A new plan for the next year…

A marina in Apollo Beach.

As it turned out, we’re booking the new house in Marloth Park for one full year, during which we’ll leave from time to time for new visa stamps. We plan to do one more visa extension through the law firm, and we’ll be going for cruises at other times. Subsequently, we’ll only have to leave once for a visa run during the 12 months. This works out well for us.

Are we settling down in Marloth Park? No. We’re using it as a base until after we return from the Lisbon to Cape Town cruise in December, leaving us six more months of the one-year rental contract from which we’ll embark on more cruises. After that year ends, we will leave South Africa for new and different horizons. But, for this particular period, it works for us.

Are we done with staying in holiday homes for two or three months in various countries? Not necessarily. In the interim, we can live well below our budget to offset the cost of the cruises. But with the cost of holiday homes skyrocketing worldwide due to the pandemic, we’ve had no choice but to reconsider what works best for us.

We have seen an increase in holiday rents, not only in the UK and Europe but also worldwide. We are not wealthy people who can spend thousands of dollars a month on rentals. Nor are we willing to forgo our criteria of living in nice properties in safe neighborhoods, in excellent condition, with utilities included and unlimited WiFi. We can’t justify forfeiting any of these critical requirements.

For those of our readers who have grown weary of wildlife photos, we apologize when we say there will be plenty more to come once we return to Marloth Park on May 24. The difference will be an entirely new batch of animals, with new names, new behavior, and the plethora of peculiarities we find in the bush.

If we named our site Worldwide Wildlife Adventures, a steady stream of animal photos would be expected. So, from that point forward during the upcoming year, you may ask yourself, would I read such a daily blog? Would I become bored with one wild animal after another?

If your answer is that you would be bored, then please check back from time to time to see what adventures are upcoming or perhaps wait until we are on the move again. On November 8, 2022, we’re sailing through the Middle East, including visiting Israel and many other countries.

On August 1, 2023, we will finally be sailing to Norway, a new experience for us. Thus, during this one year, we won’t be sitting on the veranda the entire time, tossing pellets to our newly named animal friends and heading to Jabula every Friday night. There definitely will be some adventures along the way.

Our lives are not long-term vacation/holiday. It is a compilation of experiences in many cultures, focused on nature, building relationships we make along the way, and learning about the world’s ways. Our goal is to remain intrigued while continuing to grow and flourish in many environments. Staying stimulated by our surroundings is a fantastic means of maintaining a youthful outlook and demeanor.

As long as our health remains good, we will continue on this path. When that changes, which it ultimately will, we will make another plan. Also, based on great medical care, we feel incredibly at ease in Marloth Park.

So, there it is, dear readers, our plan for the upcoming year. It begins when we return to South Africa on May 24; after our two upcoming cruises, a two-week visit to Minnesota with another one-week visit to Nevada. From there, we’ll embark on the long journey to return to South Africa.

We are content with our plans and hope most of our readers will continue to share this peculiar life with us. We’ll be back tomorrow with some exciting photos of “safari luck” in Florida after sightseeing.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2021:

Frank was standing on the veranda railing. For more photos, please click here.

Final post from Marloth Park…Surprising news on our itinerary…Some of our favorite photos…

We always had a reason to celebrate. Here is Don (Kathy and Don) and Rita (Rita and Gerhard) at Jabula celebrating our friendships.

Note: Due to the high volume of tourists in Marloth Park right now, during school holidays, the WiFi is sketchy and inconsistent. Subsequently, I am unable to make formatting corrections including spacing and adding some links. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. After all, TIA (This is Africa)!

It’s Wednesday morning, and we’re almost totally packed and ready to go. All that’s left is to pack the everyday toiletries when Tom showers soon, and we’ll close our bags. We aren’t worried about overweight baggage this time since we’re allowed two 23 kg (50 pounds) bags each, and we only have three.

We packed one of the duffle bags into another suitcase since we’ll need extra room when we go on the cruises for the dressy clothes we’ll be packing for the Queen Mary 2. Once we get to Minnesota on May 1, we can send the formal attire to our mailing service to hold for us until we need them again.

A female kudu, in a daze from oxpeckers cleaning bugs off her ears and head. For this post, please click here.

I suppose you are curious about our itinerary news, and I should get on with it. After days of research and discussion, we’ve decided to return to Marloth Park on May 24, only 62 days from today. A few factors contributed to this decision, including the difficulty we encountered in traveling to many countries at this time. We considered increased costs, fuel shortages, and overall excessive cost of living due to the ravages of each economy as a result of the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine.

I.B. (Itchy Butt) laying in the wet, muddy cement pond, attempting to ease the itching. For this post, please click here.

