Last of the photos from our recent trip…Great evening at Jabula, as always…

I zoomed in for a closer look at the spray from Victoria Falls.

When I reviewed the photos from our recent trip that we had yet to post, I decided to post this last batch today. With the drones overhead all week, we had few wildlife visitors in the garden. Now, it’s the weekend, and again the animals stay away when holidaymakers fill the rentals in the park.

Speaking of weekends and holidays, this is Labor Day weekend in the US. We hope all of our family and friends in the US enjoy a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. In the US, many workers have Monday off, making this long weekend a time for travel, family visits, parties, picnics, and celebrations. Please be safe in all of your activities!

The scene from the veranda at the Royal Livingstone Hotel shows the spray from Victoria Falls, a short distance away.

Of course, we no longer celebrate US holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. With no family around and many friends who spend time in Marloth Park, back in their home countries, due to the heat here during the summer season (the opposite of summer in the northern hemisphere).

With air conditioning only in bedrooms here, daylight hours are often challenging when temps reach over 104F and 40 C. Does one stay inside where it’s usually hot, or sit outdoors in the dust and heat? After spending five summers in Marloth Park, which starts on December 21st. On September 21, spring starts here, but the heat has already begun, if not intermittently.

It’s a little hard to see, but this was an elephant in the trees, munching on leaves while we sat on the veranda at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia.

Today is another hot day with temps expected to top 93F and 34C, but much to our surprise, at almost 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs., it’s pretty tolerable. We are outside and not uncomfortable at all. Of course, raise the temperature to 40C, and we’ll feel it. But, it always cools down in the evening although air con is usually necessary for sleeping.

Sunset over the Zambezi River from the hotel veranda.

Last night, we were surprised to see the bar at Jabula packed. Every seat at the bar was taken. Luckily, a kindly local offered me his seat while Tom stood next to Lee, who’d arrived, until another barstool opened up a few minutes later. As a result, Tom and I sat apart for a few hours before our dinner was ready, and we, along with Lee, sat at a table to eat our dinner. Our food was predictably excellent as ever. We love the consistency at Jabula.

It was fun talking to the locals, looking over at Tom often to see him enjoying himself. We’d smile at one another with that knowing look on our faces, how lucky we are to be together and how much we enjoy life in the bush. Aside from frequently looking at our visa options, life is uncomplicated and blissfully simple. We always remain grateful.

Live music set the tone at the hotel.

We didn’t return to our house until after 9:00 pm, 2100 hrs. It was too late to start streaming a show, so we hunkered down for the night after completing a few tasks around the house. My new facial and head pain medication typically results in sound sleep. I fell asleep by about 10:30 pm, 2230 hrs., but awoke at 1:30 am and never went back to sleep until 4:30 am, awakening at 7:30 am.

Birds are highlighting the sunset scene.

My Fitbit reading states that I slept for over 7 hours, but I’d argue that isn’t accurate. But, the devices can record more sleep when one’s breathing and pulse rate are low. In any case, I don’t feel exhausted today. I busied myself in the kitchen making mozzarella stuffed meatballs and Italian red sauce for Tom’s dinner, enough to last for several days. I cooked chicken breasts for myself, which I’ll top with sauce and a big salad and vegetables.

A short time ago, seven giraffes appeared in our garden. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to see them. We took several photos and a video which we’re excited to share in tomorrow’s post.

Wow! What a sunset!

We hope all of our readers in the US have a fantastic holiday weekend, and to everyone else worldwide, may your weekend be great as well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 3, 2021:

Detailed map of voyage route
The cruise itinerary, beginning in Leith, Scotland, in August 2023, will end in Amsterdam 16 days later. For more, please click here.

The trip ended…Final expenses…Back in Marloth Park…

My dinner at Chobe Safari Lodge in the fine dining restaurant was grilled prawns and chicken. Delicious.
Our expenses were done a little differently this time. When we first arrived, we understood that we’d need about 20000 kwacha (Zambia currency) to pay for transportation and tours. When one ATM was out of cash and another only dispensed 18000 kwacha, we decided we could figure out the rest later.
When we arrived in Botswana, the rep there required either pula (Botswana currency) or the use of a credit card. We used a credit card to pay for the tours we’d booked in Botswana. Well, it got confusing, so that I won’t go into it. But, we managed to use most of our kwacha before we left Zambia and have a remaining 2900 kwacha (ZAR, US $178), which we’ll exchange for rand at the bank when we go to Komatipoort tomorrow. There’s no point in carrying 2900 kwacha with us around the world.
After some confusing figuring, we came up with the following for our expenses for these seven nights away. They are as close to accurate as possible.
                                     USD                                    Kwacha

Hotel Botswana          $1736.92                              28292.37

Hotel Zambia              $236.18                                  3833.49

Meals/Tours Zambia    $1109                                   14800.00

Tours in Botswana       $280                                      4544.75

Airfare                         $1302.78                              21145.74

Includes all tips

Total                           $4664.88                               72616.35

Total daily expense  $   666.41                               10373.76

Breakfast of two fried eggs, grilled mackerel, and sauteed mushrooms at Chobe Safari Lodge.

