Visa documents finally submitted…Hotels booked…Carjackings…

Female bushbucks are so shy.

Note: Late posting due to power and WiFi outage.

In only 27 days, we’ll be leaving Marloth Park to make our way to Nelspruit where we’ll stay overnight for our early morning flight to Johannesburg from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport. Based on the fact our flight is so early, we preferred not to be on the N4 highway in the dark.

Many carjackings occur on highways in South Africa at night (less so during the day) prevents us from ever driving to Nelspruit in the dark. As a matter of fact, there has been a 537% increase in carjackings in Minneapolis, Minnesota (our former home state) as seen in this news article.

Tiny and a friend, getting along well while sharing pellets.

This is alarming in the US and even more alarming in South Africa as described in this article. In this province of Gauteng,where Johannesburg is located, there were 9025 carjackings in 2020. This is sufficient to make road trips of any type during the night, considerably more dangerous.

As a result, whenever we have an early morning flight out of the small Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport, we prefer to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. Also, when leaving Little Governors Camp in the Maasai Mara on April 13th, we’ll fly out from the Maasai Mara in a small plane landing at Wilson Airport, not too far from the major airport in Johannesburg where we’ll fly out on the next available flight back to Nelspruit the following day. This requires another hotel stay.

Tiny loves to nap in the garden.

Having accumulated so many “free nights” using Hotels.com on our site for those 10 months in Mumbai, India, we were able to use three of those many accumulated “free” nights for the three one-night hotel stays. The dollar value of the free night is based on the price we paid for each of those nights.

At many points during those 10 months, we paid less than US $100, ZAR 1496, per night, requiring us to pay the difference when using our free nights, for hotels priced above that amount. Thus, between the three hotels on all ends of the stay in Little Governors Camp, we had to pay an additional almost US $180.

Ms. Hornbill abandoned her nest in the bushbaby house, but returns often. We wonder where her new nest is located.

Why three hotels for a six-night departure from Marloth Park?

  1. April 8, 2021 – Nelspruit, South Africa overnight awaiting the early morning flight
  2. April 9, 2021 – Nairobi, Kenya overnight awaiting the net morning’s early morning flight from Wilson Airport, a short distance from Jomo Kenyatta International in  Nairobi
  3. April 10, 2021, to April 13, 2021 – Little Governors Camp (3 nights)
  4. April 13, 2021 – One overnight in Nairobi before the early morning flight back to Nelspruit followed by the return drive to Marloth Park upon arrival.

As much as we tried to reduce the number of required overnight stays, in order to avoid driving in the dark, this was our only option. Others may have been able to eliminate some of this “monkey business.” But also, delays due to Covid-19 could result in delays or cancellations of flights. This way we protect ourselves in more than one way, reducing potential travel stress.

Cute bushbuck walks daintily.

No, we don’t like all the additional exposure at three airports (both coming and returning) and three hotels and one camp stay. But, we had to carefully weigh our options and make choices that work for us. As you can see, booking all of this is time-consuming and at times, frustrating.

As of yesterday morning, we hadn’t booked any of the hotels. When we began the e-visa process with yet another company, after the company in Washington, DC, required the e-visa to be snail-mailed which didn’t work for us, through considerable research, Tom found yet another company we could use, that is reputable that will email our e-visa within the next five days.

Tiny and a friend.

While again, while filling out the application, and submitting our documents, their system stated our dates didn’t match up from the dates at Little Governors Camp with our entry and exit dates. This prompted us to realize we’d better get to work booking the two hotels in Nairobi so the dates would match up.

Finally, after hours in the bedroom with the fan on, (load shedding occurred during this period while we used the inverter to run the fan), sweating like pigs in the heat and humidity, our documents were accepted from IVisa and our five-day wait began.

Whew! That was challenging. Now, all we have left to do which we’ll take care of over the weekend is booking a rental car for three more months which we’ll pick-up upon our return to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga on April 14, 2021, for our return drive to Marloth Park.

Little, attempting to get on the veranda. He’s so bossy!

Then, perhaps, we can relax for another 90 days in South Africa until July when the visas will expire once more. Next time, we’re hoping to apply for an extension which will take us to October, at which point we’ll have to leave South Africa for an upcoming cruise (which may or may not happen) in November. That is up in the air, as is so much due to Covid-19 and immigration laws.

Tonight, our friend Alan and his adult niece Kristen will be joining us for sundowners and appetizers. Thank goodness, it’s a little cooler today, although not cool enough for my liking with the high humidity. But soon, we’ll begin to head toward winter and eventual cooler temps.

May you have a pleasant and healthy day! Oh, oh, load shedding just started again! No power for the next 2½ hours. Oh, well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 12, 2020:

Lakshmi was so sweet and welcoming. I patted her thick trunk and looked deep into her eye. More here: “This Ganesh Chaturthi, you can visit the extraordinary Manakula Vinayagar Temple situated approximately 400 metres away from the Bay of Bengal in White Town, Pondicherry. Read on to know why devotees, photo fanatics and experience seekers flock to this special temple of Lord Ganesha.” For more, please click here.

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