There is so much unrest in many countries with poor economic conditions, political unrest, poor medical care, prohibitive medical costs, and the list goes on and on. We’ve decided, for now, making Marloth Park a base from which we’ll continue to travel and embark on cruises makes all the financial sense in the world.

We never figured out what this peculiar apparition that appeared on the night cam could possibly be. For that post, please click here.

Yes, we’ll have visa issues, but we know how to deal with these issues. We can travel to other countries in Africa for short stay safaris and expeditions and then return with a new 90-day visa stamp. Once back here in May, we won’t have to leave until August for a visa stamp. We can either fly to a non-bordering country or start a new visa extension. The new stamp will be good until November when we’re planning to leave anyway.

Our friend Frank, of Frank and The Misses francolins, had a self-tour of our house, including the kitchen. For that post, please click here.

In November, we’ll make our way to  Athens, Greece, for three back-to-back Azamara cruises for a total of 42 days, which brings us to Cape Town, South Africa, when we’ll make our way back to Marloth Park and begin the cruising booking process all over again, as new cruises are posted. These new cruises will take us to many new countries we’ve never visited in the past.

This was the third photo I got of the leopard, hoping for a  better shot, the best of which is the main photo. For that post, please click here.

We realize that spending one or two days on a ship excursion is not the same as living in a country for a few months as we’ve done in the past. But, our travels are an ever-changing adventure, and we have to do what feels right to us. In between adventures, we’ll enjoy our lives to the utmost in our favorite secluded place in the world. Undoubtedly, South Africa has its issues but is tucked away in the bush; we feel far removed from many issues. For now, this plan is precisely befitting our needs.

When thick-tailed bushbabies are around, the usual small bushbabies run for cover. The larger species will kill the little ones. For this post, please click here.

We have lots of wonderful friends here. We have a constant stream of entertainment as wildlife visits our garden. It’s only a 20-minute drive to enter Kruger National Park. We have access to excellent medical and dental care at affordable prices and insurance covering emergencies. Although smaller than Amazon, we can shop at markets that have all the food products we like to purchase and the excellent online shopping service, Takealot, although smaller than Amazon, carries most items we need to buy from time to time.

This adorable zebra was lounging in our garden. He must have spotted something interesting on the ground. For this post, please click here.

On top of it all, we will be moving into a different house when we return, as shown in photos in this post and in this post. We are excited about moving into this property when we return in May. It has everything we could want or need.

Mom, with the perfect curled tusks, whom we now call Tail-Less Mom, who lost her tail, also lost one of these babies, since then only returning with the fast-growing two piglets. For this post, please click here.

We realize and accept the reality that we may lose some of our readers from making this temporary decision. But, we hope those of you who decide to opt-out make a note of days we’ll be visiting other countries and will stop back to see our stories and photos.

The beautiful Christmas dinner table at Sindee and Bruce’s lovely home in the bush. Dawn was taking a photo of Sindee and the serving table, a short time later filled with great food. For this post, please click here.

For now, the next two months will be exciting for us:

  • 15 nights in Apollo Beach, Florida
  • 13 nights on a transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Silhouette to Southampton, UK
  • 3 nights in Southampton, sightseeing
  • 7 nights on transatlantic return cruise on Queen Mary 2 to New York
  • 14 nights in Minnesota visiting family and friends
  • 7 nights in Henderson, Nevada, visiting family and friends
  • Return to Marloth Park
It was Rita’s birthday and she and Gerhard took all of us on a bush dinner and night game drive. For this post including great wildlife photos, please click here.
Louise and Danie hosted the best possible birthday gift for me, a visit to an in-the-wild elephant interaction. For this post, please click here.

The above number of nights doesn’t account for the 62 days we’ll be gone, but the long travel days to and from Africa make up the difference. There are many time zone changes in this period that, hopefully, we’ll adapt to with ease.

Today may be the last time we see Little since we’re moving to another house a few km from here. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll find us once again. Little was thrilled we’d returned from Zambia in October 2021 when he stopped by at his usual 4:00 pm. Immediately, he positioned himself on the right side of the veranda, near where I sit, waiting for his treats and words of affection (from me only). For this post, please click here.

So there it is folks, Next time we write to you, most likely it will be from Apollo Beach, Florida, unless we have time on one of our layovers for a quick update.

Be well. Be happy. Live life to the fullest.

Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2021:

A male bushbuck with a plant growing from his muddy hoof after a big storm. It made us laugh out loud. For more, please click here.

One day and counting…Final expenses for 14 months in South Africa…

Bossy’s baby suckling while another female looks for pellets.

