A most exciting trail cam photo!!!…

Last night’s trail cam photos picked up this porcupine! The prospect of getting this photo prompted us to purchase the trail cam. We are so excited to see this!

Each night since we received the trail cam a week ago, we have been hopeful that somehow one night, it would take a photo of the porcupine that Tom has seen six times and me, once. When I got up after Tom, I asked the new question I’ve been asking him each morning, “Did you look at the trail cam photos? Anything exciting, honey?” He’s said each day, “Nothing unusual.” This morning he said, “You’ll have to see for yourself.” It was at that moment I knew. The porcupine showed up in the trail cam photos. I couldn’t shower and get dressed quickly enough.

Holding my breath, I inserted the card reader with the camera data card into my laptop fresh cup of coffee in hand, and quickly scrolled through the photos to find the photo above. No, it’s not as clear as we would have liked. I did my best editing it a little to enhance the image. But, in the dark, at night, it was the best photo the trail cam could get. Nonetheless, we’re thrilled. Apparently, this porcupine may be a regular in our garden, based on how many times Tom has seen it. In the past month, collectively, we’ve seen it seven times. Sure, there’s a possibility it could be more than one porcupine, but most likely it’s the same one over and over. Porcupines are not territorial as per this statement:

“Social system – Porcupines are solitary during much of their lives. Exceptions occur during the winter when as many as 12 may den communally, and during courtship. Porcupines are not territorial, although an individual may drive others from a tree in which it is feeding during the winter.”

Warthog’s wiry hair on their backs stands up when confronted and during mating activities.

Facts about porcupines from this site:

“Porcupines are large, slow-moving rodents with sharp quills on their backs. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. Scientists group porcupines into two groups: Old World porcupines, which are found in Africa, Europe, and Asia; and New World porcupines, which are found in North, Central, and South America. The North American porcupine is the only species found in the United States and Canada.

Sharp quills

All porcupines have a few traits in common. The most obvious trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies. According to National Geographic, some quills can get up to a foot (30 centimeters) long, like those on Africa’s crested porcupine. 

Porcupines use the quills as a defense. They may shake them, which makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators. If that doesn’t work, they may charge backward into the predator. According to the Animal Diversity Web, the quills are loosely attached, but cannot be thrown or projected. Some quills have scales or barbs that make them very hard to remove. Once a quill is lost, it isn’t lost forever. They grow back over time. A North American porcupine can have 30,000 or more quills, according to National Geographic.

One Tusk,  in his full glory, ready to protect “his tnew erritory,” our garden in Marloth Park.

Size

The largest porcupine is the North African crested porcupine. It grows up to 36 inches (90 centimeters) long. The smallest is the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine. It grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), depending on species, and their tails can grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm).”

When and if we’ll ever get a daylight photo of a porcupine remains to be seen. We’ll continue to check out the trail cam photos every day to see what other treasures we can see that enter the garden in the evening. With winter approaching and darkness falling earlier each evening, we look forward to many more exciting trail cam photos, along with the photos we take daily from the veranda and when driving in the park.

There are glands around the warthog’s eyes that produce a secretion during mating seasons and social interactions.

Next week, when the 10 day school holiday period ends and it’s no longer necessary to make an appointment to enter, we’ll be heading back to Kruger National Park for more stunning wildlife sightings which we look forward to sharing here. Our permanent Wild Card (year-long entrance pass) has arrived and we’re chomping at the bit to get back out there.

Tonight, we’re heading to Jabula for dinner with dear friends Linda and Ken who are here in Marloth Park right now. It’s been several weeks since they’ve been here and we have plenty of catching up to do!

Have a pleasant weekend filled with exciting surprises!

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2020:

Female lions lounging in the shade, re-posted one year ago while in lockdown in India. For more photos, please click here.

This morning’s events in the bush…Mating season is in full bloom…

Tom noticed this dung beetle rolling his ball in the garden at quite a distance. We were thrilled to get these shots.

We only need to pay close attention to what’s transpiring around us to witness the behavior of the wildlife that is not only funny but astounding at times. This morning was no exception after we finally finished our tasks and were able to sit outdoors on the veranda with our coffee.

This morning around 7:00 am, I got out of bed to open the rolling shade in the bedroom for a peek at what was transpiring in the garden. When I didn’t see any visitors I rolled back into bed figuring I could read the daily news on my phone before getting up.

A few minutes later, I heard a sound on the window’s glass. Bossy, my favorite female kudu, was nudging the window in an attempt to get me up to deliver her some pellets. Of course, I bolted out of the bedroom to ensure she had plenty of her morning pellets. As Tom always says, “They have “us” trained.”

Moments later, he was on top of his dung ball.