Our primary reason for this trip was to acquire a new 90-day visa. As it turned out, we encountered some difficulties at immigration which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

If we had filed for an extension, using the law firm in Johannesburg, which we can only do once per year in South Africa, we would have paid approximately US $2500, kwacha 40578.50. Thus, we ask ourselves, was this trip worth the difference? We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and felt the experiences were worth it.

Now, as we returned to South Africa to our bush house in Marloth Park with a new 90-day visa in hand (providing nothing went wrong at immigration), we won’t have to leave again until our upcoming cruise in Seychelles in November. This means we can relax during the next three months with only the flights and transportation to book and a two-night stay in a hotel in Mahe, Seychelles.

Mixed salad with artichoke hearts and green beans.If we were feeling up to it, we decided we would go to dinner tonight at Jabula, which we did shortly after we arrived back in Marloth Park around 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs. Even though the flight was only a few hours long, the trip began at 11:30 am when Chris picked us up to take us to the Livingstone Airport and ended when we arrived at our bush house, as mentioned above. It still is a long day.

I’m still not feeling 100% with this headache and face pain, and I have an appointment with Doc Theo on Monday at 10:00 am. We will grocery shop after the appointment. Monday night, we are headed to Marylin and Gary’s holiday home for a braai and final get-together (seven of us) before they leave a few days later. It’s been wonderful spending time with readers/friends who have now become great friends we’ve met due to our site. We feel so fortunate.

Soup with a slice of grilled bread.

Today, we’re sharing food photos from our one-week trip, but we still have many photos to share from game drives and boat tours. It will be fun to share those with all of you here and to see our animal friends (and taking photos) again in Marloth Park in our garden. It will be wonderful to see Norman and his family again. I can’t wait to see him, Lollie, and the others.

Note: This morning, Norman, Noah, Nina, Gordy, Tulip, and Lilac were waiting for us in the garden. No sign of Lollie yet. More tomorrow. Norman and Nina are here for the second time in two hours.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2021:

Bossy is always thrilled to see us, hoping for morsels of pellets. For more photos, please click here.

The tours have ended…Lots of photos to share…Tomorrow, our final expenses and back to Marloth Park…

The sun is setting on the horizon.

We have completed the last of our land and river adventures and are now spending our last day and night at the hotel in Livingstone. Tomorrow afternoon we fly back to Marloth Park, hopefully getting a new 90-day visa stamp and be able to relax for the next three months until we fly to Seychelles for a one-week cruise of the islands.

The upper deck of the Lion king sunset cruise boat.

This has been one of the most enjoyable times we’ve spent on a “visa run,” having planned many activities that kept us busy a part of each day. Of course, all of this costs money. But not nearly as much as we’d spend living in countries other than South Africa as our current base. By early June, we’ll be leaving South Africa for quite a while to explore other countries we’re considering.

There were only a few hippo photo ops during the cruise on the Zambezi River.

Most countries only allow us to stay for 90 days, many for less, so visa issues are always a consideration when we’d like to stay  for an extended period. The pandemic has changed everything for our world travel, but increased costs and lack of availability have made traveling freely more difficult.

Little plates were served on the boat, along with drinks. I ate the chicken leg, and Tom tried the rest.

Even this morning, when we entered the dining room for breakfast at this Marriott Hotel, we were told we had to wear masks while dining. We didn’t bring our masks after checking and discovering they weren’t required in the countries we were visiting on this trip. When we couldn’t eat breakfast without masks, and thus, we requested them from the front desk.

A crocodile is lounging on the Zambezi River bank.

Right now, we are sitting in our hotel room waiting for the cleaner to do our room since neither of us wants to wear a mask to sit in the lobby and work on today’s post. So we will sit here until the cleaner arrives and head out to the lobby wearing the masks.

There were many homes and resorts on the river.

We had a fantastic day yesterday. Chris picked us up at the resort by 11:30 am to make the drive back to Livingstone. There was much monkeying around to wrap up our exit visa for Botswana and entrance visa back into Zambia. But Chris was persistent, and eventually, we were on our way.  He dropped us at the Protea by Marriott in Livingstone, where we promptly checked in.

This appeared to be a setup for a wedding.

