we encountered the immigration officer at the Nelspruit airport, I breezed right through without an issue, but when Tom tried to go through, the same officer who detained us a few years ago, detained him, stating we weren’t entitled to another 90 days. She gave us 90 days but insisted we must return to the US before entering again.

The pool at Chobe Safari Lodge.

At this time, we are trying to figure out what to do. We plan to be in the US at the end of August 2023, but we’re planning to leave South Africa in early June for our cruise from Edinborough, Scotland, to Amsterdam, Netherlands. We will post what we plan to do going forward. It’s always a dilemma. Our upcoming cruise to Seychelles is not going to satisfy this requirement.

We walked the grounds at Chobe Safari Lodge and discovered this old boat converted to a spa.

Oh, dear, continuing to travel as we please certainly presents some pandemic-related issues and others not the case. But, as determined as we are, we continue to research our options and hope for the most practical, cost-effective, and suitable solution possible.

A fish eagle we spotted on a game drive in Chobe National Park.

Last night we had a fantastic evening at Marylin and Gray’s holiday bush house, managed by Louise. It was fun to see the enormous house and have dinner with them once again. We’re so grateful to have made more wonderful friends from our website. They had more wildebeests in their garden than we’d seen collectively in a long time. We sure got a kick out of them. I’ll post some photos of them tomorrow, but today I am finishing the photos from our recent trip.

View from Chobe to the river. Lovely!

An oddity: Yesterday was a sweltering 97F, 36C, and today it’s only 65F, 18C. Go figure. Tomorrow, the temps will start creeping up again.

Be well.

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

Three kudus near the braai area at Frikkee’s Dam in Lionspruit. For more photos, please click here.

Rewarding first day back in the bush…

This sign was posted at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia.

No words describe how good it feels to be back in Marloth Park. Don’t get me wrong…we had a great time on our trip, but the ongoing headache and facial pain made me want to return here. My appointment this morning with Doc Theo can’t come soon enough.

A skeleton head of an elephant in Chobe National Park.

I am grateful I made it through all the activities in Botswana and Zambia. I made a point to avoid complaining and to take plenty of Paracetamol (Tylenol) and aspirin to get me through each day. There’s a popular headache remedy in South Africa called Grandpa Powders, and much to my surprise it helped for at least half of the day. Grandpa is a combination of Paracetamol and aspirin in a powder form. It doesn’t taste very good but works fast in the powdered form.

A spoon-billed stork fishing.

Sleeping was tricky and I didn’t sleep more than five or six hours each night. Last night, being back in Marloth Park and the comfy, familiar bed and pillow, I slept for 7 hours and 36 minutes, according to my Fitbit. I still awoke with the headache but at least felt rested enough to tackle all the laundry.

A lone Cape buffalo in Chobe National Park.

When we arrived at the house on Saturday evening, we both quickly unpacked, knowing we wouldn’t feel like unpacking when we got home from Jabula. We were glad we’d decided to go to dinner at our favorite place. We were welcomed with open arms and had a great time chatting with Leon, David, and various other diners. Of course, the food was delicious, as always.

There were hundreds of impalas near the river in Chobe National Park.

By 9:00 pm, we were back at the house and ready to hunker down, watch another episode of The Blacklist and get the good night’s sleep we both needed. I told Tom to awaken me in the morning if any of our “regulars” showed up in the garden.

A hippo is looking for tidbits of food.

By 7:00 am, Tom returned to the bedroom to tell me about Gordy, Tulip, and Lilac, and my favorites, Norman, Nina, and Noah. If animals can show enthusiasm to see us, that’s precisely what they did. Norman had visited us three times by noon, as did his “wife” and son. What a joy it’s been to see them again here this morning before we head to town.

A “confusion” of Cape buffalos in Chobe National Park.

We were happy to see our new washing machine was installed and ready to be used. Sunday morning, for the first time since we arrived at this house on May 24, I could do three loads of laundry without delays and for the cleanest socks and other white items we’ve seen in months.

We spotted a few giraffes on the game drive.

The sun came out for a little while, long enough for the clothes to dry so we wouldn’t have to haul the clothes rack indoors for the night. On Saturday night, we took out the chicken stir fry from the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator overnight so  Sunday’s dinner would be a breeze. I made a coleslaw salad and prepped the rice for Tom. Dinner was easy.

Waterbucks on the island as seen from the boat on the Chobe River.

This morning we’re on our way to my appointment with Doc Theo, and then we will shop for groceries after a trip to the pharmacy if Doc gives me a prescription or two. When we return to the house, I’ll make a big salad to bring to Marylin and Gary’s for the dinner party for seven. We’ll season our steaks for the braai at their holiday home and be on our way shortly before 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs.

The sun is setting over the Zambezi River in Zambia.

I will post what Doc Theo suggested for my head and face pain tomorrow. Hopefully, soon this discomfort I’ve had in my head and face since Covid-19 in April will go away. Fingers crossed.