Once I’m up, showered, and dressed for the day, the time seems to get away from me. I can’t believe how busy I am some days considering I don’t have to clean the house. With folding and putting away laundry from the portable rack, prepping a few items for dinner, and tidying up before Zef and Vusi arrive to clean, my mornings are full

It’s no different for Tom. First, he empties the dishwasher and puts everything away. Next, he empties the four frozen ice cube trays placing the ice into freezer Ziplock bags, and then into two drawers in the tiny freezer and fills two pitchers of water from the water machine, which is a slow process, and then, refills the trays with the purified water. He does this two or three times a day. We use a lot of ice.

When I think back to those 10 months in lockdown in India, we didn’t use any ice. It would have cost us a fortune in tips to get a sufficient amount of ice delivered to our room each day in their tiny ice buckets when there was no available ice machine for the guests to use.  We simply gave it up along with other familiar comforts during that period.

Two hungry hornbills pecking at the kitchen window, hoping for some seeds. We complied.

Then, he makes a big pitcher of Crystal Lite Iced Tea which arrived in our recent DHL package from the US, just days before we ran out. Louise loaned us a giant spouted jug for the ice tea so he doesn’t have to make the iced tea more often than every three days. That helps.

After most of our tasks are completed, finally, we can sit outdoors while I manage photos, prepare the post, handle financial matters keeping track of all of our spending, often requiring attention daily. Amid all of this, we’re continually watching what’s happening in the bush. Recently, I’ve been back at work on the corrections on old posts and have diligently stuck to my schedule which takes about two hours a day.

Tom grabs the garden hose and refills the water in the birdfeeder. It’s become a daily task when “everyone” is drinking from it now, including birds and Big Daddies. This morning, Tom had yet to refill the birdfeeder with water. Tiny was busy chasing Lonely Girl around the garden, making the mating “train noise” during a series of intermittent advances on this female warthog.

Ms. Duiker has one tiny horn in the center of her head, as opposed to the male’s two horns.

Apparently, he wore himself out and walked over to the birdfeeder for a drink of water. When he couldn’t access the remaining water with his giant tusks, he looked at us, and then, in a frustrated flurry of activity, he tried to topple over the huge ceramic feeder. It teetered back and forth but thankfully didn’t fall over. Obviously, he was mad there wasn’t enough water in there for him to reach.

Tom waited until Tiny moved away and refilled the birdfeeder with fresh water. Moments later, Tiny returned for a series of generous gulps. Caution must always prevail when wild animals are unpredictable and humans can easily be injured.  We always exercise the utmost of caution, coupled with common sense.

Big Daddy was in and out of the garden this morning chasing after the “girls.” Right now, rutting season is in full bloom! Mating pairs are everywhere. We will be sharing some of the mating antics as the days roll on, including a few interesting videos. We’re hoping none of our readers are offended by our photos and videos.

This male duiker has been accompanying her for days.

This is “life,” regenerating in the bush. It’s all a part of the magic and wonder of the wild animals surrounding us each day. When we post some mating photos or videos, we will note this in the post’s heading as “Adults only please” leaving you to decide if you’ll share the post with children and grandchildren. It’s entirely up to you.

Big Daddy, wondering what’s on the menu.

Later this afternoon, we’ll be heading to Komatipoort to shop for groceries. With Linda and Ken coming for dinner on Saturday night and the school holidays, not ending until Sunday, we decided to shop today instead of waiting until tomorrow when it will be even more crowded as the last day of the month. We’ll be well masked, gloved and I’ll be wearing a face shield as an added precaution.

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, April 29, 2020:

Tree frog foam nest, made overnight above the cement pond. For more photos, please click here.

Off on a social visit today…Girls only…Busy morning in the bush…New visitor…

We are so excited to see birds finally stopping by the birdbath for a drink or a splash. Tom keeps it filled with fresh water each day. This appears to be a Blue Waxbill. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I wish I felt comfortable driving a car in South Africa. However, after not driving a stick shift vehicle for 35 years, I don’t trust myself. Also, driving on the opposite side of the road while shifting with my useless left hand only adds to the potential hazards.

Since having open heart surgery over two years ago, I am less coordinated than I used to be. I’ve read that others have experienced the same phenomenon. Perhaps it’s a result of what is referred to as “pump head” from losing some brain cells, after being on the heart bypass machine for several hours during the surgery. Luckily, doing so didn’t impact my memory as it has for many others.

New warthog visitor missing a tusk and both face warts. It appears he suffered an injury resulting in the loss of his left tusk. Face warts may be missing due to inbreeding anomaly. Guess we’ll name him, the obvious, One Tusk.

If there were a choice between memory loss and lack of coordination, I’d opt for the latter. My memory is as clear and concise as it was in my youth for which I am very grateful. My coordination, on the other hand, is only worse than it had been a few years ago when even then, it was lacking.

That’s not to say I won’t ever drive again in countries with driving on the side of the road with which I’m most familiar, the right side. Most rental cars in the US for example, are not a manual transmission. As mentioned in the past, I am not a good driver anyway and have never been.