We were thrilled to see how warmly we were welcomed. Most of the staff remembered us from past visits and made a point of making us feel special. This is the fourth time we’ve stayed at this hotel. When we entered our room on the ground level, we were surprised by the noise coming from the room next door that was being renovated. There was a loud, ear-splitting drill that continued for a few hours.

This is a new luxury resort that will be opening soon.

We asked to be moved to another room but didn’t have time to pack up when the tour operator for the Lion King boat ride on the Zambezi River was coming to get us at 4:00 pm. The hotel manager approached me while we waited for our ride to explain they had stopped the construction work for the time we were here. That was so nice to hear and appreciated. Otherwise, we’d have been quite annoyed by this time today. Now, it’s as quiet as a mouse.

Our outdoor dining table at the Royal Livingstone Hotel at the Old Drift restaurant. We are returning tonight for another dinner.

The Lion King sunset cruise on the Zambezi River was packed. The last time we had done this cruise, we had the entire upper deck to ourselves. But, we were entertained by the antics of the other guests, mostly young tourists from Scandinavian countries, devouring the included drinks and having the time of their lives. It was actually as fun to watch them as it was to watch the scenery.

The savory, not sweet, crackers reminded us of Christmas sugar cookies. Tom ate all of them with delicious garlic butter.

We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, a few crocs on the river banks and a few gurgling hippos surfacing from time to time. But the live African music was a treat, and as always, Tom and I enjoyed ourselves whatever we may do. When the boat ride ended, a driver took us to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for our dinner reservation. Oh, my goodness, was that ever fun!

This was my side salad.
Tom enjoyed this pumpkin soup as a starter. Tomorrow, I will post a photo of Tom’s main dish. The image was too blurry to post.

It felt like a romantic date when we swooned over one another, as we often do, reveling in past experiences and hopes for the future. We laughed, we teased as we dined on the finest of gourmet foods in a fantastic atmosphere. It was dark dining outdoors, but the lighting was inviting, the seating comfortable, and the service over the top. While we sat at our outdoor table, we spotted three zebras and three warthogs wandering around the exquisite grounds of the luxury resort.

We’d had a long busy day and were content to be seated for a relaxing fine dinner.
My left eye is puffy from the headache and facial pain I’m still feeling. Maybe it’s an allergy.

Last night, we decided that the next time we come to Zambia, we’ll bite the bullet and spend a few nights at the expensive resort. The food was over-the-top, as shown in today’s photos. As planned, we’ll incorporate more food photos into our final post tomorrow when we add the final expenses. However, we still have many photos we’ve yet to share and will continue to post them in days to come.

This was an eggplant dish I ordered. The orange drops are mashed butternut squash. It was delicious, although it had small potato chunks, which I offered to Tom.

We’re returning to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for one more dinner tonight. We have lots of kwacha left that we need to spend, so what better way to spend it on than a repeat of last night’s outrageously wonderful dinner?

My prawn dish was also delicious.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. As much fun as we’ve had on this trip, we’re not dreading its end. It is delightful to return to Marloth Park for more unique experiences in the bush with our animal and human friends. We couldn’t ask for more.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2021:

Old Man wasn’t looking his best. For more photos, please click here.

Botswana…The African Quadripoint…Chobe Safari Lodge…An exquisite environment..

“The African Quadripoint. Are there any 4 way borders? Around the world, there are more than 150 different tripoints—borders where three nations meet—but only one international “quadripoint.” This is a spot in the middle of the Zambezi River, in southern Africa, where Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana all touch.”

This is the fourth time we’ve traveled to Zambia and then Botswana. Two Chris Tours drivers, Gordon and O’Brien, were waiting for us at the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport in Livingstone. They loaded up our two bags and two carry-on bags and we were on our way for the one-hour drive to the Botswana border, where a tour representative and her driver would take us to Chobe Safari Lodge, another 30-minute drive.

Two drivers, Gordon on the left and O’Brien on the right, who works for Chris Tours.

The immigration process was entirely different than on the past three occasions when we crossed the border between Zambia and Bostwana, where four countries meet as described here as the African Quadripoint:

“THERE ARE A NUMBER OF instances where the borders of two or three nations touch, but the rare confluence of a total four nations coming together on one spot only exists in Africa where the corners of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia meet.

Unlike the touristy spots where states come together in America, which are usually decked out with monuments and bronze medallions, the African quadripoint sits in the middle of a river that cuts between the countries. It has been theorized that the point is not a true quadripoint but instead a pair of tri-points separated by thin strips of real estate. Regardless of the quibbling, the obvious jurisdictional headache of having four countries so close to one another has resulted in some conflict.”