A beautiful sunset from the Lion King boat on the Zambezi River.

Here are more photos from our trip to Botswana and Zambia. Soon, we’ll begin posting local photos once again. Tomorrow, we’ll explain our current immigration issues.

Be well.

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

Five bushbucks are waiting for pellets. For more photos, please click here.

The trip ended…Final expenses…Back in Marloth Park…

My dinner at Chobe Safari Lodge in the fine dining restaurant was grilled prawns and chicken. Delicious.
Our expenses were done a little differently this time. When we first arrived, we understood that we’d need about 20000 kwacha (Zambia currency) to pay for transportation and tours. When one ATM was out of cash and another only dispensed 18000 kwacha, we decided we could figure out the rest later.
When we arrived in Botswana, the rep there required either pula (Botswana currency) or the use of a credit card. We used a credit card to pay for the tours we’d booked in Botswana. Well, it got confusing, so that I won’t go into it. But, we managed to use most of our kwacha before we left Zambia and have a remaining 2900 kwacha (ZAR, US $178), which we’ll exchange for rand at the bank when we go to Komatipoort tomorrow. There’s no point in carrying 2900 kwacha with us around the world.
After some confusing figuring, we came up with the following for our expenses for these seven nights away. They are as close to accurate as possible.
                                     USD                                    Kwacha

Hotel Botswana          $1736.92                              28292.37

Hotel Zambia              $236.18                                  3833.49

Meals/Tours Zambia    $1109                                   14800.00

Tours in Botswana       $280                                      4544.75

Airfare                         $1302.78                              21145.74

Includes all tips

Total                           $4664.88                               72616.35

Total daily expense  $   666.41                               10373.76

Breakfast of two fried eggs, grilled mackerel, and sauteed mushrooms at Chobe Safari Lodge.

Our primary reason for this trip was to acquire a new 90-day visa. As it turned out, we encountered some difficulties at immigration which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

If we had filed for an extension, using the law firm in Johannesburg, which we can only do once per year in South Africa, we would have paid approximately US $2500, kwacha 40578.50. Thus, we ask ourselves, was this trip worth the difference? We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and felt the experiences were worth it.

Now, as we returned to South Africa to our bush house in Marloth Park with a new 90-day visa in hand (providing nothing went wrong at immigration), we won’t have to leave again until our upcoming cruise in Seychelles in November. This means we can relax during the next three months with only the flights and transportation to book and a two-night stay in a hotel in Mahe, Seychelles.

Mixed salad with artichoke hearts and green beans.If we were feeling up to it, we decided we would go to dinner tonight at Jabula, which we did shortly after we arrived back in Marloth Park around 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs. Even though the flight was only a few hours long, the trip began at 11:30 am when Chris picked us up to take us to the Livingstone Airport and ended when we arrived at our bush house, as mentioned above. It still is a long day.

I’m still not feeling 100% with this headache and face pain, and I have an appointment with Doc Theo on Monday at 10:00 am. We will grocery shop after the appointment. Monday night, we are headed to Marylin and Gary’s holiday home for a braai and final get-together (seven of us) before they leave a few days later. It’s been wonderful spending time with readers/friends who have now become great friends we’ve met due to our site. We feel so fortunate.

Soup with a slice of grilled bread.

Today, we’re sharing food photos from our one-week trip, but we still have many photos to share from game drives and boat tours. It will be fun to share those with all of you here and to see our animal friends (and taking photos) again in Marloth Park in our garden. It will be wonderful to see Norman and his family again. I can’t wait to see him, Lollie, and the others.

Note: This morning, Norman, Noah, Nina, Gordy, Tulip, and Lilac were waiting for us in the garden. No sign of Lollie yet. More tomorrow. Norman and Nina are here for the second time in two hours.

Be well.

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

Bossy is always thrilled to see us, hoping for morsels of pellets. For more photos, please click here.

The tours have ended…Lots of photos to share…Tomorrow, our final expenses and back to Marloth Park…

The sun is setting on the horizon.

We have completed the last of our land and river adventures and are now spending our last day and night at the hotel in Livingstone. Tomorrow afternoon we fly back to Marloth Park, hopefully getting a new 90-day visa stamp and be able to relax for the next three months until we fly to Seychelles for a one-week cruise of the islands.

The upper deck of the Lion king sunset cruise boat.

This has been one of the most enjoyable times we’ve spent on a “visa run,” having planned many activities that kept us busy a part of each day. Of course, all of this costs money. But not nearly as much as we’d spend living in countries other than South Africa as our current base. By early June, we’ll be leaving South Africa for quite a while to explore other countries we’re considering.

There were only a few hippo photo ops during the cruise on the Zambezi River.

Most countries only allow us to stay for 90 days, many for less, so visa issues are always a consideration when we’d like to stay  for an extended period. The pandemic has changed everything for our world travel, but increased costs and lack of availability have made traveling freely more difficult.

