Whanganui couple Irene Wolmarans and Abigail Marthinusen were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary in their native South Africa when the Covid-19 lockdown took effect there.
With "less than four hours to make an exit move", they've found themselves "waiting it out" with Mathinusen's family in Cape Town.
"The lockdown rules here are some of the strictest I've seen," Wolmarans said.
"There are no cigarette or alcohol sales, and no exercise is permitted outside of your own home.
"All essential workers need a permit to travel, and only one member of each household is allowed to visit a supermarket, pharmacy or doctor."
The military and police were "out in full force", Wolmarans said, setting up roadblocks, checking on supermarkets and making sure that everyone was adhering to the two-metre safe distance rule.
"Lockdown here was implemented on March 26, with an initial period of 21 days, but at the two-week mark, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended it till the end of April."
Wolmarans said it was "good to see" the South African Government, as well as the New Zealand Government, putting the lives of the compromised and the elderly and wider community as a whole, first.
"You can't help but be proud of our leaders and their compassionate approach.
"South Africa has, in the past, been a bit slow off the mark, but it seems as though the current powers that be are decisive and swift in their Covid-19 response."
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The couple settled in Whanganui in 2016. Wolmarans is the general manager of Frank Bar and Eatery, and Marthinusen is the floor manager at the Rutland Arms Inn.
Wolmarans said they're "both safe and sound", but are keen to get back home to New Zealand as soon as possible.
"We both have built solid foundations in Whanganui and we have completely integrated with the community.
"We have an amazing support structure that consists not only of an actual family, but also our friends, regular customers and employers who we consider to be family in every way too."
Wolmarans and Marthinusen are both New Zealand work visa holders, which has meant "a bit of a forgotten, grey area" in terms of returning home, Wolmarans said.
"We are not legally recognised as residents or citizens here, though since 2016 New Zealand has been our primary place of residence.
"We completely understand the risks that Covid-19 poses and New Zealand has had the right call in keeping the border shut.
"We are just hanging on to the glimmer of hope that, once the lockdown restrictions have eased, that we will be granted a window to return to NZ.
"Of course, we will still undertake mandatory quarantining and get the necessary health checks and tests, as there is no room for error with this virus."
Wolmarans hoped everyone in Whanganui was keeping safe.
"Hopefully, in the near future, this will all just be a bizarre, surreal memory."