Immigration realities…Chobe saga continues…More exciting photos…Guest photos…

Holiday home on stilts on the bank of the Chobe River, suitable for the rainy season when the water level rises.

“Sighting of the Day in Chobe National Park”

An old massive elephant resting his trunk on his tusk. We saw this only one other time in the Maasiai Mara in 2013. Here’s the link to that post where there are some shocking photos we’d taken at that time including lions! 

Much to our sadness and dismay, we have to leave South Africa in 88 days on November 21, 2018, unable to complete the remaining time we’d hoped we could stay until February 21, 2019. We’re so disappointed.

Skilled birders, Lynne and Mick, identified this bird as an emerald spotted dove.Thanks, you two, for once again assisting us!

Here’s how it rolled out when we arrived at the airport two days ago and went through the immigration line:

It’s unusual to see a giraffe grazing on the ground.  Also, in this photo are two white cattle egret and a few Egyptian geese.

The immigration officer flipped through our passports and kept saying, “No, no, no. You cannot do this.”  Technically a traveler can only stay one 90-day period in 12 months, not for a full 12 months, as we’d hoped.

Another stunning croc on the Chobe River.

The laws were vague and confusing when we read them. We knew this risk existed but we decided to take the risk anyway. Having made that decision to “wing it” when we first arrived in February, we’re grateful we’ll have had the nine months we managed to stay when all is said and done.  

We’re unable to identify this type of antelope in Chobe.  Any ideas what this may be?

We talked her into giving us one more 90-day period which ends on November 21, 2018. She noted our status on the computer. There is nothing we can do. If we tried one more time, we could immediately be sent out of the country without an opportunity to pack up our stuff and find a place to go. That’s way too risky for us.

A parade of elephants staying cool under the shade of a tree.

Instead, we’ve accepted this reality and last night when Louise and Danie stopped by for sundowners and to say hello, we told them the bad news. They were sad along with us, trying to think of solutions. We appreciate their love and concern. There are no alternatives. We must go.

This monstrous male came out of the bush to check us out.

We have to be in Nairobi, Kenya on February 22, 2019, for our upcoming photo safari adventure which won’t begin until 92 days after we exit South Africa in November. Where are we going to go for 92 days? 

This elephant was not happy this boat was blocking her way to get onto the shore of an island.

Of course, we can always go to Kenya a few days earlier to leave us to spend 90 days in some other African country which we’ll have to do. Most countries we’re considering have 30, 60, or 90 visa limitations. We’d prefer to stay in one country for the entire 90 days.  

Hazy morning view of the Chobe River.

Hopping around in Africa is difficult due to flight hubs requiring many extra hours of travel time, often as long as 24 to 30 hours. There are many countries we won’t consider for this extended period due to political unrest, Ebola, and other risks for travelers, one can only imagine.

Enormous bird nest.

We’ve already visited eight African countries out of 54. You’d think we’d have lots of options. But with our desire to stay 90 days, and find suitable housing to actually enjoy the 90-day time period, it’s not as easy as one might think. 

Hippos napping in shallow water to keep their sensitive skin cool and protected from sunburn.
Hippos grazing close to the shore of the Chobe River.

Thus, fast and furiously we’re researching, narrowing down our options to those that will fulfill our goals while providing us with a great experience to boot. It’s not easy.

Guest photo #1 from Beth Schroeder, a US citizen, working in Dubai who, like us had visited Chobe in May and then again in August.
Guest photo #2 from Beth Schroeder. Thanks for sharing Beth. It was great spending time with you during our game drive in Chobe National Park and on the Chobe River safari.  Great shots of elephants!

Yes, we’re disappointed. We had looked forward to spending Christmas and New Year in the bush with our human and animal friends. We looked forward to seeing the newborns scurrying around the park with their doting mothers (and sometimes dads) on the perpetual search for food, safety, and shelter during the hot days of summer.

To travel from Zambia to Botswana we had to go across the Zambezi River in a small boat. Four countries meet at this exact location: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The bridge is still under construction and isn’t expected to be completed for 18 months or more.

But, in the realm of things we’ve had our fair share…more than we could have ever dreamed possible. And for that, we are humbled and grateful, leaving here in 88 days with our hearts filled with love and our minds drenched in memories.

Be well. Be happy. Be fulfilled.

Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2017:

We were in awe of this view from the veranda in Atenas, Costa Rica, when the afternoon clouds roll in each day.For more photos, please click here.