Final expenses for our five night Zambia trip…On our way back to the bush!!!…

Sunset over the Zambezi River, the longest river in Africa. Notice the spray from Victoria Falls in the left rear of the photo.

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At the moment, we’re sitting on the bed in our hotel room in Zambia, after a lovely breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, packed and ready to go. At 11:45 am, Chris, from Chris Tours (see his link here), a highly reputable tour and transport company in Livingstone, Zambia, will pick us up for the short drive to the Livingstone Airport.

We’re scheduled to arrive in Nelspruit at 3:35 pm when we’ll pick up our rental car and commence the 90-minute drive back to Marloth Park. If all goes well with immigration (fingers crossed), we should be at our holiday home in the bush by about 5:30. Before unpacking, we’ll freshen up a bit and head to Jabula for dinner.

We’re looking forward to seeing Dawn and Leon, our friends and the owners of our favorite restaurant (and lodge) in Marloth Park. They’d been on holiday for a few weeks before we left for Zambia, and it will be fun to see them again, to catch up, and dine on their fabulous food. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating our return for another 90 days, providing all goes well at immigration in Nelspruit.

Load shedding has resumed in the park, so the power will be out while we’re out to dinner, hopefully back on when we get back to the house. Supposedly, it will be off and on until Saturday, after which they’ll be suspending load shedding for a few weeks, or so they say. It can change on a dime. Then again, TIA, “this is Africa,” and that’s what happens. We love it anyway.

We’ve had a great time in Zambia. We accomplished a lot of research, and I am down to page #18 (with 20 posts per page). At this rate, I will have completed this year-long project by the middle of November. I can hardly wait to be done and have my afternoons back to further enjoy life instead of working on my laptop.

Now, for the expenses, we incurred for this trip to Livingstone, Zambia:

Flight  (round trip) from Nelspruit to Livingstone:  US $1288.00,   ZAR 18938

Taxi: US $46.81, ZAR 690.68

Hotel (using some rewards): US $425.09, ZAR 6258.06

Food: US $339.00, ZAR 4992.29

Visa Fee (entry to Zambia):  US $100.00, ZAR 1472.65

Tips: US $125.0, ZAR 1470,80

Total:  US $2323.90, ZAR 32204.32

We were pleased with this total. The high cost of the airfare was over half of the total expenses. Flights through Airlink have increased during times of Covid, but the convenience of avoiding the five-hour drive to Joburg is worth it to us. Plus, we could get a direct flight from Nelspruit to Livingstone, saving another half day of travel time.

If we have no issues with re-entry, the expense will have been well worth the time and cost. We have documents with our negative Covid-19 PCR test results, our flight information out of South Africa in January, a rental letter from Louise stating we have a place to live, and all should be in order. The question is: “Will they (immigration) accept the fact we only left SA for six days?” If so, all will be good. The laws are vague on this topic, so we hold our breath when we check-in.

That’s it for now, folks. In a few minutes, we’ll zip up our duffle bags, call for help with our bags, pay the balance of our hotel bill at reception and wait for Chris to arrive to take us to the airport.

Hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll be writing from Marloth Park with the good news that all went well. Thanks for “traveling” with us!

Photo from one year ago today, October 26, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #217. Rasnesh, our driver, took this photo of us in front of the Vuadomo Waterfall in Fiji. We were hot and sweaty, but the long trek was worth it!  For more photos, please click here.

Final photos from Livingstone, Zambia…Final Expenses will follow tomorrow…

Zebras were grazing on the grass at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

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Wow! The time has flown by so quickly. Tomorrow morning, we head to the airport to return to South Africa. At the moment, we’re awaiting printed copies of our PCR test results and a copy of proof of our airline tickets proving we are exiting South Africa on January 23, 2022, which may help at immigration if we run into any issues for our short time away.

Our favorite photo is of the sunset from the hotel veranda.

In the past, we only encountered one negative comment from an immigration officer upon return to South Africa, but we were allowed re-entry. However, we felt by showing our airline tickets for January. They may be convinced we’re not “border-hopping.”  We’ll see how it goes.

The past 24 hours have been relatively quiet while we both worked on projects on our laptops. I am working on the corrections fast and furiously and now have less than 19 pages of 20 posts left to correct. At this point, I can correct 30 posts a day when in the beginning, it was slow and cumbersome when I could only get through 15 posts a day.

The spray from Victoria Falls from the Zambia side of the river. We visited the fall on both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides last time we were here in 2018.

No, the old posts won’t be perfect. It is easy to miss a few corrections on each page, even after reading and re-reading it. Halfway through, I added the paid, highly-rated editing program, Grammarly. But, it, too, like humans, is not exempt from making errors. Yesterday. I did a post that had 126 errors on a post prepared while in lockdown in India. I had all the time in the world to proofread, and yet, I still made countless mistakes, mostly commas, occasionally sentence structure, and less so spelling.