What an interesting tidbit!

When we arrived at the border, it was very different than in the past, where cars and trucks were everywhere, as well as people, and there was chaos in getting onto a small boat with our luggage to cross the Zambezi River to Botswana. The bumpy ride in the rickety boat reminded us of many such boat rides during our world travels in various countries. Now, the new bridge is completed, as shown in our photo and described as follows:

Crossing the new Kazungula Bridge in Botswana.

“Kazungula Bridge is a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi river between the countries of Zambia and Botswana at Kazungula. The Kazungula Bridge under construction over the Zambezi, at the quasi-quadripoint between Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The bridge was opened for traffic on 10 May 2021.”

In the past, we crossed the river, where we were picked up by another driver and taken to the even more chaotic immigration office, where it took about 30 minutes while we stood in line in the heat. This time there is a slick new air-conditioned immigration building. Yesterday, we moved in and out of there in five or six minutes. There were no lines.

We had to walk onto a chemical pad to clean the bottom of the shoes before we were approved for entry. That wasn’t so odd since we’d done this in the past here in Botswana and Antarctica. But in this case, we were told to open our luggage and take out all of our shoes to do the same thing. We’d never been asked to do this before anywhere in the world.

Our lovely room is on the ground level with a river view. See the next photo for views from our private veranda.

Soon, we were on our way again, directly to Kasane to the Chobe Safari Lodge, and once again, we weren’t disappointed with our room and the surroundings. It was as pretty as ever.

There are two chairs on our private veranda and these views of the Chobe River.

In no time at all, we were checking into the hotel at 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs. Our day started when we left Marloth Park at 8:30 am and arrived at the hotel. By our standards, it took six and a half hours, an easy travel day.

By 5:15 pm; 1750 hrs., we were seated on the veranda for sundowners. I had trouble finding a wine I liked, so I ordered a full bottle of white wine that should last for three nights. There are roughly five glasses in 750 ml wine bottles. Since none of the wine here is low-alcohol, I will drink only two small glasses each night from the bottle they saved for me at the restaurant up the hill, at the A’la Carte,  which we loved last time we were, and we loved again last night.

Last night’s sunset. We were so busy talking, we were late in taking the sunset photos!

There’s a buffet here for breakfast and dinner, but we’ll likely eat at the A’la Carte since at least I can order more easily. I never know what I’m getting at buffets and the ingredients included therein. That’s a bit risky for me. Here are a few photos from last night’s dinner.

We’ll be back with much more. Tomorrow morning, we will go on a game drive, and the new post with photos will be uploaded a few hours later than usual.

We don’t usually take photos of monkeys since they are so pushy and destructive, but this one was kind of cute.

Have a fantastic Sunday!

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

A young giraffe and a few zebras blocked the road on our way to Jabula on a Friday night. For more photos, please click here.

Final expenses for our five night Zambia trip…On our way back to the bush!!!…

Sunset over the Zambezi River, the longest river in Africa. Notice the spray from Victoria Falls in the left rear of the photo.

Note to our readers: This is the last day we’ll be posting this notice. Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

At the moment, we’re sitting on the bed in our hotel room in Zambia, after a lovely breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, packed and ready to go. At 11:45 am, Chris, from Chris Tours (see his link here), a highly reputable tour and transport company in Livingstone, Zambia, will pick us up for the short drive to the Livingstone Airport.

We’re scheduled to arrive in Nelspruit at 3:35 pm when we’ll pick up our rental car and commence the 90-minute drive back to Marloth Park. If all goes well with immigration (fingers crossed), we should be at our holiday home in the bush by about 5:30. Before unpacking, we’ll freshen up a bit and head to Jabula for dinner.

We’re looking forward to seeing Dawn and Leon, our friends and the owners of our favorite restaurant (and lodge) in Marloth Park. They’d been on holiday for a few weeks before we left for Zambia, and it will be fun to see them again, to catch up, and dine on their fabulous food. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating our return for another 90 days, providing all goes well at immigration in Nelspruit.

Load shedding has resumed in the park, so the power will be out while we’re out to dinner, hopefully back on when we get back to the house. Supposedly, it will be off and on until Saturday, after which they’ll be suspending load shedding for a few weeks, or so they say. It can change on a dime. Then again, TIA, “this is Africa,” and that’s what happens. We love it anyway.

We’ve had a great time in Zambia. We accomplished a lot of research, and I am down to page #18 (with 20 posts per page). At this rate, I will have completed this year-long project by the middle of November. I can hardly wait to be done and have my afternoons back to further enjoy life instead of working on my laptop.

