Bookings for the near future…Still, lots more to do…

This is Basket, the Bully, who scares off all the other warthogs including Little and Little’s Friend.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Mr. & Mrs. Hornbill are very noisy around us, asking for seeds.  They sure have us trained, says Tom.

Lately, we’ve been lazy about arranging bookings into the future.  I can only attribute this fact to the heat and power outages which surely have had a bearing on our desire to spend hours online researching suitable arrangements.


Add all the activities and social events over the holiday season and we hardly had the time or inclination to take the hours required to book hotels, flights, and holiday homes.

This has nothing to do with any lack of interest or passion for future travels.  We’re as committed and excited for the future as ever.  But, the time required researching for flights and hotels is not our favorite past time, although we both enjoy searching for holiday homes for a new location.
The mongooses are back!  Not as large as our usual band but a good start.
We have another cruise final payment due next week for the upcoming cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Copenhagen, Denmark on April 26, 2019, ending on May 12, 2019, at which point we’ll fly from Copenhagen to Dublin which we’ve yet to arrange.

In reviewing the post from December 5, 2018, we copied and pasted the list we’d made over a month ago of what we’ve yet to accomplish in booking and posted it here today illustrating what we’ve accomplished thus far.

Not only does this give our readers a realistic perspective of how challenging making all these arrangements can be, but also reminds us of what we’ve yet to tackle over the next month or so.  We have a long way to go to be able to stop researching for a while.  
Mom and Babies stopped by this morning for the first time in weeks.  The babies sure are growing fast.
While in Ireland from May to August, we’ll have a huge task ahead in order to book well into the future since the house in Ireland is the only holiday house we have booked at this time.  We know where we want to go and have listed those locations on our itinerary but we’ve yet to tackle the daunting task.

When we first began booking travel arrangements we often booked holiday homes two years in advance for fear we wouldn’t be able to find suitable houses.  We don’t care for apartments and prefer single-family homes when possible.

Now, with years of experience under our belts we realize we can book homes closer to the periods we want them (although not last minute) and can still get good pricing when property owners are willing to give us long term rental discounts.
The piglets love to lounge and play in what’s left of the lucerne.
As we mentioned in an earlier post we’ve made a firm commitment to one another that we’ll never rent a holiday home for longer than 90 days, due to visa issues unless of course, we’re required to stay longer for medical reasons, which could well transpire down the road.

Finally, this morning we booked the flight from Nairobi, Kenya to Santiago, Chile and a hotel for 16 nights in Santiago.  The process was painstaking when hotels were pricey even when combined with flights using the link on our site to Expedia.com.  

We ended up booking the flight separately on Expedia and the hotel from our link for Hotels.com for the 16-night stay.  In this particular case, we ended up saving hundreds of dollars booking these separately which is not always the case.  
Snoozing piglet.
The cost per night for the modern hotel, in a great location with aircon, free wifi, and buffet breakfast, rated 8.2 (out of 10) (details will follow when we’re there in less than 60 days) was under ZAR 1394, (US $100) per night.  Plus, we receive one free night for every 10 nights we book using Hotels.comThis works well for us with several upcoming hotel bookings.

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Following from the above mentioned prior post we have completed the bookings listed below as indicated in bold type:

  • DONE:  Hotel in Kenya for seven nights, arriving February 15, 2019, and departing for the booked photography tour on February 22, 2019  (tour ends of March 7, 2019
  • DONE: Flight from Nairobi to Santiago, Chile on March 8, 2019
  • Transportation from Santiago, Chile to San Antonio, Chile (the location of the cruise port) 
  • DONE: Hotel in Santiago, Chile from March 8, 2019, to March 24, 2019, when our 15-night cruise departs from San Antonio, Chile, and sails to San Diego, California
  • DONE: Flight from San Diego, California to Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 8, 2019
  • Rental car in Minnesota from April 8, 2019, to April 25, 2019
  • Flight from Minnesota to Fort Lauderdale to board the next cruise to Copenhagen on April 25, 2019, cruise departs on April 26, 2019
  • Flight from Copenhagen to Dublin, Ireland on May 12, 2019
  • Rental car in Dublin, Ireland on May 12, 2019, and drive to Connemara, Ireland where we’ll stay in a holiday home until August 9, 2019 (booked and deposit paid)
Two snoozing piglets.

In the next 60 to 90 days, we’ll book the balance of the listed items and then be free to start booking holiday homes into the future, beyond the time we’ll spend in Ireland.  We have no worries or concerns that all future bookings will work out well.  

Today, the high heat and humidity have returned and as we sit on the veranda, feeding the visitors, we’re drenched in sweat.  We can only hope we’ll have power tonight in order to get a good night’s sleep.