I often say if someone asked me if I’d write an essay every day, 365 days a year, that would be presented to the world online, I would have said they’re out of their minds for asking me to do that, and I would have flatly refused.

An elephant on the opposite side of the Zambezi River, most like more than a kilometer from our view from the hotel veranda.

Weirdly, I am doing exactly that now, 3355 posts later. Good grief! How in the world did that happen? How in the world have I continued to motivate myself to keep doing this, day after day, month after month, year after year? Now, as we approach our ninth anniversary of traveling the world, having begun posting on March 15, 2012 (before we left), even I am shocked by how consistently this mission has continued.

The first year or so, we only posted a few times a week. But, as time marched on, we realized we needed to write more often to maintain the continuity of our peculiar lives without a home, without storage, and with only a few bags in our possession.

A bloat of hippos in the Zambezi River, rarely picking up their heads.

Based on interest and comments from readers, they’ve always seemed more interested in the challenges we face daily, not unlike their own. Life isn’t always about famous sightseeing venues and tours. At times, daily life is tough and for many of our readers, seeing how we resolved a particular issue(s) is equally, if not more interesting.

We try to “shake it up” with a mix of exciting events and daily life events. But, like most of you, some days are dull and uneventful. Have you ever wondered what you’d write about after 3355 days of writing a daily essay? It, in itself, is sometimes challenging.

A halfhearted yawn from a hippo.

Regardless of how often my mind is blank when I sit down to begin. Within minutes, my fingers fly across the keyboard as if possessing a mind of their own, and the words flow. Once I start, the rest follows suit. But, the easiest part is writing down the thoughts. The hard part is editing, editing, and more editing.

Then, the photos always take a good portion of the time I spend at my laptop, formatting, positioning, and editing. Although I may do a few photo edits, mainly consisting of brightening or resizing a scene. Remember, I am not a professional photographer and have little interest in pursuing that path when I know how much time it would take to learn more. Gee…I want to have time left in my day to embrace it!

The spray from the falls at sunset.

The concierge just dropped off our negative PRC tests. Tomorrow morning, we should have time to do another post with our expenses for the six days, five nights we’ve spent in Zambia. Please check back for that.

More spray from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.

Happy day and evening to all of you, dear readers!

Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in a hotel in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #216. The waterfalls at Vuodomo, Fiji, were still, at quite a distance. We gasped with delight over our first peek at the waterfall, which is much larger than it appears in this photo. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic evening overlooking the Zambezi River…The longest river in Africa…More photos tomorrow…

As soon as we were situated on the veranda, we were excited to see the spray from Victoria Falls at a distance.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

Last evening, the taxi driver picked us up for the short drive to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for game viewing and the sunset over the water on the Zambezi River, the longest river in Africa. Upon arrival, we walked through the five-star hotel’s lobby and then proceeded to the perfectly groomed grounds toward the veranda closest to the Zambezi River.

As we entered the grounds to the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel.

It was early enough. We managed to get front row seats at the railing and settled in, ordering a beer for Tom and a glass of wine for me. The wine list on the veranda was marginal at best, so I had no choice but to select their “house red,” which I sent back after a few sips. It came from an open bottle, and I think it had gone bad.

We took this photo on the long drive into the hotel. I wish we’d had a better shot, but other vehicles were also trying to enter the hotel grounds. This giraffe looked different than those we see in South Africa, “The South African giraffe or Cape giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis Giraffa) is a subspecies of giraffe ranging from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. It has rounded or blotched spots, some with star-like extensions on a light tan background, running down to the hooves. The Rhodesian  (or Zambian giraffe, more commonly known as Thornicroft’s giraffe, is a subspecies. It is sometimes deemed synonymous with the Luangwa giraffe. It is geographically isolated, occurring only in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley. An estimated 550 live in the wild, with no captive populations.”

Instead, I ordered a sauvignon blanc, not my favorite, but found it acceptable. With that settled, we began searching for wildlife sightings on the river. It didn’t take long when we spotted a “bloat” of hippos halfway across the river. Tom perused the river banks using his binoculars and spotted some elephants at quite a distance, resulting in our less than ideal photos. We were happy to see them.

The pool looked refreshing on a scorching day.

The sunset wasn’t perfect. It was shrouded by clouds at its final descent, but we managed to take a few decent shots before that. We couldn’t have been more relaxed and comfortable, chatting endlessly about our lives, past and future travels, and upcoming cruises. Of course, no sundowner time would be complete without mention of our wildlife friends back in Marloth Park, wondering how they’re doing with us away.

At dark, we wandered to the Old Drift outdoor restaurant on yet another veranda while we watched zebras munching on the dense grass, drinking from a fountain, and walking the grounds as if they owned the place. We doubted they’d ever wander away far from the hotel when everything they needed was right there.

Later in the evening, we dined at this end table for two.

