|Can you imagine coming home after a busy workday to find a giraffe in your driveway? This is everyday life in Marloth Park.|
Yesterday morning at 11:00 am, Okee Dokee arrived to take us the 25 minutes drive to the border town of Komatipoort, South Africa, which less than 5 km, 3.1 miles from the country of Mozambique (which we hope to visit during our time here).
|As we rounded the corner from our house, we encountered this wildebeest. Enormous, it was taller than a horse, much larger than any of the wildebeest we’d seen at the tail end of the Great Migration at the border of Kenya and Tanzania.|
Needing to purchase a few groceries, SIM data cards for the MiFi’s and liquor for Tom, we were blown away that a shopping trip to a strip mall in a small town could be such an adventure. When is a trip to grocery shop eventful? Never in our old lives.
|Sorry for the blur, but we took this shot while we were moving at a good clip. This is a leopard turtle known for the leopard-like spots. Notice he/she is carrying something in her mouth.|
No more than turning onto the main road from our driveway, the fun began. The wildlife was standing along the road as if to welcome us to the neighborhood. Flitting back and forth across the seats in the van, I couldn’t snap photos quickly enough, often missing good shots while busy with another.
|Down the road another block, there were a number of giraffes hanging around outside one of the houses in Marloth Park. This giraffe was eating, which accounts for the chubby cheeks. The food slides down her throat in a big lump as shown.|
Okee Dokee, after living in this unique area for over five years, also shared our enthusiasm. As we’ve found from speaking with residents of Marloth Park, one never tires of the sight of any animal, large or small, going about their business of daily living in the bush.
|The gracefulness of these ungainly animals is a rare treasure to behold. Had we been on a short walk, we’d have been standing right beside it.|
This is not a busy “human” place. The animals definitely are wild, many extremely shy, others wary and cautious of our intrusion into their habitat.
We tread quietly with respect for the gift they offer us of viewing their lives, their habits, and their young.
|Zebras are everywhere, seemingly oblivious to vehicles traveling along the narrow road.|
It’s always interesting to grocery shop in new locations. The varying types of foods, the pricing, the common-items-to-us that we can’t find, and the quality of the items.
|On a shopping trip, not a game drive we didn’t want to ask our driver to slow down every time we saw an animal. None the less, I kept clicking, in the hopes of getting a few good photos. If only these impalas would have turned around.|
We were thrilled to be able to find some items we’d hadn’t been able to buy in either Italy or Kenya, for example, Cremora, which Tom uses in his coffee, (I use real cream) and large heads of lettuce, a treat for salads and wraps. The cost of food compared to Kenya, is comparable, although the selections are greater.
|After a huge storm last night, our pool was filled with dead insects. This morning, Tom fished out this scorpion. Now, my centipede fear has some competition. Carefully, we tread.|
Our next trip was to the liquor store where Tom purchased two bottles of E & J brandy and two of the large-sized bottles of Sprite Zero for a total of ZAR $227, US $22.50 which we thought was a bargain. The more expensive brands were disproportionately higher.
Then, we stopped back at the Vodacom store to pick up the two SIM cards we’d requested with 10 gigs each for the MiFis. When purchasing SIM cards they must be registered with the country. The system was down preventing us from buying the cards.
Luckily, while we were shopping, the rep was able to register the cards enabling us to pick them up and be on our way. Preferring to pay with a credit card as opposed to using our cash (ZAE-Rands), we handed the rep a card, only to have her quickly respond that the credit card system was down. This is a common occurrence we’ve discovered in many parts of the world, systems down or, in some cases businesses trying to avoid bearing the 2-3% cost for processing credit cards. We’ve had to learn to accept these situations as we’ve traveled.
The closer we got back to our house in Marloth Park, the more awe-inspiring the wildlife was as illustrated in these photos.
Tomorrow, we’ll include the story and photos of our first sunset game drive with Leon, the owner of the popular Jabula Lodge where we ended up for a fabulous dinner and met a wonderful local couple.
|Upon returning to Marloth Park after the shopping trip, we were waved on by the guards at the security/entrance checkpoint, who know Okee Dokee, never hesitating to let us proceed.|
Sunday afternoon, we’re attending a game drive in Kruger Park, a dinner in the bush with three other couples, coincidentally including Leon and his wife and the lovely couple we met last night. Ah, a social life, at long last!