This evening,  we’re headed to Nwenya with Rita and Gerhard for the Thursday night buffet, seeing them for the first time in a week.  It will be such fun to catch up on our mutual experiences over this past week.

Ms. Kudu is pregnant and very hungry.  She hovers in the garden and bush for hours waiting for more to eat.  We comply but when we stop, she wanders into the bush and eats the new greenery from all the recent rains.

Have a spectacular evening, wherever you may be, staying warm or cool as you’d prefer.

_________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 10, 2018:

An artist’s rendition on a wall on a side street as we made our way back to Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires during an hour-long walk.  For more details, please click here.

What we all need may vary…Making health decisions right for ourselves…

Giraffes on a dirt road in Marloth Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

These birds are southern masked weavers.  We took this shot at Rita and Gerhard’s veranda last Thursday night at their temporary Ngwenya condo.  They’ve since moved back to the Hornbill house.  

As I prepare today’s post offline due to another power outage, I remind myself of all the wonders the bush provided us over the past year and we have little cause for complaining.


Its just been challenging when many of the power outages have occurred in the past month when the holidaymakers came to stay in the park.  Concurrently, with the summer season in progress, the heat has been at its highest peaks of the year creating a somewhat trying situation.

A lone giraffe perhaps looking for the remainder of her tower.

Fortunately, we had power last night and with the help of the now-working aircon and an over-the-counter sleep aid, Somnil (aka Unisom in the US), I was able to sleep through the night for a full six hours.  

No, it wasn’t eight hours but who’s to say eight hours is what we all require? Our individual requirements may vary and with a straight six hours, I feel pretty good.  

A dazzle of zebras in an open field.

I’m not totally convinced that the dictates passed down by governmental agencies are necessarily accurate.  Haven’t they recently been changing some of their former directives such as fat is bad for you to “now fat it good for you?”

No, I won’t get into a political discussion here. I avoid that course whenever I begin steering down that slippery slope. Finally, it’s becoming popular “press” that a high carb diet may not be good for everyone after all and that a low carb sugar-free diet is best.

Zebras and warthogs have returned to our garden, although not in the numbers before the holiday season.  Soon it will return to normal.

If the medical professionals and governmental organizations continue to change their minds, what are we to believe?  The bottom line…what works for us!

No, I don’t drink eight glasses of water a day.  I don’t like drinking plain water.  Instead, I drink tea, iced tea and, a big glass of room temperature purified water with freshly squeezed lemon each morning upon awakening.  It works for me in the same way six or seven hours of sleep works for me.

A hippo on a little island in the Crocodile River.

I eat lots of fat and even now that I’m back to my former slim self once again.  Tom does the same and is at his lowest weight in years feeling so much better without the bulging belly.  

As for using over-the-counter sleep aids used on occasion…the medical profession bashes these products as unsafe.  And yet, they’re willing to prescribe dangerous and addictive sleeping pills that may cause sleepwalking and outlandish behavior during the night.  Its all about pharmaceuticals and “lining the pockets” of those parties and the companies involved.

Waterbucks on a dry patch of sand on the Crocodile River.

Please understand, I am not a medical professional of any sort nor am I “prescribing” what you should take or do for yourself.  I take three prescription medications for hereditary conditions I acquired as I’ve aged, for hypertension, and hormonal issues, all the lowest doses possible.  And, they work for me. Pharmaceutical can be of great value in certain circumstances.

At one point it was recommended I take statin drugs but after beginning this way of eating in 2011 my lipids are fantastic.  At that time I was pre-diabetic (hereditary) and now those numbers are also normal based on dietary changes.

When Tom began this way of eating, he lost 20 kg (42 pounds) and got off of six pills a day.  He takes no prescription medications at this point and feels great.  He had three kidney stone surgeries three years in a row and hasn’t had a recurrence since he began taking Vitamin B6 when the urologist flippantly suggested B6 may help prevent stones (after his third surgery).  Why not tell him this after the first such incident?  

Two distant hippos on an island in the river bed.

I’m not saying the medical profession is incompetent as a whole.  They work wonders under many circumstances, saving lives and improving the quality of life.  But, what I am saying is, we need to do our own research (from reliable resources) and decide what may work for us individually.

There are no “magic bullets” out there but there are magical lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve the quality of our lives and the quality of our longevity.  We’re leery of many new products on the market that promote and promise good health and well being.

But, we’ve learned over the years that taking charge of feeling well can be determined by how we live our lives;  through diet, activity, state of mind, stress reduction, and general personal care of every part of our bodies.

Speaking of personal care of our bodies, I’m off to the dentist again as I continue to get every possible issue with my teeth resolved before we leave Marloth Park in a mere 36 days.