Little plates were served on the boat, along with drinks. I ate the chicken leg, and Tom tried the rest.

Even this morning, when we entered the dining room for breakfast at this Marriott Hotel, we were told we had to wear masks while dining. We didn’t bring our masks after checking and discovering they weren’t required in the countries we were visiting on this trip. When we couldn’t eat breakfast without masks, and thus, we requested them from the front desk.

A crocodile is lounging on the Zambezi River bank.

Right now, we are sitting in our hotel room waiting for the cleaner to do our room since neither of us wants to wear a mask to sit in the lobby and work on today’s post. So we will sit here until the cleaner arrives and head out to the lobby wearing the masks.

There were many homes and resorts on the river.

We had a fantastic day yesterday. Chris picked us up at the resort by 11:30 am to make the drive back to Livingstone. There was much monkeying around to wrap up our exit visa for Botswana and entrance visa back into Zambia. But Chris was persistent, and eventually, we were on our way.  He dropped us at the Protea by Marriott in Livingstone, where we promptly checked in.

This appeared to be a setup for a wedding.

We were thrilled to see how warmly we were welcomed. Most of the staff remembered us from past visits and made a point of making us feel special. This is the fourth time we’ve stayed at this hotel. When we entered our room on the ground level, we were surprised by the noise coming from the room next door that was being renovated. There was a loud, ear-splitting drill that continued for a few hours.

This is a new luxury resort that will be opening soon.

We asked to be moved to another room but didn’t have time to pack up when the tour operator for the Lion King boat ride on the Zambezi River was coming to get us at 4:00 pm. The hotel manager approached me while we waited for our ride to explain they had stopped the construction work for the time we were here. That was so nice to hear and appreciated. Otherwise, we’d have been quite annoyed by this time today. Now, it’s as quiet as a mouse.

Our outdoor dining table at the Royal Livingstone Hotel at the Old Drift restaurant. We are returning tonight for another dinner.

The Lion King sunset cruise on the Zambezi River was packed. The last time we had done this cruise, we had the entire upper deck to ourselves. But, we were entertained by the antics of the other guests, mostly young tourists from Scandinavian countries, devouring the included drinks and having the time of their lives. It was actually as fun to watch them as it was to watch the scenery.

The savory, not sweet, crackers reminded us of Christmas sugar cookies. Tom ate all of them with delicious garlic butter.

We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, a few crocs on the river banks and a few gurgling hippos surfacing from time to time. But the live African music was a treat, and as always, Tom and I enjoyed ourselves whatever we may do. When the boat ride ended, a driver took us to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for our dinner reservation. Oh, my goodness, was that ever fun!

This was my side salad.
Tom enjoyed this pumpkin soup as a starter. Tomorrow, I will post a photo of Tom’s main dish. The image was too blurry to post.

It felt like a romantic date when we swooned over one another, as we often do, reveling in past experiences and hopes for the future. We laughed, we teased as we dined on the finest of gourmet foods in a fantastic atmosphere. It was dark dining outdoors, but the lighting was inviting, the seating comfortable, and the service over the top. While we sat at our outdoor table, we spotted three zebras and three warthogs wandering around the exquisite grounds of the luxury resort.

We’d had a long busy day and were content to be seated for a relaxing fine dinner.
My left eye is puffy from the headache and facial pain I’m still feeling. Maybe it’s an allergy.

Last night, we decided that the next time we come to Zambia, we’ll bite the bullet and spend a few nights at the expensive resort. The food was over-the-top, as shown in today’s photos. As planned, we’ll incorporate more food photos into our final post tomorrow when we add the final expenses. However, we still have many photos we’ve yet to share and will continue to post them in days to come.

This was an eggplant dish I ordered. The orange drops are mashed butternut squash. It was delicious, although it had small potato chunks, which I offered to Tom.

We’re returning to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for one more dinner tonight. We have lots of kwacha left that we need to spend, so what better way to spend it on than a repeat of last night’s outrageously wonderful dinner?

My prawn dish was also delicious.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. As much fun as we’ve had on this trip, we’re not dreading its end. It is delightful to return to Marloth Park for more unique experiences in the bush with our animal and human friends. We couldn’t ask for more.

Be well.

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

Old Man wasn’t looking his best. For more photos, please click here.

Sunset cruise on the Chobe River…A huge hit with animals and people…

Our favorite mom and baby elephant photo was taken while cruising on the Chobe River.

When a driver picked us up yesterday to take us to a resort down the road, we were a little surprised we’d be boarding a boat on the Chobe River from Chobe Marina Lodge, not Chobe Safari Lodge, where we were staying. The three-minute drive down the road and the 30-minute wait to board the boat were no big deal.

Male Cape buffalos heading to the water from an island in the Chobe River.

We were seated at a table for four on the pontoon-style boat in no time, ready to embark and begin the sunset cruise lasting three hours. As soon as we sat down, we were seated across the table with a lovely couple, younger than our adult children from Milan, Italy. Andrea and Jenny spoke good English, and we chatted endlessly, later meeting up for dinner at the restaurant up the hill from our resort.