We sat at a white linen-covered table for two, ordered one more drink, and relaxed a while before ordering our food. The menu was typical African/Continental cuisine with the popular local fish, bream, pork chops, steaks, half chicken, and so forth. I ordered salmon for the first time since we left India and a plate of steamed vegetables, and Tom ordered the sirloin steak with mashed potatoes. Of course, he was thrilled to eat the breadsticks with soft garlic butter before the meal was served.

The food was good, fresh, hot, and pleasingly served. It wasn’t quite the gourmet meal we expected, but both of us were content and will give it four stars on our upcoming review at TripAdvisor. Our food and drinks totals were US $89, ZAR 1322. We were back at our hotel before 8:30 pm, streamed a show, and dosed off by 11:00 pm.

As we made our way to the veranda overlooking the Zambezi River.

Today, at 10:00 am, a doctor from the local clinic arrived to do our PCR tests for our return to South Africa in a mere 48 hours. The time has flown by so quickly. Other than a few WiFi issues at the hotel, we’ve been delighted with the room, the food, the service, and the ambiance. Oddly, it feels somewhat like a mini-vacation. We’re having an excellent time, even more than we’d hoped for this short visa stamp trip.

We paid US $172, ZAR 2554, for the two tests, and the email results will arrive sometime tomorrow. In the interim, we’re looking at possible options if we aren’t allowed another 90 days in South Africa solely to give us peace of mind. But we aren’t apprehensive. We are proactive, just in case.

It was hot, but I often wear long sleeves (plus repellent) to keep from getting bitten by the mozzies, who are fierce in Zambia.

Today, we’re hanging out at the hotel again. Zambia’s Independence Day weekend is in full force, with the holiday extended through Monday. The number of guests at the hotel has thinned out today, and we love having the quiet solitude as we spend all day and evening outdoors.

There’s my guy, content on the veranda at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Life is good. No complaints here. More new photos will follow in tomorrow’s post.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 24, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #215. Handmade raft for fishing, I Fiji, which our driver and guide explained is safer than a boat when there’s no chance of being stranded or sinking. For more photos, please click here.

Tom loves his doughnuts!…Fun outing planned for tonight…

    Tom was in doughnut heaven when “fritters” covered with white and chocolate frosting were available at the breakfast buffet. He sure loves doughnuts and seldom finds any he likes.

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Booking hotel rooms with breakfast included is our preference, although we don’t always eat breakfast at our holiday homes. But, if we chose a room without this option and didn’t order breakfast separately, we’d be in trouble if we became hungry during the late afternoon. We don’t eat typical vending machine snacks or lunch since we don’t eat when not hungry.

I can only imagine the struggle we’d have with our weight if we ate three meals a day with snacks. In an effort to maintain a healthy weight, overeating and to eat too often doesn’t make sense. Besides, not knowing the preparation of food unless otherwise specified is especially tricky for me.

Dining on the veranda at the hotel’s restaurant is pleasant.

Over the past several years, I have gotten away from eating restaurant foods made with vegetable oils. I have done tons of research on this topic, and over these years of world travel, I’ve learned to ask what oils were used in food preparation. Here’s an excellent article by Dr. Mark Hyman, a highly regarded physician, and health advocate.

In restaurants, they often use cheap oils, not unlike industrial oils. When we went through the buffet (staff served) this morning, I asked about many items I may have selected a few years ago. This morning, after ordering the same oil-free vegetable omelet with a side of steamed vegetables, I asked if the chicken livers, which I always loved, and various other offerings, were made with oil. They were. I chose to pass on them.

We didn’t bring swimsuits. With Covid-19, we aren’t interested in swimming in public pools.

Then I asked what may seem to be a dumb question, “Is vegetable oil used in the preparation of the bacon?” The answer was an emphatic yes. I passed on the bacon. I could eat nothing else on the buffet, but I appreciated the oil-free omelet and the steamed vegetable platter. Very few restaurants in this mid-range use butter for cooking unless requested.

In some African countries, even butter isn’t “real” butter. It’s some highly processed trans-fat-laden butter lookalike. No thanks. I am better off with poached, steamed, or grilled foods.

As you can see from the above photo of Tom, he’s less concerned. He doesn’t have heart disease, like me. And, he has excellent genes, when mine is awful with many inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and a variety of auto-immune conditions. I am trying to extend my lifespan by being very diligent about what I consume and the quality of my life.

The breakfast buffet only had a few options for me, a veggie omelet and steamed veggies.

I guess I won’t know if this serves me well until my number is up. But, I bear no hardship in selecting healthy options, especially when dining out.

