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!”

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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.

Thank you for the positivity!!!…

Medium Daddy, not quite full grown but on his way to being a Big Daddy in years to come. Notice his musculature. Wow!

It was a year ago yesterday that I uploaded a post with a heading that read:

“Please “unfriend me” if…Social media during lockdown….”

The purpose of that post may be found at this link, was accomplished. Throughout the lockdown period and continuing today, the positivity we’ve experienced from our worldwide readers and social media friends has been nothing but upbeat.

Even now, as we’ve reported our upcoming return to the US to visit family, get the vaccine and get our passports stamped, allowing us to reenter South Africa when we’d adamantly stated, we wouldn’t be returning to the US during the pandemic, has been supportive and encouraging.

Frank was standing on the veranda railing.

Well, who knew what this pandemic would bring? Who knew it would be impossible to get the vaccine in South Africa anytime soon? Who knew a planned trip to Kenya would be canceled due to more lockdown measures implemented by its government? Who knew it would make so much sense for us to change our minds?

Our change of mind could easily have been fodder for criticism and negative feedback. But, not a single reader of our site or social media wrote a negative word or comment instead of encouraging us all the way. For this, we are very grateful.

Whether or not our “Please unfriends me if…” had an impact will never be known. Primarily, that particular post was intended for our social media contacts, not so much our readers, who have always been outrageously kind and supportive, with a few rare exceptions.

Lots of kudus stopped by this morning.

But, at times, although not necessarily directed to us specifically, Facebook was rife with negativity. We’ve seen a dramatic change for the better in the past year. Did the pandemic do this?

One could say we could easily leave Facebook if we don’t like the majority of the content. But, for us, it’s a convenient and useful way to stay in touch with friends and family when often we are isolated, such as while in lockdown in India. And even here, now, we don’t have the usual numbers of social interactions we experienced in our previous stays in Marloth Park. People are careful to avoid social contact in most cases.

When we were in Marloth Park in 2018/2019, we saw friends several times a week. Now, with Covid-19 on everyone’s mind, it’s been less frequent, leaving us feeling a little isolated at times. Thank goodness for that! Of course, the wildlife visitors continually entertain us and, no doubt, we thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and that of the friends we’ve been able to see.

He, like, everyone else, loves the pellets which we offered freely.

Many have written to us over the past few days with heartfelt empathy over the cancelation of our trip to Kenya. We appreciate the generous messages we’ve written back, but we are pretty fine with the change, especially when we receive all of our money back. We’re still waiting for a few bigger sums to be refunded, almost US $4000, ZAR 59424, from both Little Governor’s Camp and Kenya Airways. Hopefully, we’ll see these refunds coming through soon.

Getting our passports stamped for another 90 days in South Africa and the opportunity to receive the vaccine have been many motivators in returning to the US. The bonus is the opportunity to see our family members after an 18-month hiatus, typical of many family members who haven’t traveled to see one another due to the pandemic.

Quite handsome.

Thus, this change in our itinerary will ultimately prove the most sensible and beneficial change in our many years of world travel. We thank all of our thoughtful readers for their kind comments, email, and WhatsApp messages and look forward to continuing to share our story for years to come, health providing.

    He stayed around for quite a while, posing for the camera.

Stay healthy and embrace life as many of us mourn the loss of loved ones during this dreadful pandemic and attempt to accept a new way of life in times yet to come.

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2020:

An owl we spotted at Kanha National Park in India. For more, please click here.