Our friends, Rita and Gerhard have arrived with a treat for Tom…Videos from the garden…

Yesterday, I spent part of the day prepping chicken and vegetables for a stir fry dish I concocted that meets my criteria for low carb and yet would be pleasing to Tom. I cleaned and chopped portabella mushrooms, zucchini, onions, celery, yellow/green/red bell peppers, and fresh garlic and ginger.

Tom likes onions, celery, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms but refuses to eat bell peppers which many don’t like. So, before dinner, I stir-fried the items he wants, added the chicken, seasoned everything with sauces, and set it aside. I quickly stir-fried the other vegetables with sauces in the same pan, placing half of them on my dinner plate and then adding the chicken ingredients. Tom added rice to his meal and ate only the cooked chicken with the veggies he liked.

Two male kudus in the garden with horns locked.

It worked perfectly. He didn’t have to pick out the vegetables to put them on my plate while I had plenty of veggies with the chicken. We each topped our dish with peanuts for a special added touch. It couldn’t have been more delicious.

Just when we were about to sit down at about 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs., we heard a light tap on the door. (Lately, we’ve been eating early since we have only a light breakfast around 8:00 am and don’t eat anything all day). By 5:30, we are hungry and ready for a nice meal. We usually eat later when we dine out or have company for dinner.

We both jumped up to see who was at the door, to find Rita, Gerhard, and their male friend Lee who traveled with them and was joining them during their short stay here in Marloth Park, most likely less than a month.

There stood our wonderful friends. The hugs and the hellos were intense. Gerhard was holding two three-packs of Krispy Kreme donuts for Tom. It wasn’t the first time Gerhard had brought these donuts for Tom. By this morning, all six donuts were eaten. Piglet. Ironically, when Tom went to Spar yesterday to pick up my light wine, he purchased two big bags of Lay’s potato chips, Gerhard’s favorite.

Rita and my friendship is only four years old, but we’ve grown to be like sisters in that time with lots of hugs and love bestowed upon one another.  I am blessed to share this same type of lifelong friendship with other incredible women in the years we’ve spent in Marloth Park. It’s hard for us to believe that it was almost nine years ago when we first came to Marloth Park in 2013.

They didn’t stay. I had invited them for dinner earlier in the day but knew there would be shopping in Woolie’s in Nelspruit and plenty of unpacking. Rita is one of the most organized people I know, so we know we won’t see them again for several days until she feels like everything is in order.

She keeps her drawers, cupboards, and closets so pristine I drool when I see them. But, I gave up my attempts at perfectionism when we left the US in 2012. My cupboards are only moderately organized, although my clothes (and Tom’s) are neatly folded in the cupboards since there are no drawers in the bedroom here.

As for the non-perishable food in the kitchen…well, it could be tidier, but it works for me. There are no above-counter cabinets in the kitchen (typical in Africa), so space is at a premium. The low hard-to-reach space for plastic containers (Tupperware type) is difficult for me to organize since I have trouble bending down that far, a common dilemma facing most who’ve had cardiac surgery. I have resigned myself that it’s not the tidiest spot in the house. There are no doors on the storage spaces in the kitchen.

When we visit Rita and Gerhard at their house in the bush, I will enjoy seeing Rita’s organization but feel comfortable with the system I have in place that works for me.

Surely sometime in the next few days we’ll all get together and catch up and will do so many more times while they are here. We’ve already informed David at Jabula to save a table for four of us; now, we’ll change it to five for the addition of their friend Lee or more if others join us.

We have great leftovers for tonight, so this morning I busied myself with laundry, making a fresh salad for dinner, working on today’s videos and photos, and now, wrapping up the post. For the afternoon, we’ll enjoy more time on the veranda as animals stop by to say “hello.”

Enjoy our three new videos!

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2021:

Don  (Don and Kathy), who are in Hawaii now, and Rita (Rita and Gerhard), who arrived here last night, were toasting the occasion. I don’t recall what occasion it was, but there was always cause to celebrate. For more photos, please click here.

“Oh, What A Night!”

We thought of the above song released in 1975 by the Four Seasons this morning after discussing our fun evening last night at Jabula with Louise and Danie, her parents Estelle and Johan, and readers/new friends Marilyn and Gary. We sat at the same table on the veranda where we usually sat with friends Kathy and Don, Linda and Ken and Rita and Gerhard, and others from time to time.

Mom bushbuck Tulip is feeding her young female, Lilac. They often visit several times a day.

Speaking of Rita and Gerhard, we just heard from them, and they will arrive in Marloth Park tonight. We look forward to seeing them as soon as they are settled into the house on Hornbill, where they usually stay. They are stopping to shop in Nelspruit after the long drive from Johannesburg, with another hour’s drive to Marloth Park. We are looking forward to seeing them soon.

Last night, the food was delicious, and the conversation was as lively as ever. There were times we were all talking at once and enjoying every moment. I know I kept interrupting Tom (sorry, Honey) to add to the stories he was telling, but he never seemed to mind. We often do this with one another, which makes us laugh.

Big Daddies are wondering what’s on the menu. Pellets, perhaps?

It’s funny, but Marilyn and Gary know us so well from reading our posts since 2012. There’s hardly a story we can tell that they haven’t read about. We love that aspect of our readers coming here to Marloth Park or anywhere else in the world we may be at any given time. It’s like we’ve been friends forever. Now, all we have to do is spend more time getting to know them, which hopefully we’ll be able to do over the next month they’ll be here.

Today, we’re staying in on yet another perfect-weather day. Tom just took off for Komatipoort to Spar to pick up a case of my low-alcohol (5.5%) wine we ordered. It is the best-tasting low-alcohol wine I’ve had. It’s lower in alcohol than my usual Skinny Red, but I prefer it that way. It’s probably more psychological than anything – I get the taste of wine without the resulting woozy feeling and never a hangover if I drink one or two glasses too many.

Norman fluffed up with Big Daddy nearby while an oxpecker works on his ticks and fleas.

We could have waited to pick up the wine next when we shop, but Tom so thoughtfully offered to drive alone to Komati to pick it up so I’d have it for upcoming social events over the next week. I’ve been busy this morning, setting up bills to pay using online banking, tracking spending, and chopping and dicing tons of vegetables for tonight’s planned dinner.

I am making a chicken stir fry tonight now that I’ve found all the spices and seasonings to make this dish. On the side, we’ll have a big salad and Tom will have white rice. If I even get a bit more ambitious, I’ll make a low-carb dessert to go along with it based on the ingredients we have on hand.

It’s fun to see him fluff up like this.

Few animals were visiting us this morning when again, the bush is busy with holidaymakers. Early, we spoke on WhatsApp to dear friends Kathy and Don in Hawaii. There’s a 12-hour time difference, so the only good time for us to call them is early morning. It was wonderful to hear their voices.

While we were chatting, Nyala dad, Norman, showed up. We tried to get the video to work on WhatsApp, but the signal was weak, and we couldn’t show them Norman. After living in the bush for many years, they are missing it here and hopefully will return one day soon. We are so looking forward to that time.

Tom just returned from the store with the wine. I thought a case would be 12 bottles, but I guess, here in South Africa, a case is six bottles. Oh, well, hopefully, we’ll be able to get more next time we shop.

We’ll be working on getting more photos when the holidaymakers leave on Monday. In the interim, we’re sharing what we’ve taken over the past week.

Have a lovely weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, July 30, 2021:

Little and his newly adopted family stopped by for another visit. Pellets are on the menu!!! For more photos, please click here.

Weird coincidence!…Back from the dentist once again…

Marigold is so sweet.

What a weird coincidence it was this morning when I started to do the post, to be completed when we return from the dentist, Dr. Singh, in Malalane. I went to the year-ago bar to grab the photo to place at the bottom of today’s post. The heading read,

“Busy morning in the bush!… Trip to Malalane to the dentist and more…”

That’s what’s happening today, exactly one year later, as shown here. But another irony is that the first thing I saw this morning when coming out of the bedroom after getting ready for the day was as many, if not more, mongooses waiting for us in the garden (at the old house) as shown in that post.

This is Spikey, a young male bushbuck.

The only difference was that at that time, we gave them eggs. Now, we provide them with paloney, cut into little pieces, which ensures every one of them gets something. There were always a few mongooses with the eggs that didn’t get a taste. The paloney I’d cut into pieces, the size of their little heads was enough to ensure each one gets at least one bite. No one is left out.

We find our lives are filled with weird coincidences, most often revolving around events, dates, and places. How peculiar it is! Does it have something to do with the fact that our lives consist of various experiences that we’re bound to encounter similar situations? Who knows? I guess we’ll never figure it out.

Each day when I make our dinner salad, I give the vegetable scraps to the bushbucks, duikers and kudus. Zoom in to see how cute Spikey is when eating his lettuce leaf.

History is filled with amazing coincidences outlined on this website, such as:

  1. Mark Twain’s birth and death coincide with Halley’s Comet.
  2. Stephen Hawking shares his birth and death dates with Galileo and Einstein, respectively.
  3. Political adversaries Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other—on July 4th.
  4. Anthony Hopkins happened upon a signed copy of the book he was searching for in a train station.
  5. John Wilkes Booth’s brother saved Abraham Lincoln’s son from death.
  6. And that same son of Lincoln’s witnessed three presidential assassinations.
  7. An engaged couple discovered their parents almost married one another.
  8. One woman survived the TitanicBritannic, and Olympic shipwrecks.
  9. The first and last battles of the Civil War were fought next to the same man’s property—in different towns.
  10. The first and last soldiers killed in WWI are buried next to each other.

For details on the above coincidences, and more, please click here. The stories surrounding the above are pretty interesting.

Nyala Norman, fluffs up his fur when he’s in the presence of a more dominant male antelope such a Big Daddy. He pays no attention to the warthogs.

Today we drove to Dr. Singh’s office in Malalane (also spelled Malelane). Wouldn’t you know that an accident on the N4 backed up traffic for 25 minutes from Marloth Park to Malalane? Thank goodness, Tom suggested we leave at 9:00 am for our 10:00 am appointment. We walked in the door to Dr. Singh’s office exactly at 10:00 am. (Even that was somewhat of a coincidence).

Tom had his two implants seated, which looked like his normal teeth. He’s relieved to have the big gap where two teeth were pulled many months ago, finally no longer visible when he smiles, laughs or talks. He doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort.

Alas, I have to have the same thing done. My painful tooth, easily visible when I open my mouth since it’s the fourth tooth from my front tooth, has to be pulled. Dr. Singh explained it had already had a root canal (many years ago in the US), and repeating root canals have a poor success rate. I now have an abscess which is why it’s hurting so much, which I’d expected.

Known to be very shy, impalas are coming closer and closer to the other animals eating pellets.

The only alternative is to pull the tooth and have an implant after the bone heals. I cringed when I heard this. The last time I had a tooth pulled was last September, resulting in an excruciating dry socket. Dr. Singh had gone on holiday, and I suffered dearly for three weeks when I finally visited another dentist to work on the dry socket.

Statistics show that certain people are prone to dry sockets. That’s me. Oh, I don’t want to go through that again! I started antibiotics today but couldn’t make the appointment for the extraction until after returning from Zambia/Botswana on August 27th. It was too risky to do it before we left if I had complications like I’d had last time. We don’t want to be away while I am in pain.

By taking antibiotics now, a must, the pain may return by the time we leave South Africa on August 20. If that’s the case, I’ll have to go on another round of antibiotics that only help an abscess for a short time. I would have refused antibiotics if I could have the tooth pulled in the next week, but it will take three days to make the temporary bridge to see me through the three months necessary to wait for the final implant.

I assure you, during those three days while waiting for the temporary to be made, I won’t be going out and about for anything. I have no desire to look like a “toothless wonder” while waiting for the temporary tooth. Tom said, “You could wear a face mask if a social thing comes up!” Hahaha. I won’t be going anywhere that week!

Nina and Noah in the garden after jumping the fence.

This morning while we were gone, Louise and Danie dropped off a better-working refrigerator for the kitchen, and we’re thrilled! Louise unloaded and reloaded all of our food, and the new refrigerator section is roomier and easier to use. I couldn’t be more delighted and thanked them profusely. Soon, the washer part will come in, and the repair guy will install that. Then, all of our appliances will be working.

Tonight, we’re meeting Louise, Danie, and her parents, Estelle and Johan, for dinner at Jabula. David reserved a spot for us at the bar and our favorite table for six on the veranda. It’s a gorgeous day and shouldn’t be too cold outdoors for dining. We’ll undoubtedly have another fantastic evening at our favorite spot in Marloth Park.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2021:

When we returned from Malalane one year ago, these mongooses and more awaited us in the garden. Quickly, Tom began beating some eggs for them. For more photos, please click here.

Stunning visitors to the garden…Rioting in the streets in Komatipoort…

A mom and a young giraffe stayed close to one another.

This morning, while lingering in bed, knowing there was no rush to get up, I played Scrabble on my phone. I am trying to break my previous winning streak but have some tough competition. I can tell some players use letter-unscrambling apps, but I wing it alone. What’s the point of playing if I don’t exercise my brain?

Reaching for the treetops.

About 7:30, Tom came into the bedroom to tell me to hurry and come outside. There were four giraffes in the garden, close enough for some photos. I had yet to insert my contacts and couldn’t focus the camera very well, so I rushed back inside to take care of it.

We were thrilled we had some tasty trees in the garden.

In less than a minute, I was back outside and ready to take some photos to share here today. We were both thrilled to finally see these massive animals in the garden during the day. We’d see them on the road but not in the garden, except a few times when they appeared on the trail cam at night, too far for good images.

Giraffes don’t eat pellets, but wildebeests do!

The four massive beasts stayed for about 30 minutes, and finally, I could go back inside to shower and dress for the day. Once in the kitchen, I made my coffee, warmed up a homemade blueberry egg muffin, and ventured out to the veranda to enjoy the views of myriad wildlife visiting us on yet another gorgeous day.

We’d planned to go to Kruger today, but now, with riots in Komatipoort, only a few kilometers from where we turn off to go to the Crocodile Bridge entrance, we decided to stay put. A tweet came in this morning with a video of rioting on Rissik Street, where we were yesterday for Tom’s eye doctor appointment, which is the main road in town that takes us to the Spar Market.

Are you perhaps contemplating a drink from the pool?

Not only was there vandalism and carjackings in the town of a population of under 5000, but rocks were being thrown at people and vehicles. No thanks. We will stay as far away as possible, which is right here where we are in Marloth Park. There’s been a lot of rioting in South Africa lately with no results from these activities regarding changes people want to be made.

In this case, supposedly, the residents were rioting over the lack of a high school, the clinic’s hours, and other reasons, none of which will change from this demonstration. Businesses and governments do not respond to rioting, which is prevalent in this country and others, including our own USA.

They wandered about the garden for about 30 minutes and were on their way.

But, for our safety, we’ve chosen to stay in Marloth Park today. We won’t be able to go to the Kruger tomorrow since Tom has a 10:00 am appointment to have his two teeth implants placed on the foundations by Dr. Singh. In the interim, I’ve had a toothache for the past several days and have been trying to reach the dental office for the past three hours to no avail.

Now that we have a local phone number, it is a little more convenient to leave a message than in the past, when most people don’t return a call to a long-distance number like ours on our Google phones. As mentioned in an earlier post, we figured out a solution for Google Fi’s issue with us regularly using data outside the US.


We purchased a local Vodacom SIM card for my old phone with voice and data to use as needed. Sure, I must carry two phones when heading out, but it was the only practical solution for now. Google phones don’t have an extra slot for another SIM card other than the one installed for Google Fi purposes. Thus, the necessity for another phone.

Overall, this phone solution was less expensive than any other we investigated. Although it’s slightly inconvenient having two phones, there are times it comes in handy when I’m using my old phone to stream music in the early evenings while still able to use the newer phone.

Where to next?

As for Tom’s eye doctor appointment yesterday (where the riots are today), he was relieved to know the strings he saw from his eye were “floaters.” I also have the same problem with one of my eyes. In a study, it was reported that 76% of seniors have floaters. So I guess neither of us has to be concerned about this common condition.

That’s it for today, folks. Be well and enjoy your day and evening.

Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2021:

Tiny seemed happy to see us, although he hesitated for a moment to ensure it was us. He is timid, unlike Little. We are thrilled to see him once again! For more photos, please click here.

Part 6…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…Balance of Kruger photos…

Zoom in to see how many crocs were lying on the shore of Sunset Dam. with a yellow-billed stork.

Last night, Louise stopped by with a buffalo meat pie for Tom. I couldn’t eat it due to the crust, but I did sample the meat, which was delicious. Tom loved it and will eat the rest tonight for dinner. Generally, we don’t eat “bush meat.” For us, the idea of eating any of the gorgeous animals we enjoy in the bush is unappetizing.

But then again, I love cows, pigs and chickens, which we eat. If eating a low-carb diet wasn’t necessary for my health, I could probably be a vegetarian. Many years ago, I was so for 11 years. But now, with blood sugar and inflammation being an issue, I must avoid grains, sugars, and starches, all typically consumed on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

According to friend Lynne, this is a Fork-tailed Drongo.

Sure, I looked at the pie last night and thought of how nice it would have been to cut myself a big slice, but instead, I had salmon salad, cooked cauliflower and green beans, and a green salad which proved to be very satisfying and filling. I’ll do the same tonight while Tom finishes the buffalo pie.

Soon, we will be heading to Komatipoort for an eye exam with the optometrist next door to Dr. Theo and the dentist. Tom has noticed some black spots in his vision in his right eye. For peace of mind, he’ll have the doctor check it out. Most likely, it is floaters, the same thing I noticed about a year ago. I confirmed it by a visit to the same optometrist and exact diagnosis. Nothing can be done for floaters, a typical, relatively harmless condition afflicting many seniors as they age. We’re hoping Tom’s condition will be the same.

Indigenous blooming aloe plants are typically seen this time of year.

After that appointment at 12:30, Tom will drop me at the pharmacy for some toiletries. I shop at the pharmacy for some items I would typically have purchased at a Target store in the US. There is no such store like Target anywhere in South Africa, although there are a few Big Box stores in the bigger cities. But there is nothing like it within an hour’s drive.

After the pharmacy, I’ll walk the short distance to the Spar Market while Tom refuels. Petrol prices are high here as well, as are groceries, which have increased about 30% in the past year, particularly meat products.

Two Cape buffalos were sunning in the bush with a cattle egret standing watch.

Still, compared to our recent experiences in the US, groceries are about 40% less here. Rent is about 40% less than in the US, and car rentals run around US $500, ZAR 8421, a month plus petrol. As a result, our cost of living is considerably lower here in South Africa than in many other countries.

Two more Cape buffalos, not quite as cuddly.

If tomorrow is a nice day, we’ll most likely return to Kruger. By no means are we expecting our next visit to be as good as the last, but it’s an excellent way to spend a day and to get us out of the house. That’s not to say we feel like we need to get out. We don’t. We could easily spend most days situated on the veranda enjoying the bush. To be able to sit here on a perfect weather day.

Another wild blooming plant in Kruger.

It will be sweltering before too long. We’ll still sit on the veranda each day and evening, but it won’t be as wonderful as it is now with this gorgeous winter weather.

I must head to the kitchen to prep the salad and vegetables for tonight’s dinner. It’s a great day. We are as content as we could be.

We hope you are content on this day as well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2021:

Little is back after we returned from the US a year ago!!! We were excited to see him again! No Tiny yet, but maybe soon. For more photos, please click here.

Part 5…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…Fascinating birds…

This is a Martial Eagle with his catch of the day. Zoom in for details. See more about this bird below…

We were excited to have spotted so many interesting birds while in Kruger last Thursday. It’s tricky for us to identify them using the bird book we have on hand. I don’t like to pester our bird watching friends when I can find a particular bird in the book or online.

But, when I do find one on my own, I am thrilled. It was easy to find the bird in today’s main photo and to share the details of this species here from this excellent site:

“Martial  Eagle

Latin Name

Polemaetus bellicosus.


Martial Eagles are the largest of the African eagles and incredibly powerful, capable of knocking an adult man off his feet. They reputedly have enough power in one foot to break a man’s arm. The largest eagle in Africa, the Martial eagle weighs in at almost 14 pounds (6.5 Kg.) and has a wingspan of about 6 feet 4 inches. It is 32 inches long. The upperparts are dark brown with a white belly with black streaks, the legs are white and has very large talons. The immature bird looks quite different from the adult.


In some areas birds form an important part of the diet, including guineafowl, francolins, bustards, and poultry. Birds as large as a European Stork are recorded to have fallen prey to the Martial Eagle. In other areas the diet is largely mammalian, especially hyrax and small antelopes.

Animals as large as an Impala calf are taken, and some monkeys, also occasionally young domestic goats, and lambs. Carnivores like mongoose are sometimes taken, even occasionally Serval Cat and Jackal; also a few snakes and large lizards. It will evidently eat whatever is available, with a preference for game-birds, hyrax, and poultry. It is not known to eat carrion at all except possibly dead lambs.


Martial Eagle nests are built invariably in trees, at any height from 20 to 80 feet above ground, but often in the largest tree in the area, growing on a steep hillside or in a gorge, where the bird has a clear sweep off the nest. Pairs have one or two nests, which are used in alternate years if more than one, but for successive breeding attempts if only one.

They are huge structures about four to six feet across and up to four feet thick, and often basin-shaped when new – much broader than they are deep. They are made of large sticks up to one-and-a-half inches in diameter, lined with green leaves. They may be used by a succession of birds for many years.

The Martial Eagle breeding season may thus begin in various parts of the range in a wet season, the early dry season, or late in the dry season, and some part of the cycle must extend through rainy periods. Incubation is normally done by the female, but a male has been known to sit. The female leaves the nest to feed and is not usually fed by the male at the nest. The incubation period is probably about 45 days. The young is very weak and feeble when first hatched, but becomes more active after about twenty days.

At 32 days feathers show through the down, and completely cover the bird at 70 days. The young Martial Eagle is fed by its parent till it is about 60 days old, and well feathered, when it starts to tear up its prey itself. During the early fledging period the female remains near or on the nest, and the male hunts and brings prey.

The female Martial Eagle remains in the area and receives prey from the male for about 50 days. After that she hunts or brings prey to the nest herself and the male seldom appears. The young one is closely brooded in its first few days, but after fourteen days the female does not brood it except at night.

The young bird, after making its first flight (at about 100 days), may return to roost in the nest for some days, and thereafter moves away from it. It remains loosely attached to the nest site for some time, and may be seen not far from it for up to six months.


The Martial Eagle is the largest eagle in Africa – this is a bird of the uninhabited stretches of thornbush and savannah found over much of Africa, occurring also in open plains and semi-desert country. Martial Eagles spend on average 85% of their time perched and take to the wing predominantly in the late morning (10am). This behaviour drops off sharply from around 3pm and is largely driven by thermal availability. Martial Eagles are thus also predominantly opportunistic perch and ambush hunters.

Martial Eagles will soar for hours on updraughts without hunting, and with a full crop, but it does most of its hunting from the soar also, killing or attacking by a long slanting stoop at great speed, or a gentle descent into an opening in the bush, the speed of the descent being controlled by the angle at which the wings are held above the back. It may kill from a perch, but does so seldom, and most of its kills are surprised in the open by the speed of the eagle’s attack from a distance.

A pair of Martial Eagles may have a home range of anything up to 50 square miles, and they wander about over most of it. They often hunt for several days in one area and then move on to another, since complaints of kills are often voiced for several days in succession in the same area. It is much shier than the other big eagles of Africa, and generally keeps away from man.

Although not migratory in the strict sense it makes local movements involving flights of several hundred miles, and a pair may not habitually be found near their breeding locality. It is by habit a hunter of game-birds and small mammals out in the open, but also preys upon man’s domestic animals, though it certainly kills much less than it is often accused of killing. Probably on balance it is a beneficial bird to man.

Where To Find Martial Eagles?

The Martial Eagle is found in the savannah and thornbush areas of Africa south of the Sahara, from Senegal to Somalia and south to the Cape. It is also found in open plains and semi-desert country, but not frequenting forest, although it occasionally breeds in forests on the edge of open country. The best place to see Martial Eagles in Kruger National Park is in the Lower Sabie area.”

This is a Fish Eagle. See details below.

Here is information on the African Fish Eagle also from this site:

“African Fish Eagle


The African Fish Eagle is a fairly large eagle. It has a distinctive black, brown, and white plumage.


Although, as its name suggests, it feeds extensively on fish, in some areas it preys on flamingoes and other water birds. It is also known to eat carrion and is classified as a kleptoparasite (it steals prey from other birds). Goliath Herons are known to lose a percentage of their catch to Fish Eagles. Their main diet is fish, sometimes dead, but mostly caught live. Catfish and lungfish are caught most frequently. Larger prey are eaten on the ground next to the water.


The African Fish Eagle has two distinct calls. In flight or perched, the sound is something like the American Bald Eagle. When near the nest its call is more of a ‘quock’ sound – the female is a little shriller and less mellow than the male. So well known and clear is the call of this bird that it is often known as ‘the voice of Africa’. The African Fish Eagle is usually seen in pairs inside and outside the breeding season, even sharing kills made by either of them. They spend more time perched than flying, and usually settle for the day by 10am, having made their kill, although they will kill at any time of the day.


