A memorable evening…The finest food and conversation!…How did we get so lucky?…

This gorgeous feta, onion and lettuce salad served by Louise and Danie was enhanced with edible flowers indicative of the attention to detail and creativity these two fine hosts possess.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A wildebeest mom and baby resting in the bush.

When Louise sent a text on Thursday, inquiring if we could come to dinner on Friday night at their exceptional holiday home, Khaya Umdani, where we stayed for a few weeks four years ago, we couldn’t say “yes” quickly enough.

A snook (fish) salad as a starter that was fabulous.  Even Tom, not so fond of fish loved this.

With social plans in place for tonight, Saturday night, the timing worked perfectly.  This will have been one busy social week for us with four social events with wonderful friends, old and new, and delicious food and lively conversation.

Food for our meal was cooking over the open fire, a traditional South African braai.

Never for a moment do we take the friends we’ve made in Marloth Park for granted.  Each time we’re included in dinner, a party or any type of gathering, we feel so fortunate often asking ourselves, “How did we get so lucky?”

Stunning African themed place settings.

Last night, among the others this past week, was exceptional.  When Louise mentioned there would be no fussing for our invitation, we assumed they’d throw some chicken on the braai with a salad on the side. Ha!  No fussing?  Hardly!

The smells coming from the fire set our taste buds into a frenzy.

We knew they’ve been ultra busy these past weeks with many holidays and an endless stream of holidaymakers, each with their own particular needs and expectations.  And, do these two deliver!  Never have we known any two people so dedicated to providing an over-the-top experience at each and every event they provide for their clientele and then, again, last night for us.

Danie was busy setting up the rack for the ostrich steaks.

No fuss, she’d said!  Are you kidding me?  We know how much effort and time went into preparing that gourmet and unique meal.  It was truly over the top.  The only disappointment we felt is that we ran out of room in our tummies to have seconds of any one of the many mind-boggling items on the menu.

He placed ostrich steaks over the hot coals, a mixture of wood and charcoal.

From the edible flowers in the feta lettuce salad to the snook starter salad to the grilled ostrich steak, the heavenly eggplant dish, to the stuffed cabbage rolls, our taste buds were truly overwhelmed with deliciousness.  There wasn’t one item Tom didn’t like which surprised me and him, as well!

It took our breath away to see Louise and Danie place all of the beautifully prepared foods in front of us.

For me, knowing I could eat everything served (except Tom’s potatoes) was purely delightful.  Although, all of our Marloth Park friends have made delicious meals suitable for my way of eating for which I’m very grateful.  We haven’t been able to appreciate such attention to detail for my diet even in the finest of restaurants, worldwide.

Another salad was available, a crispy and delicious coleslaw.

The evening went far beyond the great food and ambiance.  Being at Khaya Umdani where we stayed for 10 nights beginning on January 30, 2014, brought back memories we’ll always treasure.  Seeing the stunning house so well maintained with no signs of wear and tear after all these years, warmed our hearts. 

These mince stuffed cabbage rolls were heavenly.

Of course, that’s what Louise and Danie do…perfection with ease, grace, and enthusiasm.  What more could anyone ask for?

The finished, tender and delicious ostrich steaks. By the way, ostrich meat is farmed, not taken from Marloth or Kruger National Parks.

Then add in the candid conversations, with no stones unturned, the laughter and the endless storytelling, we couldn’t have had a better time.  By 10:30 pm, we were back “home” stuffed, satisfied and reeling from another great night with friends. 

Tom, who usually turns up his nose at aubergine (eggplant) loved this fabulous item.

We fell into bed hoping to watch a one-hour series we’d downloaded but, alas contrary to the usual, Tom nodded off after about 15 minutes into the show.  I put my computer away for the night knowing we’d watch the balance of the show another night and was fast asleep by 11:00 pm.

Not only are Louise and Danie expert chefs, they are thoughtful making Tom potatoes when everything else we ate was low carb and suitable for my way of eating.  They, too, follow a low carb diet which is referred to as the Banting Diet here in South Africa.

Awakening at 5:00 am I couldn’t wait to get outdoors to see if we had any visitors.  Other than Frank and his misses and a few guinea fowl, no one had yet stopped by. As the day has progressed, we’ve had 11 kudus stop by.

With a little of everything, our plates were filled and ready for us to dig in.  Amazing food and equally amazing hostess and host.

I tossed some birdseed on the ground and they scampered to get their fair share.  Frank sings a little tune while pecking at the seeds that always makes us laugh.  It’s got to be a “happiness” song.  If I was a francolin I’d have been singing that tune last night!

At first, when Louise asked if we noticed anything unusual in this mask, we couldn’t see a thing in the dim light.  Once I took this photo, we could see the frog in its mouth.

Tonight we’re off for yet another social event, which we’ll share tomorrow and on Sunday morning, a brunch-type braai in Lionspruit at Frikkie’s Dam which Louise and Danie kindly invited us to attend to meet many more of their friends.

This tree frog sits in the mouth of a decorative mask on the wall of the veranda.

How did we get so lucky?  We’ll never know the answer.  However, we’re content to accept the good fortune in the same category as “safari luck” and continue on appreciating and cherishing every moment.

May you cherish something wonderful in your life today and always.


Photo from one year ago today, May 5, 2017:

Rows upon rows of pine trees line the beach near the coral reef on Mystery Island in the South Pacific.  For more photos, please click here.

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