Two fishermen on a small boat on the river.

Unfortunately, the photo I took of the two of them ended up being obstructed by a person walking by, and I could not post it, much to my disappointment. I should have checked the camera, but I caught up in the lively conversation with this adorable and intelligent Italian couple and failed to see if the photo came out. It was an oddity that this happened.

Waterbucks and a few Egyptian geese were foraging on the island.

We enjoyed the time spent on the boat with them and later for dinner up the hill. While on the boat, we met another couple, who were friends, and the man, Dwight, lives in the suburbs in Minnesota, leaving us with endless stories to share, especially with Tom, a native of Minnesota. Christie was from Denver. It was also fun talking to Americans whom we seldom meet in this part of the world.

Seeing the elephants on the island in the Chobe River was such a joy.

The three hours passed quickly, and before we knew it, we returned to our resort to meet up with Andrea and Jenny later. We shared a delightful day and evening while taking many beautiful photos, some of which we’re sharing here today. Many more will follow in days to come. We haven’t put a dent in the pictures worthy of posting but have plenty of time to do so in the days and weeks to follow.

Two young male elephants were practicing sparing.

This morning, we had a nice breakfast in the resort’s restaurant buffet. We never had dinner at the buffet since there were few foods suitable for my way of eating. In our last post for this trip, we’ll share food photos and final expenses for our one week away from Marloth Park.

A blue heron…

As always, we’re a little tentative about getting another 90-day visa stamp when we return to South Africa in two days and go through immigration. If we are turned down, we’ll have to devise a plan which, of course, if that happens, we’ll share here. Each time we get another 90 days, we sigh with relief. The law is vague in this regard…are we required to return to our home country each time? The answer isn’t clear. We’ll see how it goes one more time.

An ibis…

In a little over an hour, our trusty Chris from Chris Tours will arrive at this resort, who will drive us back to the border between Botswana and Zambia, and then take us to the Protea Hotel by Marriott we’ve stayed many times in the past. It’s a pleasant hotel, with good breakfast included,  lovely rooms with comfy beds, and free WiFi.

A crocodile lounged on the grass on an island in the Chobe River.

We will check into our ground floor room, unpack a little, and within a few hours, be heading out to the Zambezi River for another sunset cruise, this time on the Lion King boat with live entertainment. This will be our second time on this boat. We enjoyed the scenery, the included drinks and snacks, and the African music last time and looked forward to this repeated event.

Elephants are excellent swimmers, using their trunks as a snorkel. Cool, eh?

When the boat ride has ended, Chris or his staff will pick up up to take us to the Royal Livingstone Hotel, where we will dine tonight and again tomorrow night, overlooking the Zambezi River. We’ve embarked on quite a few adventures this time, more than in the past, and have had nothing but great experiences.

We couldn’t take our eyes off the swimming elephants.

Saturday afternoon, after a late checkout, Chris will transport us to the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Livingstone Airport for our short flight (less than two hours) back to Nelspruit. At that point, we’ll go through immigration and see how it rolls out again. After getting a great rate at the US $15, ZAR 253 a day, we’ll collect the rental car at Budget and make the hour-plus drive back to Marloth Park.

The water was shallow in this spot, and he could stand up and walk the rest of the way.

By 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs., we should be back at our holiday home in Marloth Park to decide if we’ll dine in on frozen leftovers or head to Jabula for dinner. We’ll play that by ear, providing all goes well with our return.

Playful elephants.

Yesterday, I attempted to process the ZAR 196, US $11.64 customs fees due on our UPS package from the US. For some odd reason, UPS’s system wouldn’t accept an international credit card, like all of ours. Only South African credit cards can be used. Louise was so kind to help, using her card, which we’ll reimburse when we see her next. All went through Ok, and we should receive the package sometime next week.

Sunset on the Chobe River.

We are packed and ready to leave in about 40 minutes, so I’d better wrap this up and get it uploaded so I won’t have to rush later this afternoon when we have plans.

Be well.

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

This is my new toy, a JBL Bluetooth speaker that works with voice activation from our phones or laptops. The sound is fantastic! We use this every day! For more details, please click here.

Elephant Day in Chobe National Park, Botswana….

Families enjoy time on the bank of the Chobe River.

“African elephants are the largest land animals, adult males weighing between 1,800 and 6,300 kg (2 and 7 tons/ 4,000 and 14,000 lb.). Females are smaller, weighing between 2,700 and 3,600 kg (3 and 4 tons/ 6,000 and 8,000 lb.).”We never tire of seeing elephants in the wild, which is entirely different than seeing them in captivity in a zoo or, as we experienced in India, used for religious and income-producing purposes. That was heartbreaking to witness. But, here in Africa, we’ve only visited national parks where they are meant to roam…at will, in the wild. And what a joy it is to see!