Be well.
                      _______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, January 9, 2018:

What a view from our upcoming Connemara, Ireland vacation/holiday rental for 89 nights beginning on May 12, 2019, to August 12, 2019.  For more photos and details, please click here.

We’re back in Marloth Park…The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria…An important part of South African history…

The skyline of downtown Pretoria.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

On Sunday morning, we were surprised to see wildlife at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve we drove through in Pretoria with Don.

Wildebeest and their young lounging on the hill in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.

The return drive from Pretoria to Marloth Park took us a little over four hours with one pit stop along the way.  In part, we traveled an alternate route which didn’t require more driving time but included stunning scenery along the way.  We’d never driven this route in the past.

The Voortrekker Monument is an unusual looking structure located in Pretoria, South Africa.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to stop for photos along the way due to traffic and lack of areas in which to safely pull over.  Although, overall the traffic was lighter than we’d expected with the end of the holiday season approaching.

Upon returning to the house, within minutes we had visitors, six warthogs including Mike and Joe and some unfamiliar females.  We looked for Little but didn’t see him all evening.  

After walking up many flights of stairs, we entered the Voortrekker Museum with a wide array of historical forms of art including these shown sculptures.

When we set up the veranda for the evening, nine kudus and a male bushbuck stopped by, along with several unknown warthogs.  Two noisy hornbills squawked from a tree in front of the veranda, asking for seeds.  We complied. 

This morning the sightings have been sparse; mom and four baby warthogs who have grown since we saw them only days ago and a few others, none of whom we know.  I’m certain that by this evening more will appear.

In the interim, the power went out again this morning but only for an hour.  We just weren’t in the mood for an outage but then again, when would anyone welcome an outage?

Similar sculptures lined the walls of the museum.

Supposedly, in the next several days, load shedding will begin again.  Oh.  Need I say how annoying this is, especially when it’s extremely hot and humid?  If you don’t see a post, please know we’re experiencing power outages and can’t get online during these periods.

Collections of artifacts are displayed in glass cases.

When Kathy and Don asked us to stay an extra day, Don took us out for some sightseeing on Sunday morning.  As shown in the above photos, we drove through the Groenkloof Nature Reserve with fantastic views of the city of Pretoria from a high elevation in the park.

From there we drove to the Voortrekker Monument.  Don had been through the monument and its museum many times in the past and he decided to wander around the ground while we entered the unusual looking structure.

Exquisite paintings and tapestries lined a number of walls at The Voortrekker Museum.

Exploring the museum required walking up more steps than we’d seen in a long time, even after entering the building when we ventured to other levels to see the various displays.

Here’s information from this site with details of the war is described as  follows:

“The Battle of Blood River (Afrikaans: Slag van Bloedrivier; Zulu: iMpi yaseNcome) is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers (“Pioneers”), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated “10,000 to 15,000 Zulu on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Casualties amounted to over 3,000 of King Dingane‘s soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with Prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Pioneer commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius.

“The year 1838 was the most difficult period for the Voortrekkers since they left the Cape Colony, till the end of the Great Trek. They were plagued by many disasters and much bloodshed before they found freedom and a safe homeland in their Republic of Natalia. This could only be achieved by crushing the power of the Zulu King, Dingane, at the greatest battle ever fought in South Africa, namely the Battle of Blood River, which took place on Sunday 16 December 1838.”

In the sequel to the Battle of Blood River in January 1840, Prince Mpande finally defeated King Dingane in the Battle of Maqongqe and was subsequently crowned as new king of the Zulu by his alliance partner Andries Pretorius. After these two battles, Dingane’s prime minister and commander in both the Battle of Maqongqe and the Battle of Blood River, General Ndlela, was strangled to death by Dingane for high treason. General Ndlela had been the personal protector of Prince Mpande, who after the Battles of Blood River and Maqongqe, became king and founder of the Zulu.

The attention to detail by the artists is astounding.
From this site, the following was established to commemorate the Zulu soldiers who died in the battle:


“Finally, in December 1998, a memorial for the 3,000 Zulu soldiers who died in the battle, was inaugurated by Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi across the river from the Afrikaner monument. The historic anniversary of the ‘Day of the Vow’ has been renamed ‘Reconciliation Day’ in the New South Africa.”


As for the development of the Voortrekker Monument, see this section below from this site:


Voortrekker Monument

“The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

The idea to build a monument in honour of God was first discussed on 16 December 1888, when President Paul Kruger of the South African Republic attended the Day of the Covenant celebrations at Blood River in Natal. However, the movement to actually build such a monument only started in 1931 when the Sentrale Volksmonumentekomitee (SVK) (Central People’s Monuments Committee) was formed to bring this idea to fruition.