Duikers in our garden have become braver and braver as they come to trust us while tossing pellets.

At some point in my old age, I am going to have to face the fact that driving is not safe for me, as is the case for many seniors as their coordination and adeptness fail. I’m always sad to hear when an aging or ill friend has had to give up driving for the safety of themselves and others.

What brought up this driving thing is the fact that today before 1:00 pm, 1300 hours, I’m heading out to visit a local friend, Debbie, in Marloth Park. She didn’t have access to a vehicle right now to visit us here so I offered to come to her home and today is the day. Tom will drop me off at her home and pick me up a few hours later. It will be great to have some “girl talk,” something I’ve missed off and on in our travels.

This bushbuck visits for hours each day.

Most get-togethers we’ve experienced since getting to Marloth Park months ago have been as couples, which undoubtedly we thoroughly enjoy. But, those special one-on-one conversations with friends are something both of us had to forgo in our life of world travels.

Fortunately, I’ve stayed in touch with most of my old friends in Minnesota and have an opportunity to see them when we return to the US for visits every few years. And, from time to time, I speak on the phone, on Skype, or on Messenger to my dear friends. from my “old life” and also those new friends I’ve made in our travels.

We’ve named this male bushbuck. Thick Neck, when we observed his neck is considerably larger than the other males.

This Saturday night, our dear friends Linda and Ken, who are headed to Marloth Park from Johannesburg in a few days, will be coming for dinner. It’s always fun to hang out with the two of them. When dear friends Kathy and Don arrive from Hawaii in June and July, we girls will certainly arrange some “girl time” as we’d done in the past.

Also, our dear friends Rita and Gerhard will be arriving in the next few weeks and surely Rita and I will have some girl time during the almost two months they will be here. It’s comforting to know that down the road social interactions will increase adding to the pleasure of our time in Marloth Park.

Thick Neck rested in the garden for hours.

This morning, it was busy in the bush. We saw several “new” (to us) warthogs some with interesting characteristics that make it easy to identify them when they return. Each morning, we’ve been checking the photos from the trail cam’s overnight photos. So far, no porcupine or unusual visitors. As soon as we see any of the less frequent or nocturnal animals, we’ll certainly share them here. In the interim, it is fun anticipating and checking out the photos each morning.

Right now, while Zef is washing the veranda we are inside the bedroom waiting for it to dry so we can go back outdoors. Big Daddy is looking at us through the bedroom window wondering when we’ll come out to toss him some pellets. Hold onto your shorts Big Daddy! We’ll be there soon!

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, April 28, 2020:

Mr. & Mrs. Hornbill eating seeds off the veranda table. We weren’t able to put up the birdfeeder with monkeys nearby and placed the seeds on the table after they’d banged at the window with their beaks to remind us to feed them. For more photos, please click here.

An important message from a dear reader…

This is One Wart. As shown, he only has one wart on the left side of his face and none on the right. Hence, his name.

Pam, a longtime reader of our site, wrote:

“Was thinking of you and Tom today after watching the tragic news on the Covid-19 situation in India. I’m so glad you were able to leave when you did! I was just amazed at your skill in arranging those flights just at the right time while there was that small window of opportunity. I attached a brief news clip showing the 5-star hotels in Mumbai that are being used for Covid patients. Who knows if the hotel you were in would have been next? What an unsettling thought, but thankfully that is all behind you now.”

Here is the link to the video Pam attached to her email message https://youtu.be/FmqFTIJ-Uxk.

Wildebeest Willie in the garden.

No doubt, the Covid-19 news from India, which we’ve followed since we left over three months ago is disheartening and alarming, not only for the Indian people but for all of the world. Will this hotbed of Covid keep the world from ever recovering? It’s hard to say. Even scientific and medical experts aren’t able to predict!

Thank you, Pam, for writing and your kind and thoughtful message. It wasn’t so much skill that got us out of India when we did. It was totally based on the sheer terror of what was yet to come, which proved to be a huge motivator. When each day we spotted dozens of guests in the corridors, talking loudly in close proximity groups, not wearing masks or social distancing while continuing to have parties and weddings at the hotel, we knew India was in big trouble.

A number of impalas stopped by, all the while “barking” over the pellets.

When I left the hotel midway through our stay to go to an ATM with the hotel’s driver, the numbers of people in the streets, in crowds, in groups and entering shops without masks or social distancing, it was easy to see, there was no way, their previously low numbers of cases and deaths would ultimately last.

Statistics, such as those shown in the Covid-19 world tracker, Worldometer, found here with over 319,000 new cases yesterday, far surpassing any country’s number of cases in one day, are alarming. Sure, India has almost 1.4 billion people, four times the population of the US, for example, which had 47,456 new cases yesterday, still an outrageously high number.

Impalas are skittish around humans. Thus, I took this photo while seated or they’d have run off if I’d stood.