We realize we’ve written many stories about elephants and elephant facts we’ve gleaned from other websites. For those who may have missed those past posts, we can’t resist sharing more of those today as we’ve posted several photos we took while on safari in Chobe National Park on Tuesday. It was a fine day with many sightings. But no game drive would be complete without elephant sightings which we’re sharing here today.

An Egyptian goose has joined the family.

You may be bored with our endless elephant sightings or may find them fascinating. For those that don’t care to read more, we will move on to other wildlife in tomorrow’s post with some fun and quirky photos. This afternoon at 3:00 pm, 1500 hours, we will embark on a boat cruise ending after sunset from the docks here at our resort, Chobe Safari Lodge, in Kasane, Botswana.

Tomorrow at 11:30, Chris from Chris Tours, our excellent, reliable, and friendly tour organizer and transport handler, whose site may be found here. We highly recommend their services if you plan to come to Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Botswana. Recently, our readers/friends Marylin and Gary, who are now in Marloth Park, whom we hope to see one more time before they leave the first week in September, also used Chris’s services when they visited Zambia and Botswana. They, too, had an excellent experience with Chris and his associates. Contact Chris at his site here.

This tiny elephant may be only a few months old and is learning to use her trunk by following the guidance of the other, more senior family members.

On another note. Enjoy these new elephant facts from this site located here:

“13 Fascinating Facts About Elephants

1. Elephants Never Forget

The memory of elephants is legendary, and for good reason. Of all land mammals, elephants possess the largest brains.2 They have the ability to recall distant watering holes, other elephants, and humans they have encountered, even after the passage of many years. Elephants transmit their wealth of knowledge from generation to generation through the matriarchs, and this sharing of information has been beneficial to the creatures’ survival. They are also able to recall the path to sources of food and water across great distances, and how to reach alternative areas should the need arise. Even more impressive, they adjust their schedule to arrive just in time for the fruit they are seeking to be ripe.

Cattle egrets are often found near elephants.

2. They Can Distinguish Languages

Elephants exhibit a deep understanding of human communication. Researchers at Amboseli National Park in Kenya played back the voices of speakers from two different groups—one that preys on the elephants, and another that does not. When the elephants heard the voices of the group they feared, they were more likely to act defensively by grouping tightly together and smelling the air to investigate. What’s more, the researchers found the elephants also responded with less intensity to female and younger male voices, becoming most agitated at the voices of adult males. Elephant language skills go beyond understanding. One Asian elephant learned to mimic words in Korean. Researchers theorize that because his primary social contact while growing up was with humans, he learned to mimic words as a form of social bonding.

3. They Can Hear Through Their Feet

Elephants have a great sense of hearing and the ability to send vocalizations over long distances. They make a variety of sounds, including snorts, roars, cries, and barks. But they also specialize in low frequency rumbles and are able to pick up sounds in an unusual way. Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, a biologist at Stanford University, found that the lower frequency vocalizations and foot stomping of elephants resonate at a frequency other elephants can detect through the ground. Enlarged ear bones and sensitive nerve endings in their feet and trunks allow elephants to pick up these infrasonic messages. The ability to detect such seismic vibrations also helps elephants survive. When an agitated elephant stomps, they’re not just warning those in the immediate area, they may also be warning other elephants miles away. And when an elephant rumbles a call, it could be intended for family members far out of sight.

Moms and babies.

4. Elephants Are Excellent Swimmers

It may not come as a shock that elephants enjoy playing in the water. They are famous for splashing and showering themselves and others with sprays from their trunks. But it might be a surprise to learn that these huge animals are also quite good at swimming. Elephants have enough buoyancy to stay at the surface and use their powerful legs to paddle. They also use their trunk as a snorkel when crossing deep water so they are able to breathe normally even when submerged. Swimming is a necessary skill for elephants as they cross rivers and lakes when searching for food.

5. They Support Those in Need

Elephants are highly social and intelligent creatures, and they demonstrate behaviors we humans recognize as compassion, kindness, and altruism. In a study of elephant behavior, researchers found that when an elephant became distressed, other nearby elephants responded with calls and touches intended to console the individual.7 In addition to humans, this behavior was previously only witnessed in apes, canids, and corvids. Elephants also demonstrate empathetic behavior and “targeted helping” where they coordinate with each other to help a sick or injured individual.

Two young ones, perhaps a few months apart. On average, newborn calves stand about 1 m (3 ft.) high and weigh 120 kg (264 lb.) at birth. Newborn male African elephants may weigh up to 165 kg (364 lbs.).

6. They Can Suffer From PTSD

We know that elephants are sensitive souls, with strong bonds to their family members, a need for comfort, and a long memory. So it should come as no surprise that elephants who experience tragedy, like witnessing a family member being killed by poachers, have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Calves orphaned by poachers will show PTSD-like symptoms even decades later. Elephants released from abusive situations show symptoms of PTSD long after they’ve found safety in a sanctuary. These traumatic experiences also negatively impact learning.8 When selective individuals are killed in a cull or by poachers, young elephants lose vital social information that would have been passed down by adults.