Today, I started totaling the expenses we had incurred since our arrival here in Marloth Park on January 13, 2021. As I reviewed all the costs and started totaling them, I realized what a daunting, time-consuming task this would be. We still have a lot to do to be ready to go tomorrow. Plus, I need to do my walking after missing several hours while we were gone this morning for our Covid-19 PCR test, a trip to the pharmacy, and breakfast at Stoep Cafe.

Subsequently, the following figures are within 10% of accuracy in an attempt to get through today’s post in a timely fashion and rounded off to the nearest US dollar.

  • Final Expenses – 14 months*
    Marloth Park – January 13, 2021, to March 23, 2022
    US Dollar             ZAR
  • Rent & Hotel                  $ 38,056             566144
  • Air, Train, Ferry                  8,975             133533
  • Taxi, Car Rental, Fuel        8,256             122836
  • Entertainment                       898               13361
  • Dining Out                         4,760               70799
  • Groceries                         12,040             179079
  • Shopping (Misc.)               4,080                60684
  • Tips                                   2,460                36587
  • Legal Fees-Visa Ext.         2,280               33910
  • Medical, dental & Ins.      13,300             197810

TOTAL                                $95,105           1414487
Monthly Average                  $ 6,793             101029
Daily Average                       $   219              3245

* Included in these totals was the cost for the one-month trip to the USA in July and a 5 night stay in Zambia for a visa stamp.

Two moms and two babies.

When totaling up these numbers, I was surprised by how much we spent. But, since we arrived here, we’ve had several expenses that brought up the totals to the result. The trip to the US was three times higher than what we’d have spent living in Marloth Park. Also, we had expensive hotel bills, more expensive rental cars, and dining out daily (also included in these totals). When we left for that month, we kept the house and paid rent while we were away.

It makes more financial sense for us to be in Marloth Park than living in the US or many other countries. Prices are rising here but nowhere near as quickly as they are in the US.

Of course, I am busy as I can be today, making sure everything is in order, including what we’re taking with us and what we’re leaving behind, including clothing and household goods that we’ll use later when we return. Trying to get the walking accomplished today will be the biggest challenge. As I write this now, it’s already 2:00 pm, 1400 hrs, and we’re heading out the door at 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs to meet Louise and Danie at Giraffe for one last night together.

These moms often visit, looking for treats.

They returned ten days ago from their trip to visit family in Cape Town, and we’ve yet to have a moment to hear about their trip. With the school holidays in full force in South Africa now and all of their properties full, they’ve had their hands full with visitors at the houses and to their Info Centre.

The Info Centre is indeed a fabulous place for tourists and locals to stop to arrange safaris and other events and hear about what’s going on in the park. They loan out books and puzzles at no charge. What a fantastic resource for visitors! It’s a wonderful place to stop and meet Louise and sometimes Danie when he’s not out at building sites.

An impala mom and her baby visit our garden. Impalas are very shy around humans, so I had to take this photo through the screen door, or they’d run away.

This morning’s trip to Komatipoort accomplished everything we expected, except our expectation of finding a large plastic tote with a lid. If a person wanted to buy these, they’d have to make the long drive to Nelspruit, the same drive we’ll make tomorrow when we head to the airport in the afternoon for our flight to Johannesburg to begin the long journey to Florida, USA.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 22, 2021:

These same three wildebeests are lounging in the driveway right now. They were happy to see us when we returned from Komatipoort today. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…A smooth transition so far…

Mom and Baby mongoose sucking out white and yolk from an egg.

It’s all going well. We are feeling organized, and everything is getting sorted and packed. It seems it works better for us when we pack over several days rather than rushing on the last few days, especially when we’ve accumulated more stuff than usual during the past 14 months.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. We’ll be heading to Komatipoort for the required Covid-19 PCR tests and will get the results by email on Wednesday morning, the day we’re leaving. We’ll have Louise print off the report, the only item we need to have printed.

Over the years, we’ve found we don’t need paper copies of flights, hotels, cruises, and car rentals as long as we have the reservation or confirmation numbers on our phones. The documents may say to print a copy, but we’ve done fine without hauling pages and pages of documents. It’s wasteful and unnecessary in the majority of cases. Once we show our passports, providers can easily find us in their system.

How quickly the youngsters learn the value of an egg.

We’ve gone through all of the Covid-19 restrictions for this upcoming flight and our two upcoming cruises. It’s all under control. We’re pleased with how organized we’ve become over the years. But, it took us a while to learn the best way to handle all the necessary documents clearly and concisely. There is so much paperwork it can be overwhelming without an easy-to-use system.

But, who knew how to travel the world? In the beginning, technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. And yet, in some countries, technology is far behind, and actual printed pieces of paper are required for many venues, rentals, and other services. We continue to learn as we go.