It’s also easy to surmise that India’s numbers aren’t as accurate as many other countries, with their medical infrastructure rapidly failing due to a serious lack of support equipment, staff, and space for victims. Now, they are housing non-ICU patients in hotels when hospitals are full of ICU patients, dying from lack of available sources of oxygen and medicines.

Yes, this is morbid and surely considered to be less than ideal fodder for our post. But, as upbeat as we strive to be, we can’t and won’t put our heads in the sand and deny what is transpiring in the country from whence we came only a few months ago where we spent over one year of our eight years of world travel. Our hearts are breaking for those patients, their families, and the  overwhelmed medical professionals.

Kudus are used to hanging around with impalas and they all get along well.

We can only hope that other countries with surplus supplies can continue to step in and help. We read this article regarding participation by other countries in providing supplies and aid to India. How do you vaccinate 1.4 billion people? How many cases aren’t being reported? How do you treat millions currently in the throes of the virus? It’s heartwrenching.

Yes, dear reader Jan, thank you for writing to us. No words can express how grateful we are to have been able to leave India and now be in this paradise-like environment, relatively safe from the virus if we remain diligent, Now, we are on a list of 500,000 in South Africa who have signed up for the vaccine. But, with a population of 58.6 million that a half million is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s less than 1%.

There’s a warthog in almost every shot, hoping to steal pellets from others.

Any speculation by “experts” that this pandemic may be over in 2022 or 2023 is deluding themselves. Each and every one of us can choose to take responsibility for doing our part to stay safe as we possibly can, even after receiving a vaccine, even after having had the virus, even after taking every possible precaution we can muster.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and pray along with us for the world’s recovery.

Photo from one year ago today, April 27, 2020:

These tropical island musicians and dancers greeted us in Noumea, New Caledonia. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.

Is this enough?…

Big Daddies in the garden, getting along well with a female while they eat pellets.

A few days ago, Tom asked me, “Are you bored or antsy?” Is this enough?”

I giggled when I answered. “With the world still in some form of lockdown or another, there is nowhere I’d rather be.”

Without question, I have a short attention span and can easily become bored or antsy. Throughout my life, I’ve learned to find ways to entertain myself to avoid boredom or discontent. As Tom and I have discussed on many occasions, if we were living in a condo somewhere right now, waiting out the hopeful end of the pandemic, I could easily be climbing the walls in search of mental stimulation. He doesn’t experience such an issue.

Helmeted Guinea-fowls stopped for another visit. Their chicks are getting big but no blue heads quite yet.

How in the world did I ever maintain my sanity during the 10 months in that awful lockdown in India? The only way it was possible was to develop a consistent routine and stick to it. This may sound counterproductive. But, in that peculiar situation, the routine saved me; the daily posts, the 8 km walk in the corridors, working on the new website along with endless hours in research on many of my favorite topics.

Another shot of guinea-fowls and chicks.

Tom was content to be on his laptop researching ancestry.com and other websites that appeal to him. We both enjoyed when it was 3:00 pm, when we began streaming favorite series with multiple seasons. That time wrapped in mindless drivel helped us both so much. We don’t need to do that now, although we may stream a few shows when we go to bed.

Of course, being with Tom helps me considerably. He constantly makes me laugh and brings up topics he knows I’ll enjoy contemplating and discussing. We never run out of conversation. Even here in Marloth Park, we’ve developed a routine that only adds to our sense of fulfillment and lack of boredom.

Mongoose waiting for Tom to come out with a pan of scrambled eggs.

As it turns out, we do most of our chatting in the late afternoon when we may decide to have a beverage, referred to as “sundowners” here in South Africa. These may be iced tea, hot tea, or a glass of wine for me or a cocktail for Tom, depending on what feels right at the moment.

Tom lights the various citronella candles and coils to keep the mosquitos at bay while I put last-minute touches on what we’ll be having for dinner. Then, for the first time all day, we totally relax and unwind, engaged in lively chatter, sharing thoughts, dreams, and hopes for the future.

This is our boy, Torn Ear. Enlarge the photo to see his left ear is torn.

Often, we relive travel experiences of the past almost nine years of world travel. At times, we look at old posts and recall the magic moments along the way. It’s never dull. It’s never boring. At other times, we discuss plans for the future. Right now, we consider where we’ll go when our visa stamps are needed by June 30th. At times, we grab my phone and look up the Covid-19 restrictions for various countries which may change daily.

Little and guinea-fowl, getting along nicely.

Then, of course, we have the exquisite opportunity to engage with the wildlife that enters the garden throughout the evening. Regardless of the fact that most wildlife comes to visit us for the pellets or whatever species-appropriate morsels we may have to offer, we can’t help but consider they may be visiting since it “fun” here. We can dream, can’t we?

The concept of living in the moment and dreaming of the future seems to work for us. We can’t help but embrace both of these.  It was through that belief that got us both through those challenges 10 months in India and now, more than ever, we appreciate our sheer determination to get out of India, just in time when Covid-19 has grown to horrific levels.