This larger female may be the matriarch who leads the herd.

7. Elephants Need Their Elders

All of the information necessary to elephants’ survival is passed down by their elders. It’s crucial for young elephants to spend time with older family members, particularly the matriarchs, so they can learn all that they’ll need to know as adults. The matriarch of the herd carries the knowledge of the elders and shares essential information with the young including how to respond to a variety of dangers and where to find food and water. While African elephants live in a matriarchal society, research has shown that Asian elephants are less hierarchical than their African counterparts and show little dominance based on age or gender.9 This difference in social organization could be attributed to habitat. In Africa, conditions are more harsh, so the elders’ wisdom is more valuable; in parts of Asia where predators are few and resources are plentiful, there’s not as much need for strong leadership

8. They Can’t Live Without Their Trunks

Filled with over 40,000 muscles, an elephant’s trunk is powerful and extremely sensitive. Elephants use their prehensile trunks to smell, eat, breathe underwater, make sounds, clean themselves, and defend themselves. Elephants have “fingers” at the tips of their trunks—African elephants have two and Asian elephants have one—that allow them to pick up tiny objects. Extremely dexterous, elephants can form a joint with their trunk to pile up small materials like grains. An elephant will reach out its trunk and use its sense of smell to determine which foods to eat. In a 2019 study, Asian elephants were able to determine which of two sealed buckets contained more food based on smell alone.11 Another study found that African elephants could differentiate between a variety of plants and choose their favorite, guided only by scent. Elephants also use their trunks to hug, caress, and comfort other elephants—and baby elephants suck their trunks like human babies suck their thumbs. Apparently this helps them to learn how to use their trunks more effectively. With over 50,000 muscles in the trunk, this helps a young elephant figure out “how to control and manipulate the muscles in the trunk so that it can fine-tune its use.”

This photo showing the safari vehicle illustrates how close we were to the majestic beasts.

9. They Are Related to the Rock Hyrax

Based on sheer size alone, it’s surprising to discover that the elephant’s closest living relative is the rock hyrax, a small, furry herbivore native to Africa and the Middle East that looks similar to a rodent. Other animals closely related to elephants include manatees and dugongs (a marine mammal that looks like a manatee). Despite its appearance, the hyrax still has a few physical traits in common with elephants. These include tusks that grow from their incisor teeth (versus most mammals, which develop tusks from their canine teeth), flattened nails on the tips of their digits, and several similarities among their reproductive organs. The manatee, the rock hyrax, and the elephant share a common ancestor, Tethytheria, which died out more than 50 million years ago. That’s been long enough for the animals to travel down very different evolutionary paths. Though they look and behave differently, they remain closely related.

10. Elephants Honor Their Dead

The abundant sensitivity of elephants is well documented, but their sentient nature is particularly notable in the interest they express toward the dead. Even among unrelated animals, elephants show interest, examining, touching, and smelling the deceased animal. Researchers have observed elephants making repeated visits, attempting to assist expired animals, and calling out for help. Long after an animal has died, elephants will return and touch the remaining bones with their feet and trunks.14 The Washington Post described a young 10-year-old elephant visiting her mother’s corpse in Kenya and leaving with “the temporal glands on each side of her head… streaming liquid: a reaction linked to stress, fear and aggression.” A form of tears, perhaps?

One elephant stood apart from the herd. It may be a male who is soon to leave the herd. Adult male elephants are solitary in nature but may associate with other bulls (adult males) in small, unstable groups. Males will leave the family unit (natal unit) between 12 and 15 years of age.

11. They Use Dirt as Sunscreen

There’s a good reason that elephants like to play in the dirt. Although their hide looks tough, elephants have sensitive skin that can get sunburned. To counteract the damaging rays of the sun, elephants throw sand on themselves. Adult elephants will also douse youngsters with dust. When coming out of a bath in a river, elephants will often throw mud or clay on themselves as a layer of protection.15

The younger elephant on the right is digging in the dirt on the bank of the river in an attempt to get to the mud. Mud baths are enjoyed by elephants, rhinos, warthogs, and hippos.

12. They Have Math Skills

Asian elephants may just be one of the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom when it comes to math. Researchers in Japan attempted to train Asian elephants to use a computer touch screen panel. One of the three elephants, when presented with different quantities, was able to choose the panel that displayed more fruit. It should be noted that only Asian elephants have been shown to possess this ability. Researchers posit that the split of African and Asian elephant species 7.6 million years ago may have resulted in differing cognitive abilities. Some research shows that the average EQ is 2.14 for Asian elephants, and 1.67 for African.