As for tonight, we have a reservation for fine dining at the Old Drift Restaurant at the luxurious Royal Livingstone Hotel, a short taxi drive from the hotel. See details here from this site:

“Royal Livingstone Hotel Dining Options

The Royal Livingstone Hotel offers fantastic dining experiences serving world-class cuisine. The most famous is the Royal Livingstone Express, a luxury dining experience aboard a steam train that also stops on the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge for sunset drinks. A fine a-la-carte menu is available in their Old Drift Restaurant, or their lounge offers light dining in a room full of fascinating history and artifacts from the area. We would highly recommend doing either lunch or high tea in their Kubu Restaurant, which is on the deck, giving you unrivaled views overlooking the Zambezi River, some of the rainforest, and the spray of the falls. Animals such as baboon, zebra, warthog, bushbuck, and giraffe roam the lawns of the Royal Livingstone grounds, really giving you that “Out of Africa” feeling.”

We’re excited to be able to have sundowners on the deck of the famous hotel and then dine on their gourmet food which, I expect, won’t be cooked in “bad” oils, but I won’t hesitate to ask. If I am uncertain about the butter they use, I will order poached, grilled, or steamed items. One never can be too safe.

Tom was waiting for me while I took a few photos.

Of course, our big motivator for choosing this location is its reputation for great food, its high-rated ambiance, and views on the Zambezi River, where we hope to see wildlife and take many photos.

The time is going so fast, and we can hardly believe it. We’re having a great time together, meeting new people. Last night we met two corporate pilots from South Africa and had a great time chatting with them. We’re so fortunate always to find ourselves interacting with others during our world travels.

We couldn’t have it done on Monday since it’s a national holiday in Zambia, Independence Day, and the PCR clinic closed. Tomorrow, a doctor from a local clinic will come to the hotel to do our PCR tests for our return to South Africa. As it stands right now, we’re returning to Marloth Park in a mere three days.

Hmm, I wonder how our 12 bushbucks, Frank and The MIsses, Little and Broken Horn, and all the others are doing while we’re away! For now, we’re enjoying every moment of our time away while still looking forward to making it through immigration without a hitch (hopefully) and getting ourselves back to the bush.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2020:

Today’s photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #214. Ordering the seafood platter for two in Kenya resulted in a fabulous meal we enjoyed, each receiving our huge platter like this. That sure looks especially good now! For more photos, please click here.

Tom and his rolls!…Limited sightseeing options due to Covid-19 and past experiences…

Last night, Tom couldn’t stop smiling while eating the tiny hot buns served at our table in the hotel restaurant. He was in “bread heaven!”

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

We’d hoped we’d find some activities we hadn’t done during our last two visits to Livingstone. One that appealed to us was a diner and tour on the Royal Livingstone Express Steam Train. This was a logical option for us with a multi-course gourmet dinner and the opportunity to see Victoria Falls (for the third time) from the bridge overlooking the falls.

I don’t know what the intended pattern was here but, he surely enjoyed the butter with the warm rolls.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the train is only running when they have confirmed and paid 30 guest reservations. At almost US $400 for two, this may not be a logical option for many tourists based on budgetary concerns. It’s expensive for most travelers, including us, who have waited a long time to travel once again but have experienced financial losses due to Covid-19.

We lost a considerable sum in the past 20 months due to Covid-19, including the added cost of living in a hotel in Mumbai, India, for ten months. Freely spending on tours and events that aren’t new to us doesn’t make sense. But, if this dinner train can book 30 people, the concierge at the hotel will notify us, and we will join the others.

Since I never eat bread, he loved not having to share these little treasures.

As for other tourist options right now, we’ve already experienced many possibilities in this area. Neither of us cares to have to get visas and more PCR tests at our expense. We just spent ZAR 1700, US $116.34, for our tests to come here and pay a similar amount before we leave next Tuesday.

The cost to fly from Nelspruit to Livingstone was more than we’d ever paid on our past two visits at US $1289, ZAR 18841. We did get two free nights from for our remaining rewards but will have to pay for three nights. In total, with meals, transportation, hotel, tips, airfare, and PRC tests, this short five-night stay will cost about ZAR36566, US $2500. This total doesn’t include any unique venues.

Shortly after we arrived yesterday, we waited in the lobby for a room with a king-sized bed to be prepared. The hotel is busy since it’s a holiday weekend but hasn’t been for over a year due to Covid-19.

We have to face the fact that we’ve booked many expensive cruises in 2022 and 2023, to many countries we haven’t visited in the past nine years, which is a huge motivator to keep tightening our belts as we pay them off, one by one. The cruises are of the utmost importance to us to further enhance our experiences worldwide.

The hotel lobby is unassuming and straightforward but clean and inviting.

Unlike most citizens of the world, we always consider the “bigger picture” instead of spur-of-the-moment expenses that may be regarded as luxuries. As a result, we are content to enjoy our third time together in Zambia on a low-key basis. We aren’t disappointed or frustrated. We are cherishing every moment of the time away from Marloth Park and blissfully look forward to our return as well.

Today is a warm, beautiful day here in Livingstone. Right now, as I write this, we are seated in an outdoor lounge area. Earlier, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast buffet. Tom had scrambled eggs and a side of bacon, while I had an oil-free vegetable omelet with a side of steamed vegetables along with one piece of bacon.

