Zebra day!…A delightful visit by nine of these wonderful animals…

A little cuddle among the dazzle of zebras.

Almost daily, warthogs, bushbucks, kudus, mongoose, francolins and other birds stop by for a visit. However, zebras are less frequent visitors. Since arriving here over 3½ months ago, zebras have only graced us with their presence on two occasions. Yesterday, was one of those occasions and we couldn’t have been more thrilled.

When Tom happened to look out the kitchen window, he saw the zebras in the driveway. He tossed them some pellets. In no time at all, they came around to the back garden.

From this site, here are 25 amazing facts about zebras:

“Zebras are one of the many beautiful creatures inhabiting Africa. Many people know them for their iconic stripes and the never ending riddle about them being black with white stripes, or white with black stripes.

Here are a handful of facts you might or might not know about these striped horses.

  1. The zebra is actually mostly covered in white and striped with black or dark brown stripes, but underneath their coat is black skin.
  2. There are different types of zebra, each with a different stripe pattern. The mountain zebra normally has vertical stripes on its neck and across its torso while horizontal strips cover their legs.
  3. Zebras run in a zig-zag pattern when being chased by a predator making it more difficult for the predator to run after them.
  4. The pattern of a zebras stripes is different for each individual zebra, making them each as unique snowflakes!
  5. The black & white striped pattern of their coats is a good bug repellant, keeping horseflies and other bloodsuckers at bay.
  6. A group of zebras is called a ‘zeal” or “dazzle.”

    It was fun to see two zebras drinking simultaneously.

  7. The Native American culture refers to the zebra as a symbol of balance and sureness of the path.
  8. The Swahili name for the zebra is ‘Punda Milia’.
  9. Romans used Grévy’s zebras to pull two wheeled carts for their circuses.
  10. In Roman Circuses the zebra was usually called a ‘Tiger-Horse’ or a ‘Horse-Tiger’.
  11. When faced by predators, zebras will form a semi-circle and bit, nip or attack the predators if they come too close to them. They will also encircle an injured family member to protect it from further attack if the need arises.
  12. A mother zebra will keep her foal away from all other zebras for two or three days until the foal can recognize her scent, voice, and appearance.

    There were nine zebras in the garden, staying for over an hour.

  13. Zebras form hierarchies with a Stallion (male) in the lead, followed by his Harem (group of females) behind him.
  14. When traveling with his harem, the stallion will lead them with his head low and his ears laid back.
  15. Zebra’s bunch together to confuse colorblind predators, such as lions, which mistake the pattern as grass.
  16. Zebras are one of the few mammals that we believe can see in color.
  17. Zebras are actually pretty short and can be 3.5-5 feet tall.
  18. The Grévy’s zebra is named after Jules Grévy, president of France (in 1882) who received a zebra as a present from the emperor of Abyssinia.
  19. Another name for Grévy’s Zebras are Imperial Zebras.
  20. A zebra can run up to 65 km/h or 40 mph.
  21. To sleep, generally zebras don’t lie down – instead they usually sleep standing up.

    We’re so enjoying seeing wildlife drinking from the bird bath where we continue to add fresh water.

  22. Zebras can rotate their ears in almost any direction; this ability is used to communicate their mood with other zebras.
  23. Zebras have one toe on each foot.
  24. Zebras cannot see the color orange.
  25. A species of zebra are called ‘Asinus Burchelli’ after a conflict between William John Burchell and John Edward Gray sparked. Burchell brought specimens from Africa to The British Museum and the specimens died. Gray felt the need to Embarrass Burchell because of the incident; the name means “Burchelli’s Ass”.”

    They drink from the top section and often drop down and drink from the bottom section as well.

We’ve researched a number of facts about zebras over the years and each source provides new and interesting information about these stunning animals.

The sounds of their hooves pounding on the ground, the whinnying amongst themselves over pellets and jockeying for position in the garden leaves us smiling over their demeanor, rambunctious and determined. Each time we drive on Olifant Road, the only paved road in Marloth Park, we are in awe, when spotting them at the side of the road or crossing.

They waited in a queue, taking turns drinking the fresh water.

We seldom see a solitary zebra. They are social animals who travel together covering many kilometers in a single day. Even here in Marloth Park, which is only 3000 hectares, 6.7 square miles, they find plenty of space to wander, whether it’s in the parklands or in the sparsely occupied residential areas, zebras may be found running fast together, or casually grazing on the grass and vegetation.

Residents of Marloth Park certainly appreciate the zebras offering them carrots, apples and pellets when they stop by for a visit.

At this point, we haven’t been offering apples and carrots, but once the winter comes, when the vegetation is sparse, we’ll begin offering these to our friendly visitors.

They were busy eating pellets for quite some time.

Today, we’ll be working on some research for the future and afterward head over to Louise and Danie‘s Info Centre for a short visit. The school holiday period has ended and now, they have more time for a little social interaction. It will be good to see them once again.

If all goes as planned over the next 24 hours, we’ll be off to Kruger National Park tomorrow for a much desired self drive, hopefully returning with many good photos to share here.

A pretty female profile.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, May 3 2020:

A fish eagle, one of the most prolific eagles in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.

First trip to Kruger National Park in 2021!!!…New photos!…

It’s estimated an aggressive hippo sharp teeth kills 500 people a year in Africa. Hippos can crush a human to death with their weight ranging anywhere from 3,000 to 9,000 pounds. But, they are amazing to see in the wild. Note the oxpeckers on the hide of the hippo on the right

Yesterday, after uploading the post, I suggested to Tom that we head to Kruger National Park and purchase our year-long Wild Card, which allows us to enter Kruger as often as we’d like for the next 12 months. With most of the Easter weekend visitors and holidaymakers apparently gone, we figured it would be a good time to go.