Big Daddy, politely sharing pellets with the girls.

Need I say, how grateful we are? Never a day passes that we don’t take time to reiterate how happy we are to be here, leaving no thoughts or time for boredom.

It’s always wonderful to see them all sharing the pellets as opposed to headbutting.

Stay safe and continue to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2020:

Two Big Daddies head butting for dominance. For more year-ago photos, please click here.

Photos from our new trail cam…What we’ve learned…

Two duikers at night.

When our package arrived from the US through DHL, a few days ago, we were excited that the trail cam we’d ordered from Amazon was inside. Also, my new Fitbit Sense was in the box. We decided Tom would set up the trail cam while I worked on setting up the new Fitbit, both of which presented a few typical set-up challenges.

Finally, we had both pieces of equipment working and I was able to do my first ECG using the Fitbit which had been approved as a reliable device for this purpose by the US FDA (that’s not to say I trust everything they recommend). With a normal result, it did provide me with a little peace of mind, knowing at any time, I can check this on my own.

Most likely, a mating pair.

As for the Campark T-75 trail cam, that setup was a little more time-consuming and still requires some adjustments which we’ll tackle today. After using the trail cam for the first time last night, we realized the first thing we’ll do today, is reducing the number of shots it takes in one night. We ended up with over 5000 photos, way too many to go through each day.

We actually managed to go through all the shots and have included a few of them here today, not necessarily anything unusual from those we see during the day.  No porcupine, yet! But we’re committed to getting a night photo of her and other nocturnal visitors, we may not see during the day. We won’t be using the trail cam during daylight hours, instead, sticking to using our camera and posting those photos in most posts. We’ll post the more interesting trail cam photos.

The same two duikers in the garden at night.

We’d assumed that photo ops would be at a minimum during the busy school holiday week. But, as we sit here now on Sunday close to 1:00 pm, 1300 hours, we’re in awe of how many animals have been here this morning, including two Big Daddies, once of whom stood at the edge of the veranda and barked at us, forcing us to gingerly make our way indoors to give him the space he needed.

This was a first for us. We’re very careful around the Big Daddies. They are huge and dangerous and we take no risks whatsoever. Now, as I write this he has wandered off into the bush, ducking his massive horns as he makes his way through the dense trees and bushes.

We weren’t able to determine which warthog this was.

He ‘tipped” his horns a few times at two young warthogs who seemed determined to antagonize him for pellets. But, they squealed off when he reminded them of his power and strength. The tree he tore down a few days ago has been eaten by a wide array of antelopes and is beginning to look sparse. He meandered over to it this morning but didn’t seem interested in any of the remaining leaves.

It’s amazing how almost every day something new and exciting transpires in the bush. Yesterday, we had a dung beetle rolling a nice-sized ball of dung right next to us on the veranda. The ball got stuck against the edge of the grass and the pool and Tom, using a mop handle, released it for him. Soon, he’s back on his way, happily rolling his ball of dung, hoping to encounter a female in his travels.

We knew warthogs visit during the night.

We only need to sit here long enough for yet another magical event to take place all the while relishing in the regulars who come to call on a consistent basis. Sometimes, when it’s totally quiet, I begin to wonder if they’ll ever return. Then, to our delight, there they are again, gracing us with their presence in exchange for a tasty morsel or two.

As I write here now, 20 or more mongoose have returned after we’ve already fed them this morning, only a few hours or so ago. We gave them scrambled eggs and bits of meat and bones we’d saved for them. They’ll circle around the house a few times and return, perhaps thinking we “forgot” we already gave them treats, suitable for their diet as omnivores with a propensity for meat. Fortunately, today, we’ve saved a little meat for their second visit.

Always searching for pellets.

Today will be another quiet day. So far, the only noise we’ve heard from holidaymakers was the sounds of adults and kids talking loud and screaming in a pool. After a short while, the noises ended and we were able to enjoy another quiet evening in the bush, only occasionally interrupted by the sound of the roars by lions Dezi and Fluffy nearby. Blissful!

Another shot of the two mating duikers whom we rarely see during daylight hours. They are very shy.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2020:

Happy caterpillar dancing across the floor! Later on, we learned these caterpillars cause a nasty itch that lasts for days when coming in contact with their venom. We also learned these are Processionary Caterpillars who form a train and crawl up walls, verandas and form a train across the garden. Not so cute after all. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.

A tree pulled down!!!..Poop in the bush?…

Everybody was busy munching on Big Daddy’s fallen tree.

The only animal in our garden right now is The Imposter, this time, without his little buddy, Narrow Earlier we had visits from warthog Lonely Girl, Wildebeest Wille, and bushbuck Torn Ear, Since it’s Saturday, the first weekend day of the 10-day school holiday, here in South Africa, we feel fortunate to see any wildlife at all.Yesterday, an unusual event occurred in our garden. Big Daddy, (kudu) tore down, using his enormous horns, the main branch of a tree in order to gain access to its tasty leaves. As the low-lying bush dries out as winter approaches, male kudus with their massive size and strength can easily knock down a tree.