Today, I did laundry for the last time. With the high humidity, clothes usually take two days to dry, so today was the day to wrap that up. The cupboards are empty of our foodstuffs, and the refrigerator only contains enough food for tonight’s dinner. Tomorrow morning when we head to Komatipoort, we’ll have breakfast at Stoep Cafe.

This little one was unsure how to crack open the two eggs.

We’re going out to dinner at Giraffe with Louise and Danie tomorrow evening. We always enjoy their company. It will be wonderful to spend our last evening in the bush with them.

Throughout all of this busy packing, I’ve continued walking, staying at a full 25 miles, 40 km, per week. Even when we’ve been out for the majority of the day, I catch up when we return or, in a few cases, add to the next day. Surely, while traveling, I should be able to keep pace with all of the walking at airports.

There’s no doubt we’ll be exhausted when we arrive in Tampa. Thank goodness the drive to Karen and Rich’s house is less than 40 minutes, in regular traffic. They are planning a nice dinner for us. Karen wrote a thoughtful message, asking if we would prefer to eat a light meal when we arrive since it will be later at night to us, after being awake all night.

It pays to learn from Mom how to do it.

I explained how that wouldn’t be an issue for us. We prefer to immediately adapt to the new time zone, eating and sleeping based on the times of the day and night where we are currently. This helps us to acclimate more quickly and avoid severe jet lag. Usually, after two good nights’ sleep, we are back to our “old selves.” But, on a few occasions, we were a little tired for a few more days. Missing a night’s sleep in itself can cause that!

When we arrive, we’ll avoid napping and get into the groove as soon as possible. Surely, by 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs, we’ll be ready for bed on Thursday, our day of arrival. Thanks to Karen and Rich for thinking of us and inviting us to stay at your lovely home. I can’t wait to see the ocean once again!

Two little ones were trying to get in on the action.

That’s all for today, folks. It’s time for me to start walking again to ensure I stay on track. When we get to Florida, I may be able to walk outdoors, hopefully, avoiding running into any alligators!!! Then again, it would be fun to take a photo!!!

Be well.

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

Frank eats out of the seed container. There were so many warthogs in the garden I set this down for Frank. The warthogs love to eat the seeds, leaving none for Frank. This was a good solution at that point to ensure Frank and The Misses got their share. For more photos, please click here.

Three days and counting…We’ve accumulated too much “stuff!”…

This is Bossy’s baby who may be a boy with a lumpy structured forehead that will eventually have a full set of horns that last a lifetime.

I am busy sorting and packing, deciding what to leave behind for when we return, what to throw away, what to pack in our bags, and carry-on. Tom packs all of his clothes and digital equipment, and zillions of power cords. But, as always, which he prefers, he doesn’t start until the day before we leave.

Since I am the cook, I prefer to pack all the kitchen items we’re leaving behind since we aren’t taking any of those items with us. Also, Louise provided us with many household goods from her inventory,  and we are sorting and keeping those separate to return to her. It’s been a daunting task.

Bossy arrived with three young calves. She was on babysitting duty.

Usually, when we’re moving out of a holiday home, we only have to pack our clothes, toiletries, and equipment. But, this time, it feels like another time in my life, many moons ago, when moving from one house to another. Every cupboard, drawer, and cabinet in this house has our “stuff” in it.

It’s not as if we did a monthly run to Costco, loading up on inventory of household goods. But, over the 14 months, we’ve spent in this house, we accumulated enough to make packing more challenging this time. I have run out of room in the two plastic totes I borrowed from Louise, and she, too, is also out of empty containers. Soon, we are heading to the hardware store to see if we can find a few more bins.

Two youngsters were fussing over one another.

As for leftover food, we are in great shape. We will have used every frozen item and all meats by tomorrow night. Tuesday, we’re dining out with Louise and Danie on our last night. Tonight and tomorrow night, we’ll be eating grilled chicken breasts with sausages, green beans, rice (for Tom), and salad. We’re using all of our eggs and bacon. Since we don’t snack, we don’t have leftover chips and other snack bags to toss.

The few things left in the fridge, such as unopened butter, cheese, sour cream, and a few condiments, we’ll give to Zef and Vusi. Plus, I have accumulated a pile of clothing for their wives and daughters in good condition, which they may or may not be able to use.

It was tricky getting the three young kudus in one photo.

Shortly after returning from the local hardware store, unable to find any large plastic containers, Vusi showed up at the door with another large empty tote. Louise emptied it so we could use it. That’s her! She’s always thinking of everyone else. They are such great friends and the best property managers in the world. We know from experience!