We could have applied online, but the website was cumbersome, so we decided to do it “the old way” and appear in person. It proved to be a good decision. We were the only applicants in the Crocodile Gate office, resulting in no waiting. We were well masked, gloved, and brought our own pen for any necessary filling out of documents or signatures.

At the Verhami Dam, we spotted this “bloat” of hippos munching on the tall grass.

Although we were the only visitors in the office, it took at least 30 minutes for the purchase to be completed and for us to finally head back to our car. Of course, with a temporary pass in hand, we decided to go into the park right away. It was midday and we were well aware the sightings could be minimal.

We hadn’t been in the park since January 2019 before I had open-heart surgery. There was no way I could have been bouncing around on the bumpy roads after the surgery when we finally left South Africa after three months of recovery in May 2019. We’d missed it.

We wanted to yell out, “Pick up your head” but were satisfied when the hippo in the main photo did so.

Generally, early morning can be the best time to do a game drive, in our case, what is referred to as a self-drive. Although, in the car, we weren’t as high up as one would be on a professional game drive vehicle with a guide. We kept a watchful eye as we meandered down the roads, to see what we could find. As usual, we weren’t disappointed.

Not every tourist that enters the park is determined to see the “Big Five.” Sure, it’s great to spot a leopard, lion, cape buffalo, elephant, and rhino. But, for us, we never focus on such a lofty goal. We’ve seen the Big Five more times than we can count. At this point, although fun to see, it’s not a priority for us.

Zebra traffic on the main road.

We’re always looking for good photo ops, regardless of the species and for us, it proved to be as productive a day as any. Over the next several days we’ll be posting our photos and of course, over the next months, returning to the park regularly.

As for the application for the Wild Card, which resulted in a cost of US $352, ZAR 5100, for foreign nationals, the application process had to be completed once back at the house, requiring we call a phone number, speak to a representative and give them the code we got on the receipt.

We waited patiently until they moved over into the grass.

We won’t actually receive a card. Instead, this morning shortly after I spoke to the representative, we received an email with a confirmation letter that we must carry with us in order to enter the park. Plus, each time we go, we have to fill out another form with personal and passport information. Lots of steps.

In any case, we certainly enjoyed driving through the park. Deciding to go on short notice, we didn’t eat lunch at the popular Mugg & Bean, located in Lower Sabi on the Sabi River, although we stopped for a bathroom break and to check out the action on the Sabi River from the restaurant.

It was quite a day for zebra sightings.

We’d already defrosted and prepared bacon-wrapped fillet mignon for dinner and knew, if we ate lunch, we’d never be hungry by dinnertime. We only eat one meal a day, only due to the fact, that our way of eating totally diminishes our appetites until 24 hours later.

Long ago, we both decided that we wouldn’t eat unless we were hungry. Thirty days prior to leaving India, Tom began the process of losing weight he gained stuck in that hotel room, eating four bananas, toast, and pasta, day after day.  He has since lost 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, and I, too, had lost 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, while in India, after changing our diets further.

Crocodiles are always scary-looking, in the water and out.

It’s hard for us to believe that combined, we’ve lost 50 pounds, 22.7 kg, of unnecessary weight in the past several months, greatly improving our health. We both feel committed to maintaining our current way of eating, weight, and resulting in better health with the new changes. We both feel great and love fitting into our minimal wardrobes.

Soon, we’re off for Komatipoort for grocery shopping and to purchase some pellets, Now that the Easter alcohol ban has lifted, we’ll restock a few items.

More photos from Kruger will be posted tomorrow.

Hope you have a pleasant day and that all is well your way!

Photo from one year ago today, April 8, 2020:

A Brown Gecko is hanging out in this plant with sharp thorns, a safe hiding spot for sure. For more year-ago photos, please click here.

Stars in our eyes…Stripes in our garden…It’s our 26th wedding anniversary today…What does it cost us for food in South Africa?…

Tiny couldn’t resist being in the photo with the zebras.

As of today, we’ve been married for 26 years. Last year in India, we celebrated our 25th but now, that seems like so long ago. We are blessed to have this amazing union, two people of polar opposites, that somehow meet in the middle to find love, companionship, friendship, and harmony. Who knew we’d be able to travel the world together for over eight years and find so much joy in our everyday lives, regardless of where we may be at any given time?

We waited quite a while for them to pick up their heads for a photo but they were preoccupied.

If anyone had asked if we could spend 10 months in lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, we may have laughed, uncertain if our usual state of harmony and love would survive. And, it did. Not only did we survive, emotionally intact, but all the stronger for it. Happy anniversary, Tom Lyman! May our lives together continue to be enriched in years to come.

They often head-butt one another when the pellets get low.

Last night, we headed to Jabula Lodge & Restaurant for our anniversary dinner, dining outside on the veranda and enjoying, as usual, a fine meal. It’s often surprising to us how affordable it is to dine out in Marloth Park. This week we dined at Jabula twice, on Thursday with Linda and Ken, and again last night.

The cost for each evening was approximately US $40, ZAR $615, which included taxes, tips, cocktails for Tom, and a bottle of my favorite Four Cousins Skinny Red Wine which I drank from on both occasions, with another glass or two left in the bottle that we brought home last night. There is nowhere in the world we’ve been able to enjoy such good food at such reasonable prices.

Zebras with their heads down only interested in the pellets.

Our total grocery bill since we arrived here on January 13th with enough food to last us for another week was US $1081, ZAR 16609. This averaged, US $136, ZAR 2074 per week. Our total dining out bill for these eight weeks was US $251, ZAR 3856. The grand total for food thus far was US 1332, ZAR 20465, averaged US $167, ZAR 2566 per week.

This was the first of the zebras to take a drink from the pool and the others followed suit.