Now, for the expenses, we incurred for this trip to Livingstone, Zambia:

Flight  (round trip) from Nelspruit to Livingstone:  US $1288.00,   ZAR 18938

Taxi: US $46.81, ZAR 690.68

Hotel (using some rewards): US $425.09, ZAR 6258.06

Food: US $339.00, ZAR 4992.29

Visa Fee (entry to Zambia):  US $100.00, ZAR 1472.65

Tips: US $125.0, ZAR 1470,80

Total:  US $2323.90, ZAR 32204.32

We were pleased with this total. The high cost of the airfare was over half of the total expenses. Flights through Airlink have increased during times of Covid, but the convenience of avoiding the five-hour drive to Joburg is worth it to us. Plus, we could get a direct flight from Nelspruit to Livingstone, saving another half day of travel time.

If we have no issues with re-entry, the expense will have been well worth the time and cost. We have documents with our negative Covid-19 PCR test results, our flight information out of South Africa in January, a rental letter from Louise stating we have a place to live, and all should be in order. The question is: “Will they (immigration) accept the fact we only left SA for six days?” If so, all will be good. The laws are vague on this topic, so we hold our breath when we check-in.

That’s it for now, folks. In a few minutes, we’ll zip up our duffle bags, call for help with our bags, pay the balance of our hotel bill at reception and wait for Chris to arrive to take us to the airport.

Hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll be writing from Marloth Park with the good news that all went well. Thanks for “traveling” with us!

Photo from one year ago today, October 26, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #217. Rasnesh, our driver, took this photo of us in front of the Vuadomo Waterfall in Fiji. We were hot and sweaty, but the long trek was worth it!  For more photos, please click here.

Final photos from Livingstone, Zambia…Final Expenses will follow tomorrow…

Zebras were grazing on the grass at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

Wow! The time has flown by so quickly. Tomorrow morning, we head to the airport to return to South Africa. At the moment, we’re awaiting printed copies of our PCR test results and a copy of proof of our airline tickets proving we are exiting South Africa on January 23, 2022, which may help at immigration if we run into any issues for our short time away.

Our favorite photo is of the sunset from the hotel veranda.

In the past, we only encountered one negative comment from an immigration officer upon return to South Africa, but we were allowed re-entry. However, we felt by showing our airline tickets for January. They may be convinced we’re not “border-hopping.”  We’ll see how it goes.

The past 24 hours have been relatively quiet while we both worked on projects on our laptops. I am working on the corrections fast and furiously and now have less than 19 pages of 20 posts left to correct. At this point, I can correct 30 posts a day when in the beginning, it was slow and cumbersome when I could only get through 15 posts a day.

The spray from Victoria Falls from the Zambia side of the river. We visited the fall on both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides last time we were here in 2018.

No, the old posts won’t be perfect. It is easy to miss a few corrections on each page, even after reading and re-reading it. Halfway through, I added the paid, highly-rated editing program, Grammarly. But, it, too, like humans, is not exempt from making errors. Yesterday. I did a post that had 126 errors on a post prepared while in lockdown in India. I had all the time in the world to proofread, and yet, I still made countless mistakes, mostly commas, occasionally sentence structure, and less so spelling.

I often say if someone asked me if I’d write an essay every day, 365 days a year, that would be presented to the world online, I would have said they’re out of their minds for asking me to do that, and I would have flatly refused.

An elephant on the opposite side of the Zambezi River, most like more than a kilometer from our view from the hotel veranda.

Weirdly, I am doing exactly that now, 3355 posts later. Good grief! How in the world did that happen? How in the world have I continued to motivate myself to keep doing this, day after day, month after month, year after year? Now, as we approach our ninth anniversary of traveling the world, having begun posting on March 15, 2012 (before we left), even I am shocked by how consistently this mission has continued.

The first year or so, we only posted a few times a week. But, as time marched on, we realized we needed to write more often to maintain the continuity of our peculiar lives without a home, without storage, and with only a few bags in our possession.

A bloat of hippos in the Zambezi River, rarely picking up their heads.

Based on interest and comments from readers, they’ve always seemed more interested in the challenges we face daily, not unlike their own. Life isn’t always about famous sightseeing venues and tours. At times, daily life is tough and for many of our readers, seeing how we resolved a particular issue(s) is equally, if not more interesting.

We try to “shake it up” with a mix of exciting events and daily life events. But, like most of you, some days are dull and uneventful. Have you ever wondered what you’d write about after 3355 days of writing a daily essay? It, in itself, is sometimes challenging.

A halfhearted yawn from a hippo.

Regardless of how often my mind is blank when I sit down to begin. Within minutes, my fingers fly across the keyboard as if possessing a mind of their own, and the words flow. Once I start, the rest follows suit. But, the easiest part is writing down the thoughts. The hard part is editing, editing, and more editing.