We enjoy our wildlife friends in the garden even though it’s a school holiday and the park is packed with tourists. We couldn’t believe the number of tourists at the shops, the water park at the Bush Centre, and the restaurants. At these holiday times, we don’t often see many animals. But these boys and girls know, after 14 months, which “side their bread is buttered on.” Pellets are still offered in abundance.

Here’s all three of them together. Kudus are very social animals.

We have over two 40 kg, 88 pounds bags of pellets left to use before we go in three days. Certainly, we’ll have no trouble getting them tossed into the garden in the next few days.

Our flight from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport is at 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, so we don’t have to leave here on Wednesday until about 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs, leaving us plenty of time to drive the problematic N4 highway, in the event of any unforeseen slowdowns.

Are we excited about our upcoming visit with Karen and Rich in Apollo Beach, Florida? Absolutely! We missed their wedding due to Omicron, and it will be fantastic to spend time with them at their oceanfront home. As for the two cruises, we’re very excited to be cruising again and surely will enjoy both Atlantic crossings on two very different ships.

Bossy and the three babies.

Then, of course, we’re excited to spend time with our adult kids, grandchildren, Tom’s siblings, and hopefully, my sister Julie (who may come from LA) in Minnesota and then off to Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada, to see son Richard and his girlfriend. If time allows, we hope to see some of the many friends we left behind in 2012 when we began to travel.

Thanks to many of our readers who have written to wish us safe travels. Finally, you’ll be able to read and see photos of something other than wild animals in our garden! They never bore us, but they may have become “old news” to all of you.

We hope you have a pleasant Sunday. We’ll be back tomorrow with more!

Photo from one year ago today, March 20, 2021:

These three warthogs, whom we’ve named Bennie, Hennie, and Lennie, visit several times a day. But in the past several months we haven’t seen them together. For more photos, please click here.

Four days and counting…Busy packing the house…

Look how swollen Big Daddy’s neck signifies he’s ready to mate. Amazing!!!

The only time since we began traveling in 2012 that we stayed in one property for over a year was here in Marloth Park when I had heart surgery, and we didn’t leave for 15 months, the final three of which I spent recovering to become well enough to travel.

Now, during times of the pandemic, we will have lived here for 14 months due to many travel restrictions in force all over the world. We would have left sooner had it been a little easier to travel. In the past 14 months, we left, once to Zambia for a week and another time to the US for a  month.

On another occasion, we’d booked an exciting trip to Kenya, which was canceled due to Covid-19. Is it any wonder we were hesitant to book anything when we’d already lost so much money due to the pandemic in the past two years? In many cases, we got most of the money back, but it required hours and hours of phone calls, documentation,  and applying pressure to the providers to give us a refund.

We became weary of all of these issues. We’re facing another possible cancellation on the cruise scheduled to travel to Ukraine. We’ve decided we won’t accept the Black Sea price to swap out for the Greek Islands. We’ve done that route in the past, and we’re not willing to pay twice as much as other such cruises are charging right now.

What a handsome animal!!!

We’ve been watching opinions from other passengers on that cruise via cruisecritic.com. They feel like us. They want their money back. If we apply for the refund now, we will get 100% of what we paid, applied to a future cruise which must be used by the end of 2022 or one year from the original cruise date, whichever is later. That may not work for us. We’d be happy to have them apply the funds to the other cruises we have booked with Azamara.

However, if enough passengers cancel, the cruise line will cancel the cruise. According to Azamara’s cancellation policy, if they cancel a cruise, we’d get 125% of the cost of the cruise as a future credit since it’s only a 600 passenger cruise with most likely only 500 passengers that would account for approximately 250 cabins.

Thus, instead of canceling now, we will wait a few weeks and see if the cruise line cancels. We’ll receive a 100% credit for everything we’ve already paid in advance to Costco Travel in the worst case. Whew!

As for the packing, after living in this house for so long, the packing is more complicated than usual. Since we are returning before too long, we are leaving the non-perishable kitchen items in a big tote. Also, we’re leaving some clothing that we won’t need on the cruises or in the US to lighten the load.

I fed him an entire bag of whole large carrots. He inhaled them in seconds. He was quite thrilled with the treat.

We are allowed two 23 kg (50 pounds) bags each. We will each bring our largest bag, the yellow supply bag, one duffle bag along with two carry-on bags for me, and the computer bag for Tom. We’ll have to pay baggage fees on the US flights (one to Minneapolis and the other to Las Vegas). There’s nothing we can do about that.

After all, we’ll be sailing on two very distinct cruises in the next six weeks, and we’ll need different clothes for each, although some everyday items will work for both voyages.

