Day #251 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…We’re on the move!!!…Soon, that is!!!…

Some freighters can carry as many as 18,000 20 foot containers. This freighter was being guided through the Panama Canal at the Miraflores locks.

Today’s photos were from this date in 2017 when we transited the Panama Canal for the second time in our world travels while on a cruise in South America. For more photos and the story from that date, please click here.

Each day during the over eight months in this hotel room, we’ve checked the status of flights out of Mumbai, India. As previously mentioned, a few international flights were departing, but there were no flights to countries we were interested in visiting, now or shortly. Technically, India’s borders are still closed, barring a few flights.

Target practice for the “rope throwers” who toss the cables to the ship to guide them through the channel. Contests are held for the workers who compete using this target with big monetary prizes.

Yesterday, once again, we checked after reading that Emirates Airline was opening up some flights out of Mumbai. Immediately, with our hearts racing, we searched to see what we could find. When I commenced the search, as always, suddenly we spotted flights departing Mumbai to Johannesburg beginning in January.

The flights in the early part of January, close to the New Year’s holiday, were more expensive and, of course, would be very crowded. We decided to see if we could book the shortest travel time, for the best price, with the fewest stops. Much to our sheer delight, we booked two seats on a flight departing on January 12, 2021, only 44 days from today!

Another container ship in the lake was awaiting entering the channel.

This took quite some time to accomplish as we investigated the vital “other parts” of our journey to include the following:

  • First, we booked a flight from Mumbai to Johannesburg with the intent of booking a flight to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger’s tiny airport, leaving us with only a one-hour drive to arrive in Marloth Park. We found we were unable to book these flights together, as we’d done in the past. No such option was available. The only way we could avoid driving the six-hour drive from Johannesburg to Marloth Park was to book a separate flight from Johannesburg to Nelspruit for the following day, on January 13, 2021, requiring we stay overnight at a hotel near the airport. Based on the time we’d arrive in Joburg, get through immigration, and collect our bags, there was no available flight.
    Silver Seas luxury cruise ship in Miraflores Lake.
  • Next, we had to confirm that car rentals are available at Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport to ensure we’d have a way to get to Marloth Park. We didn’t book the car until after the two separate flights were confirmed.
  • Next, we booked the flight from Joburg to Nelspruit directly through Airlink’s website.
  • Then, we returned to Expedia on our website to book the car for 30 days. We’ll return to Nelspruit every 30 days to renew the contract if we can’t do it over the phone. Our credit cards provide free insurance on rental cars for the first 30 days only. It was worth it to us to avoid paying nearly double for insurance for the vehicle.
  • Next, we had to find a place to live, especially since it would be a little over six weeks until we’d arrive in MP. There are many school holidays in South Africa at the beginning of the New Year when many South Africans travel. There was no one we’d consider contacting other than our dear friends, Louise (and husband Danie), about renting one of their several properties. We rented from them in 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 and became close friends in the process. See their link here.
    A barge with a tugboat is used for moving materials that have been dredged in the channel.

During this entire process, Louise and I were going back and forth via texts. Once we pinned down the flight from Mumbai to Joburg, we could give her the date we’d be arriving. We’ll be there in the late afternoon of January 13, 2021. With the greatest of ease, she suggested affordable single-family homes we may like, one of which was our first bush house in 2013 and another she indicated that they’d since acquired.

We chose the second option, worked out the dates and pricing, and she booked it for us for 88 days. During those 88 days, we’ll make a plan for moving forward. When the 88 days end, we fly somewhere for more outstanding African safari adventures and return a week or two later, to book another house, either the same or another, depending on what’s available.

Private watercraft pay fees from US $800 to US $3,200 (depending on size) to transit the Panama Canal.

In other words, we plan to make every effort to stay in Africa for an extended period depending on how visa situations work out in the interim.

Today, we’ll book a one-night hotel stay in Johannesburg, where we’ll catch up on an entire night’s missed sleep. We’ll have to leave this hotel for the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 1:00 am for the upcoming 4:00 am flight. We’ll need to get COVID-19 tests that will be good for 72 hours for entry into South Africa. There are numerous companies here in Mumbai that will come to the hotel to conduct the tests for both of us. It’s too soon to arrange for that now.

The Miraflores locks as we enter.

We’ll share details of our upcoming bush house in another post. As an aside, the cost of both flights for the two of us was a little over US $1000, INR 73962, and the rental car was slightly under US $400, INR 29585 per month. We have some free nights accumulated we haven’t used from Hotels.com on our site, one of which we’ll use for the hotel in Joburg.

Are we excited? Yep! Over the moon! We’ve only got 44 more days until we board that first flight (with a four-hour layover in Dubai) and one more day later until we arrive at my favorite place in the world, Marloth Park, South Africa.

Our ship, as it ends its transits through the third and final set of locks.

“Little, is that you?” Of course, I’ll be searching for my warthog friend (among other friends, both human and animal) the moment we arrive!

Photo from one year ago today, November 29, 2019

Since it was a travel day on this date, we posted this solitary photo from that date one year ago. Six years ago, we’d seen photos of this car, a 1959 Cadillac convertible (woody) hanging from the ceiling at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina. On our return drive from Kaanapali Beach, we stopped to take a few photos of our own, as shown. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Comments and responses Day #251 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…We’re on the move!!!…Soon, that is!!!…

    • worldwide-admin Post author

      Esti, thank you so much. We’re a little tentative that something could change but we’re hopeful nonethe less. Hope you are staying safe and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

  1. Marge

    So so glad for you!!
    We are hoping to be in Marloth for a few months from end of Feb.
    Hope everything goes to plan.
    Marge Wyley

    • worldwide-admin Post author

      Marge, thank you for writing. Hope to see you in Marloth in February! Travel safe and be well.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

    • worldwide-admin Post author

      Judy and Gary, thank you both so much! We are tentatively excited knowing everything could change in a minute with COVID. Hope you both are safe and healthy.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

  2. Caro Smith

    Brilliant news and so glad there may be an end in sight for you being able to leave Mumbai after all this time. Just hope all goes according to plan – fingers crossed.

    Peter and Caro

    • worldwide-admin Post author

      Caro and Peter, thank you for much for your kind words. We’re a little tentative since were we turned away at the airport on March 20, booked on such a flight to SA. Hope you both are safe and healthy!

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

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