Yesterday morning, Danie stopped by to give us a list or more fabulous things to see in this astounding area. As if we haven’t been busy enough! We’ve had more activity in the four weeks in Marloth Park than we’ve had combined everywhere else we’ve visited so far.
|The three elephants began their walk closer to where we were standing at the railing and the fence at the Marloth Park township public park where the viewing of the Crocodile River was stupendous.|
Keeping in mind that if we just stay home, the action often comes to us as it has this morning and it’s only 8:30 am as I write this. We’ll share that story tomorrow with some exciting photos and another of my shaky videos. (Bear with me folks. I’ll get better at this. That darned shoulder of mine makes it hard to hold the camera steady).
|Within a short period, they were in front of our lookout spot and we could easily enjoy their munching on the vegetation, often putting whole bushes into their mouths. elephants, herbivores, eat 100 to 200 kg, 220 to 440 pounds of vegetation per day.|
I know some may say, “Get a tripod!” I agree a tripod would be a nice tool, but we’re already at the edge of the luggage being overweight and plus, the action here happens so quickly there’s no time to set it up or manage a tripod when the action here requires much moving around to get good photos.
|After careful observation, we noticed that the leader of the herd was a female (cow) and the other two (clearly visible) were males (bull), one being younger, maybe her offspring.|
What transpired yesterday is that which we’re sharing today, another wondrous event.
|This was the female leader. Normally, the dad doesn’t stay with the herd, instead, gathering into a herd with other males. We assumed the smaller male was her offspring based on the way she kept an eye on him from time to time. We were uncertain as to the role of the larger male, but we were certain there that they were two males. When they entered the water we were undoubtedly able to ascertain that they were both males, as their male organs were clearly visible sloshing in the water.|
Back to Danie. During his visit, he told us of a nearby campground that has an amazing lookout point, closer to the Crocodile River than the lookout we’ve visited twice in these past weeks.
|Thirsty after consuming a considerable amount of food, the baby wandered to the shore for a drink. This is shown in the included videos.|
Shortly after he left, we jumped in the little pink car with an empty water bottle to refill at Credence Clearwater, a mile away on the paved road. After having the 20 liter bottle refilled at the cost of ZAR $18, US $1.76, we decided to check out the campground.
|Without drinking, suddenly the mom, the largest of the three elephants, entered the water, walking past the baby, and began walking to a nearby island.|
Marloth Park is not huge. It’s only 3000 hectares, 11.58 square miles. We had no trouble finding the township-owned campground, Tom having remembered seeing it on one of our many driving expeditions around the area.
|Taking this photo without zoom gives a perspective of the small size of this island, somehow appealing to her for its varied vegetation.|
In a matter of six minutes, we entered the security gates of the public park, were stopped and asked why we were there, after explaining “to see the overlook,” we freely pulled inside to a veritable wonderland of meticulous grounds.
|As soon as the two males noticed the female had moved over to the tiny island, they took off following her. At this point, we speculated that this larger male was perhaps an older offspring, yet to leave the safety of his mother.|
With the holiday season, the park (within a park) was filled with tourists. Many languished by the huge, clean swimming pool while others gathered at the outdoor pub with pool tables, bar stools and a casual burger and chips (fries) fast-food type restaurant. Others played games with their children or had picnics at the many picnic tables.
|When a group of tourists blocked my view, I was unable to get the photo of the mom leaving ahead of the males.|
We were excited to see that we could order an entire grilled chicken with chips to-go, if we’d like, for ZAR $70, US $6.86. Taking it home, Tom could eat the chips while we would add coleslaw and veggies for an easy dinner suitable for both of us. Most likely, we’ll return for this purpose on a night we don’t want to dine out or cook dinner which happens fro time to time.
After checking out the facilities, amid maneuvering past tourists soon to depart after the holidays, we made our way to the most appealing aspects of the park, the close-to-the-river overlook.
Within a few minutes, our “safari luck” kicked in and the action began as depicted in today’s videos and photos. How did we get so lucky? One can wait for hours at an overlook only to see a distant elephant, an occasional hippo head bobbing in the water, a slithering croc, or a cape buffalo along the Kruger Park side of the river.
These three videos say it all. Once again, we couldn’t stop smiling, having witnessed the behavior of these magnificent animals, the largest to roam the earth.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more, more and more. Gee, will we ever have a dull day in Marloth Park? We hope not. But if we do, we can always go back to playing Gin.