I was in the second bedroom, putting away laundry when I heard a huge sound hitting the house. Tom was taking a shower and didn’t hear a thing. I ran outside to see what was going on to find Big Daddy, happily munching on the moist, lush green leaves on the downed tree. I wish we would have seen this happen.

He came in for a few nibbles this morning but moved away when the others came.

But, we managed to take a few photos of the end result which don’t do the event justice. Since that transpired a number of other kudus and bushbucks have stopped by to partake of Big Daddy’s rambunctious event. We have no doubt that over the next week or two while the leaves are still green, he and others will stop by to partake.

It doesn’t appear that there was any damage to the house when the tree was felled by Big Daddy. Thank goodness for that. Few of the low-lying trees in the bush are sizable enough to cause damage if they are brought down by wildlife. We’ve seen such an event by elephants in Kruger National Park but never here in Marloth Park. It was rather exciting. When Tom came out to see what had happened during his shower, he too was in awe of the strength of this huge wild animal.

On another note, one of our dear long time readers wrote a comment on yesterday’s post as follows:

“I just have to ask, with all of the animals visiting, how do you handle their poo and pee? I keep busy cleaning with our two teacup dogs and can’t imagine the odor and waste from the many large animals that visit you.” Thanks for writing, Jan!

Miss Kudu in the backside of the tree and Mr. Bushbuck were enjoying the fruits of Big Daddy’s labor.

I don’t recall that we’ve ever posted anything on this topic. One would think the sight and smell of poop and pee would permeate the air in Marloth Park. It does not. Nor, is it a factor of visitors or residents getting “used to it.” There simply is no smell and rarely, and I mean rarely, do we ever see an animal poop in the garden.

Most often, they head out to the bush to “do their business” Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most animals won’t poop where they eat, or they prefer the deep bush setting as more suitable for them. Yes, on occasion, we may see a warthog or a kudu pee, but we’ve never seen a warthog, bushbuck or kudu poop in our garden. Even then, there’s no smell. I know this sounds hard to believe, but it’s true.

Even Frank and The Misses who spend considerable time on the veranda each day, never leave a telltale sign of their visits, other than their messy piles of birdseed.

Wildebeest Willie stopped by this morning with a friend.

Before we came to Marloth Park for the first time in 2013, we had wondered the same thing. In no time at all, we realized this wasn’t an issue. That’s not to say, we never see wildlife poop when out and about. It’s easy to determine the massive poops of wildebeest. Most locals chuckle when they see it since it’s such an oddity to encounter.

With wildlife only eating vegetation, there’s less of a likelihood of smell. So there it is, folks, the answer to the question that may have left many of our readers curious as to how we can manage to sit outside, day after day, night after night with animals surrounding us.

That’s it for today! We hope you have a lovely weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2020:

This photo is from the repeated photos one year ago while in India in the lockdown. As we walked the souk, deciding where to dine, these varying roof lines of a courtyard caught my eye. For this post from April 24, 2014, please click here. For the year-ago post with more Marrakesh, Morocco photos, please click here.

Our DHL package arrived!!!…Out with the old, in with the new!…

Lots of zebras in the garden eating pellets.

After the dreadful experience with FedEx in India when it took over three months for our package to arrive from the USA, we are thrilled that we received the package yesterday, after only 16 days since it was shipped from our mailing service in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is probably the quickest we’ve ever received a package. Also, based on the fact all the items in the box were personal effects of one type or another, we weren’t charged any customs fees. As it turned out, the package sat in customs for a week, while the contents were supposedly inspected.

But, after receiving the items, most of which were in unopened Amazon and other sealed white or black plastic bags, we wondered if they did in fact inspect any of the items. South Africa Customs through DHL, contacted us early on inquiring as to the content of the box and required we fill out a detailed form submitted with copies of my passport and the purpose of the contents. It was nowhere near as complicated a process as it had been in India.

This was the first time we had so many zebras stop by.

Tom laughed that my opening the box was compared to opening gifts at Christmas. I must admit it was kind of fun. I had ordered two new bras from Victoria’s Secret and couldn’t wait to toss the tattered bras that were four years old. It was interesting for me to know that three bras alternated regularly, washed but never put into a dryer actually lasted for over three of those four years. While in India, I didn’t wear a bra for 10 months, knowing I needed to extend their wear.

Also included in the box was my new Fitbit Sense watch which I’ll set up today and much to our delight, the recently ordered trail cam from Amazon, that syncs to our phones so when we’re out we can see who’s visiting the garden. That’s exciting. Our only concern is that a nefarious individual(s) may stop by while we’re out and steal it.

Then again, the newer gas braai, a fan, a table, and other items stay outdoors on the veranda at all times and so far, nothing has been taken. Most thefts in Marloth Park have been taking TVs and digital equipment “inside” the house, not necessarily from the exterior. Tom wants to bring it indoors each time we leave the house, but, I am working on convincing him to leave it hooked up outdoors, enabling us to watch the app on our phones while out and about.

We always love a visit from Wildebeest Willies.

I was very excited about the many new tee shirts for me in the package which included short and long sleeves. With winter on the horizon in the next 60 days, it will be great to be able to wear long-sleeved shirts while seated outdoors on the veranda. I’ve been hauling the same tee shirts with me for years, as old as seven or eight years, many with tiny holes and misshapen.

Normally, I’ve only worn, tattered clothes around the house, but lately, I’ve been looking forward to having some new things. The pants I currently have are in good condition when most days, around the house, I wear Capri-length jeans which seem to last forever. When going out to dinner or visiting friends, I always wear long pants or long jeans to protect myself from mosquitos.

It’s hard to get a shot with their heads up. They are always scrounging for pellets or other tasty morsels.

Also, based on the horrific infections and cuts on my legs from ankle to thigh after cardiac bypass surgery, I no longer care to wear shorts, even around the house. It’s a painful reminder of a time I’d just as soon put behind me.

After the box was completely empty, I folded all my new things and neatly placed them in the chest of drawers I use in the second bedroom. Soon, I’ll start tossing the old items. If they were in good condition, I would donate them locally but I don’t care to donate old worn clothing when we see the local workers so nicely dressed.

Then, of course, there’s always Little, back for more love talk and pellets.

That’s it for today, folks. Tonight, we’re off to Jabula for dinner, hoping it won’t be too crowded with holidaymakers. If it is, we’ll order our food to go and head back to the house.

Have a fantastic weekend and be well.

 Photo from one year ago today, April 23, 2020:

A parade of elephants kicking up a lot of dust in Chobe National Park in Botswana. This photo is from a two ago post. See here for details. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Holiday makers arriving in the park starting today…Noisy weekend in the bush?…

Big Daddy is such a handsome animal.

We are located on the borders of Lionspruit, the wildlife conservancy within a wildlife conservancy. From our front yard or back garden, we cannot see another house. The only human noise we hear from time to time is the sound of children laughing while in a splash pool, which we can easily handle, the distant sound of a generator when the power is out and the occasional sound of trucks passing with supplies for a house being built in the area.

Other than those sounds, the only sounds we hear on a consistent basis is the blissful sounds of wildlife; whether its birds, mongoose making their chittering sounds, warthogs snorting and grunting, impalas barking like a dog, various chirping insects and frogs, the lion’s roar, and the difficult to describe occasional sounds made by kudus, zebra, and wildebeest. It’s all music to our ears.

Big Daddy posing for a photo.

One of our favorite sounds is made by Frank and The Misses, a loud bird call like none other, at sunrise and sunset, and occasionally during the day, and the gentle chirp when they happily eat their seeds and drink water from the little containers, both of which we refill several times a day.

Otherwise, the quiet is profound. No traffic sounds, no loud music, with no yelling and loud voices. When we lived at the Orange House in 2018/2019, the human sounds were deafening at times. We could easily see three or four-holiday homes from the garden and hear the rambunctious sounds of holidaymakers during the endless stream of holidays in South Africa.

Marloth Park has distinct rules, available to every visitor in regards to noise. This is a place to come to unwind, relax and revel in the wonders of nature and wildlife. Loud noise is prohibited and may result in steep fines. But, many tourists pay little attention to the rules.

He stood quietly for a few hours watching the action around him with many other animals in the garden.

Not only did we hear screaming, yelling, and “drunk talk” but loud music permeated the air. It wasn’t unusual to hear swearing and name-calling from that location. Here, nothing. At most, we’ll hear the children’s sounds and an occasional car driving past. This house is set back far from the road, making passing vehicle noises barely detectable.

Upcoming this weekend is yet another South Africa holiday, this time what is called a “school holiday” which may be found at this link. For the regular government holidays, please click here.

This upcoming school holiday, of course, meaning kids are out of school, impacts tourism in Marloth Park beginning on April 23 and continues until May 3 for a total of 10 days. It’s during these several long stretches throughout the year that Marloth Park is rife with tourists, with considerable fast driving on the paved road Olifant and all the dirt roads, which often results in the killing of many animals.

Big Daddy in the background with two females ready for more pellets.

As mentioned over Easter weekend, seven of our beloved animals were killed by hit-and-run drivers, some of which were killed instantly and others who had to be euthanized. Each time, we don’t see some of our favorites in the garden over a period of days, we end up wondering if they were one of the victims of these ruthless drivers, until once again they grace us with their presence, filling us with a sense of relief.

It’s highly likely we won’t see much wildlife during the 10-day period when often, they are hiding in the bush away from the commotion or being fed inappropriate foods that they, like humans, can’t help but like. During these periods, we seldom see many of our wildlife friends. In actuality, that has already begun when, this morning, we only saw a few warthogs, bushbucks, and of course, Frank and The Misses, who we’ll continue to see since Francolins are territorial and it’s highly unlikely they leave the property.

Also, beginning this weekend, it’s necessary to make an appointment to enter Kruger National Park. Visitors may use this site to book their appointments. Due to the crowds, there will be in Kruger, we won’t be visiting any time during the holiday period. Also, our usual drives in search of photo ops in Marloth Park will also cease during this period.

Young Mr. Bushbuck hoping for some pellets when the warthogs take over. We always find a way to get some to him and the other gentle bushbucks.

We’re hoping we’ll continue to have sufficient photos during the next 10 days for our daily posts. We’ll do our best to ensure we are able to post new photos. Fortunately, we have enough groceries and bags of pellets to avoid the necessity of driving to Komatipoort to shop, where it will also be very busy.

Oops, I spoke too soon! Nine kudus just arrived in the garden, including some youngsters and Big Daddy. A grouping of kudus like this is called a forkl. The camera is clicking non-stop!

Little, in the side garden, searching for any leftover pellets we’d tossed to the bushbucks.

May your days and nights be pleasant and fulfilling.

Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2020:

A distant elephant across the Crocodile River. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.

Fantastic night in the bush…A human and animal kind of night…

Big Daddy lurking in the bush staring at the females.

Last evening when friends Alan and Fiona stopped by for sundowners, we all experienced a night we’ll always remember. Not only was the conversation, wine, cocktails, and food freely flowing, but we were all “gifted” with visits by dozens of wildlife. They came, not only before sunset, but once it was dark, when we turned on the garden light, one species after another graced us with their presence.

Lots of zebra butts facing us this morning as they clamored over the pellets Tom tossed into the garden.

It was as if we’d arranged this menagerie for our guests and none of us could take our eyes off the garden. Amid all the enjoyment of seeing so many wild animals, the conversation flowed with ease and good humor. Tom and I joked that the word got out that we currently have five remaining 40 kg, 88 pounds, bags of pellets in a corner in the second bedroom.

It’s not natural for kudus to bend over to eat when they’re used to eating vegetation on trees. But, they do bend for the pellets.

Then, again this morning, even more, came to call including wildebeests (gnus), zebras, bushbucks, warthogs, kudus, including one Big Daddy (the first we’ve had visit) who’d somehow managed to maneuver his way through the dense bush to make his way to our garden.

As I write this now, the Big Daddy stands tall in his majestic wonder as shown in today’s photos. To us, there’s no animal living in Marloth Park that commands more reverence and respect than these special massive males. Sadly, on occasion, a foolhardy tourist will not respect their strength and girth and may become injured when getting too close.

One of the two wildebeest hung around with us all evening, well after dark.

Recently, we posted a video we’d seen on Facebook where a man actually touched the head of a Big Daddy, which resulted in an injury to the man’s face. We were appalled by how idiotic the man was to actually think he could “pet” the massive animal. We never touch any of the wildlife nor do we hand-feed any of them.

See the Facebook link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/377035355798904/permalink/1901623916673366/

The second wildebeest that hung around last night and returned again this morning.

As it turned out, Alan and Fiona stayed until 11:00 pm, 2300 hours, when suddenly we all realized how late it was. A highlight of the evening we all especially savored was when on four occasions, we heard Dezi and Fluffy roaring in Lionspruit. What a fantastic sound!

The evening flew by. Shortly after they left and we were situated in bed with our laptops, I got to work to complete the day’s corrections I’d never finished during the day.  It wasn’t until after midnight that I finally gave up and decided to finish the task this morning.

It was almost dark when we took this photo.

Well, this morning with six zebras, four warthogs, two bushbucks, and the returning two wildebeest from last night, it took me a while to finally get to the remaining corrections from yesterday. Now I am caught up and can get to work on today’s 10 posts before the day’s end.

Today will be an easy day. I’ve already done two loads of laundry and prepared a few items for tonight’s dinner, a well-seasoned chicken flattie to be cooked on the braai. Most flatties are already seasoned with some spices we don’t use in our way of eating. Soon, I’ll soak the chicken in purified water in the big metal bowl to remove all those spices off and then re-season it to our liking.

Such a handsome male kudu.

Tomorrow, we’ll make the second flattie implementing the same process, when we didn’t have room in the small freezer for either of the flatties. Today is yet another gorgeous day, cool and slightly overcast. We are loving every moment of this cool weather.

Enjoy today’s photos along with us. Happy day to all.

Photo from one year ago today, April 21, 2020:

Taking photos through the fence in Marloth Park was tricky, so we got what shots we could.  At times, we were pleasantly surprised at the finished product. For more photos, reposted, one year ago, please click here.