That’s it for today, folks. Enjoy your weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, March 19, 2021:

This is a monitor lizard that Tom spotted while driving. It happened so quickly I had to take the photo through the windshield. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from dinner out with friends…Food photos, too!…Happy St.Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate!…Six days and counting…

The six of us at Giraffe bar for dinner on Tuesday evening. From left to right: Lynne, Jan, me, Tom Mick and Steve.

Most likely, Tuesday evenings dinner out with friends, Lynne and Mick and Janet and Steve was the last time we gathered with local friends in Marloth Park, except for dinner on Friday night at Jabula with Dawn and Leon, owners of the beautiful establishment, with whom we’ve become good friends over the years.

Dawn and I had our pedicures done at our favorite local spa here in the park while Tom and Leon got together at Jabula to do “guy talk.” I rode back to Jabula with Dawn to find Tom and Leon enjoying uninterrupted guy time when we were done. I joined in on the conversation while Dawn went about some work for the restaurant. It was a pleasant start to the day.

It’s hard to say goodbye to everyone we’ve come to know and love since we first began coming to Marloth Park in 2013, the only place in the world to which we continually return. If someone had asked us years ago if we’d be willing to live without power and water at least several times a month and the occasional failure of WiFi, we would have emphatically stated a resounding “NO!!!”

Lynne and Jan had the chicken schnitzel with creamed spinach and topped with cheese.

But, here we are after over a year of load shedding, most months, with several days without water, and still, we’re coming back for more, a mere nine months from now.

If someone asked if we could spend our days in 100 F, 36C heat with no air-con except in the bedroom, spending daylight hours in the sweltering heat and humidity, we would have again said a resounding, “NO WAY!!! But, here we are in the hot, sticky, tropical climate of summer in Africa, spending our days dripping in sweat, rarely whining over the annoyances and discomforts typical of living in the rugged bush. Who knew that would appeal to us to this degree?

If some asked if we could live with insects, mozzies, and the constant prospect of a snake popping up out of nowhere, we would have flatly refused to visit such a place. But, here we are, 14 months later with all of this, and we’ve been quite content as we were on all of the other occasions we’ve lived in Marloth Park over the past nine years.

My grilled chicken salad with feta cheese and lots of vegetables.

Whether its spending time with the fantastic friends we’ve made or reveling in the exquisite nature of the bush, we’ve genuinely become bush people, not so much in the cruder sense, but in the mind of those who come to Africa and become entrenched in its magic.

It’s not easy to leave, even now, when we are excited about the prospects of the next few months, visiting friends in Florida, family in Minnesota and Nevada, and of course, embarking on two very different types of cruises; one, the first transatlantic on a Celebrity ship, familiar to us in its ambiance, style, food, entertainment, and people and two; sailing back across the Atlantic Ocean on a more formal British cruise line, Cunard on the famous Queen Mary 2. What an adventure after these past few years of relative confinement!

Surely, we’ll miss the animals. And there’s undoubted, a slight hesitation knowing when we return it will be to a different house, a few kilometers from here, where those animals we’ve come to know and love may never find us again such as Little, Broken Horn, Hal, Gordy, Thick Neck, Bossy, The Imposter, Holey Moley, Frank, and The Misses, Chevy, Mom and Babies, Lori and Barbara, One Tusk, Bad Eye, One Wart, Wounded, and the list goes on and on.

Tom, Mick, and Steve had this steak topped with an egg, chips, onion rings, and a small salad.

We may never see them again. But, new relationships with these fantastic beasts will develop in our new location, and we’ll have names for all of them in no time at all.

Many of our human friends won’t be here when we return in December. Some prefer to stay away during the heat and humidity of the summer months with all the above challenges as mentioned above. We can only play it by ear and see who can return.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate and special birthday wishes to RL!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 17, 2021:

Tiny often lay down while I talked to him and listened attentively, his ears flipping back and forth. When we returned from the US visit n July, he never returned. He could have died of old age or injury, could have been culled, or moved on to another territory when he discovered we were no longer here. For more photos, please click here.

