A walk in the park…Marloth Park, that is… Results in laughter and awe…

While on a walk in our neighborhood Tom spotted this Ostrich that had wandered into a homeowner’s yard appeared to be fascinated by looking at himself in the window. 
I stealthily moved closer through the dense bush to get a closer shot without disturbing this Ostrich. Finally, he turned for a full view. The occupants were inside the house. We were able to hear and see them peering out the window with the same enthusiasm as our own.

Going for a walk in Marloth Park is like no other walk. I can’t imagine anywhere in the world, one can go for a neighborhood walk to discover the vast array of wildlife wandering about, nibbling on nature’s summertime bounty in the bush.

Very skittish, we were grateful to get this photo of three Impalas as seen in our yard. Notice the baby, kissing what many have been the mom. It appears the dad was behind them.

Never for a moment in our short time here will we ever take the sights or sounds of any creature for granted, whether it’s the tiniest of birds, an enormous hugely antlered Kudu, the roar of the lion, or the chatter and an occasional glimpse of the elusive nocturnal bushbaby.

These birds, the Helmeted Guinea-fowl were easy to find in the bird book Louise left with us.
I keep pinching myself. How did we get here? Cruise lovers, lie-by-a-pool aficionados, social butterflies, and above all, homebodies? How did we get here? Why are we, creatures of habit, creature comfort fanatics, living in the bush wallowing in the exquisite offerings of Mother Nature on steroids? Wow! Knock me over with an “Ostrich” feather (in Tom’s words)!
There were fewer flowers here than in Kenya (as a result of landscaping in Kenya), the few flowering plants in the bush all serve a unique purpose for the wildlife.

If this alone was all the adventure I was allowed after retirement, I’d be content. But more, is better.  Appreciated. Revered. Remembered. “Please,” I tell myself. “Don’t let everything after this be, a letdown.”  There’s so much world ahead of us. How will anything compare?

A few days ago, Tom had seen a flash of the monitor lizard, also referred to as the Monitor Crocodile.  While playing cards yesterday, one eye constantly scanning the bush, Tom alerted me to grab the camera as he noticed that this large creature had stuck it’s head out of it’s hole in order to look around.  I’d mentioned we’d get a photo this and there it was the next day!
The monitor lizard can grow as long as 15 feet/4.6 meters. As it slithered out of its protective hole, we were anxious to see its full length.

Tom had seen two of these a few days ago, but, they quickly disappeared when they saw him move. He is the smaller of the pair.  Louise told us that these particular monitor lizards enjoy swimming in the pool. We hope to see that!

For now, we chose to let those thoughts waft away to live in the moment cherishing every element of this unbelievable experience, as the fine taste, of the finest wine, that one enjoys only until the glass is empty, always longing for more, knowing nothing else can compare.

This warthog mom wanted a closer view of us as we stood at this railing, looking out over the driveway where the remainder of the family of nine was waiting.
Yesterday, this baby warthog seemed intent on coming onto the veranda for a more personal visit. To avoid upsetting the nearby mom, we gently moved toward it and it skittered off. There’s no lock or latch on this gate allowing any curious animal to wander inside.

Please, dear readers, humor me with the warthog’s photos that will appear here from time to time. These friendly, curious, up to 250-pound beasts (113 kg), are enchanting. Although skittish, running off if our movements are sudden or jerky, they can’t help but make eye contact that is as endearing as the gaze of one’s own beloved pet.

Don’t get me wrong.  We don’t approach them or take any risks around them, their babies, or any other animals for that matter The warthog tusks are razor-like. They could easily inflict a serious injury. They, like us, choose to observe and contemplate our intentions, never letting their guard down. 

I find myself speaking to them in the same high pitched voice I’d always used in speaking to our dogs, often resulting in that adorable head tilt that we all find so adorable. The Warthogs don’t tilt their heads, but their ears flick back and forth as they stare intently at us, making contact, communicating in their own way.

So please, bear with us as we share many more “visitors” photos as they come, never knowing who will grace our day with an appearance as we spend most of each day outdoors on the veranda.

 We were able to get this close up to the largest warthog we’ve seen this week, as he approached us. He’s got some serious bags under his eyes!

Today, it’s very cool and rainy, which may drive us indoors soon. It appears that the number of visitors and sightings are greatly reduced on rainy days. It’s been cloudy almost every day since we’ve arrived almost a week ago. After all, this is the lush rainy season that “restocks” the food supply of the animals. Knowing this gives us much comfort with neither us of annoyed with the clouds and rain.

This is the same huge male warthog above, hanging out with what may be his girlfriend. At the time, it was just the two of them in the yard. As she nibbled on greenery, he stood watching, never once taking a bite for himself. How gallant! Hopefully, they’ll stop by again so we can see how the courtship is progressing.

Tonight, we’re dining out trying yet another restaurant that we’ll report on tomorrow with more photos, as well as any sightings along the ride to dinner.

Mom warthog decided to allow one of her four babies to nurse alongside the braai.

We ordered and paid for a rental car that requires a drive back to the Mpumalanga/Kruger/Nelspruit airport on December 20th which, most likely, we’ll keep until we depart Marloth Park on or about February 28, 2014, when we fly to Morocco. With only 13 days to hire our driver, we’ll venture out, on game drives, bush dinners, dining out, and social activities as they occur.

A little bit nervous after Mom reprimanded the baby with a few aggressive nudges.

Soon, we’ll decide if it makes sense to purchase a seasonal pass to enter Kruger Park at our leisure, driving ourselves through the park. After this Sunday’s game drive, we’ll have a better feel for how practical this will be without a guide, which many chose to do. 

Duikers are extremely cautious, keeping at a fair distance illustrating how wild the animals in Marloth Park really are. They may be used to seeing humans roaming about, but they are not tame by any means, as one may assume.

We’ll return tomorrow with more photos and updates. Thank you from both of us for stopping by.

A baby impala cautiously checks us out from afar.

Comments and responses A walk in the park…Marloth Park, that is… Results in laughter and awe…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hi from Pat,

    Good evening to you!

    Your enthusiasm today is so refreshing. But again, you seem to always be pretty upbeat.

    The ostrich pictures were so cute, and what a "walk in the park" that was.

    Also, I had no idea a lizard could grow so big, what a sight! And it looks like you have some real buddies in the warthogs. They are getting kind of cute.

    It sounds like a good idea to get the seasonal pass for the park entrance. It should be fun to be able to go at your leisure.

    Happy walking in the park.


  2. Jessica Reply

    Pat, thanks for your comment about our enthusiasm. It's pretty tough not be excited everyday . It feels like living in Disneyland with a free pass! Glad you liked the Ostrich photos! We keep chuckling over those.

    After our first game drive into Kruger today, we'll get a feel for how useful the pass may be.

    How's your weekend going? Well, we hope.

    Wait until you see who came to visit us yesterday. Can't wait to post the photos.

    Thanks again for writing,

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Hi, very interesting stories. Just one tiny correction – the ostrich is actually a male. The female ostrich is actually brown. Hope you enjoy your stay. Jan

  4. Jessica Reply

    Jan, thanks so much for the correction! We're new at this and welcome any and all corrections. What a tremendous opportunity this has been and we're only one week into it!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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