Will our means of protecting ourselves soon be changing?…Assessing the scenario…Bad news about South Africa…

Elephants on the Crocodile River as seen from the fence in Marloth Park. See the post here.

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Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more details.

We knew this day would come. More guests have check-in the hotel. We’re only days or weeks away from Prime Minister Modi allows some businesses to reopen, although airports and public gatherings will still be in lockdown. We aren’t certain about hotels re-opening as yet.

A tree bark gecko in our garden.

Currently, some hotels are only housing people like us along with a low number of Indian citizens who have no place else to stay, like us. Other hotels are housing potential carriers of COVID-19 and those still in quarantine with confirmed cases that don’t require hospitalization. We’re grateful we didn’t have to stay in such a quarantine hotel.

Now, as we’ve noticed some staff members wearing masks, that weren’t doing so a week ago and in seeing a new group of four young Indians, we’re wondering if now is the time to ramp up our safety.

A massive bull elephant in Kruger.

Only yesterday, we noticed tape on the floor of the lift, designating where guests should stand when riding together. We refuse to enter the lift with any others, even staff we know.

This morning, we had a new server at breakfast. When we inquired, he stated he arrived at the hotel last night to take over for other servers who were allowed to return to their homes after a six-week stint during which they stayed overnight each night.

A rhino in Kruger.

The question we ask ourselves: Have new staff members been exposed to the outside world and may they be the invisible carriers we hear so much about from the media? No symptoms. Highly contagious.

No, we’re not being overly paranoid, but we are considering what changes we may need to make especially when servers may potentially be carriers, touching our flatware, plates, glasses, and other food-serving apparatus.

Vultures on the lookout for their next meal.

The government now requires any facilities that serve food to keep tables un-set until guests actually sit down to eat. No more linen napkins. No more salt and pepper shakers left on tables. This way, they can sanitize each table after guests have completed their meals.

But still, this is no guarantee of safety. Someone is handling all of these items. And isn’t that one of the many reasons so many passengers and crew became sick on all the cruises we hear so much about?

A parade of elephants crossing a dirt road in Kruger.

Last night, we discussed our next precaution. If we see more new staff and guests entering the hotel, we may have to begin eating our two meals a day in our room.

Today, another comfortable chair was delivered to our room, enabling Tom to stop sitting in bed. We made room for the extra padded chair without sacrificing any valuable space in the room. We turned the TV so we can both watch the news and occasional episodes of Nat Geo, as we often have on in the background during the day..
Cautiously, they make their way across the road.

If and when we begin dining in our hotel room, we’ll have to pick up our meals from the kitchen, thus avoiding any servers handling our food. Besides, no room service is allowed during times of COVID-19. At that point, I think we’ll wash our own forks and knives to avoid further handling.

As for the bad news about South Africa, several of our friends have informed us, that incoming international travel won’t be allowed until at least December, six months or more from now. We expect India’s international flights will commence much sooner.
Intimidating mouthful of razor-sharp teeth.

We now accept the reality that we’ll need to fly somewhere else before we can plan on flying to South Africa. Our next booked cruise sails out of Lisbon, Portugal on November 10, ending up in Cape Town, South Africa on December 2, which may or may not be canceled. We have no clue at this point.  

The final payment is due in July. We’ll have to wait and see what transpires with the Azamara cruise line in the interim and if that cruise will cancel down the road. 

Crocs don’t have sweat glands. They open their mouths at rest to cool off.

PS: After completing this post and preparing to upload it, I stopped to do my hourly walk. While in the corridor, I noticed a new couple with luggage entering a room. The above-mentioned plan of eating in our room is now in effect as of this evening’s upcoming meal. I spoke to Dash, a manager and also the main chef. Our dinner will be awaiting us at the service area, an open kitchen as seen from the restaurant, at 7:00 pm each evening. To avoid feeling rushed in the mornings, we’ll call 20 minutes ahead for our usual breakfast order. On each occasion, we’ll wear face masks including the period during which we wait in the lobby while our room is being cleaned, where to date, we’ve never observed any other guests.

All of us must be proactive in securing our safety and designing a plan that works for us, regardless of what others may think of our decisions. At this point, it appears social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently is a step in the right direction. For us, these added measures are a must.


Photo from one year ago today, May 1, 2019:

The Crocodile Bridge, one of many entrance points that leads to Kruger National Park. For more from this post, please click here.

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