|There were endless openings at Victoria Falls that excellent allowed viewing.|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|We shot this photo on the Chobe River. We’d have preferred a better view of the inside of the hippo’s mouth. Hippos open their mouths wide, to show how mean and powerful they are. No doubt, we were spotted and told to take off.|
It was a dark and dreary night as we drove to Jabula for dinner after arriving back in Marloth Park around 6:00 pm. On the way, we encountered three giraffes, two zebras, two bush bucks and one dead puff adder snake on the paved road. We were “home.”
|The rushing water came up to the edge of the viewing area.|
After weeks of me worrying about our immigration issue of having used all of the 90-days allowed in our visa and the possibility of not being let back into the country other than to pack and leave, no words can describe our elation when we arrived in Nelspruit/Mpumalanga airport and received a new 90-day stamp in our passports…no questions asked.
One might think that leaving the country for a week to a country that is not bordering South Africa, would be a sure bet we could return. But, after considerable research, we discovered leaving to visit a non-bordering country doesn’t ensure a new 90-day visa.
|Rainbows from the spray.|
We could easily have been refused the visa and told we had to return to our “home country” in order to return to South Africa for another 90-days. Arriving in Nelspruit helped. Had we traveled through Johannesburg, there’s a strong possibility we’d have been refused. The law states they can give us seven days to “clear out.”
In checking the cost of returning to the US, it would have been over ZAR 127,714, (US $10,000) to return to Minnesota, including round trip airfare between South Africa and the USA, a cheap hotel and a rental car for a paltry nine days. During that period, we’d still have been paying for the house in Marloth Park.
Adding in the cost of meals and expensive miscellaneous items in Minnesota and we’d have been looking at quite a chunk of money. At this point, we have plans including cruises to take us back to the US in 2019 which ultimately is a lot less expensive.
|The power of the falls left us is awe.|
Our other option was considerably less expensive which was to fly to New York, stay two nights in a hotel and turn around and fly right back to South Africa. We could have accomplished this for around ZAR 38,314, (US $3,000) which we may have to consider in three or six months in the event we’re asked to leave.
|The sound of the rushing water was deafening.|
In the meantime, we have the next 89-days to revel in our busy and happy lives in Marloth Park with the amazing wildlife and our equally amazing human friends, many of whom are coming back and forth from homes in other parts of the world.
When we arrived at the airport after the pleasant flight from Zambia, to head directly to the only immigration officer on duty, my heart was in my throat. Tom was a cool as a cucumber not even slightly concerned. Usually, it’s the other way around.
|The magnificence of Victoria Falls.|
But, I was the one that spent almost three hours in the middle of the night, reading everything I could find on South Africa’s immigration laws. Based on our situation, the outcome didn’t look good. It appeared we’d have to leave, return to the US and then, return to South Africa, not a good option.
Well, we have been approved to re-enter and we practically skipped to the rental car desk to get yet another long-term rental car that will see us through until August 15th, when the visa period ends once again.
We’re aren’t certain where we’ll go next time but most certainly it will be a non-bordering country on the continent of Africa. We have a few ideas and will share them once we make a decision and book the next trip.
|There were many rainbows at the falls.|
Hertz gave us a free upgrade and we got a slightly larger car, a VW something, that has power door locks and windows. What a treat that is! The tires look good, the AC works well and it even has a clock. (Some of the cheap cars we rent have none of the above).
The return drive to Marloth Park was long when we encountered a bad accident in Malelane that tied up traffic for no less than 30-minutes. Also, there were many trucks on the single lane N4 (highway) and Tom’s who’s an inpatient driver, insisted on passing every truck in our path. It was great to get back into Marloth Park at the security gate and head to our bush home.
|The charming shop is Big Hippo Love located at the Livingstone, Zambia airport.|
While we were gone, Louise had arranged for a deep cleaning of the house. When we walked in the door to find the TV working, lights left on for us and the house has been totally “spring cleaned” and beautifully “detailed” we couldn’t have been more appreciative.
One thing we’d like to mention is a wonderful experience we had with two lovely shopkeepers at a newly built tea shop at the Livingstone Zambia airport where we were able to sit comfortably while I sipped on exquisite organic herbal tea. (Tom surprised me and purchased two packages of the tea I loved, enough to last for a few months).
|The girls were so kind and thoughtful.|
We chatted with the two adorable shopkeepers and had a fabulous time. If you ever get to Zambia, stop by and say hello for us. We’ve included a few photos of our visit to the shop.
Soon, at around 11:00 am Tom will drop me off at Jabula for a special women’s “tea” event to watch the Royal Wedding on TV. There will be about 12 of us girls in attendance and it should be fun. I can’t recall the last time I did a “girls only” get together.
|Not only do they carry delicious healthful teas but also a wide array of interesting African inspired merchandise.|
Tonight, just the two of us will do a braai while we set up our nighttime routine in hopes of seeing more visitors. Since we’ve been gone a week it may take a few days for our usual group of visitors to realize we’ve returned. Although so far this morning we’ve had two kudus, two bushbucks stop by and an ostrich walking down the dirt road. We’ll wait patiently.
Tomorrow, we’ll continue sharing more photos we’ve yet to present here from our outstanding trip to Zambia.
Have a happy weekend!
Photo from one year ago today, May 19, 2017:
|The Ketchikan sign over the boulevard as we wandered about the historic city. For more Alaskan photos, please click here.|