I was unable to get a better shot of our plane from Nelspruit to Livingstone. There were only 10 or 11 passengers on the 90-minute flight.

No, most likely, we won’t be taking many photos hanging around the hotel, but we’ll keep our eyes open for any exciting photo ops to share. If the train works out for Saturday night, we’ll be excited to share those photos. If not, we have another exciting option we’re pursuing.

We hope your day and evening are special!

Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2020:

The gorgeous Maui scenery on a drive to Maalaea Beach. This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #213. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to Zambia!…

We tossed some pellets into the driveway for Mom, Dad, and Baby bushbucks.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

took off at 8:00 am, exactly as planned, packed with confidence, knowing we brought along everything we’d need. Over the years, packing has become easy, especially on these short trips. It was fun to see how light our duffel bags were at less than 20 pounds, 9 kg, each.

As expected, the drive to Nelspruit was, with lots of trucks and vehicles on the busy two-lane N4 highway through the small towns and gorge. The ongoing construction resulted in a few short delays, never more than five minutes or so, but we arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

Stopping at the last petrol station before the airport, where we always fill up after the long drive before returning the rental car, we reached the airport less than 15 minutes later. We dropped off the rental car, our lightweight bags at check-in and proceeded to wait in the restaurant until boarding time. Immigration went smoothly on this end. We’ll see how it goes when we return to South Africa.

The little one is so adorable!

In no time at all, we boarded the small plane, climbing up the steep metal steps and finding our way to row three for our two side-by-side seats. The flight was only about 90 minutes which passed by quickly. There were no more than a dozen passengers on the Airlink flight.

The clean and modern tiny airport in Livingstone was as we remembered it but with fewer shops open, due to Covid-19. Upon entry into Zambia, we had to pay an entry fee of US $100. On the way out, our bags had to go through a security scanner once again, after doing the same in South Africa.

A porter with a sign with our names greeted us upon arrival at the airport entrance. In a matter of minutes, our former tour company owner, Chris (the link to his site is here), met us at the curb, loaded our bags, and a likely conversation ensued on our way to the Protea Marriott Hotel.  We made a stop at an ATM to get kwacha, the local currency, and we were off to our hotel.

Warmly greeted at the reception desk, we inquired about a free upgrade. All the rooms in this particular Marriott hotel are the same, so an upgrade wasn’t possible. Once we arrived at our room, we were content with the cleanliness, good air con, WiFi, and king-sized bed with white fluffy pillows and duvet.

Baby bushbucks tend to sit down on the ground when the dad or another male is nearby, a submissive behavior.

Before we know it, we’ll be back in Marloth Park, hoping to see our animal friends, especially those we know and love so much. In the interim, we will make a point of enjoying our time in Livingstone, Zambia. We’re checking to see the availability of a few possible tours, but Coid has impacted Zambia, as is the case throughout the world, and some regular venues are not operating.

This morning when we were up and about 6:30, our wildlife friends were all waiting for us, including a tiny bushbuck attempting to shake off two pesky oxpeckers. We saw the mom warthog with the perfect tusks, now free of this season’s two fast-growing piglets and looking pregnant. By Christmastime, she will have from two to four tiny piglets in tow.

Many babies are born in the hot summer months when the bush is green and lush. It will be delightful to see all the little ones once again. But for now, we’re wrapped up in our six days and five nights in Zambia and will undoubtedly enjoy ourselves with whatever we decide to do.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos of our hotel while we investigate what will be on the agenda.

Have a fantastic day!

                                      Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day 3212. My dinner plate in Kenya in its entirety, seven skewered grilled garlic buttered calamari atop a plentiful portion of grilled non-starchy vegetables. I didn’t try the sauce, fearing it may contain sugar. For more photos, please click here.

Further planning for trip to Zambia…

This is Mom and Baby. They visit many times each day.
This tiny bushbuck is most likely only a few weeks old. Mom keeps her young hidden in the bush for a few weeks to protect them from predators. She visits her young daily to nurse and to eat her excrement to prevent predators from finding her. Once the baby is grown enough, she’ll be introduced to the wild, where she’ll learn to forage for food. Even a youngster such as this enjoys eating pellets but is very skittish around humans and other wildlife.

Louise, our dear friend, property manager, and travel and event planner, is busy getting us the best possible price for our exciting upcoming event once we arrive in Zambia on October 21st. By the end of today, we will have booked a three-night cruise on a fantastic upscale houseboat on the beautiful, wildlife-rich Chobe River.

We’ll stay in the familiar-to-us hotel on the first night, the Protea Hotel in Livingstone, and again on the last night on October 25th. We’ll return to South Africa the following day after our 5-night trip for our visa stamps.  The Chobe River is located in Botswana, a short distance from the hotel.

