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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.
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.
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: