We have planned the trip to Zambia and then Botswana for one week, leaving on August 20 and returning on August 27, to get a new 90-day visa stamp. We wanted this trip to be more than hanging around Livingstone for a week since we’ve already seen the most important tourist attractions on past trips for the same purpose.
This time, we booked arrangements to get us to Botswana to stay at the fantastic Chobe Safari Lodge for several days while we safari in Chobe National Park and on the Chobe River. The resort is on the river bank with hippo and elephant sightings from our hotel room veranda or the outdoor bar.
Everything for this trip has been booked for a while. All we had left was to book a rental car for our return to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport upon our arrival at 4:00 pm on Saturday, August 27. It should not have been a big deal to book a car, and we didn’t give it much thought until yesterday when Tom began the research. Oh, my goodness. We were in big trouble!
After hours online with both of us working on it, we couldn’t find a car at that time of day or date at any car rental agencies located at the airport. We spent hours researching. Each time we’d find a possibility, we got a notice stating that no cars were available on that date and time when we tried to book it.
We came to realize that arriving on Saturday afternoon was the problem. If the incoming 4:00 pm flight doesn’t have enough passengers renting cars upon arrival, the car rental agencies close their facilities at the airport. Let’s face it, that little airport doesn’t see a massive influx of passengers at any given time.
A few cars were available at outrageous prices we refused to pay. Perhaps, the agencies figured if they could get enough money, they’d stay open for the new arrivals. We refused to get caught up in that trap, so we kept trying. By bedtime last night, we gave up, figuring we’d try again this morning.
First thing this morning, we both began the online research once again. What if more passengers on our incoming flight were paying some of the higher prices for short-term rental to safari in Kruger National Park? Perhaps, some opportunities could open up for us. Whoever thinks of these scenarios?
Finally, after over an hour, we managed to book a car at a reasonable price for 30 days at 4:00 pm, on Saturday, the 27th, our flight arrival time, with Budget at the airport. Whew! We couldn’t enter our information quickly enough! If we hadn’t been able to book the car, we’d have no choice but to stay in Nelspruit at a hotel until Monday when cars were available again. The cost of the hotel for two nights plus meals was less than the higher prices we would have had to pay for the vehicle.
With that out of the way, we sighed with relief and learned yet another new lesson: book a car at Nelspruit before booking the flight. Now, we could return to enjoying yet another warm, sunny day with various wildlife stopping for visits. We are thrilled to have this task out of the way.
As for yesterday’s get-together with reader/friends Carrie and Jim at Two Trees, overlooking the Crocodile River, we couldn’t have had a better time. We hadn’t seen them in over six months, and it was fun to catch up. With the purchase of their beautiful house in Marloth Park and a four-year residency so far, they will be permanent residents enjoying this blissful environment. They couldn’t be happier, and we are happy for them.
While at Two Trees, we were fortunate to take several outstanding photos that we’re sharing today and tomorrow. What a treat it was to have a giraffe walk right in front of us (twice) as we all sat in our camp chairs sipping on beverages. Back at the house just before dark, we settled into a nice dinner at the dining room table and a remaining evening of rest, streaming a few shows.
Have a lovely Wednesday!
Photo from one year ago today, July 6, 2021: