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.

Botswana…The African Quadripoint…Chobe Safari Lodge…An exquisite environment..

“The African Quadripoint. Are there any 4 way borders? Around the world, there are more than 150 different tripoints—borders where three nations meet—but only one international “quadripoint.” This is a spot in the middle of the Zambezi River, in southern Africa, where Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana all touch.”

This is the fourth time we’ve traveled to Zambia and then Botswana. Two Chris Tours drivers, Gordon and O’Brien, were waiting for us at the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport in Livingstone. They loaded up our two bags and two carry-on bags and we were on our way for the one-hour drive to the Botswana border, where a tour representative and her driver would take us to Chobe Safari Lodge, another 30-minute drive.

Two drivers, Gordon on the left and O’Brien on the right, who works for Chris Tours.

The immigration process was entirely different than on the past three occasions when we crossed the border between Zambia and Bostwana, where four countries meet as described here as the African Quadripoint:

“THERE ARE A NUMBER OF instances where the borders of two or three nations touch, but the rare confluence of a total four nations coming together on one spot only exists in Africa where the corners of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia meet.

Unlike the touristy spots where states come together in America, which are usually decked out with monuments and bronze medallions, the African quadripoint sits in the middle of a river that cuts between the countries. It has been theorized that the point is not a true quadripoint but instead a pair of tri-points separated by thin strips of real estate. Regardless of the quibbling, the obvious jurisdictional headache of having four countries so close to one another has resulted in some conflict.”

What an interesting tidbit!

When we arrived at the border, it was very different than in the past, where cars and trucks were everywhere, as well as people, and there was chaos in getting onto a small boat with our luggage to cross the Zambezi River to Botswana. The bumpy ride in the rickety boat reminded us of many such boat rides during our world travels in various countries. Now, the new bridge is completed, as shown in our photo and described as follows:

Crossing the new Kazungula Bridge in Botswana.

“Kazungula Bridge is a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi river between the countries of Zambia and Botswana at Kazungula. The Kazungula Bridge under construction over the Zambezi, at the quasi-quadripoint between Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The bridge was opened for traffic on 10 May 2021.”

In the past, we crossed the river, where we were picked up by another driver and taken to the even more chaotic immigration office, where it took about 30 minutes while we stood in line in the heat. This time there is a slick new air-conditioned immigration building. Yesterday, we moved in and out of there in five or six minutes. There were no lines.

We had to walk onto a chemical pad to clean the bottom of the shoes before we were approved for entry. That wasn’t so odd since we’d done this in the past here in Botswana and Antarctica. But in this case, we were told to open our luggage and take out all of our shoes to do the same thing. We’d never been asked to do this before anywhere in the world.

Our lovely room is on the ground level with a river view. See the next photo for views from our private veranda.

Soon, we were on our way again, directly to Kasane to the Chobe Safari Lodge, and once again, we weren’t disappointed with our room and the surroundings. It was as pretty as ever.

There are two chairs on our private veranda and these views of the Chobe River.

In no time at all, we were checking into the hotel at 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs. Our day started when we left Marloth Park at 8:30 am and arrived at the hotel. By our standards, it took six and a half hours, an easy travel day.

By 5:15 pm; 1750 hrs., we were seated on the veranda for sundowners. I had trouble finding a wine I liked, so I ordered a full bottle of white wine that should last for three nights. There are roughly five glasses in 750 ml wine bottles. Since none of the wine here is low-alcohol, I will drink only two small glasses each night from the bottle they saved for me at the restaurant up the hill, at the A’la Carte,  which we loved last time we were, and we loved again last night.

Last night’s sunset. We were so busy talking, we were late in taking the sunset photos!

There’s a buffet here for breakfast and dinner, but we’ll likely eat at the A’la Carte since at least I can order more easily. I never know what I’m getting at buffets and the ingredients included therein. That’s a bit risky for me. Here are a few photos from last night’s dinner.

We’ll be back with much more. Tomorrow morning, we will go on a game drive, and the new post with photos will be uploaded a few hours later than usual.

We don’t usually take photos of monkeys since they are so pushy and destructive, but this one was kind of cute.

Have a fantastic Sunday!

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

A young giraffe and a few zebras blocked the road on our way to Jabula on a Friday night. For more photos, please click here.

The Chobe saga begins…Good food for the carnivores…

We were excited to get a view of the leopard’s face after waiting for a considerable period while Samson, our guide kept moving the vehicle for better shots.  Upon careful inspection of this photo, you can see the pads of the feet of her kill in the tree near her head.

“Sighting of the Day in Chobe National Park”

Cape Buffalo have a symbiotic relationship with cattle egrets who eat the ticks and other insects off their bodies preventing illness and infections.  Cape buffalo are well aware of this benefit and do not object to their presence. 

With literally hundreds of photos from four safaris in Chobe National Park, two each on land and the river, we almost don’t know where to begin.  Do we share our favorites first and wind down over a number of days to those of wildlife our readers have seen over and over again?  

When our guide maneuvered the safari vehicle for our photos, it was tricky getting into a good position.  There were nine of us in the vehicle and several other nearby vehicles with equal numbers of tourists, we were all jockeying for positions.

Or, do we spill “the best of the best” first and dwindle down to those animals and scenes which may have become familiar to all of you over the years of our wildlife adventures throughout the world?

The leopard was well aware of our presence and kept turning her back to us.

For expediency and perhaps a bit of laziness on my part, we’d decided to attempt to balance it out over this next week (or more, if necessary) with some of our favorites and others we look forward to posting which may not be as spectacular.

Of course, we would have preferred full-on face shots but it just wasn’t going to happen.

Dealing with hundreds of photos to pick and choose is a monumental task in itself.  Writing the text is easy comparatively.  Editing the post with a less than ideal Wi-Fi signal is challenging as well.  So bear with us.  

From time to time, she’d allow us a glimpse of her profile.

We’ll do our best to share our experience with all of you, our loyal reader, our new readers “getting their feet wet” in beginning to read our over 2200 posts and our occasional readers who may attempt to pick up where they left off or not.

But then, she’d put her head back down to nap after her tasty breakfast.

A person asked me, “If you go on safari over and over again, seeing the same animals, don’t you get bored?”

I answered, “If you watch football over and over again, seeing the same players, do you get bored?”

There are many islands in the Chobe River during this dry season.  The elephants swim back and forth from the land to the islands to partake of its rich vegetation.  Elephants are excellent swimmers.

Every time is different.  At this point, we couldn’t count how many times we’ve been on a game drive, either driving ourselves or being driven in a safari vehicle.  It doesn’t matter.  The fact remains, we aren’t bored.

In no time at all, she made her way to the island in the deep water.

No sooner than we climbed up into the safari vehicle or boat over these past days, the adrenaline rush flushed our minds and bodies with feel-good hormones as the sense of anticipation washed over us.

Once on the island, she joined the other members of her family.

A few times over these past few days, I described it to Tom like fishing…the anticipation is 75% of the excitement.  We get that same feeling when searching for wildlife scenes.  

There is varying speculation on how many elephants there are in Chobe National Park.  It ranges from 50,000 to 65,000.  During our four safaris, we saw no less than a thousand elephants.

For us, after many such experiences, the sighting of an impala or kudu may not be earth shattering but an impala attempting to mate or a kudu playfully dancing about is all new and elicits great feelings of pure joy and elation.

This was one of many crocs we spotted on the banks and in the water of the Chobe River.

In essence, that’s what we’re searching for, the unusual and less often sightings but all the while thoroughly enjoying the parade of elephants on an island in the crocodile-infested river or a dazzle of galloping zebras on the savanna.  It’s all quite exciting for us.

Tom’s fantastic dinner at the gourmet restaurant at Chobe Safari Lodge, located in a separate building we walked to in the dark with the sounds of wildlife around us.  There are no fences around Chobe National Park as there are in Kruger National Park.  One could easily encounter wildlife while out at night.

Of course, if you aren’t interested in wildlife, one way or another, none of our recent or upcoming posts over these next seven months will hold must interest for you.  Sorry about that.  As our longtime readers know, our posts aren’t always about wildlife and nature.  A year from now we’ll be at the end of our Baltic cruise…hardly a wildlife-rich experience.

This was the best-roasted leg of lamb in au jus that I’d ever had, moist, tender and delicious.

For now, we’re chomping at the bit to share nature’s bounty over these past several days.  And yes, once we’ve shared all we can, we’ll be back to posting our ongoing day to day adventures in Marloth Park. 

We made new friends while on safari, including Jean-Pierre and Patricia a wonderful couple from Nice, France.  

No words can describe how excited we are to return tomorrow to see all of our friends, both human and animal and to settle back into our lovely holiday bush home, “Orange…More than Just a Colour.”

Yumm…life is good.


Photo from one year ago today, August 22, 2017:

Tom, walking toward the dental clinic in Costa Rica.  It didn’t seem to be in a great neighborhood with bars on windows and doors but we felt comfortable.  For more photos, please click here.