Today, we’re awaiting a quote from Chris, the same driver/tour company operator we used on our previous two trips to Zambia, to provide transportation to and from the Livingstone Airport and back and forth from the boat landing. Once again, we’ll embark on a small boat to get across the Zambezi River to our houseboat.

These three bushbucks visited together and shared pellets. Could this be Mom, Dad, and Baby? Dads don’t usually don’t participate in the raising of the young.

While making this crossing, we’ll be at what is called a quadripoint as indicated below:

A quadripoint is a point that touches the border of four distinct territories. Also known as the “four corners of Africa,” these four countries meet at the eastern end of the Caprivi Strip – Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. There are more than 150 tripoints in the world but only ONE international quadripoint.

I should mention the Chobe River runs into the Zambezi River, the largest river in Africa. However, based on where we can fly from Nelspruit, it makes sense for us to sail on the Chobe hundreds of miles (km) further upstream. Thus, we’ll experience this interesting scenario that fascinated us the last two times we visited this unique point on the river for the third time.

We are trying to keep our costs down and accomplish this goal of getting our visa stamps. Why not have a great adventure in the process?

Stringy, who arrived months ago with vines hanging from his horns, has become quite a regular, even responding to his name.

This morning Tom booked our hotel reservations on either end, two nights at the Protea Hotel in Livingstone, where we’d stayed previously. It is a lovely property, and the price includes a king-sized bed, free WiFi, and a lovely breakfast. We had two remaining free nights to use from (the link on our site) that covered most of the cost. We only had the pay the shortfall of about US $70, ZAR 1052 for both nights combined.

While we were in lockdown in India for ten months, we continued to use our free nights toward the bill, leaving us with a handful of free nights for the upscale hotel in Henderson, Nevada, in July when we used in part we visited the US. With only these two free nights left, we decided to use these now.

With this plan, we’re excited to travel for our visa stamps. There was no way either of us was willing to sit in a hotel room in Livingstone for five days and nights. Going on the water, which we always love to do, seemed to be the most exciting and adventurous for us when we’ll see plenty of many unique sites and take fascinating side trips on a smaller boat.

Wildebeests, who have small eyes and poor vision, love to hang out with zebras whose stripes tend to confuse predators and thus provide some protection for the gnu.

That’s all on that trip for now. We’re also busy planning our trip to Florida at the end of January. We both are very busy with all these plans. By the end of this month, after we return from Zambia, we’ve decided to prepare and post our new itinerary for the first time in a few years on the day of our ninth world travel anniversary on October 31, 2021.

Many of our readers have inquired about our itinerary, and as we’ve begun to book more and more into the future, we realize the time has come to put together this essential part of our world travels. Please stay tuned for more.

Be healthy. Be safe. Be content.

Photo from one year ago today, October 5, 2020:

We posted this photo one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #196. This appeared to be some horse far as we made our way to the Maasai Mara in Kenya in 2013. Look at the reflection of our plane on the ground! What a sight! I couldn’t believe we were inside that tiny thing! For more photos, please click here.

The Railway Museum in Livingstone, Zambia…Challenges of tours throughout the world…

This is a train, a deluxe coach from the 1901 era

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Although his tusks were small, this was the largest elephant we spotted in Chobe National Park.

We’ve been so busy figuring out what our next move will be since we returned from Zambia last Thursday evening, we’ve had little time to return to some of our photos from our tours in Livingstone.

At the entrance to the Livingston Railway Museum in Zambia.

One of the tours of particular interest to Tom, as a retired railroad worker for 42½ years, was visiting the Railway Museum in Livingstone, Zambia, on the day we toured the city of Livingstone.  

The interior walkway of the above coach where the sleepers were located.

Admittedly, Livingstone is a small city, formerly the capital, with few points of interest to most travelers. Most travel to the area to see one or both sides of Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe and safari in Chobe National Park, on game drives and river tours on the Chobe and Zambezi River.

Steam locomotive firebox.

To reach all of the above venues, including visa/immigration processing along the way, within 2½ hours. The tours can run from two to six hours depending on the tourists’ packages based on their budget and available time.

Passenger coach from the 1930 era.

A mention for those who may have a disability. If one has a severe medical condition, the bouncing on the game drives could be prohibitive. If you’ve never been on a game drive, this is a serious consideration.  

This is a crane/”hook” used in derailments, Cowans Sheldon crane #109.

Also, visiting Victoria Falls has some terrain that could be challenging, whether from the Zambia or Zimbabwe sides, each of which is different. We found the Zimbabwe side slightly easier to hike. 

Miniature steam engine (boiler).

We also saw some visitors in wheelchairs managed by strong individuals who could navigate the varying elevations in the walking paths. There are no rough hills to climb other than the gradations in the reasonably level paths.  

This is the balance of the above photo, the tender, and the cab.

As for today’s railway museum was easy to maneuver with level walking areas along the tracks where the trains are located. However, getting up and onto some of those that allowed visitors to board could be highly risky for those with mobility and strength issues.