13. Elephants Are at Risk

All elephants are at risk. The Asian elephant is endangered and the African elephant is vulnerable.1718 The primary threats to elephants are habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation. Elephants also face human threats. As farmers encroach on elephant habitats to plant crops, conflicts between the animals and humans have led to the retaliatory killing of elephants. Asian elephants in particular, which inhabit one of the planet’s most densely populated areas, are unable to coexist with the expanding human population. There are some innovative efforts to deter elephants away from human settlements and farms, reducing friction between the two species. One example is Project Orange Elephant in Sri Lanka, which incentivizes farmers to plant orange trees around their homes and garden plots; elephants dislike citrus, and the farmers gain an additional crop to sale for profit. In spite of the 1989 international trade ban on ivory sales, the illegal and legal hunting and poaching of elephants for their tusks, hide, meat, and fur have been a large contributor to the decline of elephants, especially in Africa. Asian elephants are also poached, and since only males have tusks, this also leads to a shortage of males in the breeding population and a lack of genetic diversity.

The youngster was determined to make a big mud hole.

Save the Elephants

Thanks to the publishers of this good article and its 13 points. We appreciate these interesting facts to share with our readers along with today’s photos.

Hopefully, today on our Chobe River cruise we’ll have an opportunity to see more stunning wildlife along the banks of the river and in the water. We will be back with more tomorrow, our final day at Chobe Safari Lodge. At 11:30 am, Christ will pick us up, and we’ll head back through the border into Zambia, where we’ll spend the next two nights staying at the Marriott Protea Hotel, which we’ve visited several times.

Both nights, we’ll be going to the Royal Livingstone Hotel’s much-sought-after restaurant, The Old Drift. We would have liked to stay at that hotel, but the room cost was about 60% higher than the Marriott. After all, we’ll have spent on this trip, staying at a more expensive hotel wasn’t necessary for either of us. We’ll head back to South Africa on Saturday.

We still have one more boat cruise tomorrow night, which will be on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River on the famous Lion King with live African music. That will be another fun outing.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more photos.

Have a great day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2021:

The Imposter was trying to get comfortable to take a nap with his tusks in the way. For more photos, please click here.

Lion Day in Chobe National Park…More activities on the horizon…

Adult females and cubs are resting in the shade.

In a perfect world, when we spot lions or any other species, they’d all face us for the best photo ops. Unfortunately, the wildlife, such as these lions shown today, were facing away from us, limiting the quality of the photos.

From a distance, Tom got this forward-facing shot of a female lion keeping an eye out for the pride while they rest.

However, as seldom as we see lions, we were thrilled to get these photos and won’t complain. Also, another factor in getting great shots is who is driving the safari vehicle. When on a game drive with a guide and other tour participants, we have no control over how long we’d wait for better shots or the angles from which we can take the pictures. The other people are often in the way, and the driver/guide wants to move along.

Another of Tom’s photos was taken with his phone,

When it’s just the two of us driving in Kruger National Park, generally, we can wait to gain a better vantage point. But, even then, other vehicles edge in attempting to see what we’re seeing. Then, simple courtesy becomes a priority, and we often have to move along before getting the shots we would have liked.

Could this be a young male whose mane has yet to be fully grown?

Sometimes, circumstances are perfect, and we get shots we love, like the one we posted yesterday as our main photo, found in this link here in case you missed it, similar to another image we’re posting here today as shown below:

This adorable cub caught my eye when I struggled to get good photos of the pride of lions.

The three-hour game drive turned into almost four hours since it took time to drive to the entrance to Chobe National Park, register the safari vehicle with the entrance guards and finally reach the river where most of the wildlife is often found. We made this drive many times in the past, and the familiarity was comforting to us in a way that’s hard to explain. We remembered almost every turn on the bumpy ride.

I couldn’t take my eyes off this precious cub, snuggled up next to his mom.

The drive was so bumpy that my Fitbit registered it as if I had taken steps when my arms bounced around to almost 10,000 steps. Speaking of steps on my Fitbit, we just took a break from being in our room and walked around the Chobe Safari Lodge property to see new construction, campgrounds, and a remote bar at the edge of the Chobe River.

He opened his eyes for a few minutes, allowing me to get a few favorite shots.

We had no idea as to the size of this property and were a little surprised by what we saw. We took some photos we’ll share in days to come. It was good to get out walking when we’ve been sitting quite a bit the past few days. We will do this again each day in the future. Tom has agreed to walk with me outdoors when we return to Marloth Park. I need to walk regularly but find it tedious in the house. I don’t want to walk alone due to the lions in the park, and we’ll take a big stick with us when we do.

It was cool when we encountered the pride, but they tend to cuddle when sleeping, even in hot weather.

As for the rest of the day, there’s nothing special on the agenda until tomorrow afternoon’s boat tour on the Chobe River. That should be fun. We did the sunset river cruise during prior visits to Botswana. Once we return to Zambia in a few days, we’ve arranged a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, as mentioned earlier. There’s live entertainment on that cruise, and we enjoy African music.

I could have watched them for hours, but we had to be on our way.

