A decision has been made…Photos from our trail cam…A special visitor…

Look to the right of this tree in the center, and you’ll see our occasional visitor, a porcupine.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. We don’t want to be overly or foolishly cautious as we strive to continue our world journey, hopefully soon. There wasn’t a single factor that precipitated the decision to stay in South Africa, again, to get a visa extension, due by January 24, 2022.

Yesterday afternoon, I called my dear friend Karen and told her that sadly we wouldn’t be coming to her wedding in February. It was a huge disappointment for her and us and her fiance Rich, but they both fully understand our predicament with the world in an upheaval due to the latest Covid19 variant, Omicron.

The porcupine is easiest to see if you zoom in.

What was the most influential factor that resulted in making this decision? Most likely, more than any of the other factors we mentioned in yesterday’s post, it was due to uncertainty. With airports and borders preventing the entry of passengers from South Africa, we could be left in a precarious position if last-minute changes are made, giving us little time to make an alternate plan.

We know this from experience, not speculation. On March 20, 2020, we arrived at the Mumbai International Airport at 2:00 am to be turned away from our scheduled flight after waiting in line for over an hour. South Africa closed its borders from when we left our hotel for the airport until the moment we heard the bad news. From there, you all know what transpired over the next ten months.

We wish the camera got a better shot, but we are always excited to see these.

We can safely stay in South Africa to wait this out with the only obstacle, a mandatory renewal of our visas, every 90 days. From past experience, we feel confident we can work that out and come up with a solution by January 24, 2022, our visa expiration date.

Also, there is a possibility that President Ramaphosa will extend visas for foreign nationals if the pandemic worsens over the next few months. This has transpired several times since the onset of the pandemic and could easily happen again. If not, we’ll fly to another country in Africa for a short stay and return. In this situation, we may not be able to make plans until a week before our visas expire.

As we’ve mentioned, porcupines are nocturnal.

The process of applying for an extension is so labor-intensive, and invasive of our personal financial status deters us from choosing to apply for an extension. Plus, with fewer employees working at the immigration department now due to Covid-19, it’s possible, even if we did apply, it might never come through in time.

We had a fantastic time at Jabula last night, chatting with Dawn and Leon, Lyn, and other guests at the bar. By the end of the evening, we’d been invited to Christmas Day dinner at Sinndee and Bruce’s bush home, along with Dawn and Leon and others we may or may not know. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to have plans for Christmas Day!

The Christmas tree at Jabula was a delight to see.

Of course, this reminded us of Kathy and Don inviting us to their home on Christmas Eve when they had never even met us! But, this is Marloth Park, and people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s always been hard for us to believe! The beauty of the bush, the wildlife, and the easy lifestyle has been instrumental in locals being warm and friendly.  Then again, South Africans are known to be welcoming to foreign visitors.

As for today, Saturday, we’re staying in. It’s still sweltering and humid. At the moment, I have a floor fan blowing on me that helps. We were outside on the veranda all morning. But now, being indoors with the fan cooling our sticky skin feels a little better.

They never seem to get very close to the camera.

It usually cools down by evening, but the dew point remains high at 72. We best prepare ourselves since summer’s “real” heat and humidity in Africa is yet to come. December, January, February, and March are the hottest months. January is considered the hottest month, with an average temperature of 91F, 33C. Considering how much it cools off at night, you can easily imagine how it is during the day.

The record high temperature in Marloth Park was 118F, 48C, the date on which this occurred is not published. We sure hope it doesn’t get that hot this summer. In any case, whatever it will be, we’ll manage to get through it.

Every one of us, throughout the world, has ongoing challenges to face as the pandemic continues and impacts all of our lives. We pray for us all.

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #256. Here is an albatross chick shortly after hatching. The chick was hatched during the first week in February while in Princeville, Kauai, in 2015. For more photos, please click here.

A fantastic Mother’s Day…A special treat on the trail cam!!!…

It gives us a strong incentive to continue to check at night.