A steam engine, reminding us of “Thomas” trains, appropriately named, built-in 1919.

Those railroad guys, like Tom, think nothing of the steep climb necessary to board a train after years of doing so. Also, getting into a safari vehicle can be challenging with a steep climb up into the tall vehicle. There are numerous occasions where a tourist will be getting on and off the truck.

This is a 15th class, 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 Garratt, circa the 1950s.

I mention these for those who may be considering traveling to this part of the world for some of the most exciting venues in the world, such as Victoria Falls, as a World Heritage location and one of the Seven Wonders of the World as described here.

This is a 12th class, 4-8-2 #189, circa 1926.

Of course, seniors may hesitate to visit a few tourist attractions worldwide due to health, age, and disability.  Even a few give us pause (particularly with my lousy spine), such as Machu Picchu and the mountain trek to see the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda.  

This is a 16A class, 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 Garratt #623, from 1952.

But, these two are still on our list of desired spots to visit as we continue in our world travels. After feeling well for the first time a few years after resolving my gastrointestinal issues in June, we consider such plans gingerly. We’ll see how it goes.

A steam engine and tender, formerly part of the Rhodesian Railways (now Zambia).

Even driving through Marloth Park several times a week presents its challenges, which I handle easily, the excessive bouncing on the uneven dirt roads with many potholes and often getting out of the little car to walk through the dense bush to get a better look and to take photos of sightings along the way.

A steam engine and tender.

We had been so busy since our return last Thursday; we’ve yet to take the time to make those beautiful drives through Marloth Park and return to Kruger National Park.

Perhaps, in the next few days, we’ll put aside our immigration issues and search for solutions to continue to enjoy the time we do have left in the bush. In the interim, the beautiful animals have been coming to see us! What a treat that has been, as always!

Steam engine boiler exposed to show interior, #91, built in 1912.

Enjoy today’s train photos with comments from Tom explaining a few details below each image. 

Have a  fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2017:

When this sweet and friendly butcher spotted me with the camera at the Farmers Market, he willingly posed! The people of Costa Rica were approachable and warm. For more photos, please click here.

A tour of the visually enticing and historic city of Livingstone, Zambia…Twenty years from now?…Is it possible?…

A craftsman at work encouraged us to take the photo.

“Sighting of the Day in Zambia”

Everywhere we travel in Africa and other parts of the world, we see women, not men, carrying heavy baskets atop their heads.

We prepared today’s post yesterday after uploading the post for August 19th.  With a plan to leave the hotel in Livingstone with Steve from Chris Tours picking us up at 7:00 am, we realized there would be no time to prepare a new post for today.

Our driver dropped us off at this outdoor arts and crafts market in the center of town.

Luckily, the editing site in blogger allows us to select a time and date we’d like a particular post to be automatically uploaded. This has proven to be invaluable for our commitment to post a new story with photos each and every day.

We encountered some of the most “assertive” vendors we’ve seen anywhere in the world, comparable to those in the souks in Marrakesh, Morocco.

No doubt, this commitment we made to our worldwide readers many years ago has kept us on our toes when we have activities planned that impinge upon the hours of the day we reserve for doing our posts.

Only one vendor refuses to allow us to take photos. (Not necessarily this one).  We respected his wishes.

Yes, I know. Some of our kindly readers have written saying, “No worries, miss a post or two from time to time.” Thanks to all of you for your support!  However, if we miss one or two posts here and there, suddenly we may find ourselves missing four or five or ten or twelve.  

The items offered for sale consisted of inexpensive jewelry, Africa-themed arts and crafts, fabrics, clothing, toys, and such.

We all know how this goes. Change a consistent habit or process and suddenly it gets away from us. It’s kind of like being on a diet, only one piece of cake and then I’ll go back to my diet.  

Often tourists can’t resist buying items for their homes.

Well, we know what happens then, a leftover piece of cake beacons us sitting in the fridge in the morning calling our name and once again we re-commit to the diet after we’re done eating this “one last piece.”

With no intention of making purchases, we wandered through the busy area stopping to appreciate some of the items.

Writing these daily posts is one diet we want to stick to, as long as we continue to travel the world and perhaps even after when we can’t continue any longer due to health as we age. As long as I still have my wits about me, I can’t imagine ever stopping.

Colorful dolls with handmade detail.

Imagine, we had to stop traveling due to health concerns or merely old age and we were thrown into the reality of staying put. How we handled this may be of some interest to others for both retirees and working folks.  

It appeared many shoppers could easily be locals shopping for themselves and for gifts.

At this point, neither of us can conceive of living out our lives without this magical way we approach each day. But, most likely, someday, it will happen.  When I think that in 20 years, God willing, I’ll be 90 years old, it’s hard to imagine doing what we’re doing today, riding on bumpy dirt roads on safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

There are numerous banks and financial businesses in town.