Then, the photos always take a good portion of the time I spend at my laptop, formatting, positioning, and editing. Although I may do a few photo edits, mainly consisting of brightening or resizing a scene. Remember, I am not a professional photographer and have little interest in pursuing that path when I know how much time it would take to learn more. Gee…I want to have time left in my day to embrace it!

The spray from the falls at sunset.

The concierge just dropped off our negative PRC tests. Tomorrow morning, we should have time to do another post with our expenses for the six days, five nights we’ve spent in Zambia. Please check back for that.

More spray from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.

Happy day and evening to all of you, dear readers!

Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in a hotel in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #216. The waterfalls at Vuodomo, Fiji, were still, at quite a distance. We gasped with delight over our first peek at the waterfall, which is much larger than it appears in this photo. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic evening overlooking the Zambezi River…The longest river in Africa…More photos tomorrow…

As soon as we were situated on the veranda, we were excited to see the spray from Victoria Falls at a distance.

Note to our readers: Based on receiving hundreds of spam comments each week, adding significantly to the time necessary to do each day’s post, it is now required to log in to post a comment. We apologize for this added step. We were tired of seeing pornographic and illegal drugs sales posted as comments on our site. I had to go through each one to remove it. If you have an urgent comment for us, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of each post or send either of us an email message to which we’ll respond within 24 hours or sooner. Thank you so much for being so understanding. We will post this notice for one week.

Last evening, the taxi driver picked us up for the short drive to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for game viewing and the sunset over the water on the Zambezi River, the longest river in Africa. Upon arrival, we walked through the five-star hotel’s lobby and then proceeded to the perfectly groomed grounds toward the veranda closest to the Zambezi River.

As we entered the grounds to the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel.

It was early enough. We managed to get front row seats at the railing and settled in, ordering a beer for Tom and a glass of wine for me. The wine list on the veranda was marginal at best, so I had no choice but to select their “house red,” which I sent back after a few sips. It came from an open bottle, and I think it had gone bad.

We took this photo on the long drive into the hotel. I wish we’d had a better shot, but other vehicles were also trying to enter the hotel grounds. This giraffe looked different than those we see in South Africa, “The South African giraffe or Cape giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis Giraffa) is a subspecies of giraffe ranging from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. It has rounded or blotched spots, some with star-like extensions on a light tan background, running down to the hooves. The Rhodesian  (or Zambian giraffe, more commonly known as Thornicroft’s giraffe, is a subspecies. It is sometimes deemed synonymous with the Luangwa giraffe. It is geographically isolated, occurring only in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley. An estimated 550 live in the wild, with no captive populations.”

Instead, I ordered a sauvignon blanc, not my favorite, but found it acceptable. With that settled, we began searching for wildlife sightings on the river. It didn’t take long when we spotted a “bloat” of hippos halfway across the river. Tom perused the river banks using his binoculars and spotted some elephants at quite a distance, resulting in our less than ideal photos. We were happy to see them.

The pool looked refreshing on a scorching day.

The sunset wasn’t perfect. It was shrouded by clouds at its final descent, but we managed to take a few decent shots before that. We couldn’t have been more relaxed and comfortable, chatting endlessly about our lives, past and future travels, and upcoming cruises. Of course, no sundowner time would be complete without mention of our wildlife friends back in Marloth Park, wondering how they’re doing with us away.

At dark, we wandered to the Old Drift outdoor restaurant on yet another veranda while we watched zebras munching on the dense grass, drinking from a fountain, and walking the grounds as if they owned the place. We doubted they’d ever wander away far from the hotel when everything they needed was right there.

Later in the evening, we dined at this end table for two.

We sat at a white linen-covered table for two, ordered one more drink, and relaxed a while before ordering our food. The menu was typical African/Continental cuisine with the popular local fish, bream, pork chops, steaks, half chicken, and so forth. I ordered salmon for the first time since we left India and a plate of steamed vegetables, and Tom ordered the sirloin steak with mashed potatoes. Of course, he was thrilled to eat the breadsticks with soft garlic butter before the meal was served.

The food was good, fresh, hot, and pleasingly served. It wasn’t quite the gourmet meal we expected, but both of us were content and will give it four stars on our upcoming review at TripAdvisor. Our food and drinks totals were US $89, ZAR 1322. We were back at our hotel before 8:30 pm, streamed a show, and dosed off by 11:00 pm.

As we made our way to the veranda overlooking the Zambezi River.