It is most frequently seen sitting high in a tall tree from where it has a good view of the stretch of river, lakeshore or coastline, which is its territory. Near a lake with an abundant food supply, a pair may require less than a square mile of water to find enough food, whereas next to a small river, they may require a stretch of 15 miles or more. Some tend to move around to avoid the wettest weather, whereas others stay where they are all year round.

Where African Fish Eagle Are Found

The African Fish Eagle is widespread in Southern Africa. It is particularly common in and around some of the Rift Valley lakes.”

Then Tom captured this Goliath Heron as shown below, partially obscured in the tall grass but a fine sight to see as well.

Although not the most concise photo, it was fun to capture this Goliath Heron while on the bridge in Lower Sabie.

Here’s in formation on the Goliath Heron found on this site:

“Goliath Heron

The Goliath Heron (Latin name Ardea goliath) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 64 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 590 also a picture of the Goliath Heron on page 592. The Goliath Heron belongs to the family of birds classified as Ardeidae.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information … the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Goliath Heron is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident.

Main diet items for this bird

The Goliath Heron feeds on the ground and in or around water mainly: invertebrates, aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird

The Goliath Heron is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Ardea goliath will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Goliath Heron is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub or on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are blue in colour and number between 2 to 5

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird

The preferred habitats for Goliath Heron are: wetlands and riverine areas

You can see Goliath Heron in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.”

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll share the balance of our photos from Kruger National Park. As you can see from our past posts, we had quite a good time in the park, spotting many amazing animals. We look forward to our next outing. We will make a point of avoiding posting repeated info for the wildlife to avoid redundancy.

We had a busy morning when the power went out but only at our house. Danie contacted an electrician who spent several hours making repairs, and now it is back on. What a relief. Now, we’re waiting for the appliance guy to come to fix the washer and main refrigerator. Although we are renting and aren’t responsible for such repairs, it’s excellent that Louise and Danie are so quick to respond when there are issues.

Yesterday afternoon, we had a delightful visit with reader/friends Marilyn and Gary, who were inspired to come to Marloth Park after reading our posts for years. They are experienced travelers, and we had an excellent get-together on our veranda. We’re looking forward to socializing with them again shortly while they spend almost two months in the park.

A special thanks to our friend Lynne, who lives part-time in Marloth Park and on Jersey Island. She and her husband Mick are the first couple we met on our first outing to Jabula in December 2013. They are the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable birders we know!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today,  July 26, 2021:

There was no post one year ago due to a travel day.

Part 4…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…Elephants walk…

We love elephant sightings. Their massive size and demeanor toward one another are fascinating and heartwarming. They are emotional beings expressing compassion, love, grief, and a strong sense of protectiveness to one another and their young.

Today, our video and photos clearly illustrate the emotions and care they possess as the largest land animal on the earth. Here are some updated points about elephants you also may find interesting from this site:

“The African Elephant is the largest land animal on Earth, with some adult males capable of reaching 3.5m in height and weighing more than 5,000kg. Their historical range would have once extended throughout much of central and southern Africa, although today, they are confined to much smaller areas.

The matriarch and perhaps one of the moms ventured onto the road to scope the safety of having the herd cross the road with the babies.

Found in forests, savannahs, and on flood plains, these nomadic animals spend the majority of their time migrating across the African wilderness in search of food and water in small family groups that contain around ten individuals and consist of mothers and their calves. Here are just a handful of their most fascinating facts:

  1. Have four molars that weigh up to 5kg each and can reach 30cm long.
  2. Tusks can grow up to 2.5m long and tend to weigh between 50 – 100 lbs.
  3. Family groups are known to come together, forming a clan of around 1,000 individuals.
  4. Their large ears are more helpful in cooling them down than hearing.
  5. They can take 1.5 gallons of water into their trunk simultaneously.
  6. One individual can drink up to 50 gallons of water daily.
  7. Thought to spend around 16 hours a day eating up to 495lbs of food.
  8. Longest pregnancy of any land mammal lasts an average of 22 months.
  9. Babies can walk shortly after birth and weigh up to 120kg.
  10. They can recognize old faces and even grieve for dead relatives.”
The word was spread…it was safe to cross. We kept our distance.

These facts about elephants are astounding! It’s hard to imagine a tooth weighing 5 kg, 12 pounds, let alone the weight and size of their tusks. But, the magic in seeing them up close and personal is indescribable.

However, self-driving in national parks in South Africa or other African countries where elephants may be encountered on the road has certain risks. There are many videos showing elephants overturning cars in Kruger National Park. It is imperative to respect their space, stay back, and learn the signs of an angry elephant in musth, a periodic condition in male bulls that characterize highly aggressive behavior, accompanied by a significant rise in reproductive hormones.

A youngster crossed on her own while the others watched.

Here are some points about elephant behavior from this site:

“Elephants, the largest land animals on the planet, are among the most exuberantly expressive of creatures. Joy, anger, grief, compassion, love; the finest emotions reside within these hulking masses. Through years of research, scientists have found that elephants are capable of complex thought and deep feeling. In fact, the emotional attachment elephants form toward family members may rival our own.


In the wild, joy is an emotion that elephants have no shame in showing. They express their happiness and joy when they are amongst their loved ones-family and friends. Playing games and greeting friends or family members all elicit displays of joy.

But the one event that stirs a level of elephant happiness beyond compare is the birth of a baby elephant. In Echo: An Elephant to Remember, the birth of Ebony is one such occasion. The excitement of several of the females in Echo’s family can’t be contained as they are heard bellowing and blaring during the birth of the new baby.

Another highly emotional occasion in an elephant’s life is an elephant reunion. This joyful meeting between related, but separated, elephants is one of exuberance and drama. The greeting ceremony marks the incredible welcoming of a formerly absent family member. During the extraordinary event, the elephants about to be united begin calling each other from a quarter a mile away. As they get closer, their pace quickens. Their excitement visibly flows as fluid from their temporal glands streams down the sides of their faces. Eventually, the elephants make a run towards each other, screaming and trumpeting the whole time. When they finally make contact, they form a loud, rumbling mass of flapping ears, clicked tusks and entwined trunks. The two leaning on each other, rubbing each other, spinning around, even defecating, and urinating (for this is what elephants do when they are experiencing sheer delight). With heads held high, the reunited pair fill the air with a symphony of trumpets, rumbles, screams, and roars. Bliss.

They turned and decided to go back the other way.


There is no greater love in elephant society than the maternal kind. Nobody who observes a mother with her calf could doubt this. It is one of the most touching aspects of elephant social customs. The calf is so small compared to the adult that it walks under its mother, who, incredibly, does not step on it or trip over it. Mother and child remain in constant touch. If a calf strays too far from its mother, she will fetch it. The mother often touches her child with trunk and legs, helping it to its feet with one foot and her trunk. She carries it over obstacles and hauls it out of pits or ravines. She pushes it under her to protect it from predators or hot sun. She bathes it, using her trunk to spray water over it and then to scrub it gently. The mother steers her calf by grasping its tail with her trunk, and the calf follows, holding its mother’s tail. When the calf squeals in distress, its mother and others rush to its protection immediately. It is easy to see why the bond between mother and daughter lasts 50 years or more.


One of the most moving displays of elephant emotion is the grieving process. Elephants remember and mourn loved ones, even many years after their death. When an elephant walks past a place that a loved one died he or she will stop and take a silent pause that can last several minutes. While standing over the remains, the elephant may touch the bones of the dead elephant (not the bones of any other species), smelling them, turning them over and caressing the bones with their trunk. Researchers don’t quite understand the reason for this behavior. They guess the elephants could be grieving. Or they could they be reliving memories. Or perhaps the elephant is trying to recognize the deceased. Whatever the reason, researchers suspect that the sheer interest in the dead elephant is evidence that elephants have a concept of death.

Researchers have described mother elephants who appear to go through a period of despondency after the death of a calf, dragging behind the herd for days. They’ve also witnessed an elephant herd circling a dead companion disconsolately. After some time, and likely when they realized the elephant was dead, the family members broke off branches, tore grass clumps and dropped these on the carcass. Another researcher noted a family of African elephants surrounding a dying matriarch. The family stood around her and tried to get her up with their tusks and put food in her mouth. When the rest of the herd finally moved on, one female and one calf stayed with her, touching her with their feet.

The last one walked along the road to see where they’d gone.

Rage and Stress

Terror, rage and stress, unfortunately, are also commonplace in the elephant repertoire of emotions. Terror afflicts baby African elephants who wake up screaming in the middle of the night after they have witnessed their families murdered and poached — a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Some researchers suggest a species-wide trauma is taking place in wild elephant populations. They say that elephants are suffering from a form of chronic stress after sustaining decades of killings and habitat loss. The recent surge in cases of wild elephant rage reported by the media is a sad indicator of the kind of stress that wild elephants are undergoing. Nearly 300 persons are killed every year by wild elephants in India. But the increasing numbers of deaths are closely correlated to the ever-increasing human presence in traditional wild elephant habitats, as well as the the effects of climate change, and loss of territory and resources. The ongoing competition between elephants and humans for available land and resources is leading to ever more unfortunate and often deadly consequences.

Human activity does more than put a stress on elephants to find resources. It can often disrupt the complex and delicate web of familial and societal relations that are so important in elephant society. Calves are carefully protected and guarded by members of the matriarchal elephant family. Any perception of danger triggers a violent reaction from the matriarch and, subsequently, the entire family. The extremes a family will go to protect a vulnerable new calf are reported in the news stories as fits of unprovoked “elephant rage.” Charging a village, storming into huts where harvested crop is stored, plundering fields and, if disturbed, turning violent are some of the instances reported by the media.

Compassion and Altruism

Compassion is not reserved for offspring alone in elephant society. Elephants appear to make allowances for other members of their herd. Observers noted that one African herd always traveled slowly because one of its members had never recovered from a broken leg. And in another case, a park warden reported a herd that traveled slowly because one female was carrying around a dead calf. One perplexing report was of an adult elephant making repeated attempt to help a baby rhinoceros stuck in the mud. She continued to try to save the baby rhino despite the fact that its mother charged her each time. Risking her life for the sake of an animal that is not her own, not related to her, or even her own species is remarkably altruistic in nature.

While there is a great deal more to learn about what elephants feel, such accounts are astonishing. They reveal a creature that weeps, revels, rages and grieves. They lead us to believe that the depth of elephant emotional capacity knows no limit. They are striking for they suggest that elephants act on feelings and not solely for survival.”

What an exciting animal that can very well be enjoyed on a self-drive safari, as long as the visitors are sensible and cautious to maintain a safe distance and not intrude upon their space. Their behavior can change in seconds, placing the occupants of the vehicle in severe danger.

We never approach too closely for better “shots.”  When making today’s video, we kept having to back up when the  matriarch elephant was flapping her ears and making it known that we had better stay out of the way to allow her family to pass on the road, especially when several babies were in the herd—what a joy to behold.

Today is a quiet day. Some weekend holidaymakers have left, and the bush is quiet and peaceful once again. We had dozens of visitors early this morning and expected to see more as the day rolls into the evening. It’s usually less busy during mid-day.

Have a fantastic Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, July 25, 2021:

We dined in Henderson, Nevada, at Lindo  Michoacan, a fantastic Mexican restaurant that is noisy and fun. This drink is called a Coronarita. Get it? For more photos, please click here.

Part 3…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…Funny giraffe event…

Please watch this video. It’s unlike any video we’ve taken in the past when this giraffe got its hairy tail stuck in a thorny bush. We didn’t know it was going to be able to get loose. But, with her massive size and strength, she could wrangle herself free and wander off.

It was one more of the enchanting sightings we experienced in Kruger National Park on our visit on Thursday this past week when finally, the holiday season had ended, and we felt comfortable entering the park. Previously, there were so many visitors in Kruger it was impossible to get photos at a popular sighting. The vehicles would have been congested at sightings with 20 to 30 vehicles. That wouldn’t have been our idea of a good time.

When we spotted this giraffe, we weren’t aware of her stuck tail.

But, when we conducted a self-drive after the holiday, we encountered few vehicles, even at the leopard sighting shown in the post two days ago, found here.

By no means is today’s post the end of our sightings on Thursday. It could go on for many more days while we accumulate new photos from sightings in our garden over the past few days. Right now, as I write here on Sunday at 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs., we have no less than six kudus lying down in the garden with another six standing. They’ve been here for hours.

The animals seem to love it here and feel comfortable hanging around for hours, letting their guard down long enough to sleep, rest and munch on leaves on the bushes and trees, along with our occasional offer of pellets. The longer we are here, the more wildlife seems to make this garden their part-time home in the case of warthog, Lollie, her permanent home. She leaves for a few hours during the afternoon but always returns late afternoon, staying through the evening.

As she moved, we realized her tail was stuck.

As for giraffes, well, what can we say? They are magnificent animals, and we’ll never tire of encountering them, whether here in Marloth Park or Kruger National Park. For a few updated facts on giraffes, please click here.

What are giraffes?

They are the world’s tallest mammals. They are uniquely adapted to reach vegetation inaccessible to other herbivores. Unusually elastic blood vessels and uniquely adapted valves help offset the sudden buildup of blood (to prevent fainting) when giraffes’ heads are raised, lowered, or swung quickly. Their “horns” are actually knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes that protect the head from injury. Their necks contain the same amount of vertebrae as we do (seven) except their bones are extremely elongated making their neck a long length of 2.4 meters.

















The hair on her tail was caught up in the thorny bush.


Humans hunt giraffes for their hides, meat, and body parts.

Giraffe tails are highly prized by many African cultures and are used in good-luck bracelets, fly whisks, and even thread for sewing or stringing beads. The world’s tallest land animal has lost 40 percent of its population in just 30 years, and recent reports show poaching and wildlife trafficking are contributing to this decline. Giraffes are easily killed and poaching (now more often for their meat and hide) continues today. (Today, giraffes are often killed for their tails which are used as jewelry. Horrible!)

Giraffes are quickly losing their living spaces.

The number of giraffes in the wild is shrinking as their habitats shrink. In the late 19th and 20th centuries herds of 20 to 30 animals were recorded, now on average herd sizes contain fewer than six individuals. The IUCN lists four main threats to this species: habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting, and ecological changes (climate change and habitat conversion). As human populations grow and increase agricultural activities, expand settlements, and construct roads, the giraffe is losing its beloved acacia trees, which are its main source of food.


Our solutions to saving the world’s tallest land animal from extinction:

Reforest key areas.

AWF has reforested acacia trees in West Africa to provide more food for the giraffe and allow it to expand its habitat.

Educate local communities in conservation.

We educate communities living near giraffes on the importance of sustainable practices for agricultural and settlement growth by providing training on sustainable — and more productive — agricultural practices and incentivizing conservation agriculture when appropriate.


Young giraffes are self-sufficient but vulnerable.

Calves are about two meters tall and grow rapidly as much as two and a half centimeters a day. By two months, the calf will start eating leaves and at six months is fairly independent of its mother. A young giraffe can even survive early weaning at two or three months. Although few predators attack adults, lions, hyenas, and leopards take their toll on the young. Scientists report that only one-quarter of infants survive to adulthood due to the high rates of predation.


Giraffes are extremely picky eaters.

They feed 16 to 20 hours a day, but may only consume about 30 kilograms (about 30 pounds) of foliage during that time. These two-ton mammals can survive on as little as seven kilograms (15 pounds) of foliage per day. While these browsers’ diverse diets have been reported to contain up to 93 different plant species, acacia trees have been found to be their favorite food source.

They are not heavy drinkers.

Giraffes drink water when it is available, but they don’t need to drink water on a daily basis, which allows them to survive in areas with scarce water.”

When we spotted  this precious giraffe and its stuck tail, we were reminded of the poaching happening today for their beautiful tails. From this site here.

“There have always been animal parts that drew humans’ attention, without any clear reason whatsoever. Sadly, we’re used to crimes like the slaughter for elephant tusks, rhino horns and crocodile skin. So, the fact that giraffes are hunted and killed for their tails could appear as new to us. Yet, this is what’s happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and what’s pushing a rare giraffe subspecies, the Kordofan giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum), to the brink of extinction. According to Julian Fennessy, co-director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), less than 2,000 individuals now survive in the wild.”

Finally, she broke free and wandered off. Please watch the above video for details.

Last night, we had a great evening at Alan and Fiona’s. They put on quite a feast of mostly low-carb options we could enjoy. The conversation was fascinating, profound, and thought-provoking, along with enjoying the plethora of wildlife visitors that visited their garden while we were there.

I’ve been busy all morning making a special Sunday dinner, photos that will follow in a few days. Have a fantastic day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, July 24, 2021:

There was no post on this travel day, one year ago.

Part 2…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…Hippos…

For years, we’ve been taking photos of hippos, always attempting to get that much-revered shot with a hippo’s massive mouth wide open. We failed miserably, time after time. On Thursday, when we visited Kruger National Park, often referred to as “The Kruger,” we got those shots repeatedly.

Note: Today, there are no captions under our photos. The images speak for themselves. were

We couldn’t believe we were able to take the above video at the Sunset Dam in Lower Sabie. It couldn’t have been more exciting and rewarding. Speaking of the above video, please excuse the jittery camera. We were about a kilometer (.62 miles) from this event. Fortunately, we were also able to take several photos of the excitement, as shown here today.

Our camera cannot zoom such a long distance without sacrificing the quality of the photos. But, to upgrade to a camera that could handle such distant images would result in a bulky piece of equipment, adding more weight to our already heavy baggage.  I can place our lightweight Canon Power Shot camera in a carry-on bag without fear of it being stolen.

It’s only during such occasions that we wish we had a long-range lens, but it’s the way it is, and we’ve learned to live with our limitations on baggage weight and our unwillingness to handle heavy carry-on bags.

As for the hippos, it was quite a fight. Included on this site, hippos are fascinating animals who may fight for the reasons listed further in the article, as described below:

“What is a hippo?

There are two species of hippos — the large/common hippo and the smaller relative, the pygmy hippo. Hippos are the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos. Despite their large and bulky appearance, they have adaptations to their semi-aquatic environments allowing them to move swiftly on both water and land. Their feet have four-webbed toes that splay out to distribute weight evenly and therefore adequately support them on land, and their short legs provide powerful propulsion through the water. The pygmy hippos digits are more spread out and have less webbing and, proportionally, their legs are longer relative to its body size. They both have skin tones of purple-gray or slate color, with brownish-pink coloring around their eyes and ears. They have very thick skin that is virtually hairless except for the thick bristle-like hair on their heads and tails. The outer layers of skin are quite thin, making them prone to wounds from fighting. Their flat, paddle-like tail is used to spread excrement, which marks territory borders and indicates status of an individual. Their powerful jaws are capable of opening up to 150 degrees revealing their enormous incisors.


Hippopotamus populations are threatened by hunting.

Hundreds of hippos are shot each year to minimize human-wildlife conflict, despite the fact that ditches or low fences easily deter them. It is more likely that the popularity of their meat is the reason for this strategy. Their fat and ivory tusks are also valuable to humans.  At the beginning of the 21st century, the population of the common hippo declined more than 95 percent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2002, about 5.5 tons of hippo teeth were exported from Uganda, which equates to an estimated 2,000 individual animals. Hippopotamus teeth have been excluded from many of the strengthened ivory bans now spreading across the world making this vulnerable species at an increased risk from ivory poachers.

While the pygmy hippo is not generally a primary target for subsistence hunting, they are reported to be hunted opportunistically by bushmeat hunters.

Humans are pushing hippos out of their habitats.

As human populations grow, they encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads. The hippopotamus once ranged from the Nile Delta to the Cape, but now is mostly confined to protected areas. The primary threats to both hippopotamus species are habitat loss and deforestation.


Unlike us, the hippopotamus does not have sweat or sebaceous glands.

Both species rely on water or mud to keep cool — this accounts for the amount of time they spend in the water. Instead of sweating, they secrete a viscous red fluid, which protects the animal’s skin against the sun and possibly acts as healing agents.

Their social structures are dependent on food and water conditions.

These animals have a flexible social system. Common hippos are usually found in mixed groups of anywhere from 20 to 100 individuals held by a territorial bull, but in periods of drought large numbers are forced to congregate near limited pools of water. This overcrowding disrupts the hierarchical system, resulting in even higher levels of aggression, with the oldest and strongest males asserting dominance. Old scars and fresh, deep wounds are signs of daily fights. Unlike their social cousins, pygmy hippos are solitary and aren’t territorial. If they encounter each other outside of mating, then they simply ignore each other.


The surprisingly agile hippo climbs steep banks each night to graze on grass.

They leave the water pool at night to graze for four to five hours, covering up to eight kilometers (five miles) of territory. They will eat about 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of food during this time. Their modest appetite is due to its sedentary life, which does not require high outputs of energy. When returning from grazing before dawn, they will enter their water pool at the same spot they exited.”

We hope you enjoy today’s video and photos and will stop back tomorrow for more exciting wildlife photos from our recent visit to Kruger National Park.

Today is a beautiful, warm, sunny day with a slight breeze and low humidity. It couldn’t be more perfect. We had a fantastic social time and dinner at Jabula last night. Tonight, we’re headed to Alan and Fiona’s for sundowners which surely will prove to be another great night with friends in the bush.

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2021:

The pool at the Green Valley Resort in Henderson, Nevada. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…

What a glorious sighting! If this were all we sighted, we’d have been happy. But, as you’ll see in days to come, there was much more!!!

Yesterday morning, when we went to apply for the renewal of the annual Wild Card providing us with access to any of the country’s national parks, we were thrilled that we were in and out of the office at the Crocodile Bridge entrance in less than 15 minutes, new Wild Card in hand. The total cost was ZAR 3245, US $313.87 for one year for both of us.

With an extra battery for the camera, on a cloudy day, we didn’t expect to see much. When most of the wildlife anticipate rain, they take cover. There were a few raindrops here and there, but never enough to keep them from foraging in the depths of the bush and, at times, much to our liking, on or close to the main tarred road in the park.

After entering the gate with Wild Card documents in hand, we began our usual route toward Lower Sabie with a plan to stop at the Mugg & Bean Restaurant for breakfast. It’s a fun stop and rest area with a pleasant restaurant, clean restrooms, and a delightful gift and souvenir shop where I’ve been known to make a few purchases now and then.

What a gorgeous animal!

Since I rarely, if ever, shop in a store other than a grocery or pharmacy, while in Africa (or any country for that matter), I enjoy spending a few minutes in the gift shop while Tom waits at a picnic table outdoors. It was busy yesterday, mainly with South Africans and some foreigners.

As mentioned above, we didn’t expect to see much and prepared ourselves for this eventuality; I suggested to Tom to stop for the most common wildlife, much of which we already see in our garden in Marloth Park, to ensure we wouldn’t leave the park without any photos to share here.

That proved unnecessary. We were gifted with some of the finest sightings we’ve seen on one day in Kruger National Park. Since we had various experiences, we’ve decided to break them up into posts over several days. We will be including some new information about the specific species we’re representing that day.

I was holding my breath while taking these distant photos. I asked Tom to turn off the car and not move to keep the vehicle totally still.

Of course, we couldn’t resist starting with the magnificent leopard, our first sighting on the long drive to Lower Sabie. One of the most elusive of the Big Five (except for rhinos who are becoming extinct due to poaching), we couldn’t have been more excited to take the photos we’re posting today of the wonderous sighting, a leopard in a tree. Please excuse how much alike each image is. We waited a long time for her/him to move but no luck.

Here are some facts about leopards from this site:

Latin Name: Panthera pardus
Afrikaans: Luiperd
Distribution in South Africa:
Found throughout South Africa with concentrations in most National Parks, provincial reserves, and protected and inaccessible areas. Also found in some private nature and game reserves. Common outside conservation areas and generally the only large predator often found close to human habitation. Leopards occur from high mountains to coastal regions – semi desert to water-rich riverine areas.
Mountainous areas, thick bush, along streams and rivers in riverine bush. Leopards are very adaptable and they even occur in dry and semi-desert areas like the Kalahari.
Leopards are shy, secretive and cunning animals. They are solitary except when mating or females with cubs. They are mainly nocturnal and probably the most adaptable predator. Their food varies from small rodents to large antelope like Kudu and Waterbuck. In areas with predators they will hoist their prey into a tree to feed on it, while hiding it from other predators. Leopards are perfectly camouflaged and hunt by stalking, ambushing and then pouncing on their prey. In areas where there are many other large predators, Leopards usually take their prey up into trees to prevent it from being stolen by the other predators. They are very agile in trees and can also swim well. Leopards are known to be very powerful and when cornered or harassed can be extremely dangerous to humans.
Difference between Male and female:
Males are much larger and stockier.
Male – In certain areas male leopards can weigh up to 100 kilograms.
Female – In certain areas female leopards can weigh up to 65 kilograms
About 18 years
Gestation period about 3 months. Usually 2 to 3 are cubs born throughout the year.
Food and Water:
Leopards are very opportunistic hunters and will feed on a wide variety of prey. Apart from insects, small rodents and large antelope, they will also hunt birds. Baboons, Warthog and Impala are their favourites. Depending on the area and availability of food, Leopards will also prey on dogs and domestic livestock. They are not water dependent in the sense that they do not have to drink water daily, but will drink daily when water is available.
Humans, Lion, Spotted Hyena, Wild dog, Nile Crocodile”
An exquisite animal.
Tomorrow, we’ll be back with more exciting photos and some videos we’ll be uploading to our YouTube page today. Please check back for more.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2021:

A gorgeous rhododendron on the tour of the Princeville, Hawaii Botanical Garden in 2015. For more, please click here.