What are these elephants doing?…Mysterious behavior…Intelligent beings, beyond belief!…

 What were these elephants trying to accomplish?  Any ideas?

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A little affection between the two warthogs in the garden.

For us, the fascinating aspect of living in the bush is the opportunity to observe animal behavior. We’re not animal behavioral experts, but after watching wildlife full-time for over a year based on our current and previous time spent living in the bush and on endless safaris, we’ve been able to learn a little.

We couldn’t help but wonder what was going on here.

At times, we see interactions and behaviors that leave us wondering what could be going on. Such was the case when we spotted elephants on the river engaged in a most peculiar pattern while attempting to break down or dig into an embankment on the Crocodile River.

We watched for a while before taking the above video, and today’s included photos trying to formalize an opinion as to what was transpiring. We were never able to conclude. 

One lone elephant decided not to participate in the action at the wall.

As we’ve reviewed the photos and video, we’re still at a loss. But we’re willing to leave it at that…we don’t always get to know what’s in the minds of these and other fantastic creatures. Instead, we made the video, took the photos, and watched and waited until they finally wandered off to the river to drink, eat and clean off.

Even the youngsters got in on the activity.

However, these and other animals we’ve observed have left us reeling with excitement to do some further research to see what we can learn. Many online sites offer a wide array of information on elephant behavior, but the one we found most interesting is here.

Trunks were covered in mud.

We realize many of our readers prefer not to click on links and videos, so today, we’re sharing some of the excellent information we discovered on the above website as shown below:

Elephants continue to fascinate both scientists and general observers alike. They are recognized as being among the most intelligent creatures on earth. Some enthusiasts believe that their intelligence rivals that of human beings.
Aristotle even said of elephants: “The beast which passeth all others in wit and mind.” 

It appeared they were using their mouths, not as much as their trunks, to dig into the dirt wall.

Proportionally, the elephant’s brain is the most sizeable at a mass of just over 5kg. Although the largest whale is 20 times the body size of an elephant, its brain is just under twice the size. 

The need for such a large and complex organ becomes clear when we consider the behaviors and abilities of these animals. Elephants are capable of a range of emotions, including joy, playfulness, grief, and mourning. In addition, elephants can learn new facts and behaviors, mimic sounds that they hear, self-medicate, play with a sense of humor, perform artistic activities, use tools, and display compassion and self-awareness.
Part of the reason that elephants possess such a superior level of intelligence is their brain structure. Their neocortex is highly convoluted, as it is in humans, apes, and some dolphins. This is generally accepted to be an indication of complex intelligence. The cortex is thick and comprises many neurons. The elephant is one of the few creatures (along with human beings) that is not born with survival instincts but needs to learn these during infancy and adolescence. The brain is specially designed to accomplish this sort of life learning. Elephants and humans have a similar lifespan, and plenty of time, approximately ten years, is allowed to learn before they are considered independent adults. 

The insight and intelligence of the elephant are particularly noteworthy in their ability to mourn their dead. This behavior has only previously been noted in humans. Recently deceased elephants will receive a burial ceremony, while those already reduced to a skeleton are still paid respect by passing herds. The burial ceremony is marked by deep rumblings while the dead body is touched and caressed by the herd members’ trunks.

Intelligence is also manifested in the elephant’s ability to self-medicate. When a pregnant mother is due to give birth, she will chew on the tree’s leaves from the Boraginaceae family to induce labor. 

Every so often, they backed off and took a break.

The ability to mimic sounds is another indication of the impressive intelligence of these beasts. Elephants have been recorded mimicking passing trucks and even the sounds made by their trainers. Often, the elephant manages to articulate certain sounds to bear a strong resemblance to the spoken word. 

Elephants can use tools or implements to accomplish a task they cannot perform on their own. They have been observed digging holes for drinking water, molding bark from a tree into the shape of a ball, placing it on top of the hole, and covering it over with sand to avoid evaporation. They also use sticks to scratch their backs when their trunk cannot reach and have been known to drop rocks on electric fences to damage them. 

The elephant’s problem-solving abilities are another impressive facet of their boundless intelligence. Incredibly, the elephant can change its behavior based on a given situation. Bandula, an Asian elephant in captivity, had learned how to release the complex hook on her shackles and would then assist her fellow “inmates” to escape from theirs. 

Self-awareness is yet another indication of the vast capacity for thinking and intellect that exists in the elephant. They can recognize themselves in a mirror, something that is extremely rare in the animal kingdom. 

These capabilities are merely touching the tip of the iceberg of the elephant’s capacity for insight, thought, and discernment. And it is this capacity that continues to captivate researchers and onlookers alike in their eternal quest to understand the mystery of the elephant psyche.”

Later, they went down to the river to drink, eat and clean off.

No doubt, this information is astounding.  And yet, as we spend so much time watching elephants in the wild, we remain in awe of the depth of their intelligence and emotions. It appears they have many of the good qualities humans possess, leaving the more negative and critical behind.  We have so much to learn from them.

Today, a perfect weather day, cool with temps in the high 20C’s (high 70F’s) range with a few billowy white clouds drifting across a bright blue sky, will keep us on the veranda hoping to see visitors who continue to be at a minimum right now.

This morning, we had a few bushbucks stop by, Frank and The Misses., dozens of helmeted guineafowl, and many birds and hornbills eating the seeds in the birdfeeder. We can always depend on them!

Have a fantastic day filled with wonder.Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 3017:

Tom’s burger and fries at Donde Bocha Antogeria in Atenas.  I ate the little side cup of guacamole when I could eat nothing else on the menu. For more photos, please click here.

Reviewing “the numbers”…How many posts?…How can that be?…

An impala male who lost a horn, most likely in a fight for dominance.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

An elephant’s feet must carry a lot of weight:  “Elephants are the largest living terrestrial animals. The average male African bush elephant is 3.20 m (10.5 ft) tall at the shoulder and has a body mass of 6,000 kg (13,228 lb), whereas the average female is 2.60 m (8.53 ft) tall at the shoulder and have a mass of 3,000 kg (6,614 lb).”

Today’s post is #2254. Yes, that’s right. Wow! That’s even hard for us to believe! We’ve uploaded two thousand two hundred fifty-four posts since post #1 was uploaded on March 14, 2012 (click here for our first post).

Cape buffalos and elephants seem to get along well in the wild.

When we recall every location we’ve visited over this past almost six years since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012, we can easily picture ourselves sitting somewhere in a vacation/holiday home, hotel, or cruise ship, preparing each day’s story.

Cape buffalos on the Marloth Park side of the river.

In the beginning, we didn’t include many photos. Still, once we left the US on January 3, 2013 (after a two-month stay in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Henderson, Nevada, while making the final preparations for our departure), we knew photos would become an integral aspect continuing our world journey and subsequent story.

With technology aligned to make this all possible, we knew we’d selected the right time in our lives to go on this adventure. Little did we know then how long we’d continue, and still today, we can’t predict the future…good health is the highest priority.

This crocodile hide looks different than others.  Any comments?

We started the first post, as mentioned above, in March 2012 and today, September 29, 2018. It’s 2390 days later. How is that possible? Where did the extra 136 posts come from? That adds up to an average of an additional 21 posts per year.

Big elephant cooling off in Sunset Dam in Kruger.

In reviewing the list of the archives its easy to see that some months, some years, we uploaded extra posts when the Wi-Fi signal was weak (a common occurrence in many countries) or the power was going off and on, often long enough for us to post a notice we were having difficulties and would prepare the post once services were restored.

At other times, we posted a short blurb on travel days, unsure if we’d later be able to prepare a full post at an airport while waiting to board a flight. Often, we were able to connect. 

Each giraffe’s face appears to have a unique expression.

Less often, we had situations where we had something to share that required periodic updates, such as inclement weather, earthquakes, hurricanes, and rough days at sea.

Cape buffalos were lounging by the water on a scorching day.

In the first year, we wrote less often. For example, in 2012, we only posted 160 stories, but in 2014, we posted 377 times. One can see the totals for each year at the archives listed on the right side of the homepage, which changes daily with each new post.

Cape buffalo grazing close to the fence in Marloth Park.

Now you may ask, “Haven’t we run out of topics yet?” Not quite. As long as we continue to enhance our days with new sightings, new activities, new cultures, meeting new people, embarking on tours and other adventures, we can’t imagine running out of topics.

After this long dry season, this is all that’s left of the water in Vurhami Dam in Kruger.

I’ll admit at times. Our posts are mundane and less enjoyable. Sorry about that.  But, I ask myself this…if someone told us we’d have to write the equivalent of an essay every single day of our lives, sick days included, I’d say it was impossible. 

Elephant family enjoying the cooling water on a hot day.

Then, we’d have to add new photos to each post every day, always on the search for new photo ops. I’d say it was not something I could discipline myself to do. Yet, here we are today on post #2254 with nary a moment’s consideration of stopping.

Impalas in the background.

What keeps us motivated is all of YOU, our worldwide readers who share their stories with us, who send email regularly, who inquire as to how this life may work for them, or, as in many cases, to say “thank you” for providing this ongoing story. 

An impala and a giraffe under the shade of a large tree.

But, we thank every one of you for following along with us. We never take your readership for granted and are eternally grateful for the opportunity to continue on this journey with you at our side. 

May your day be as unique as you.


Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2017:

One year ago, we posted photos of various churches we’d seen to date in our travels, including the busy preparations surrounded the Igreja De Campanario church in Campanario, Madeira, in July 2014 as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities.  See our link here.

Wildlife being darted and moved!…What’s going on?…

From a recent visit to the “hippo pool” in the Crocodile River bordering Marloth Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Frank and the Mrs. show up every night at dusk in this little garden area where we give them seeds. Then, they take off for the bush to make “their noise,” a loud earsplitting call that can last several minutes.

It’s Friday morning, hot, humid, and dusty. Tom’s streaming the Minnesota Vikings football game on NFL GamePass while preparing today’s post offline. 

Frank and the Mrs. are moving to get to the little garden area where we give them seeds each night. They are always together.

The Wi-Fi signal is too weak with all the tourists in the park for him to stream the game while I’m also online. No matter. I’m sitting here watching the game with him while multitasking, arranging photos, and preparing the text on Word’s offline blog posting page.

Today is a low-key day with little to do other than the matters on hand—no chopping and dicing today. Tonight we have a reservation for dinner at Jabula, which will surely be yet another enjoyable evening. 

As we mentioned in yesterday’s post found here, sometimes just watching and waiting (patience and perseverance) produces excellent results. See below the result of doing so when we spotted this giraffe sitting in the bush.

Right now and over the past weeks, the “visitors” to our garden are limited; a few bushbucks, lots of helmeted guinea fowl, with an occasional mongoose or two running through the park. We can’t wait to see kudus, zebra and warthogs, and more during the daylight hours, but that won’t be happening for a few more weeks when the school holiday is over.

We’re happy the holiday ends before our friend Lois and Tom arrive on October 9th. It would be quite a disappointment for them to come all this way to see a few wildlife in our garden during the days. The evenings are better. Last night, Wildebeest Willie, Tusker and Ms. Tusker (mating pair, it seems), Siegfried and Roy (male warthog buddies), Mom and Baby Bushbuck, Mr. Duiker and Frank, and The Misses. made lengthy appearances, thrilled with less competition for food. They all got along well.
After watching this seated giraffe for some time, a monstrous dad, mom, and baby appeared. Please look carefully to spot the baby. Could the giraffe seated be there young from last season’s birth?

The previous night Siegfried got into an altercation with Tusker resulting in such loud warthog squeals that Martha came running out from her little house, wondering if everything was OK. A short time later, they returned, none the worse for the wear after the noisy fight. 

It’s easy to see how warthogs end up with holes in their faces when they fight for dominance with such vigor, usually over food and “women.” Aren’t those the exact reasons for starting wars?

After watching further, this family of five wandered off together into the bush.

In a local news article, we read that several animals are being darted and moved into Lionspruit, a game reserve within a game reserve located right here in Marloth Park. Lionspruit is the area where we’ve participated in braais, hosted by Louise and Danie, at Frikkie’s Dam. 

It’s incredible to see how quickly the ostrich chicks are growing.

There are two lions in Lionspruit, Dezi, and Fluffy (female and male), who will be happy to see the influx of possible food for them. There are adequate food sources for them in Lionspruit, but this choice made by locals rangers and veterinarians who will oversee the operation will add to their fodder.

This option, although daunting, is better than culling when food sources in Marloth Park are dwindling over the years, with more and more natural habitats being overrun by the building of bush homes. In defiance of the municipality’s rules, many owners grow grass and plant invasive alien plants, which they ultimately enclose in fences. 

They seem to enjoy hanging out with their siblings but once grown. They’ll be off on their own to start their own families.

This severely reduces the vegetation coverage from which animals can graze.  We often wonder what the status of Marloth Park will be in 10 to 20 years. This reality is relevant all over the world when natural habitat is destroyed by human intervention. It’s a sad situation as we see more and more wildlife becoming extinct.

Ten kudus, five zebras, five wildebeest, and two giraffes will be relocated, of course keeping the dependent youngsters intact with their parents. See the information we read on Facebook concerning the move.

Mom and Dad keep a watchful eye to ensure the safety of their chicks.
“The Marloth Wildlife Fund has been in contact with Wildlife Veterinary Services, who have proposed an excellent opportunity to move some of the excess game from Marloth Park to Lionspruit as part of their veterinary training courses. Qualified vets will, for a week, commencing on Monday 1 October, be available to dart and move animals free of charge.

 As no firearms are permitted to be used in Marloth Park, this is an ideal solution to the excess wildlife population in Marloth Park, which is devastating the natural environment. The population of animals in Lionspruit is at an all-time low, and the environment can accommodate more animals. The gene pool of different species is very low in Lionspruit. If more animals are not introduced, it could result in interbreeding, and the mutations that result will cause deformities, brain damage, etc.

The Marloth Wildlife Fund is concerned about the welfare of the animals and wants to ensure that they live as natural an existence as possible, have the correct nutrition, and build up a healthy population.
This initiative has been approved by the Municipality, and we have received the full support of MPPOA, MPRA, and the Honorary Rangers.
We appeal to property owners and members of the public not to interfere with the Vets who will be undertaking this task in the coming week.”
We wonder if any of those being moved are part of the many that visit us regularly.  We’ll have no way of knowing if they’ve been moved, injured, or passed away from other causes. But, I assure you, we’ll be waiting to see Wildebeest Willie in the garden, hoping he’s not in the lot that is going to be moved.
More beautiful impalas, as mentioned in yesterday’s post here.

Many homeowners are upset by this decision, but culling is undoubtedly a less appealing option. At least those who are moved have a chance of a beautiful remaining life if they can avoid being captured by Dezi or Fluffy. 

As mentioned above, there are dwindling numbers of animals in Lionspruit. We’ll be paying close attention to the results of darting and moving the wildlife and, subsequently, the long-term residual effect.
That’s it for today, folks. Have a fantastic day!
Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2017:
Long view of the altar at San Rafael in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.

Reaping rewards with patience and perserverance…

This was my favorite photo of the day. Impalas have exquisite markings on their faces and bodies.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This massive old elephant had the thickest trunk we’re ever seen!

Power outage. WiFi outage. This is Africa.

This morning, when the power went out before we had a chance to even start today’s post, we decided to leave the house to make our usual drive. When we were done, if we felt like it, we’d head to Komatipoort to do our weekly grocery shopping.
The poor elephant must be exhausted from carrying around this massive trunk.
Without much success on the drive, although we did spot a few distant lions at the river after a few hours, we decided to go ahead and drive to town to get the shopping out of the way.
The lions we spotted in Kruger yesterday were way too far for good photos. We did the best we could to capture these two.
Not back at our holiday homes until 1:00 pm, I knew I needed the get the groceries put away especially the perishables in this 38C, (100F) temperatures.  Luckily, the power was back on when we returned but the Wi-Fi was showing as “limited.” It slowed us down further.
There were three lions under this tree, but the other two were impossible to see behind vegetation. Not us! We’ve certainly seen a lot of lions lately but have yet to witness a pride walking on the road.  Perhaps, someday soon. But, who’s complaining?
In the interim, while awaiting the return of the signal, I went through many of the hundreds of photos we’d taken in the past several days. Good grief, that’s a full-time job in itself.
I often ask other amateur photographers what they do with all their photos. They usually shrug and say, “I hope someday someone would want to look at them.”
We believe this bird is a bateleur but are awaiting confirmation from friends Lynne and Mick, birding experts.
But, as we all know, most guests visiting us do not have any interest in looking at our vacation/holiday photos. Everyone has their own to deal with.  Fortunately, we have the joy of sharing our favorite photos here on our posts with our readers from all over the world on a day-by-day basis.
However, without this, I doubt we’d be so enthusiastic about taking photos. In our old lives, we rarely took photos and when we did they were fuzzy and off-center. Now, in this arena, we have a strong desire to post quality photos to share with our readers.
Awkward pose while drinking from the cool waters at the Sunset Dam, not far from Lower Sabie.
Taking quality photos is our objective, but getting a good shot of wildlife is tedious and time-consuming, especially in national parks where we compete for prime vantage points with other equally determined photographers.
In Marloth Park during the less busy holiday periods, taking photos is a breeze when there’ seldom anyone obstructing our view. But, then again, we’re dealing with nature, an unpredictable force that can move in a flash or not at all for hours at a time.
Proud male giraffe with dark spots.
Getting the right shot (photo, never gun) is entirely predicated on our patience and perseverance for precisely the correct moment. Now, we’re dealing with two forces of nature here, Tom and me, both of us, miles apart in our patience levels.  Can you guess who’s what?
More impalas were hanging out with a single wildebeest.
Yes, I’m the patient one, and Tom is always ready to move on. Oh, don’t get me wrong…he gets equally enthused over a good sighting, at times even more so than me. And, he’ll spend the better part of each day’s drive in Marloth and weekly drives into Kruger, maneuvering the car into suitable positions for the best photo advantage.
Since impalas and giraffes aren’t competing for food, they cohabitate pretty well.
But, once the camera clicks a few time, he’s ready to move on while I could sit for hours waiting for the animal to make a move. Surprisingly, this doesn’t cause any issues between us.  
We’ve accepted each other’s peculiarities so well. It never causes any disharmony between us. If either of us is adamant in our stance, the other will compromise. This feature of our relationship takes this 24/7 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) lifestyle work for us. Without it, we’d have stopped traveling long ago.
Could the impalas be hoping that some of the lush unreachable greenery in the treetops may drop to the ground for them to devour?  It all depends on how sloppy an eater the giraffe may be.
As a result, I accept the reality that sometimes, I need to be willing to move on and not “stake out” a sighting for the perfect scene. Once in a while, I get lucky as in today’s main photos, one of my favorites in this past month or more, a simple photo of the ever-popular and abundant impala.
We have many more new photos to share if we didn’t go out to seek more photos ops we could post for at least two months without taking a single shot.
But, our dedication, combined patience, and perseverance motivate us day after day to go out and look for more.
We seldom can take such close-up photos of impalas who are notoriously shy.  We were able to do so as we exited a loop of the main tar road in Kruger.
We don’t forget for a day, subject to immigration/visa extension, we could be leaving Marloth Park in 146 days. At the rate they’re flying by now, this will be sooner than we realize.
Be well. Be happy.  

Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2017:

 Basilica Nuestra Senora de las Piedade is one of the most beautiful Catholic temples in Costa Rica, unique in its Renaissance style, was built between 1924 and 1928. For more photos, please click here.

Leeu Day!…That means “lion” day in Afrikaans…Love is in the air!….

Notice him licking her backside.  Hmm…

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This woodpecker stopped by for some enthusiastic pecking in a tree by the veranda. From this site“Campethera is a genus of bird in the family Picidae, or woodpeckers, that are native to sub-Saharan Africa. Most species are native to woodland and savanna rather than the deep forest, and multiple species exhibit either arboreal or terrestrial foraging strategies. Its nearest relative is the monotypic genus Geocolaptes of southern Africa, which employs terrestrial foraging and breeding strategies. They are however not close relatives of similar-looking woodpeckers in the “Dendropicos clade”.

During these holiday times in South Africa, our daily drives in Marloth Park have been filled with a mix of an abject absence of wildlife sightings to breathtaking scenes unfolding across the Crocodile River.

This male lion was cuddling up to this female.

We keep our expectations in check each time we venture out. Yesterday was no different when we took off at noon, not expecting to see much. The lack of visitors to our garden over this past week only reminds us of how determined the wildlife is to stay “undercover” when there’s an influx of holidaymakers in Marloth Park.

“There isn’t a mating season for the Lion but when there is plenty of food it is more likely to occur. The females are ready for mating when they are about four years of age. The males are mature about three-five years old. When the female is in estrus she may mate with the male more than 20 times per day. They may not even eat during this period of time. Due to so much activity, it is very often going to result in conception.”

Of course, this isn’t the case in Kruger National Park where the animals have
an area of 19,485 square kilometers (7,523 sq mi) in which to wander. Even when the holidaymakers come to explore the wildlife the animals must not feel crowded or intimidated by the excess traffic and noise as they are here in Marloth Park during holiday periods such as occurring now.

After we drove for an hour into our usual two-hour drive, we resigned ourselves that we weren’t going to see a thing…not in Marloth…not across the Crocodile River.  

Approximately 110 days after conception she will have her cubs – anywhere from 1 to 4. She will give birth in a den away from the rest of her pride. She will stay very close to the den and only hunt very small prey that she can take down on her own. This food will offer her the ability to continue producing milk for the young to consume.

But as we always say, safari luck prevails, in a matter of minutes, everything changed. We not only encountered stunning scenes within the confines of Marloth Park that we’ll share in the next few days but we were literally entranced by two outstanding sightings on the river.

Today, we’re posting the river scenes of a mating pair of lions pointed out to us by a kindly gentleman, the only person at the overlook upstream from “Two Trees” who spoke little to no English.

When trying to spot lions at the distant bank of the river, whoever sees them first has the daunting task of attempting to point them out to others who happen to come by with binoculars and cameras.  

I literally held my breath while taking these photos since we were so far away and our camera has a limited range.

Lions blend into the surrounding rocks due to possessing the exact same coloration of the rocks and dry bush. They are nearly impossible to spot with the naked eye and still difficult with binoculars and long-range cameras.

Our cameras are not of professional caliber. We had to chose lightweight cameras due to weight restrictions and the fact that both of us have bad right shoulders and can’t hold cameras with heavy lenses.  

Until camera technology improves, which we expect will transpire in years to come, we are stuck with what we have and have made every effort to do our best considering the limitations of the technology on hand.

Every few weeks the mom moves the cubs, one by one, to a new den or their scent will attract predators. When these cubs are approximately seven weeks old she’ll take them to be introduced to the remainder of the pride.

It took a while for us to spot the lions when the gentleman had difficulty describing the landmarks where they could be seen. Alas, with a little extra effort on both our parts, we saw them and could let the man continue on his way thanking him profusely in Afrikaans, although we weren’t quite sure which language he spoke.

Usually, when lions are spotted when viewing from Marloth Park, a dozen or more cars can be seen at the overlook area. Jockeying for a good position can be a challenge. But, yesterday we were the only spectators at this most convenient overlook location.

Steadying the camera is the biggest challenge. Our camera has the capability of zoom in to the opposite shore of the Crocodile River but not as far as up the steep embankment. As an amateur photographer well knows, a steady hand is required and even breathing disturbs the clarity of a scene.

She took off, out of sight, and he remained in the shade on a hot day.

I placed the camera on a space between the barbs on the barbwire fence which has an electrified fence beyond it. The electric fence is fairly easy to avoid touching when the two fences are separated by less than a foot.

Each time I pressed the shutter, I took a deep breath and held it, knowing this was the only way I knew how to steady the camera with it placed on the thin wire. 

I had no idea if the photos were good when trying to view them in the bright sun until I uploaded them to my laptop. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to get the photos we’re sharing today. Forgive the repetition. They are slightly different shots if you look closely.

She stood for a while investigating opportunities for prey while he rested and watched.

As a matter of fact, I was so thrilled when we uploaded them I placed one, the main photo here today, on my Facebook page and also the Marloth Park sighting page where we’ve had tons of “likes,” “comments” and “shares.” Thanks to all of our Facebook and Marloth Park friends for supporting our enthusiasm in sightings in the magnificent place.

Although the timing is a little off (we don’t need more photos right now) we’re still heading to Kruger as soon as we upload this post. During the holiday season, such as the current “school holidays” it seems best to go mid-week but by the weekend an additional fee and reservation will be required to gain access to the Crocodile Gate along with several other entrances many kilometers apart.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow, looking forward to sharing some new and exciting scenes, followed up by whatever we’re gifted to see on today’s self-drive safari in Kruger National Park.

Be well. Be happy!

Photo from one year ago today, September 26, 2017:

Rapids in the Rio Grande River in Costa Rica. We’d have stopped for a video or better shot but there was no shoulder at any point on the single-lane bridge and other vehicles were waiting to cross. For more photos, please click here.

Mom and baby giraffe day!…Little birds and crocs…Losing one’s memory…

Mom was standing by the river’s edge, waiting for her baby to join her, who was a short distance away.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Little birds stopped by for seeds.  Can anyone help us identify these little birds?

The days and nights roll into one another so quickly we often forget the day of the week. But, that constitutes the extent of any memory loss we may experience. Of course, there’s always been the issue of remembering the names of people we’ve just met, but that’s been a lifelong issue for both of us.

Mom appeared to want to show her offspring how to drink from the river.

I’ve concluded that not remembering the names of newly met people is because we’re so busy assessing them and formulating opinions as to “who they are” we fail to pay close attention to their names.

Down they went, in an awkward pose, to drink from the river.

We’ve both found if we focus on hearing their name, we’ll remember it, especially if we use their name in conversation during the first meeting. That’s not always easy to do, but we’ve found it really works.

Otherwise, neither of us suffers from any forgetfulness, perhaps making us a little too confident that advancing age-associated memory loss will escape us.  Tom’s mother, who passed away at age 98, had an acute memory, able to recite birthdays, anniversaries, and special events in the lives of her many family members. 

The baby tried it on her own while mom stood to watch.  Giraffes are vulnerable to predators in this position.

My mother suffered from dementia even at the age I am now, which exacerbated until her death at 81 years of age. Memory loss is heredity, and yet I suffer no signs of it approaching and pray this path of good memory continues for many years to come.

If keeping one’s mind active is any indicator of prolonging a good memory, we’re on the right track. Never a day passes that we don’t discover and learn something new. Add the task of often putting it down in writing (and photos) on this site only adds to the depth of our ability to remember.

A few zebras meandered down the hill to the water, but mom didn’t seem concerned.  Giraffes and zebras seem to comingle well in the wild.

Tom, who proofreads each post daily and shares in the research process while I’m preparing the post, also gleans a lot of new information daily along with our many adventures with wildlife and nature.

After writing the above comments, we searched online and found an article from Harvard Health at Harvard Medical School listing seven points that aid in maintaining a good memory.

Here they are, as quoted from the article here:

“1. Keep learning

A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill can function differently. Read; join a book group; play chess or bridge; write your life story; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; take a class; pursue music or art; design a new garden layout. At work, propose or volunteer for a project that involves a skill you don’t usually use. Building and preserving brain connections is an ongoing process, so make lifelong learning a priority.

2. Use all your senses

The more senses you use in learning something, the more your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. In one study, adults were shown a series of emotionally neutral images, each presented along with a smell. They were not asked to remember what they saw. Later, they were shown a set of images, this time without odors, and asked to indicate which they’d seen before. They had excellent recall for all odor-paired pictures, and especially for those associated with pleasant smells. Brain imaging indicated that the piriform cortex, the main odor-processing region of the brain, became active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present. The subjects hadn’t tried to remember them. So challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar. For example, try to guess the ingredients as you smell and taste a new restaurant dish. Give sculpting or ceramics a try, noticing the feel and smell of the materials you’re using.

3. Believe in yourself

Myths about aging can contribute to a failing memory. Middle-aged and older learners do worse on memory tasks when exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory and better when the messages are positive about memory preservation into old age. People who believe that they are not in control of their memory function are less likely to maintain or improve their memory skills and, therefore, are more likely to experience cognitive decline. If you believe you can improve and translate that belief into practice, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp.

4. Economize your brain use

If you don’t need to use mental energy remembering where you laid your keys or the time of your granddaughter’s birthday party, you’ll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things. Take advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often. Remove clutter from your office or home to minimize distractions so you can focus on new information that you want to remember.

5. Repeat what you want to know

When you want to remember something you’ve just heard, read, or thought about, repeat it out loud or write it down. That way, you reinforce the memory or connection. For example, if you’ve just been told someone’s name, use it when you speak with them: “So, John, where did you meet Camille?” If you place one of your belongings somewhere other than its usual spot, tell yourself out loud what you’ve done. And don’t hesitate to ask for information to be repeated.

6. Space it out

Repetition is most potent as a learning tool when it’s properly timed. It’s best not to repeat something many times in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam. Instead, re-study the essentials after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, then every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study is particularly valuable when trying to master complicated information, such as the details of a new work assignment. Research shows that spaced rehearsal improves recall in healthy people and those with certain physically based cognitive problems, such as those associated with multiple sclerosis.

7. Make a mnemonic

This is a creative way to remember lists. Mnemonic devices can take the form of acronyms (such as RICE to remember first-aid advice for injured limbs: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) or sentences (such as the classic “Every good boy does fine” to remember the musical notes E, G, B, D, and F on the lines of the treble clef).”

Although, in many ways, the medical profession had led us down the wrong road over the decades, this article appears to be realistic and most likely accurate. 

Yesterday, while on our drive, we stopped to check out the scenery at this dam.

In reviewing the above seven points, it’s clear we’re doing everything possible based on this lifestyle, mostly unintentionally, to enhance our memory as we age.  

When I recall my mother’s dementia, I realize how limited her range of learning may have been as she aged. Many seniors with severe medical problems find themselves sitting in front of a TV screen for most of each day.  In addition, many ill seniors may be taking multiple medications, impacting cognition and memory on a day-to-day basis.

Once we arrived at the hippo pool, we spotted a few crocs.

Several years ago, I read Dr. David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain,” which further explains how consuming a high carbohydrate diet of grains, starches, and sugars grossly impacts our brains as we age. I highly recommend this book to anyone who may be concerned with memory, regardless of age.

As a matter of fact, Dr. Perlmutter did an article on me, as shown here in this post (with photos), on how eliminating inflammatory foods from my diet allowed us to travel the world. Also, here’s the link from our post notifying our readers about the article.

We always enjoy taking a good croc headshot.

No, we don’t have all the answers to longevity and good health. We learn what we can from what we hope are reliable sources and incorporate what we can into our daily lives.

One thing we do know is, should we ever falter in our memories of what we’ve been doing over these many past years, we can always look online and reread every single post. That’s a perk we have gained from all these busy years, putting our story and photos together to share with all of you.

I hope your day provides you with an opportunity to engage in some of the above memory-enhancing tools!

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

A turtle we spotted in a pond in Zarcera, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.

Yikes!!!…A snake in the bedroom???…Or, what?…Adults only photo today.

A waterbuck with it’s circular-shaped marking on its rear end.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Only 3% of birds on the planet have penises. For a scientific perspective, in an article entitled “Ostrich penis clears up an evolutionary mystery,” please click here.

Yesterday on the N4 Highway not far from the entrance to Marloth Park, a male lion was spotted on the highway and reported as follows:

A lion spotted by motorists along the N4 near Marloth Park in Mpumalanga is thought to have escaped from the Kruger National Park.
A lion spotted by motorists along the N4 near Marloth Park in Mpumalanga has escaped from the Kruger National Park.
A lion spotted by motorists along the N4 near Marloth Park in Mpumalanga has been darted and captured.
A spokesperson for the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, Kholofelo Nkambule, told SowetanLIVE that the lion would be returned to the Kruger National Park from which it is understood to have escaped.
“The lion has been found and darted. It is ready to be sent back to the park where it escaped from‚” said Nkambule.
The lion was sighted in the early hours of Sunday by motorists who posted a video and pictures on Facebook.”

This story created quite a flurry of activity on the various Marloth Park pages on Facebook. We followed throughout the situation, pleased to discover the lion had been darted and returned to Kruger National Park by helicopter. Thanks to all the local people, including Marloth Park rangers, for participating in this successful recovery. 

Ostriches strutting their stuff!
Our friends Lois and Tom will be arriving here in 15 days traveling on that same road from the airport. We didn’t send them this link to avoid any concerns before arriving here and becoming more informed and familiar with such occurrences.
Crossing the road…

None the less the situation caused quite a stir on social media in Marloth Park, and of course, we enjoyed reading about it throughout the day.

Also, yesterday a Marloth Park resident posted the above photo of a venomous boomslang snake devouring a lizard from her veranda. Quite an interesting sight to see. 

This morning when the power had been out for several hours, and we weren’t able to finish the post, we jumped in the little car for a drive through the park.

Giraffes, like most animals in the wild, are always on the lookout for food.  From this site:  “In Africa, there is a rainy season which allows giraffes to feed on fruits, leaves, twigs, and water, but there is also a drought season when they will try to forage for all that they can, mainly acacia trees and bushes. During these rainy months, they eat deciduous plants, and during the dry season, the evergreen plants are more consumed. They eat between 34 and 75 kg of vegetation every day.”

At the Crocodile River, we spotted five lions, but we were too far away for good photos. Now back at the house at almost 1:00 pm, we’re settled in for the remainder of the day and evening.

From this site“The giraffe’s main predator is the lion, which can accelerate to almost 50 miles per hour. His second worst enemy, the hyena, can reach 35 mph. If a lion and a giraffe ran a race side by side, the lion would beat the giraffe to the finish line. However, the giraffe is not about to give a predator an even start. He uses his great height and excellent eyesight to spot a pride of lions as far as half a mile away and gets a head start. Lions can sustain their top speed for only about a hundred yards, so they run out of gas before the giraffe does. Hyenas can be more dangerous because they hunt cooperatively. They can take turns sprinting to keep the giraffe from slowing down to catch his breath.”