Yesterday morning I rushed through the post preparation, and in no time, we were outside the door, on our way to Kruger National Park. Thirty minutes later, we crossed the Crocodile Bridge in search of all possible sightings in the river. We spotted a few crocodiles on each side, but with cars behind us on the single-lane bridge, there was no way we could stop for pictures. We were prepared, as usual, not to see anything.

However, the theory is that getting there right after sunrise was the best time to see wildlife.

We hadn’t noticed this as critical when we frequently entered the park after downloading a post when it could be as late as 10:00 or 11:00 am. But we often see so much. Even at times, as we enter the early afternoon, we still see a lot of wildlife.

At first, we noticed two pairs of eyes on the trail cam photo.

Here in Marloth Park, after watching the trail cam photos each day, the only difference we’ve noticed from what we’ve seen day and night is what we’re sharing today, our exciting photos of a pair of porcupines that the camera picked up at 9:00 pm, 2100 hours, not necessarily a time most visitors would be on a game drive in Kruger. The exception to this would be during the hottest times of the year when wildlife hunkers down in the bush undercover on hot days.

Thus, today, we’re sharing the trail cam photos, and tomorrow, we’ll be back sharing the beginning of a series of wildlife photos from yesterday’s visit to Kruger. No, we didn’t see big cats, which most visitors make a priority, but for us, we’re happy to see whatever nature bestows upon us.

As for Mother’s Day, Tom made it very special for me. Generally, we don’t buy gifts for one another when space in our luggage is limited. While at Lower Sabie in the park, Tom bought me a beautiful bag I can carry when we go out to dinner or visit instead of the huge oversized heavy black bag I use on travel days.

With caution, the porcupine pair moved into the open area of the garden.

On another note… Over the years, I’ve been carrying the Africa-printed fabric grocery bag we purchased in Kenya for US $2.00, ZAR 28, in 2013. It shows no sign of wear and tear whatsoever. I was tired of carrying a grocery bag for a handbag. Yesterday, Tom purchased a new bag for me at the shop near the Mugg & Bean, a black and white printed South Africa shoulder bag, ideal for going out to dinner or visiting friends.

It had been so long since I had something new like this. I felt like a “kid in a candy store.” Oh, how the little things in life mean so much. If I had purchased such a bag in my old life, I wouldn’t have given it another thought once I brought it home. Now, the simplest things are appreciated and handled with care, hoping they will last long.

By coincidence, while we were at Lower Sabie, we ran into Linda and Ken. We knew they were also going to Kruger yesterday, but the odds of running into them were remote. We giggled about seeing them outside the shop and once again hugged goodbye, not certain when we’d see them again.

Finally, they wandered back into the bush.

Once back home, we made a nice dinner and enjoyed a quiet evening in the bush, with many animal friends stopping by to round out the special day.

Today, our dear friend Alan is coming for sundowners and dinner. Tom had been chomping at the bit for our homemade low-carb pizza for some time, and today I’m making it for both of them. Alan also eats a low-carb diet. Since I don’t eat vegetables, I will have my leftover beef liver and chicken breast for dinner. It doesn’t sound very appetizing, but actually, it is pretty good.

I’d better pick up the pace here and finish this post. Once Zef and Vusi arrive to clean the house, we’d like to head out the door to Komatipoort. I’ve already cooked the cheesy sausages and made the cheese-based pizza crusts. When we return and put everything away, I’ll top the pizzas with sauce, mushrooms, onions, cooked sausage, and hand-grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and place them in the fridge to be cooked for dinner. Tom loves leftover pizza, so I’m making enough for three nights. I’ll figure out something for me for the remaining nights.

That’s it for today, dear readers. We hope you have a pleasant Monday.

Photo from one year ago today, May 10, 2020:

Closeup of our toad peeking out from a hole in a decorative mask when we were in Marloth Park in 2018. For more photos, please click here.