Construction started on 13 July 1937 with a sod turning ceremony performed by the chairman of the SVK, Advocate Ernest George Jansen, on what later became known as Monument Hill. On 16 December 1938, the cornerstone was laid by three descendants of some of the Voortrekker leaders: Mrs. J.C. Muller (granddaughter of Andries Pretorius), Mrs. K.F. Ackerman (great-granddaughter of Hendrik Potgieter) and Mrs. J.C. Preller (great-granddaughter of Piet Retief).
The Monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 by the then-prime minister D. F. Malan. The total construction cost of the Monument was about £ 360,000, most of which was contributed by the South African government.

A large amphitheatre, which seats approximately 20,000 people, was erected to the north-east of the Monument in 1949.

A wide array of artifacts are available for viewing.
The Cenotaph, situated in the centre of the Cenotaph Hall, is the central focus of the monument. In addition to being viewable from the Hall of Heroes, it can also be seen from the dome at the top of the building, from where much of the interior of the monument can be viewed. Through an opening in this dome a ray of sunlight shines at twelve o’clock on 16 December annually, falling onto the centre of the Cenotaph, striking the words ‘Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika’ (Afrikaans for ‘Us for you, South Africa’). The ray of light is said to symbolise God’s blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers. 16 December 1838 was the date of the Battle of Blood River, commemorated in South Africa before 1994 as the Day of the Vow.


The Cenotaph Hall is decorated with the flags of the different Voortrekker Republics and contains wall tapestries depicting the Voortrekkers as well as several display cases with artifacts from the Great Trek. Against the northern wall of the hall is a niche with a lantern in which a flame has been kept burning ever since 1938. It was in that year that the Symbolic Ox Wagon Trek, which started in Cape Town and ended at Monument Hill where the Monument’s foundation stone was laid, took place.


At the foot of the Monument stands Anton van Wouw’s bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children, paying homage to the strength and courage of the Voortrekker women. On both sides of this sculpture, black wildebeest are chiseled into the walls of the Monument. The wildebeest symbolically depicts the dangers of Africa and their symbolic flight implies that the woman, carrier of Western civilisation, is triumphant.

The flash of my camera appeared in the photo of this beautiful tapestry.
On each outside corner of the Monument, there is a statue, respectively representing Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter and an “unknown” leader (representative of all the other Voortrekker leaders). Each statue weighs approximately 6 tons.


At the eastern corner of the monument, on the same level as its entrance, is the foundation stone.
Under the foundation stone is buried: A copy of the Trekker Vow on 16 December 1838. A copy of the anthem “Die Stem”. A copy of the land deal between the Trekkers under Piet Retief and the Zulus under king Dingane.


In the years following its construction, the monument complex was expanded several times and now includes:
An indigenous garden that surrounds the monument.
The Wall of Remembrance dedicated to those who lost their lives while serving in the South African Defence Force.
Fort Schanskop, a nearby fort built in 1897 by the government of the South African Republic after the Jameson Raid and now a museum.
The Schanskop open-air amphitheatre with seating for 357 people that was officially opened on 30 January 2001.
A garden of remembrance.
A nature reserve was declared on 3.41 km² around the Monument in 1992. Game found on the reserve includes Zebras, Blesbok, Mountain Reedbuck, Springbok, and Impala.
A Wall of Remembrance that was constructed near the Monument in 2009. It was built to commemorate the members of the South African Defence Force who died in service of their country between 1961 and 1994.
An Afrikaner heritage centre, which was built in order to preserve the heritage of the Afrikaans-speaking portion of South Africa’s population and their contribution to the history of the country.”


Note:  Many English words are spelled differently in South African text such as centre, civilisation, etc.  As such, these are not spelled incorrectly. 

A miniature model of the wagons used for the people to make their way across the tough terrain.

After our sightseeing tour, we drove back to the house, where a short time later we took off for further celebrations of Don’s birthday which we shared in yesterday’s post as indicated here.

Summing up the three days and nights we spent in Pretoria with Kathy and Don…it couldn’t have been better!  We look forward to seeing them one more time before we depart Marloth Park in a mere 37 days.  Wow!  The time is flying by!

With the power back on, the temperature warm but not unbearable, we’re having a good day.  Today, I’ll be working on the menu and grocery list for Rita’s upcoming birthday party next Monday.  

Tomorrow, I have another dentist appointment at 9:00 am after which we’ll grocery shop and thus, the post won’t be available until later in the day.

May your day be filled with wonders!
                         _______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2018:

This dish may have looked messy but it was the best meal I’ve had since we arrived in Buenos Aires at the Rave Restaurant. It included white salmon, prawns, mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, onions, garlic, all cooked in real butter.  It was perfect for my way of eating and absolutely delicious.  For more photos, please click here.