Ratcheting up the research...Holidaymakers moving in...Piglets in the pond!...


Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This is "Little" on his usual mission of getting our attention to come outside and give him some pellets.  If we don't respond, he enters the house.  Very funny!
Its hard to believe in 71 days we'll be leaving Marloth Park to drive to Nelspruit for the flight to Nairobi, Kenya, departing early the following morning.  Our one year in Marloth Park is rapidly coming to a close.  We've decided to spend one night, February 14th, Valentine's Day, in Nelspruit to avoid early morning traffic on the 15th, the day we must exit South Africa.

If you missed our story as to why we must leave on the 15th as opposed to the originally planned February 20th, please click here for yesterday's post.  It's all clearly explained there.

As it turns out we won't have to travel on my birthday after all and will spend it doing something very special while in Kenya.  Details will follow once we get everything booked.

Mom warthog gets into the cement pond to cool off.  Now, the piglets follow her.
Speaking of bookings, we need to get to work now that we have a definitive answer on our immigration status.  We'd left many loose ends in the itinerary and the time has come to get these items booked.

With the ongoing power outages, spending time online is tricky.  By the time we manage photos and prepare and upload the day's post, the power goes out again, usually for 2½ hours.  During these periods, we have no internet access.

According to the Eskom load shedding schedule, the power should be out about 7½ hours during each 24-hour period.  Fortunately, and not surprisingly, the schedule isn't precise and often a time slot for an outage is ignored and we have full power and wi-fi.  Go figure.  

Piglets climbing out of the cement pond.
We're managing to work around it as are other residents throughout this country, not just here in Marloth Park.  With the continuing heat and humidity, it's even more uncomfortable when we can't use a fan especially when our surroundings are still and windless, resulting in a long 2½ hours.

But, this is Africa and we're making the best of it, planning social events, cooking our meals, dining out with friends (tonight with Uschi and Evan, tomorrow with Rita and Gerhard) and attempting to ignore the inconveniences.

The holidaymakers are beginning to filter into the park now as we see more and more vehicles on the roads each day.  Soon, every holiday rental and most bush homes will be filled, the noise will ensue, underage kids will be driving vehicles in this relatively un-policed area and maniacs will be driving fast on Olifant Street (the paved road), killing the precious wildlife.

With the heat evaporating the water in the pond, between cleanings Tom refills it for easy access for wildlife being able to reach for a drink.  So far, the only animals we've seen enter the pond are the warthogs.
No pun intended...it's the nature of the beast.  Not everyone who comes to stay in Marloth Park possesses the love and respect for this magical place, its rules, and its wildlife.  This is so sad and disheartening.

Among the rest of us, dedicated to this paradise, we'll continue to respect the laws and treat the wildlife with dignity and respect.  We've heard tales of humans feeding wildlife marshmallows, potato chips, and other human junk food.  If it's not good for us why would we assume it's good for them?

During this Christmas season, as in the past six years, we don't have a tree, wrap gifts, bake cookies or plan holiday parties, although we'll attend a few.  I'll bake some treats to share at Christmas and make a few special items for Tom's upcoming birthday on December 23rd.

Back onto the dirt, everyone is cooler and refreshed.
I'd considered a party or get-together for his birthday but he reminded me how busy a time it is for everyone else with their usual holiday festivities.  To burden others with a party the day before Christmas Eve was unfair.  I relented and we decided to make it a party for two.

This leaves us plenty of time in the month of December to get to work booking the following, for our upcoming travels:

  • Hotel in Kenya for seven nights, arriving February 15, 2019, and departing for the booked photography tour on February 22, 2019  (tour ends of March 7, 2019
  • Flight from Nairobi to Santiago, Chile on March 8, 2019
  • Transportation from Santiago, Chile to San Antonio, Chile (the location of the cruise port) 
  • Hotel in Santiago, Chile from March 8, 2019, to March 24, 2019, when our 15-night cruise departs from San Antonio, Chile, and sails to San Diego, California
  • Flight from San Diego, California to Minneapolis, Minnesota* on April 8, 2019
  • Rental car in Minnesota from April 8, 2019, to April 25, 2019
  • Flight from Minnesota to Fort Lauderdale to board the next cruise to Copenhagen on April 25, 2019, cruise departs on April 26, 2019
  • Flight from Copenhagen to Dublin, Ireland on May 12, 2019
  • Rental car in Dublin, Ireland on May 12, 2019, and drive to Connemara, Ireland where we'll stay in a holiday home until August 9, 2019 (booked and deposit paid)
    Two giraffes walking along a dirt path in the park.
*The hotel in Minnesota is already booked and partially paid with the balance due upon arrival.

This covers our booking needs for the next eight months.  Once we've put all of this together, we'll be updating and fine-tuning our spreadsheet with all the new expenses.

Hope you have a spectacular Wednesday!
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Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2017:
In Pisco Peru, this pelican was trained to entertain tourists as the man passed around a cup.  For more photos, please click here.

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