It’s not as hot today as it had been several days last week. It’s a paltry 30C (86F), but oddly, with no rain for months, it’s humid today. The holidaymakers are beginning to leave after the long weekend, but many remain.

Giraffes move quickly, so when we spot them, we always stop for photos and observe their fascinating behavior.

There are many cars on the road, and more will come when the school holidays begin this week. As a result, we’re hardly seeing any visitors other than bushbucks, helmeted guineafowl, mongooses, and a few warthogs.  

Giraffes crossing a dirt road in Marloth Park.

Once the commotion thins out in a few weeks, it will be quiet and peaceful, with visitors clamoring in our garden for pellets, carrots, apples, and eggs. We’ll stay busy in the interim doing our favorite pleasurable activities; daily drives to the river; dinner out each week at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant where the food and companionship are divine; socializing and entertaining friends for dinner (this coming Saturday); and continuing to post stories and photos every day.

It’s dark in our bedroom. Upon awakening, with Tom already outside on the veranda, I looked out the window to see if we had visitors. Then I noticed this and backed up slowly and calmly.

As for the above photos of what, at first, appeared to be a snake, I called Tom into the bedroom, and he grabbed the huge telescopic pole he uses to chase off monkeys and baboons and carefully approached the scene.  

When Tom grabbed the telescopic pole to pull this out from behind the wooden chest, he discovered this. See the story below.

Oh, good grief. It was his belt that had fallen behind the wooden chest. We couldn’t help but laugh out loud, especially as we’ve recalled the situation several times since that morning.

Do we ever get bored? Never. Certainly not in this environment. But, like many other retirees throughout the world, we occasionally conjure up some added activity to keep us enthused and thoroughly entertained.

Oops, gotta go! Ms. Bushbuck just arrived. The pellets are ready for her, along with some iced cold carrots, apples, and lettuce…her favorites.

Have a spectacular day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2017:

Elephant topiary on the church’s grounds and topiary in Costa Rica. For more 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 in 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 downs 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 the 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 could be mom and youngster.

The remaining 150 days constitute 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 the 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.

Mongoose mania in the morning…Delightful little critters we’re coming to know..What’s our weekly expense for is feeding the wildlife?…

The mongoose now comes up the steps to let us know they’d like some eggs.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Mr. Tree Frog has become a regular fixture hanging out on this light fixture every night after dark. Most likely he’s attracted to the possibility of eating many insects around the light.

Mongooses fascinate us. (Yes, the plural of mongoose is most often mongooses, not necessarily mongeese). There is no biological connection between mongooses and geese.

The mongooses get along well with Ms. Bushbuck and Baby.

A group of mongooses ranging from 20 to 50 participants is called a band. In our area in Marloth Park, most often we see the banded (striped) mongoose. Most often they visit us in small groups of 20 or so but we’ve definitely had visits from as many as 60 or 70 of the funny little creatures 

“Only one more step to go,” says one mongoose to another.

In Africa, there are 34 species of mongooses but there are also these and other species in parts of Asia and Europe. In many countries, they are highly revered for their ability to fight with a venomous snake, surviving many bites.  

Mongooses are adept at killing snakes due to their agility, thick coats, and specialized acetylcholine receptors that render them resistant or immune to snake venom. Thus, we welcome them as visitors hoping their presence, which is daily, keeps the snake population at bay during the upcoming spring and summer months.

“I made it all the way to the top. Now, let’s see if the humans notice me!”

Some mongooses are strictly carnivores but those that visit us, the banded mongooses, seem to enjoy eating the small apple chunks that we toss to a wide variety of visitors although not with the enthusiasm as when we provide the bowl of scrambled eggs as shown in today’s photo with a mongoose lying in it.

“I’ll hide under the braai so they don’t see me.”

Each week, while I shop for groceries in Komatipoort Tom heads to the market in Lebombo where he purchases five dozen eggs for the mongooses and carrots and apples for the remaining wildlife which we “serve'” along with the pellets.

Our weekly cost for feeding wildlife is as follows:
Carrots 5 kg:  ZAR 34.90  (US $2.44)
Apples 2 bags: ZAR  39.80 (US $2.78)
Eggs 5 dozen:  ZAR 79.80  (US $5.57)
Pellets 60 kg:  ZAR 329.29 (US $23.00)
Total: ZAR 488.79 (US $33.79) 

“Hmm…should I try it too?”

We also eat the carrots in the 5 kg bag since they are of exceptional quality.  However, we don’t consume apples with our way of eating and prefer buying “free-range organic eggs” which we purchase weekly at Spar for our own use.

The total weekly/month cost may seem like too big a number to be tossing out to wildlife but the amount of enjoyment we get derive while providing wildlife with added sustenance is well worth the money.

“Gee…the eggs are all gone but I think I’ll lay in the bowl to let them know we want more.”

We never go to a movie, dine out only once per week on average, don’t have the cost of upkeep and home maintenance (including cable bills, lawn service, utilities, and trips to Home Depot) results in the most exquisite entertainment found anywhere in the world as far as we’re concerned.  

In our old lives, it was nothing unusual to drop ZAR 7159 (US $500) during a single trip to Costco, considered in itself to be quite entertaining, while loading up on massive sizes of household goods and food. Those days are long past.

“Trying a different position.  Maybe this will work.”

We do not feed the wildlife our leftover food. We plan our meals carefully and rarely have leftover food to toss. Nor would we feel it is safe for the wildlife to be fed human food. Their digestive systems are developed to consume vegetation and for the carnivores, like the banded mongooses that visit us, they consume insects, small rodents, frogs, lizards, snakes, and eggs. 

We often hear stories of holidaymakers and some local residents feeding the wildlife totally inappropriate foods, such as potato chips and fries, pasta and desserts, and other sugary, starchy foods that aren’t befitting their physical makeup.

“That didn’t work.  Maybe I’ll take a nap.”

In a perfect world, the bush would be rife with greenery, vegetation, and water sufficient to feed the wildlife. But, the reality is such that it’s not always possible and the sustenance we provide is only a tiny portion of what they need to be well-nourished.

Soon, when the rains come, we’ll be excited to see the wildlife thrive in a richer greener environment. Even so, we have no doubt they’ll continue to visit us whether or not they’re hungry as they are now in this parched dry terrain.

May your day be rich in experience and purpose.

Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2017:

After many inquiries as to these low-carb chicken stuffed loaves, this recipe is included in the link below. Food is a big part of our world travels as we’re sure it is for most of you when traveling, whether homemade or dining in restaurants.  We tripled the recipe in order to result in four meals, freezing part of it.  For the recipe and instructions, please click here.

Cape buffalo day!…Difficult day for wildlife in Kruger…

No expression on this cape buffalo’s face can more clearly illustrate his disdain over the hot weather and lack of water nearby.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

I took this photo of Tom at the Mugg & Bean in Lower Sabie on the hottest day we’ve experienced since we arrived in South Africa last February. It was 42C (108F). Moments later, we moved to a table in the shade so Tom wouldn’t get sunburned.

Actually, it made sense to be in Kruger on the hottest day of the year. It allowed us to see how the wildlife stays as cool as possible under such stressful conditions.

Three cape buffalos crossing the road in Kruger.
In one single outing, we saw so much wildlife. We were stunned. For us, it isn’t always about spotting the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo. We’ve accomplished this on several occasions during our extended periods in Africa.
Thirsty, hot, and exhausted cape buffalo by the almost completely dry Verhami Dam.

We tend to focus on the wildlife we encounter along the way, never specifically searching for any particular species. Sure it’s exciting to see “cats” and rhinos and appreciate every sighting.  

Cape buffalo stay close to any water they can find.

But, we also get wrapped up in many other species, especially when there’s a story to tell, such as in yesterday’s thrilling newborn elephant sighting, as shown in this post.

A lonely-looking cape buffalo.  

In the case of today’s cape buffalos, we didn’t glean a specific story over our many sightings. Still, we did extract a common theme on the hot-weather day…cape buffalos, along with many other wildlife species, need proximity to water to find any degree of comfort during the hottest days of the season, as described here at this website:

“The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. The adult buffalo’s horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a “boss.” Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies and the largest one found in Southern and East Africa. S. c. nanus (African forest buffalo) is the smallest subspecies, common in Central and West Africa forest areas, while S. c. braceros are in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. According to some estimates, they are widely regarded as hazardous animals, as according to some estimates, the gore and kill over 200 people every year.

Only arid bush for sustenance.

The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Owing to its unpredictable nature, which makes it highly dangerous to humans, the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. Other than humans, African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles and can defend themselves. Being a member of the big five games, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting.”

When male cape buffalo don’t “win” the right to mate, they are ostracized from the herd and left to wander in combination with other males in a similar situation.  Our last guide in Kenya, Anderson, called them “retired generals.”

One of the “big five” African game, it is known as “the Black Death” or “widowmaker” and is widely regarded as a hazardous animal. According to some estimates, it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Buffaloes are sometimes reported to kill more people in Africa than any other animal, although the same claim is also made of hippos and crocodiles. These numbers may be somewhat overestimated. For example, in Mozambique, attacks, especially fatal ones, were much less frequent on humans than those by hippopotamuses and Nile crocodiles. In Uganda, on the other hand, large herbivores were found to attack more people on average than lions or leopards and have a higher rate of inflicting fatalities during attacks than the predators (the buffalo, in particular, killing humans in 49.5% of attacks on them). However, hippos and even elephants may still kill more people per annum here than buffaloes. Buffaloes are notorious among big-game hunters as very dangerous animals, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.”

These cape buffalos hung out with hippos at the Sunset Dam, a short distance from Lower Sabie.

A few months ago, we posted our video of two cape buffalos whose horns had become entangled, which ultimately was posted on Kruger’s website per their request. Click here to see our video and here to see it again on Kruger’s own site.

Having access to water surely made life easier for these cape buffalos on a sweltering day.

We’re often able to spot cape buffalos on the Crocodile River, as shown below in one of today’s photos taken from the fence at Marloth Park overlooking Kruger.  We took this photo only two days ago. With all the zebras in the photo with the buffalos, we were pleased with the sighting.

Cape buffalo and zebras on the Crocodile River.

Today, the holidaymakers return for the upcoming two-week school holiday officially beginning on Monday. We can already tell the influence of the rush of visitors is impacting the peace and harmony of Marloth Park with many vehicles on the roads and less wildlife visiting us.  

An unbearably hot day in the bush.

Many animals head to the parklands with all the commotion, where they’ll stay until quiet is returned to the bush. This morning we had quite a few visitors, including 15 kudu, a half dozen warthogs, and our usual bushbucks, whom we expect will continue to visit several times a day, even during the busy time.

A cape buffalo hanging out with a yellow-billed stork.

The construction next door has ended, which has provided us with the quiet we so much treasure. We’ll see how these next few weeks pan out with all the tourists here. We’ll continue our daily drives to the Crocodile River, where once the wildlife is in Kruger National Park, they pay no attention to what’s transpiring in this little piece of paradise in Marloth Park.

Water and vegetation surely made this cape buffalo content.

May your day bring you peace and comfort.

Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2017:

A beautiful scene in the yard at Iglesia de Catholica Zarcero in Costa Rica. For more photos of the church, please click here.