Wild action in the garden…A fight like none other…7 days and counting…

“How do wildebeest fight?
They follow a series of ritualized actions: bucking, snorting, pawing at the ground, fighting, and grunting in a deep, croaking manner like a frog. The wildebeests will face one another on their knees, foreheads to the ground, ready for combat.”
Typically, wildebeests fight over territory and during the mating season.
Yesterday, while we were outside on the veranda, an unusual sighting occurred. Hal and Broken Horn were visiting the garden simultaneously. We’d seen them arrive at the same time, but in all of those past cases, one of them quickly wandered off. Most often, it was Hal, who is gentle and easy-going.
Broken Horn can be very aggressive with other animals when pellets are around. But, Hal is always willing to share. In this case, we certainly didn’t toss out any pellets when we were fearful they could get into a fight. We carefully avoid tossing any pellets into the garden when we see aggressive animals that may fight over them. We never want to incite hostility among the animals.
When they first arrived, it appeared that everything was going to go well. However, we held off on tossing any pellets to them.
By nature, kudus, zebras, and warthogs may enact aggressive behavior among their species, even on occasion in their own family/friend groups. Generally, this type of behavior is short-lived, resulting in a chase into the bush. Yesterday, it was not the case.
At first, Hal smelled Broken Horn’s butt, and we thought nothing of it. The snorting and pawing at the ground ensued within less than a minute, and the fight began. Dogs do this all the time, and most often, the intent is to determine “who” is in their territory. We’ve seen this behavior among warthogs, but not many other animals.
Stunned and speechless, we watched in horror, fearful one of them would be injured. We saw no evidence of injury during the 15 to 20 minutes they were at it. We quickly realized we needed to make a video, although I anticipated it would be over before I even got started as I grabbed the camera. But, that wasn’t the case. We were easily able to get this video.
Hal then proceeded to sniff Broken Horn’s butt to see if he knew him.
After a while, my arms were tired of holding up the camera, and I stopped. We had to leave the veranda a few times when they were too close to us. We moved inside and watched from the bedroom window, especially as they upset all the boulder edging around the cement pond.
Finally, they ran off to the driveway in a mad chase. We couldn’t see who was chasing who. The only differential in their appearance is Broken Horn’s one broken horn that’s been that way since we’ve known him for the past 14 months.
Later in the day, we headed to Giraffe Bar and Restaurant to meet Lynne and Mick and Janet and Steve for dinner. As always, the six of us had a fantastic time, laughing, talking, and sharing endless stories. In a few weeks, they’ll all return to their other homes in Jersey. Hopefully, we’ll see them at some point after we return in December. Tomorrow, we’ll post photos of all of us and our various dishes.
It didn’t take long for the fight to commence. We knew that something was going to happen once they were on their knees.
As mentioned in our heading, the departure countdown has begun. We leave Marloth Park one week from today. Most of my clothing is packed, Tom’s shirts are all washed, dried, and neatly folded. All I have left to do is pack the kitchen items we’ve purchased since our arrival; spices, unopened condiments, canned coconut cream, coconut oil, and a few pans such as a  non-stick skillet, a muffin tin, and a few roasting pans.
In no time at all, we’ll be good to go.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 16, 2021:

Four oxpeckers started working on this female kudu to remove bugs and ticks as her trance-like state began. For more photos, please click here.

Today is our 10 year anniversary of posting!!!…Hard to believe it!…

Big Daddy is bold coming up onto the veranda. He had to duck his head to get under the roof.

When we first started writing these posts on March 15, 2012 (see the first post here), we never imagined we’d still be doing this 10 years later. Today’s post is #3494. It would have been an easy 365 x 10. Still, in the beginning, we didn’t write every day, and we’ve missed some days due to circumstances beyond our control, such as power and WiFi outages, poor WiFi signals on ships, travel days without access to WiFi, and occasional medical issues.

Ten years? Who knew? When we started traveling seven months after the first post, on Halloween 2012, we thought we might last two to five years, tops. But, here we are, continuing with the same enthusiasm and passion as in the beginning. We aren’t tired of it yet. Its become a way of life.

Any differences in our state of mind is due to how we’ve learned to adapt to unexpected situations with less worry and concern coupled with bundles of resiliency. We realize that many could and have given up being world travel nomads with some of the challenges we’ve encountered.

Warthogs often photobomb!

Along the way, we’ve met countless nomads, like us, but most decided to retire from full-time travel for one reason or another. We don’t judge them for ending the lifestyle. Their circumstances may have changed, or they may have stopped enjoying it after a few years. Several nomads stopped traveling due to health reasons, requiring that they live near their medical providers.

Please let us know if any of our readers have been traveling for more than 10 years. No, we aren’t backpackers, mountain climbers, or even hikers. For that matter. We’re simply two people, now 69 (Tom) and 74 years old (me), budgeting, planning, and thriving in our desire to see as much of the world as we can. We’d love to share stories with you.

We don’t have a so-called “bucket list” or a certain number of countries we’d like to visit. We travel to countries and locations within those countries that appeal to our tastes and desires. We only did a “should do” when we traveled to Paris and London, thinking it made no sense to travel the world and not visit these two amazing cities.

For safety’s sake, we shooed him off the veranda. Tom has a water-filled spray bottle that does the trick. A few squirts, and they move away.

As it turned out, we had a fantastic experience in both of these locations, leaving us with memories we’ll always treasure. In reality, isn’t that what it’s all about? Making memories. The added benefit for us is that we have almost 3500 posts enabling us to look back and read those stories and see the photos that have become a vital part of our “memory making.” How lucky is that?

Well, I suppose it’s not luck. I’ve spent the better part of almost every morning for the past 10 years thinking of topics, writing, researching, dealing with photos. Tom has been there right beside me, proofreading, fact-checking, and conducting research to support our daily topics. I may type the words and insert the photos, but he is constantly on the alert for photo ops, topics, and links to enhance our daily story.

Now, as we work our way out of a relatively stationary period since the onset of the pandemic, we look forward to what the future may hold. By walking over 25 miles, 40 km a week, I feel all the more optimistic that we may be able to continue for more years. At this point in our lives, the only thing that will stop us is allowing ourselves to become frail and out of shape as we age, resulting in the necessity of regular medical care.

Please check back tomorrow. We had the most unbelievable event occur in the garden only minutes ago. We have photos and videos we are excited to share.

So, there we are, folks, 10 years later, and hopefully, we’ll have plenty more posts in the future. In any case, the next few months will be fun!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2021:

This is where we’ll sleep tonight. We won’t even have to change the bedding when Zef and Vusi take care of everything tomorrow. We appreciate them too, as we do Louise and Danie, for always making everything perfect for us. For more photos, please click here.

New itinerary…We’re booked almost through the end of May!!!…What a task!!!…Hot today, 100F, 38C!!!

A lone waterbuck on the bank of the Crocodile River at sunset.

We spent most of the day between my walking and posting yesterday, booking everything we needed to get us through May 22. That doesn’t seem far away. But here’s our basic itinerary and what we’d already had booked, including what we booked on Sunday.

  1. March 24 – Arrive in Florida, staying with friends Karen and Rich – Booked: Rental car.
  2. April 8 – Transatlantic cruise, 13 nights, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Southampton, UK
  3. April 21 – 24 – Hotel for three nights in Southampton, UK (no car)
  4. April 24 – Transatlantic cruise, 7 nights, from Southampton to New York – Cunard Queen Mary 2
  5. May 1 – Booked flight from New York to Minneapolis, Minnesota
  6. May 1 – Booked rental car and hotel for 14 nights (staying in Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
  7. May 15 – Booked flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas
  8. May 15 – Booked rental car and hotel in Henderson, Nevada (staying in Henderson, Nevada)
  9. May 22 – Check out the hotel in Henderson – We don’t know where we’re going from there!!

    Tail-less Mom with a muddy face.

All of this is fine and good. But, we still don’t know about the cruise sailing from Istanbul, Turkey, on June 29. We have no doubt; we will know sometime next month how this former itinerary to Ukraine will be rerouted. We will decide from there what we’ll do after May 22.

In prior years, such uncertainty would have been concerning. But now, after two years of uncertainty due to the pandemic and now this war in Ukraine, we take it in our stride.

Two “Go-Away” birds, enjoying the birdbath in our garden.

Yesterday’s booking process was painstaking. Prices for the same cars, hotels, and flights were all over the place. Of course, we sought to find the best possible prices, and we feel comfortable with our decisions. I won’t take the time to go into each one now, except to mention a few for illustrative purposes.

For Minnesota, we booked the same hotel in a central location to our family member’s homes, in Eden Prairie, near a huge shopping mall and dozens of eating establishments. It has self-service laundry, a kitchen with range, oven, microwave, and a full-sized refrigerator, free WiFi, and “to go type’ breakfast included.

Broken Horn and two female kudu sharing pellets.

For Nevada, we were enthused. When checking online for the fabulous hotel where we stayed last July, Green Valley Ranch, and Casino, it appeared the rates had gone up considerably. We ended up booking our flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas for a better rate than what we paid last July at the link to Expedia on our site. We were thrilled to stay in that beautiful resort once again, which we thoroughly enjoyed last time.

It’s a huge relief to have all of this done. All we have to do is pack up this house, leave a few plastic bins with items for Louise to store for us when we return in December, buy clothing in Florida for the Cunard cruise, and apply for the renewal of our passports while in Florida.

Bright sunset at the Crocodile River.

As for today, on this ultra-hot day, we’re laying low. I will do some online research to see if I can find any dresses suitable for the upcoming Cunard cruise. In the past, I’ve had a lot of luck buying dresses online, so we’ll see how it goes. Of course, Tom will have to be fitted for a suit. Buying “off the rack” never seems to work for men.

We hope you have a pleasant day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, March 14, 2021:

The mating hornbills continue to return, but no babies yet. For more photos, please click here.