Today, at 10:00 am, a doctor from the local clinic arrived to do our PCR tests for our return to South Africa in a mere 48 hours. The time has flown by so quickly. Other than a few WiFi issues at the hotel, we’ve been delighted with the room, the food, the service, and the ambiance. Oddly, it feels somewhat like a mini-vacation. We’re having an excellent time, even more than we’d hoped for this short visa stamp trip.

We paid US $172, ZAR 2554, for the two tests, and the email results will arrive sometime tomorrow. In the interim, we’re looking at possible options if we aren’t allowed another 90 days in South Africa solely to give us peace of mind. But we aren’t apprehensive. We are proactive, just in case.

It was hot, but I often wear long sleeves (plus repellent) to keep from getting bitten by the mozzies, who are fierce in Zambia.

Today, we’re hanging out at the hotel again. Zambia’s Independence Day weekend is in full force, with the holiday extended through Monday. The number of guests at the hotel has thinned out today, and we love having the quiet solitude as we spend all day and evening outdoors.

There’s my guy, content on the veranda at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

Life is good. No complaints here. More new photos will follow in tomorrow’s post.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 24, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #215. Handmade raft for fishing, I Fiji, which our driver and guide explained is safer than a boat when there’s no chance of being stranded or sinking. For more photos, please click here.

Tom loves his doughnuts!…Fun outing planned for tonight…

    Tom was in doughnut heaven when “fritters” covered with white and chocolate frosting were available at the breakfast buffet. He sure loves doughnuts and seldom finds any he likes.

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Booking hotel rooms with breakfast included is our preference, although we don’t always eat breakfast at our holiday homes. But, if we chose a room without this option and didn’t order breakfast separately, we’d be in trouble if we became hungry during the late afternoon. We don’t eat typical vending machine snacks or lunch since we don’t eat when not hungry.

I can only imagine the struggle we’d have with our weight if we ate three meals a day with snacks. In an effort to maintain a healthy weight, overeating and to eat too often doesn’t make sense. Besides, not knowing the preparation of food unless otherwise specified is especially tricky for me.

Dining on the veranda at the hotel’s restaurant is pleasant.

Over the past several years, I have gotten away from eating restaurant foods made with vegetable oils. I have done tons of research on this topic, and over these years of world travel, I’ve learned to ask what oils were used in food preparation. Here’s an excellent article by Dr. Mark Hyman, a highly regarded physician, and health advocate.

In restaurants, they often use cheap oils, not unlike industrial oils. When we went through the buffet (staff served) this morning, I asked about many items I may have selected a few years ago. This morning, after ordering the same oil-free vegetable omelet with a side of steamed vegetables, I asked if the chicken livers, which I always loved, and various other offerings, were made with oil. They were. I chose to pass on them.

We didn’t bring swimsuits. With Covid-19, we aren’t interested in swimming in public pools.

Then I asked what may seem to be a dumb question, “Is vegetable oil used in the preparation of the bacon?” The answer was an emphatic yes. I passed on the bacon. I could eat nothing else on the buffet, but I appreciated the oil-free omelet and the steamed vegetable platter. Very few restaurants in this mid-range use butter for cooking unless requested.

In some African countries, even butter isn’t “real” butter. It’s some highly processed trans-fat-laden butter lookalike. No thanks. I am better off with poached, steamed, or grilled foods.

As you can see from the above photo of Tom, he’s less concerned. He doesn’t have heart disease, like me. And, he has excellent genes, when mine is awful with many inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and a variety of auto-immune conditions. I am trying to extend my lifespan by being very diligent about what I consume and the quality of my life.

The breakfast buffet only had a few options for me, a veggie omelet and steamed veggies.

I guess I won’t know if this serves me well until my number is up. But, I bear no hardship in selecting healthy options, especially when dining out.

As for tonight, we have a reservation for fine dining at the Old Drift Restaurant at the luxurious Royal Livingstone Hotel, a short taxi drive from the hotel. See details here from this site:

“Royal Livingstone Hotel Dining Options

The Royal Livingstone Hotel offers fantastic dining experiences serving world-class cuisine. The most famous is the Royal Livingstone Express, a luxury dining experience aboard a steam train that also stops on the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge for sunset drinks. A fine a-la-carte menu is available in their Old Drift Restaurant, or their lounge offers light dining in a room full of fascinating history and artifacts from the area. We would highly recommend doing either lunch or high tea in their Kubu Restaurant, which is on the deck, giving you unrivaled views overlooking the Zambezi River, some of the rainforest, and the spray of the falls. Animals such as baboon, zebra, warthog, bushbuck, and giraffe roam the lawns of the Royal Livingstone grounds, really giving you that “Out of Africa” feeling.”

We’re excited to be able to have sundowners on the deck of the famous hotel and then dine on their gourmet food which, I expect, won’t be cooked in “bad” oils, but I won’t hesitate to ask. If I am uncertain about the butter they use, I will order poached, grilled, or steamed items. One never can be too safe.

Tom was waiting for me while I took a few photos.

Of course, our big motivator for choosing this location is its reputation for great food, its high-rated ambiance, and views on the Zambezi River, where we hope to see wildlife and take many photos.

The time is going so fast, and we can hardly believe it. We’re having a great time together, meeting new people. Last night we met two corporate pilots from South Africa and had a great time chatting with them. We’re so fortunate always to find ourselves interacting with others during our world travels.

We couldn’t have it done on Monday since it’s a national holiday in Zambia, Independence Day, and the PCR clinic closed. Tomorrow, a doctor from a local clinic will come to the hotel to do our PCR tests for our return to South Africa. As it stands right now, we’re returning to Marloth Park in a mere three days.

Hmm, I wonder how our 12 bushbucks, Frank and The MIsses, Little and Broken Horn, and all the others are doing while we’re away! For now, we’re enjoying every moment of our time away while still looking forward to making it through immigration without a hitch (hopefully) and getting ourselves back to the bush.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2020:

Today’s photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #214. Ordering the seafood platter for two in Kenya resulted in a fabulous meal we enjoyed, each receiving our huge platter like this. That sure looks especially good now! For more photos, please click here.

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.

We’re off to Zambia!…

We tossed some pellets into the driveway for Mom, Dad, and Baby bushbucks.

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took off at 8:00 am, exactly as planned, packed with confidence, knowing we brought along everything we’d need. Over the years, packing has become easy, especially on these short trips. It was fun to see how light our duffel bags were at less than 20 pounds, 9 kg, each.

As expected, the drive to Nelspruit was, with lots of trucks and vehicles on the busy two-lane N4 highway through the small towns and gorge. The ongoing construction resulted in a few short delays, never more than five minutes or so, but we arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

Stopping at the last petrol station before the airport, where we always fill up after the long drive before returning the rental car, we reached the airport less than 15 minutes later. We dropped off the rental car, our lightweight bags at check-in and proceeded to wait in the restaurant until boarding time. Immigration went smoothly on this end. We’ll see how it goes when we return to South Africa.

The little one is so adorable!

In no time at all, we boarded the small plane, climbing up the steep metal steps and finding our way to row three for our two side-by-side seats. The flight was only about 90 minutes which passed by quickly. There were no more than a dozen passengers on the Airlink flight.

The clean and modern tiny airport in Livingstone was as we remembered it but with fewer shops open, due to Covid-19. Upon entry into Zambia, we had to pay an entry fee of US $100. On the way out, our bags had to go through a security scanner once again, after doing the same in South Africa.

A porter with a sign with our names greeted us upon arrival at the airport entrance. In a matter of minutes, our former tour company owner, Chris (the link to his site is here), met us at the curb, loaded our bags, and a likely conversation ensued on our way to the Protea Marriott Hotel.  We made a stop at an ATM to get kwacha, the local currency, and we were off to our hotel.

Warmly greeted at the reception desk, we inquired about a free upgrade. All the rooms in this particular Marriott hotel are the same, so an upgrade wasn’t possible. Once we arrived at our room, we were content with the cleanliness, good air con, WiFi, and king-sized bed with white fluffy pillows and duvet.

Baby bushbucks tend to sit down on the ground when the dad or another male is nearby, a submissive behavior.

Before we know it, we’ll be back in Marloth Park, hoping to see our animal friends, especially those we know and love so much. In the interim, we will make a point of enjoying our time in Livingstone, Zambia. We’re checking to see the availability of a few possible tours, but Coid has impacted Zambia, as is the case throughout the world, and some regular venues are not operating.

This morning when we were up and about 6:30, our wildlife friends were all waiting for us, including a tiny bushbuck attempting to shake off two pesky oxpeckers. We saw the mom warthog with the perfect tusks, now free of this season’s two fast-growing piglets and looking pregnant. By Christmastime, she will have from two to four tiny piglets in tow.

Many babies are born in the hot summer months when the bush is green and lush. It will be delightful to see all the little ones once again. But for now, we’re wrapped up in our six days and five nights in Zambia and will undoubtedly enjoy ourselves with whatever we decide to do.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos of our hotel while we investigate what will be on the agenda.

Have a fantastic day!

                                      Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day 3212. My dinner plate in Kenya in its entirety, seven skewered grilled garlic buttered calamari atop a plentiful portion of grilled non-starchy vegetables. I didn’t try the sauce, fearing it may contain sugar. For more photos, please click here.