Action in the evenings and again in the mornings leaves us on our feet…

Flowers growing near the lookout over the Crocodile River.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
Can any of our local friends identify this insect we found on the wall in the bedroom?  The prior night I awoke Tom when this thing was walking on me.  With the light from my phone, I saw it and must admit, a little scream escaped my lips as I shooed it off my shoulder.  Yucky!  Look at those spiky legs!  Tom captured it in this plastic container and released it outside.

The activity we’ve had in the yard in the past 24 hours has been astounding especially at dusk last night and again early this morning.  I was running back and forth from the kitchen to the veranda with cut up carrots and apples while Tom kept refilling the yellow plastic container with pellets. 

Currently, we’re totally out of carrots and soon will run out of apples.  Fortunately, the cost of both of these is minimal.  A five-kilo bag (11 pounds) of carrots is ZAR 29 (US $2.37) and it’s about the same for the big bags of small red apples.

Notice Mr. Kudu’s bulging neck which swells during mating season which is in full bloom right now.  We’re seeing lots of mating behavior in all species right now.  He sure knows how to use his antlers, especially when competing for pellets with the warthogs.  He likes to eat right off the edge of the veranda so he doesn’t have to bend over with those enormous antlers.

Usually, the bags of carrots and apples will last a week if we’re a little discriminating in handing them out. The cost for the bags of pellets which last almost a week is ZAR 199 (US $17.03). 

As a result, we’re spending US $22.77 per week plus a small number of eggs for the mongoose which only come by every two or three days.  At the most, we’re spending ZAR 307 (US $25) per week. Since we seldom go out, spend very little on ourselves, we justify this expenditure out of our pure love of the wildlife and pleasure of providing them with nourishment. 

Similar to a photo we posted a few days ago but we couldn’t resist sharing this mom and her baby hippo.

In our old lives, I would have spent ZAR 307 (US $25) just to go out to lunch with the girls one day a week by ordering a Cobb Salad, an iced tea and paying tax and tip.  Regardless of the cost to feed the animals which I post here for our curious readers, we are having the time of our lives.  The only challenge we feel at this time is my healing from this dreadful gastrointestinal condition. 

I’ve been on the H2 blockers for one week as of today and have noticed only a slight improvement.  We shall see how it goes since they’re supposed to provide an improvement over a period of time, not necessarily after only one week of treatment.

From this site:  The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. It is not closely related to the slightly larger wild water buffalo of Asia and its ancestry remains unclear. Syncerus caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, and the largest one, found in South and East Africa. S. c. nanus (African forest buffalo) is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while S. c. brachyceros is in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. The adult buffalo’s horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a “boss”. They are widely regarded as very dangerous animals, as they gore and kill over 200 people every year.”

Last night as we dined on the veranda, we could hardly finish the food on our plates.  It seemed that every few minutes, we had one visitor after another, each with their own plan in mind as to what the wanted.  Was it apples, pellets, carrots or seeds?

Overall, we must admit the wildlife prefer the pellets over the fruit and veg although they seem to particularly enjoy scraps from vegetables we’re cooking, especially the outside leaves from celery, lettuce, and cabbage.

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

As darkness falls each night, the sounds in the bush are music to our ears.  Even Tom, with his not-so-good hearing after 42½  years working on the railroad, can hear most of the sounds.  If only we had the knowledge and expertise to identify each sound.

But, as time goes by, we’re learning to recognize more and more sounds including our newly discovered recognition of the “bark” of the impalas as they run through the bush day and night, as they challenge one another for mating rites.  Until recently, we never knew or recognized this sound.

My dinner last night; homemade low carb pizza and a side of mackerel salad made with boiled eggs, onions, celery, seasoning and sour cream dressing.  Fish and pizza?  Great combo.

Now, as we spend more and more time with warthogs, kudus and a variety of wildlife in the antelope family, we’ve come to understand their grunts and sounds, each with a special meaning and specific tones.

What a wonder it is to be a part of this magical world.  Last night, as we lounged outdoors after dinner Tom asked, “Will you ever get tired of this?” 

Tom’s pizza.  We’ve cut back on salads this past week since I’ve found raw veggies and too much fiber doesn’t agree with me right now.

“No, I won’t,” I answered, “it’s not even possible. ”  He agreed. 

Would one get tired of eating a delicious meal, hearing beautiful music, seeing gorgeous scenery?  Would one tire of the touch of a hand, a kindly spoken word or the wagging tail of their beloved dog?  Hardly.

This is the first male kudu we’ve seen with such small antlers and yet his body seemed mature. 

And that’s the way it is here.  There’s no getting tired of it, not for us anyway.  When we see homes for sale in Marloth Park, we often wonder what precipitated a homeowner’s desire to leave after spending time here. 

In the dark, it’s hard to capture a good photo when there are even more bushbabies than these in the tree.  It sure is fun watching them go after the cup of yogurt and share it with one another so willingly.

No, we have no interest in owning a house, here or anywhere in the world but we now know from the bottom of our hearts that this won’t be the last time we’ll visit Africa, health providing, as we continue on our world journey.  Maybe in two or three years but we’ll be back…not for so long next time but for three months for sure.

We love Frank.  He and his wife live here and stop by for birdseed several times a day.  It’s a challenge when the guinea fowl compete with him for the seeds so we’d thrilled when Frank and Mrs. Frank come by and the guinea fowl haven’t got here yet.  There are about five dozen helmeted guinea fowl living in the bush surrounding us and no other francolins beside Frank and the Mrs.

In a few days we’ll be heading back to Kruger National Park and in 18 days, we’ll be flying to Livingstone, Zambia.  Humm…life is good.

May your life be good as well.


Photo from one year ago today, April 23, 2017:

On board, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas;  Each passenger finds a groove which enables them to participate in activities they find most pleasurable.  Many sit quietly and read or play games on their iPads, tablets, and phone with little interaction with others.  We’re both social butterflies. That’s our groove!  For more details, please click here.

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