When we lived in Minnesota, shopping for groceries in 2012, we spent an average of US $225, ZAR 3457 per week. Dining out, typically was US $100, ZAR 1536 and thus we didn’t go out to eat in the US as readily as we do here. As we’ve always said, it’s good for our budget to be living in South Africa, let alone all the other wonderful reasons.

As you can see from today’s photos, we were thrilled to finally see zebras in the garden. It was funny how it happened. One of the four zebras snuck up from the side of the house and peered out at us on the veranda, checking out the situation. Moments later, the four of them were busy munching on pellets, rarely taking a second to look up.

They seem to copy one another’s activities.

Zebras aren’t like kudus, wildebeest, warthogs, and bushbucks, who make eye contact and respond to our voices. They never look us in the eye. Although it’s quite enjoyable to watch them interact with one another, pushing and shoving one moment and cuddling the next, they have little interest in us humans. Nonetheless, a visit from them is always welcomed.

Tonight, we are getting together with Linda and Ken to celebrate our anniversary. Bubbly is on the menu for sure. And, tomorrow night, their last night in MP, we’re meeting for dinner at the Amazing Kruger View Restaurant, formerly known as AAmazing River View. The restaurant overlooks the Crocodile River for some often exciting views.

Although there is chlorine in the pool, here, they use so little, it’s not harmful to the animals to drink from the pool.

Today, it is very hot and humid. It’s so much so that I decided to stay inside in the bedroom to cool off for a bit while I finish today’s post.

We hope you’ve been having a good weekend. We certainly have enjoyed this four-day run of social activities with our special friends in Marloth Park. We never tire of the people or the wildlife and can’t imagine, we ever will.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 7, 2020:

Us, in an old vehicle, located at the Best Exotic Marigold  Hotel, is referred to as a Willy/Jeep. For that post, please click here.

Today’s Plan B…Hospital or no hospital…How did this happen?…

This morning when we opened the big wood doors we had a dazzle of zebras waiting for breakfast.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We were thrilled to see the return of a mating pair of hornbills.

It’s never quite good enough for me to blindly accept a scenario that causes ill health and other problems in our day to day lives.  I’ve always strived to discover the “why” in a determined attempt to avoid a similar scenario in the future.

As far as the necessity of my having to have coronary bypass surgery, I’ve been on a mission, reading (from reliable sources, not the general public) as much as I can find, listening to medical podcasts and watching medical videos in what may be a futile attempt to answer the question, “Why me?”


In the realm of things, anyone can wonder why they experienced any difficult situation only to come up empty-handed, leaving the answer to “chance.” But over the years, I’ve learned a hard lesson, as many of us have…when it comes to unpleasant interactions among people..we have the power to avoid emotionally painful situations.  We can only control how we feel, not how someone else should feel or behave.


However, when it comes to health, the “why” becomes more complex. Injuries, illness and medical crises of most types may have been lessened or obliterated by one’s own carefulness and diligence.  
Note the two youngsters with little interest in the pellets.

Get sick on a cruise?  “Did I fail to wash my hands frequently enough or did I shake hands or hug someone who was carrying germs?”

Break a leg while skiing?  “Was I showing off or taking risks beyond my expertise?”

Had a heart attack?  “What lifestyle changes could I have made for a different outcome?”

Of course, there are all those dreadful diseases one can acquire where it appears, the patient played no role in developing.  Was it heredity, bad luck or random cases of the universe playing tricks on us?  No doubt, we can’t control it all.
But as I look back over the years I have to take full responsibility for my three blocked arteries and the consequences of the necessity of this enormous surgery.  I knew about the hereditary factor on my mother’s side of the family, succumbing to hearts attacks, strokes, diabetes and a myriad of other inflammatory diseases.  Why didn’t I do something about that?

I thought I was on a path to longevity when from a young age I exercised, maintained a healthy diet and weight, didn’t abuse drugs or alcohol and quit smoking (only occasionally with a glass of wine or a cocktail) decades ago.

But, stress which plays a role in building plaque in the arteries, typical for Type A personalities like me, was a huge contributor and I made little effort to avert it in my hectic lifestyle before we embarked on this journey.

In the ’90s our medical plan offered a discount on a full body arterial scan and foolishly I refused to do it thinking I couldn’t possibly have blocked arteries. Tom went ahead to discover he had zero plaque in his arteries and gained a lot of peace of mind.  Did I avoid the test for fear of what may be found? 

I thought I was exempt from heart disease based on my lifestyle.  How wrong I was!  Had I known this 20 years ago would I have been able to change the progression of atherosclerosis?  Possibly, to avoid what I’ve been experiencing of late.


So, the infection in both of my legs?  Could I have avoided this?  I showered when I was told I could.  I applied sterile bandages when the wounds were weeping.  I walked as directed, took all the medication as directed and made every effort to rest and sleep.

And then, there were 12.

In the past 24 hours it dawned on me why, most likely, I got the infection in my legs.  The following notice was posted on Facebook on March 5 notifying local residents that the water supply, although not drinkable by our standards (we only drink purified bottled water), was finally in a safe state, fit for human use.
Here’s the post from that date from a local official:


WATER TEST RESULTS: As you can see below the water test results of Dec 2018 showed that our water was not fit for human consumption as the coliform markers were too high which meant feacal contamination. This marker/contamination could have made senior citizens, children, and people with low immune systems sick as per the lab scientists. BUT I had it retested now in Feb 2019 and now it is compliant and fit for human consumption. I also asked them to do ph, chlorine, etc. tests as well to see if our water could be the source of the rash and itching experienced by many owners/visitors. As can be seen by these results nothing in the water results points to a possible cause for rash/itch. I will, however, take samples personally at different points and have them tested personally to make double sure when I come down next week to Marloth. I will report back to all as to the results. Would I personally drink the water? No. Too much sewerage and waste are being deposited into our rivers in this day and age. But ultimately it is each owner/visitor’s prerogative if they want to drink the water or not. A Health Department representative will meet with me on Monday 11th March at the municipal boardroom in Marloth Park at 10am to do follow up research on the rash/itch situation. I will post about this shortly. I will be receiving and posting a monthly water test result for all to peruse.”


Could it be that when returning from the hospital, 20 days ago, and taking my first shower since February 12th, the day of the surgery (when I was instructed to shower from head to toe three times with a strong anti-bacterial soap) that this dirty water here in Marloth Park entered the still open incisions to cause the infection.  


It was only about three days later that I began to feel more pain in my legs.  We’d even gone as far as heading to our local doctor two weeks ago when the pain had escalated in my legs since returning to Marloth Park.  At that appointment, there was no evidence of infection although the wounds looked bad and felt worse.


I knew about the bad water.  I should never have taken the first shower.  Instead, I should have been using bottled water until the wounds closed.  I knew better.  Why didn’t I listen to my instincts?

They stayed in the garden for over an hour while Tom continued to toss pellets their way.

Lesson learned?  Yes, those instincts of ours tend to be in our hearts and minds for a reason.  I’ve promised myself to pay more attention, to be more mindful and to stop trying to avoid facing uncomfortable facts.


That’s the problem with us “overly bubbly” types.  We can easily be accused of putting our heads in the sand.  By the way, ostriches do not put their heads in the sand.  Going forward, nor will I.


Plan B for today…at 1645 hours (4:45 pm) today I have an appointment with Dr. Theo (for a second opinion) to see if he thinks I need to go into the hospital.  If he says I do then I will.  If not, I’ll continue with the current regiment of antibiotics, probiotics and twice daily application of an antibiotic wash and cream as directed.  


Now that I know the “why” I can exact the “what” to put this all of this behind me in due time.
                      ________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2018:
Four waterbucks sunning on sandbars on the Crocodile River.  For more river photos, please click here.

Exquisite scenery from the Marloth Park side of the Crocodile River…Staying healthy, a must for this life!…

It was hard to believe we captured this scene close to sunset.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Notice the appearance of a face in the rocks near the top center of this photo.

It’s almost noon on Sunday and I’m getting a late start to today’s post. Recently, on a relatively strict diet to lose the weight I’d gained these past few years since my gastrointestinal problems began, I’m only 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) away from my goal.  

A pair of retired generals, perhaps?

Once I reach that goal, I will post the details here including what I’ve been doing to lose weight which is difficult with my already strict way of eating, what I did and didn’t give up, my weight at the start and the final total weight loss.

Zebras were standing in a waterhole drinking and cooling off.

It’s been slow, averaging only a .45 kg (one pound) loss per week but I’m thrilled to be able to fit back into clothes I’ve dragged around the world for a few years hoping I’d fit in them once again.  

A mom and youngster grazing near the water’s edge.

Of course, now I’m stuck with many items that are way too big, which I’ll donate before we leave South Africa, whenever that may be.  In the interim Tom who’d also gained a few kilos is now gradually returning to his lowest weight which was when we were Belize almost six years ago.

This elephant was trying to figure out how to climb these steep rocks.  Eventually, she turned and took a different route.

We’re hell-bent on not carrying excess weight when our goal is to stay fit and healthy so we can continue traveling.  We’ve both found we feel our very best at the lower end of our weight ranges which like everyone, fluctuates from time to time.

Five giraffes at the river’s edge.

No, we’re not obsessed with the “numbers’ but we’re definitely determined to keep our lipids, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight at a level of optimum wellness for our ages.

Zebras coming down the steep hill to the Crocodile River.

No doubt, I’d had my share of medical ups and down these past several years.  But, now I see I need to pay more attention to wellness and less attention to the vulnerability of advancing age.  

The hot weather brought many animals down to the Crocodile River.

Fortunately, none of my issues had left me wanting to stop traveling.  At times, it was difficult to carry on but sheer love of our lifestyle has kept me motivated to forging ahead.  Now that I’m feeling so well I never forget to be grateful each and every day while continuing on the mission to maintain good health.

Giraffes rarely bend to the ground other than to drink.  They are vulnerable to predators in this position.

One’s mental health is equally important in this process and nothing could bring us more joy than the amazing relationship we share as we travel the world.  This extended stay in South Africa, hopefully lasting until February 20, 2019, when we fly to Kenya (providing we are able to get visa extensions) means we only have 150 days remaining until we leave.

A few male impalas and two giraffes which could be mom and youngster.

That remaining 150 days constitutes a total of four months and 28 days.  We both want to thank all of our worldwide readers for staying with us as we’ve continued to write and post photos of some fairly repetitive scenarios.

Giraffes heading back up the embankment while zebras languished in the water.

We present today’s photos with a little different perspective, not just animal photos per se but scenes with wildlife we’ve been fortunate to see while on the Marloth Park side of the fence, overlooking the Crocodile River, taken on the two outrageously hot days this past week.

A few of the zebras began to wander off while the others stayed behind.

Enjoy our photos and especially, enjoy YOUR day!

____________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2017:

Much of the produce at the Central Market in Atenas appears to be imported when it’s perfectly shaped and mostly clean.  At the feria, the Friday Atenas Farmer’s Market, the vegetables appear to have been “just picked” with excess leaves and insects still on them.  That’s the type of produce we prefer to buy.  For more photos, please click here.


An outstanding drive in the park…They’re baaaack!!!!…Two days and counting…

Mom and baby love.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We continue to take nighttime photos of the bushbabies on the stand eating the little cups of yogurt to see how many we can capture.  We counted seven here but not all of them is easily shown in the photo.

With few animals visiting since last Wednesday when the holidaymakers started arriving for the long weekend, yesterday we were determined to be able to take plenty of photos to share over the next few days until we get to Zambia and Botswana.

We had few expectations even commenting to one another that with all the commotion in Marloth Park we’d see few animals within the park but might have safari luck looking across the fence to the Crocodile River in Kruger.  How wrong we were!

There were no less than 12 zebras in the dazzle, many of which included youngsters.

Sure, we saw plenty of wildlife on the river but that’s always from such a distance that the photos don’t always come out as good as we’d like. We’ll share those photos over the next few days until we depart on Thursday for Zambia, after which we’ll have plenty of new photos to share on our activities in both Zambia and Botswana.

After driving for about 15 minutes and taking a series of ostrich photos, yes on Volstruis Road (which means ostrich in Afrikaans) and a few surrounding roads, Tom spotted some giraffes and zebras on a side street.

Baby zebras always seem a little dazed and confused, sticking close to their moms.

Today, we’re sharing the zebra photos and tomorrow we’ll post the giraffe photos that includes a story that was quite entertaining.  Please check back for those photos.

As for the dazzle of zebras, we couldn’t have been more dazzled.  In researching the definition of the word “dazzle” from Merriam Webster dictionary, we noted the following: 
a. To shine brightly;
b. To arouse admiration by an impressive display.  

They were on a mission.  We couldn’t tell what motivated them to stay on the move.

Hum…it’s no wonder a group of zebras is called a “dazzle.”  They certainly arouse admiration by an impressive display!  And that they did yesterday as we slowly drove up and down the road observing them on their apparent mission to an unknown destination.

We’ve noticed that when zebras come to call, they don’t stay long like many others.  They eat their pellets, jockeying for position with one another for the closest advantage to the food, kick up their hooves a few times when being pushed out and then, are on their way.

The babies were able to keep up the pace.

Often warthogs, kudus, bushbucks, and others will lounge about the garden, some even laying down for a rest or a nap as we’ve shown in prior photos.  But zebras?  Nope, they move along.  Perhaps with their larger weight than some others, they require more food.

From this site “Males are slightly larger than the females, and they have a narrow black stripe running vertically between their hind legs. In females, this stripe is wider. Males grow to between 1.35 meters (53 inches) and 1.37 meters (54 inches) at the shoulder and their weight is between 290 kg (629 pounds) and 340 kg (750 pounds), while females weigh about 260 kg (573 pounds).”

They traveled in a long row making it impossible to take photos of the entire dazzle.

In any case, the sightings for the day were much more than we’d expected and by the time we returned to the house, we were fulfilled and satisfied with the excellent day in the bush.

They stopped to drink from a cement pond.

However, once we set up the veranda for the evening, we didn’t expect many visitors.  The holidaymakers were still leaving the park and sightings were sparse.  We had a number of warthogs, one bushbuck, and one duiker stop by for a visit.

Stopping in the shade to cool off for a moment.

This morning, now that a day had passed, as usual, they started returning to see us.  At 6:30 am, we had several sounders of warthogs including “mom and five babies,” three bushbucks, “mom, baby, and friend,” no less than a dozen kudus including “Big Daddy and Little Daddy,” lots of guinea fowls, and unfortunately, way too many monkeys.  

Tom spent most of the morning chasing off the monkeys while I stayed busy preparing tonight’s dinner, doing laundry, packing a few more items and sorting through zillions of photos for today’s post.

When it’s so much hotter in the summer months, we can only imagine how hot it is for wildlife especially when water is sparse.

At the moment we’re sitting indoors on the sofa while Josiah cleans the veranda (a daily necessity with all the blowing sand and leaves) while Martha is sweeping and washing the floors on the inside of the house (almost daily).  We’re anxious to get back outside to see who may visit us today and tonight.  

They made their way through trees and vegetation in the gardens of homes along the way.

The pounding next door has stopped and for these next two days, we can relax and enjoy that which we’ve come to know and love…paradise in the bush.

Be well.  Be happy.

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, August 14, 2017:

This is a variety of Bromeliad growing on the grounds of the villa in Costa Rica. For more photos of the exquisite landscaping, please click here.

Annoying noise and big concerns in the park…A little complaining on this end…Three days and counting to trip…

From this site:  “Zebras as very social animals and live in large groups called ‘harems.’ Plains and mountain zebras live in harems that are made up of one stallion and up to six mares and their young, while Grevy’s zebras come together as groups for short periods of time.”  The type of zebras in the South African savanna are Burchell’s Zebra [Equus burchelli].

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Moms and babies…what a sight to see!

It’s been an unusual weekend.  With few wildlife visitors stopping by due to the holidaymakers and the noisy construction next door which occurred all day Saturday and Sunday, beginning again with hammering at 6:17 this morning, our days and nights were quite different than usual. 

The work continued each day until darkness fell that had an impact on our enjoyment of setting up for wildlife visits in the early evening.  No one came to call.

Zebras can be pushy when it comes to getting their share of pellets and vegetables both with us and with their harem mates.

At a few points over these past days, the pounding was so annoying we went inside, shut the door and watched a few episodes of shows on my computer.  This is very unusual for us.  We rarely watch anything other than the Minnesota Vikings game during daylight hours.

There are rules in Marloth Park as to which hours and days of the week construction can be in process.  Obviously, the neighbors had little regard for these rules.  But, who are we to report them…we’re only renters.

This zebra started climbing up the veranda steps to let us know he was hungry.

We can only imagine the frustration tourists who’d come for a long weekend would feel if they’d come for a four or five-day stay and they had to put up with the noise and lack of wildlife visiting.  The main reason people come to Marloth Park is for the wildlife and a sense of peace and quiet.


It’s unfortunate that some homeowners and holiday renters aren’t respectful of the laws, spoiling it for everyone else.  Actually, we’re thrilled to be leaving in three days to head back to Livingstone, Zambia and Chobe National Park in Botswana for a week.

It’s not unusual to see altercations among the zebras when they’re competing for food.

Hopefully, by the time we return on August 23rd, the construction will be completed and the noisy and disrespectful holidaymakers will be gone.  In the past several weeks we’ve seen no less than a half dozen children driving 4×4’s and SUVs in the park, some as young as eight or nine years old, either sitting on the parent’s lap or on some type of booster seat.


It’s no wonder 12 or 13 animals were killed on the roads over these past few school holiday months.  Some people come here, not all, with little regard for laws and safety, many speeding on the roads with the potential to kill both animals and humans innocently walking or biking to their destinations.

The symmetry of their stripes is different on each zebra, such as in a fingerprint.  From this site: “Body stripes are less numerous and broader than that of the Cape Mountain Zebra, whereas body stripes extend around the belly. Leg striping is less prominent. Measures 1.3 to 1.4 meters (51-55 inches) at the shoulder and weighs 300-320 kg (661-704 pounds). They have rounded ears approximately 160-170 mm (6.3-6.7 inches) long. The front portion of mane forms a black tuft between the ears. Diet: Predominantly a grazer, feeding in areas with short grass. Zebra has a strong sensitive upper lip with which it gathers herbage by collecting the grass between the lip and the lower incisors before plucking the harvest.”

A few weeks ago, we saw a lit cigarette being tossed from a moving vehicle.  We were aghast!  Marloth Park is all bush and this time of year extremely dry.  The entire municipality could ignite in minutes from one single careless act.  


Plus, the invasive alien plants of which there are many, brought in by homeowners desiring a “fancy” garden have a tendency to burn higher and more intensely than the indigenous plants.  This is frightening.

The type of giraffes found in South Africa from this site “Giraffe camelopardarlis giraffe – South African giraffe found in South Africa, southern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.”

As all of our readers know, it is not our intention to be “negative” in our posts but we’re hoping both locals and visitors will stumble upon this post and realize how serious some of these infractions are to the safety and well-being for everyone in this magical place.


We apologize to our worldwide readers, far removed from this area, to be reading this bit of negativity.  But, we have no doubt, that in some of your neighborhoods, towns, and villages, there are similarly thoughtless people who upset the balance of peace and harmony.

From this site: “Receptive cows are continuously courted by adult bulls. They have a gestation period of 457 days whereafter a single calf is born. At birth, a calf weighs about 100 kg (220 pounds) and they are weaned between six to eight months, but only about 52 percent of the calves ever reach maturity, since the young are preyed upon by lions, hyenas, and leopards. Sexual maturity is reached after four or five years. The reproductive receptiveness of cows is checked upon by adult bulls moving from group to group.”  For giraffes in Marloth Park, the calves are more likely to reach maturity since there are few predators in the park as compared to in Kruger National Park.

I’m planning to pack today for our upcoming trip.  It always gives me peace of mind to be packed a few days earlier than necessary.  We’ve found its harder to pack for short trips while living in a holiday home than it is for us to permanently leave a location.  In those cases, we pack everything we own.


For short trips, it’s a pick-and-choose process that takes more time and effort.  Last time we made this trip, I brought along 50% more than I needed.  This time, I’ll cut back considerably lightening the load.  

Ms. Kudu and friend visited us a few weeks ago. Only one kudu came to call over the past many days.

Plus, we’ll be taking a “trip within a trip” when we stay overnight at the Chobe Safari Lodge midway through the week.  During this one-night, two-day period, we’ll mostly be wearing our ‘bugs away” clothing, making those decisions a little easier.


Today, we’ll embark on our usual drive in Marloth Park since getting into Kruger is still almost impossible with the tourist crowds. We’ll wait to visit Kruger after we return from Zambia.


Have a spectacular day!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 13, 2017:

View from the chaise lounges of the pool, the Jacuzzi to the left and beyond it, the cold plunge pool at the house in Atenas, Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

Two lions sighted on our street last night!…Zebras and kudus stampeding in the driveway!..Video…

We always attempt to zoom in efficiently enough to leave out the fence.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This happened so quickly that we only got the last few seconds of what appeared to be a stampede by zebras and kudus in our driveway.  Stunning, today on the 4th of July!

This morning our dear friend and property manager Louise, sent out this message warning of two lions sighted late last night.  Thanks, Louise for always being on the ball on these important updates.

PREDATOR WARNING:
Good morning. 2 Lions spotted late last night in the area of Swartwitpens, Hartbees, Pappegaai, Woodpecker, and Butterfly. Please take caution as they still might be in the area. Thank you.







We hadn’t heard any more details about the lioness that had entered Marloth Park a few weeks ago prompting everyone to believe she may have returned to Kruger National Park.

We spotted these elephants from Marloth Park across the Crocodile River a few days ago.

There’s no word yet on the gender of these two lions but surely in the next few days, something will be posted on the Marloth Park Sightings on Facebook.  We’ll keep an eye out for updates.

Last night, we didn’t take any photos when I was busy on Skype speaking to son Greg, daughter-in-law Camille and our three grandchildren, Maisie, Miles, and Madighan. 

This parade of elephants consisted of more than 30.

They were camping about an hour outside of Minneapolis and it was fun when Miles carried the phone around to show us photos of their new fifth wheel camper.  In return, I showed Madighan the bushbabies by turning around my computer while she squealed with delight over how cute they are.  Maisie had an opportunity to see a few warthogs in the yard including Little Wart Face. 

It’s not easy taking photos through the narrow electrified fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

Having face-time with family is especially fun although due to the big time difference we don’t always have the opportunity to do so.  Its hard to believe that in a mere nine months, in April, we’ll be back in Minnesota to see everyone. 

We got out of the car and moved as close to the fence as possible to get these shots.  In Kruger, exiting a vehicle is strictly forbidden.

This visit won’t be as long as last summer’s six-week stay with only 17 days in Minnesota but we’ll focus on spending quality time with both sides of the family as we did last year.  However, we plan to return in September 2020 which is 16 months later.

In between all of these dates, we have so much planned all the way into 2021, along with gaps we’ll fill during the next year.  To see our most recent itinerary, please click here.  The itinerary is perpetually evolving as we acquire interest and enthusiasm for new and different locations.

Such mysterious and fascinating animals.

Once we’ve upload today’s post we’ll be heading out for our usual drive in the park but this time with eyes focused on spotting two lions and the eight ostrich chicks seen with mom and dad on a nearby dirt road.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t stop to take photos of other wildlife we discover along the way.

As for today, the US holiday, Independence Day, the 4th of July, as mentioned in a prior post, we’re attending a holiday celebration here in the bush at friends Kathy and Don’s home beginning at 17 hours, (5:00 pm). 

The caring these animals feel for one another is always obvious when viewing them in the wild.

Tom’s busy reading up on facts about Independence Day since Don, as always, will have a relevant quiz.  Tom won last time (at their Easter party).  We’ll see how it goes tonight.

May all of our American family and friends in the US and living in other countries have a safe and meaningful Independence Day.  Our patriotism and devotion to our country and to each other is vital to our freedom, our prosperity and to everlasting peace.

_____________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, July 4, 2017:

With the bright sun behind us, this photo didn’t come out too well plus our plates of food look twice as big as they actually were.  For more details, please click here.

OMG!…It doesn’t get any better than this!…Quite a “Sighting of the Day in the Bush!”…

Soon, there were nine until the tenth arrived.  At this point, the three warthogs were on the scene, a mom, an auntie and a tiny baby. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Today’s sighting of the day in the bush couldn’t be more befitting of what life is like in Marloth Park.  Please check out this video when 10 zebras, three warthogs, and two kudus came to call.


There are definitely fewer visitors over the weekends when tourists flock to Marloth Park, staying in holiday homes or one of many lodges in the park.  They too feed the wildlife that visits their surroundings and often with the extra cars and added weekend noise, many of the wildlife take cover and don’t come around as much.

They don’t waste any time letting us know they’d like some pellets.

Usually, by Monday or Tuesday morning, we begin seeing them again.  That’s not to say we don’t have visitors over the weekend, besides the human kind on both Saturday and Sunday.  Many animals visit us on weekends, just not as many as during the weekdays.

We tossed out a few handfuls and they were all over it.

Based on the fact we spend 14 to 15 hours a day on the veranda, less our almost daily drives in the park, visits to Kruger (upcoming again this week), trips into town for shopping and appointments, and time spent socializing, the wildlife have come to realize, we’re an easy mark for pellets, apples, and carrots most of the time.

In a matter of moments, more zebras arrived in the yard.  Check out the young one in the back center of the photo.

On a day like today, we’ll be gone from 12:30 to 7:00 pm, for two planned events, both of which we’ll share with photos in tomorrow’s post. Our dinners are already prepared, ready to be reheated, and by 7:15 this evening we’ll be back on the veranda ready to begin “watching and waiting” once again.

This zebra came up to the veranda, licked my bare toe to let me know she wanted more.  I complied, cutting up several apples for her and the others.

For us, avid wildlife observers and obvious commentators in one form or another, we never seem to become bored with this interminable hobby that is a way of life as we live in what we’ll always refer to as “this magical place.”

Their stiff upright manes are an indicator of good health.

We’d love to hear if any of our readers have been to or heard of such a place anywhere on this earth, where one could live for a few months at a time, socializing with wonderful people and embracing daily life surrounding by visiting wildlife.

There was plenty of kicking taking place as they competed for the pellets and apples.

If you know of such a place, please let us know.  We’ll want to go there!  But, as the well-traveled residents of Marloth Park always say, “There is no place on earth quite like this place.”

The three warthogs held their ground, refusing to let the feisty zebras intimidate them.  Tom made sure to toss plenty of pellets toward them.

Sure, many locations throughout the world offer sightings of bears, moose, antelope, whales, endless varieties of birds, farm animals, and on and on.  But, as we perused this world so far (not even the “tip of the iceberg” so far), we haven’t encountered anything comparable to Marloth Park.

The youngest of the dazzle of zebras (yep, dazzle) got in on the action without hesitation.

In a way, it reminds me of when I was a child and we visited Disneyland, only about 35 minutes (much longer now with more traffic) from where I grew up in Long Beach, California.  There was one exciting moment after another and as a kid, it was easy to feel I’d never get enough.

The cement pond is a favorite spot from which to drink after eating the dry pellets.

And, although this place isn’t “manufactured or artificial” (except for the homes, lodges and few shops) this environment of wildlife was here long before the people.  For me, it feels like Disneyland every day, one wonder after another.

The young zebra rarely moved from the others to allow for a good photo.

For Tom, who’s a little more reserved in his outward display of enthusiasm, he too, is caught up in the wonder of it all, especially when a few days ago, he was responsible for discovering and booking the upcoming cruise back to Africa in November/December 2020.  Click here for the details if you missed the post describing that cruise.

Tom mentioned these three had been by earlier in the morning while I was getting dressed.  I was thrilled to see them return to check out the little one.

Coming back here this time, on February 11, 2018, was a gift from Tom for my 70th birthday on February 20th, knowing how anxious I was to return.  But, now returning again in 2020 is not only for me.  He, too, is fully engaged and loving the life we live here.

Two female kudus came prancing into the yard to check out the activity.  When the zebras wouldn’t allow them in on the pellets they left.  No doubt, they’ll return later.

No, we won’t eventually move here as many have asked.  We have no plans to permanently “live” anywhere.  Nor will we stay so long next time.  We’ll stay the 90 days allowed by a South African visa and be on our way. 

This time, we wanted to see Victoria Falls both sides from Zambia and Zimbabwe; safari in Chobe National Park, the Chobe River and, cruise on the Zambezi River.  Mission accomplished.  

When we book plans for our next 90-day required exit in August, we’ll share all the details at the time of booking and while we’re on that next adventure.  However, we don’t need to travel from Marloth Park, South Africa for an adventure. 

The kudus left deciding a few pellets weren’t worth a kick from a zebra.

We need only open the big wooden doors to our lovely holiday bush home on a morning like this to behold a scene such as this morning’s and, the adventure has just begun.

Thank you to all of our readers for sharing this special time with us. All of you have given us such purpose as we document all of these magical moments.  Without YOU, we may have smiled, laughed and taken a few photos along the way. 

With YOU, it’s immemorial, as we feel dedicated and determined to document this life we lead 365 days a year.

Have a pleasant Monday!

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Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2017:

As we continued to have quality time in Minnesota with family and friends, we added more photos of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia.  We didn’t want those we love to feel every get-together was a photo op to be posted online.  For more garden photos, please click here.

Visit to a dentist in South Africa…More excitement at “home”…Remembering a friend in the “Photo from one yea ago”…

At the reception desk, from left to right is Dr. Luzaan, assistants Daleen and Melanie.  They can be reached at 061 608 9323 for appointments.

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Male impalas who rarely visit our yard stopped by last night for a few pellets.  They’re very shy and any sudden movement will make them dash off in a hurry.  During the mating season, they bark when claiming their territory among other males.  It’s a sound like no other sound we’ve heard in the bush.

As we drove through Kruger National Park two days ago, several times over a period of three or fours hours, I felt a sharp pain in my right bottom molar.  It was over three months ago while we were on the Antarctica cruise, that a temporary filling I’d had in Costa Rica finally fell out.


When we’d gone to the dentist in Costa Rica (click here for details) for some reason I didn’t feel right having the dentist entirely replace the chipped filling.  Instead, I asked for a temporary filling knowing in time, something else would have to be done.  

The spotless waiting room in Dr. Luzaan Du Preez dental office located two doors from Wimpy’s in the Spar Shopping Centre in Komatipoort.

Once the temporary filling was in place, I didn’t give it another thought until it fell out during dinner while on the cruise.  Since there was no pain or discomfort, just a gaping hole in the tooth, I’d figured that in time I’d get it repaired. 

The well-equipped modern treatment room was the most sophisticated we’d seen in years with the latest and most professional equipment.

Oh, good grief.  I don’t like medical stuff.  But, if we still lived in the US, from time to time we’d go to a dentist, a doctor, an ophthalmologist or others for a wide variety of aches, pains, and illnesses that befall us at any age.  No one is exempt from these issues.

When we returned from the dentist appointment and grocery shopping in Komatipoort, there were many zebras hanging around the yard.  Of course, we gave them pellets, apples, and carrots.

Unfortunately, living outside our home country and unsure of the quality of medical care in many countries, taking care of medical issues is fraught with a certain degree of fear and apprehension. 

Warthogs are always lurking in the bush, waiting for other animals to stop by so they can partake in the pellet offerings.  No wonder they are called wart “hogs.” There were five zebras munching.

Are things sterile?  Will we “catch” something in the doctor’s office?  Is the doctor educated sufficiently to handle our concerns or do they just do “cookie cutter” treatment for all of their patients.  One never knows. 

As we’ve worked with Dr. Theo Stronkhorst in Komatipoort for our vaccination boosters and my gastro issues, we’ve felt totally confident in his care.  His knowledge and attention to detail are impeccable.

Then, there were seven zebras.

Yesterday’s appointment with Dr. Luzaan made us both feel the same way, resulting in our booking appointments to have our teeth cleaned on May 3rd.  What an exceptional dentist! Plus, the entire bill including x-rays was only ZAR 625, (US $50.28)!


She took x-rays of my tooth to discover it has a crack most likely from grinding my teeth at night which I’ve done all of my life.  She explained that the filling she replaced may not last forever, particularly if I eat anything hard to chew on that side.  In essence, the tooth may eventually need a root canal and crown.  I was in no mood for that right now or at any time in the near future.

Zebras have a tendency to stay close to one another due to their distinctive stripes acting as a point of confusion to predators, although in Marloth Park generally there are no predators.  Although, recently lions have been sighted.

She gently repaired the filling without anesthetic (to which I jumped only a few times) and we were off to the grocery store, meat market and biltong store for the foodstuffs we need over the next week.

Another holiday is on the horizon and once again Marloth Park will be packed with tourists.  We won’t be returning to Kruger until the holiday is over after the weekend.  We hear it’s the “May Day” holiday which wasn’t particularly celebrated in the US in our old lives.  Instead, we celebrated “Labor Day” on the first Monday in September.

They stayed around for quite a while, occasionally tossing a kick toward a warthog who honed in on their treats.


By 3:00 pm, we were back home, put away all the groceries and settled in on the veranda to a busy night in the bush.  We used the gas grill to make pork chops for Tom and lamb for me along with bacony green beans and homemade low carb almond flour muffins, a real treat when warmed and topped with butter. 

Several times during dinner we had to jump up to accommodate visitors.  But, we don’t mind.  A cold plate of food is just fine as long as we can spend time with the animals who stop by day and night, always making us smile.

Enjoy your day and evening! 

_______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2017:

It was one year ago today, that we posted a story and this photo (not ours) about our friend and loyal reader Glenn who passed away a few days earlier.  It’s with love, respect, and reverence that we recall his memory and post this photo once again as we think of Glenn and his lovely wife Staci with whom we’ve stayed in close touch. For the full story, please click here.