Tonight, we’d dine in the main dining room for their buffet instead of the restaurant up the hill to shake it up a bit. We’re having a pleasant time with plenty of incredible wildlife sightings. I still suffer from headaches and face pain but have decided to make the best of our time here in Botswana and Zambia. Following Monday, I’ll see Doc Theo and see what he suggests.

The sun was in my eyes, and I missed getting a full face shot but kept this one.

That’s it for today, folks. We have countless photos to share and look forward to posting them here for you to see, including when three warthogs entered the bar last night…piggy sundowners, perhaps?

Be well.

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

Broken Horn is persistent about pellets, scaring off any intruders with his horns. For more photos, please click here.

Off on a game drive this morning…Hoping “safari luck” prevails….Teaser for tomorrow’s post…

A pride of lions was the highlight of our day in Chobe National Park. This cub made us feel like they were looking right at us. Heavenly. Lots more lion photos to share in tomorrow’s post.

Yesterday was a restful day for us. Still having sinus headaches and face pain, there was nothing I needed more than to rest. I couldn’t recall the last time we spent an entire day lounging. But it felt good. We had a lovely dinner again, up the hill to the restaurant (food photos yet to follow), making it back to our room by 9:00 pm, when I fell asleep in the first five minutes of streaming an episode of the last season of The Black List.

Their antics are adorable, providing several photo ops.

This morning I still have the headache but have taken a dose of Ibuprofen that will hopefully get me through the game drive that will last about four hours. When we return to the resort, we can have the rest of the day to relax, finish this post and work on the many photos we’ll have taken on the safari.

Elephant shots from across the Chobe River from the hotel’s veranda.

We ate a light breakfast this morning with little coffee, knowing the long time in the safari vehicle was ahead. Occasionally, such a vehicle will stop at a planned location with bathroom facilities. But often, behind a bush is the bathroom. That works too, but as a female, it’s not as easy to use a bush “toilet” while wearing long pants. Try figuring that one out, ladies. I only drank one small cup of coffee this morning, and Tom had none.

Their antics are adorable, providing several photo ops.

Dinner last night was delicious. I had the same main dish as the previous night, chicken and prawn skewers, and Tom had a filet on the bone. We’d never seen filet mignon on the bone. But Tom doesn’t do well getting to all the meat when a bone is involved, whereas I’m more like a mongoose…I eat every single morsel. He often hands his bones over to me as he did last night, and I also ate his vegetables. He’s a meat and potatoes (or rice) kind of guy.

We always love seeing elephants.

Knowing we had to get up early for breakfast and the safari, neither of us slept well. Again, we didn’t set the alarm, but by 5:30, I was awake, and Tom was shortly after that. We ate breakfast in plenty of time, giving us a little time back in our room for me to get a start on today’s post. I am wrapping it up but will be back later to post more photos and complete today’s entry. See you soon!


It’s 1:30 pm, 1330 hrs., and we are back from the safari. There was seating for nine passengers with graduated theatre-type seats, three per row. Since we were the last to get into the vehicle when the others were picked up from a different resort, we got the top tier which worked out well for us. We both had “window” seats, although the vehicle has a top and the sides are open.

As sunset ends, all the boats out on sunset cruises begin returning to their respective resorts.

From this good vantage point and the fact that there were only eight of us, the seat between the two of us was empty. We had plenty of room and could take plenty of great photos; Tom occasionally used the camera if the wildlife was problematic for me to shoot, and his phone regularly when I used the camera.

In Marloth Park, we avoid interacting with monkeys, but at this resort, we don’t have to worry about them getting inside the house and destroying things. So now, they are kind of cute.

Did we see anything spectacular? Did “safari luck” prevail once again? The answer is a resounding “YES,” as you’ll see from the above teaser photo of one special sighting, with plenty more to come tomorrow and in the following days. We don’t go on another game drive until Wednesday afternoon. No doubt, we’ll see lots more then.

It was fun to see so many tourists enjoying traveling once again. The activities were crowded.

Game drives can be tedious when there are few exciting sightings. But almost four hours flew by so quickly; we could hardly believe it. Our safari mates were mainly from France. One of the tourists was a kindly safari guide from Italy who does tours in Namibia chatted with me from time to time and was very friendly. He’s not only a safari guide but also a geologist and had lots of good stories to tell. Also, he lives in Tuscany, Italy, when not working for short periods, leaving us with a few morsels to share from our time in Tuscany in 2013.

Many vervet monkeys hang around the resort’s veranda throughout the day and evening.

So now we’re back with a few hours until it’s time for sundowners. It’s sunny here almost every day, so sunsets are exceptional. We’ll have plenty of those photos to share over the days to come. Please check back tomorrow for more. We love sharing all this new stuff with you!

Of course, we’d see a warthog on the grass in front of our veranda at Chobe Safari Lodge. Everywhere we go….

Happy day!

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

With no water and unable to refill the birdbath with clean water, Benny (Benny, Henny, Lenny, and Penny) decided to drink from the pool. We’d never seen a warthog do this. For more photos, please click here.