When we started booking the houseboat tour on the Chobe/Zambezi River, we expected a certain amount of paperwork. But, little did we realize how time-consuming it would be for both Louise and ultimately for us. With Covid-19 issues addressing entering into three countries on this one trip, it’s a paperwork nightmare, and bless her heart, Louise has done everything she can to make it as seamless as possible for us. We appreciate her hard work.
Then, we ran into the issue of payment. Not only is there a comprehensive contract for the three-night houseboat tour, but it was accompanied by a lengthy questionnaire we had to complete and submit. On the forms, they requested payment by bank transfer.
If you’ve been reading our posts over the past several years, you know we are adamantly opposed to bank transfers. But, as it turns out, our bank refuses to allow bank transfers to certain countries, including most of those on the African continent, due to excessive amounts of fraud. Thus, we always pay with credit cards. Plus, we get lots of points when we use certain cards.
Louise worked it out, and the company agreed to accept a credit card, although they are charging us a 4% fee of the total price, which resulted in a total cost for the boat of ZAR 31585, US $2114. However, transportation from our hotel in Zambia to the various borders and then returning to the hotel four days later is included. We paid a premium for that service, but undoubtedly, there is less risk of timing errors and confusion.
Also, the cost of the four Covid tests is included. We’ll need the only additional Covid test from the hotel on October 25th, when we return from the boat, to be used for our return entry into South Africa. Whew! What a lot of monkey business Covid has created for travel.
We run the risk that the entire thing could be called off at the last minute if new Covid restrictions are implemented or changed between now and then.
Our round-trip flight from Nelspruit to Livingstone, Zambia, is ZAR 19274, US $1289. In total, with tips, two nights’ meals when at the hotel; the small amounts we paid for the two nights in the hotel, using our points; transportation to and from the airport, should be, at most ZAR 58809, US $4000.
Although this is expensive for a total of five nights away, it’s a whole lot less than it would have cost us to return to the US for three months, instead of living here in South Africa, where it cost so much less. At least we’ll get our visas stamped and can relax over the remaining three months we’ll spend here.
Travel planning is always time-consuming in one way or another, as you travelers out there so well know. Planning one trip can take days, let alone planning for an entire life of world travel, such as we do. But, if we had a house and lived in one location, we’d be mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, painting and making repairs around the house, getting cars serviced, sending Christmas cards, decorating for Christmas, and other holidays, baking, cooking, house cleaning and more.
Life is filled with trade-offs. For us, the simplicity of those times allows us to kick back and relax without a care in the world, while at the same time, we’re embracing other cultures, other scenery, wildlife, oceans, mountains, plains, and savannahs, we couldn’t be more content. And…grateful.
May your bliss and ours continue.
Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2020:
|This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #198. Oxpeckers can dig into the flesh of animals to extract parasites, ticks, and other insects that may burrow under their skin, as is the case of this kudu. Sadly once the insect is extracted, the oxpecker may continue to peck at the injured site, making matters worse. The photo was taken in Marloth Park, South Africa, in 2018. For more photos, please click here.|