I’m sure some travelers out there have done this at 90 years of age. Please point them out to me. I’d love some inspiration that it’s indeed possible, if not likely.  Tom will be a measly 85 years ago…quite the youngster.

A typical day in the city of Livingstone.

When I think of how fast the past 20 years flew by, it makes me realize how quickly the next 20 will come. So, missing a day’s post is not in my wheelhouse.  Each day counts. Each moment counts and our intent is to continue to live each one to the fullest, sharing our story with all of you.

We waited for our driver to pick us up while people watching on the busy street.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with a short post since we’ll be on safari all day once again. However, we’ll upload a few photos from today’s safari and a few snippets of this return experience to Botswana.

May each moment of your day be special.

Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2017:

Lavender bougainvillea on the grounds of La Perla, villa in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Artistry, talent and taboos…A cultural goldmine in Livingstone…WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery…

One wonders what would have precipitated this taboo.  t could go back thousands of years with the origination unknown. This and the other taboo paintings were done by Agness, director of WayWayi Art Studio & Gallery,

“Sighting of the Day in Zambia”

Should I reconsider serving Tom three eggs and bacon, upping it to four or reducing it to two?

There were more Zambian taboos than we can possibly list here in one post. Here’s a link we found with a few more taboos, commonly observed by both local people and hopefully, respected by visitors to this astounding culture.

Every piece of art at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery was representative of Zambian culture.

We’d hope to find a more comprehensive resource on Zambian taboos online with limited success. These taboos are so ingrained in the culture their significance is carried on from generation to generation, more by word of mouth than posted online.

Agness had made many exquisites paintings of a wide variety of taboos in Zambian culture.
They are fascinating!

Visiting WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery as described in yesterday’s Part 1 gave us an opportunity to peek inside the gentle and loving nature of these special people who honor family, spirituality, and work at the foundation of their beliefs. For yesterday’s post, in the event you missed it, please click here.

Shaking hands with in-laws in not appropriate.  More so, a humble bow would be more appropriate.

Today, we’re sharing the balance of our photos including some of the exquisite pieces Agness Buya had personally crafted with her fascination and knowledge of traditional Zambian taboos and customs. 

Gorgeous wall hangings.

As Agness escorted us from room to room in her large studio/residence we were continually in awe of her work, her husband Lawrence’s work, and the works of students over the years.  

The meaning of this piece is that people often complain out loud, wanting the government to solve their problems rather than find solutions on their own.

Both trained as art teachers/instructors it’s evident their vast knowledge and expertise become an integral part of the education of students, young and old, and various artists in residence.

Some of their services include (from their brochure):

  • Free WiFi
  • All major credit cards
  • Self-catering facilities
  • Check-in/out 24 hours
  • Artists workspace available
  • Electrical kiln, potters wheel, printing press, a small collection of art books for research
A busy workspace and storage area.
To contact WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery, call 260 977 325 799 or 260 966 559 101 or email:  
Their Facebook page is:
Many arts and art history books are available for the students to use while attending classes.
Now, continuing on with our itinerary over the next few days. Tomorrow morning we’ll be picked up at 7:00 am at the Protea Hotel in Livingstone for a two-day, one overnight, safari adventure, both in Chobe National Park and again on the Chobe River.
The power of the messages in each item is breathtaking.
Last time we were in Zambia we’d participated in these two types of safaris but for shorter periods. In this case, we’ll have two full days to see more of this wildlife-rich area on land in a safari vehicle and in a boat on the Chobe River.
The biggest draw for tourists to travel to Livingstone is Victoria Falls, seen from one or both sides of the Zambezi River. When we were here three months ago, we spent an entire day seeing the falls from both countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  
We’ll always remember this special day with Agness at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery.
It was an extraordinary experience which we posted at this link and also Part 2 at this link. The reality is there are only so many tourist attractions in this area, most of which we’ve already experienced.  
This artistic piece, made by Agness was made with hundreds of scratch-off tickets.

Based on the fact we needed to return to Zambia for another 90-day visa extension, we decided to return to Chobe after the exceptional previous experience. Most likely the route we travel will be the same or similar to the previous route we traveled in Chobe National Park.  

However, like visiting Kruger as we often do once a week, each time it is unique and exciting even if we travel on the same exact roads on each occasion.
Could this be represented as cultural changes over the years, the woman in front as more modern, the woman behind here in more traditional roles?
Subsequently, we’ll be gone all day tomorrow and the following day which will result in two short posts for those two days with more photos from Zambia. Once we’re back at the hotel, on Wednesday we’ll begin posting the Chobe National Park and Chobe River photos.
Children playing in the sand at the art school.
Again, thank you to the wonderful Agness Buya for making our trip to Zambia all the more important and exciting.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more!
Have a fantastic day!
 Photo from one year ago today, August 19, 2017:
The mountains impeded our view of the sunset in Atenas, Costa Rice but got gorgeous colors in the process. For more details, please click here.