It started as an ordinary night. We enjoyed time on the veranda during the day and into the evening. After dark, when the bugs came out, we went inside to watch the final episode of season 4, Yellowstone, and another hilarious episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
During the evenings, when we are inside the house, Tom frequently checks the garden to see if we have any visitors. Last night, around 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs, he told me to hurry and come look out the veranda screen door. Our favorite porcupine, with fully extended quills, was not only in our garden but also came up onto the veranda checking out Frank’s leftover bird seeds.
It was the best sighting we had of this exciting and unusual animal. We were hoping they would pass in front of the camera, but unfortunately, no such luck. There was no way we could have used our camera to take a photo since the sound of opening the door would have easily scared the porcupine away.
Since we’ve had the camera set up, we’ve been able to see her in photos in the garden at night, although they were often too far from the camera for a clear shot. Last night would have been perfect if only once she passed in front of the trail cam. But, we were nonetheless thrilled to see it and will continue to watch for another sighting.
Then, off to bed, and by midnight we were both sound asleep. Once, during the night, we were awakened by Tom’s phone ringing. He’d forgotten to turn on the “Do Not Disturb” button before he went to sleep. It was a call about renewing our car warranty. We don’t own a car. Robocall. Disgusting.
Tom drifted off right away while it took me over an hour to return to sleep. When I get startled by a sound during the night, I always have trouble falling back to sleep which I’ve read is due to the release of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that are released to a “fight or flight” response. Tom doesn’t seem to have the same reaction.
This morning, as usual, Tom was up and out on the veranda before me. He always takes the data card out of the camera and reviews the night’s photos. Today, he was particularly enthused to see the images, hoping we’d have photos showing the porcupine. Alas, there wasn’t a single photo of the porcupine, much to our disappointment.
There have been many burglaries in Marloth Park, often at gunpoint in the middle of the night, and this concerns us. However, there were only three photos from the trail cam…a man in our garden at 3:58 am, as shown in today’s photos!!! Why was this man in our garden so secluded, requiring a walk through dense bush to access?
Immediately upon seeing the photos, Tom showed them to me. I contacted Louise, sending her the three images. She has contacted Field Security, and they’ll be coming out today to talk to us. We will ask them to come by our house several times during the night. Doing so may not ensure they’d catch this man, but at least, if he’s here again, he could be deterred by their presence.
Yes, our house is fully protected by an alarm system with bars on windows, including the screen door to the veranda. We keep the alarm button on the key fob in our possession at all times, including beside the bed at night. In any case, this is still worrisome, and we will feel a little relieved after we’ve spoken to Field Security.
Several of our friends have experienced break-ins over the years. Although there are guards at the entrance gates, anyone can enter Marloth Park since it is a public municipality. The guards at the gates’ job are to ensure that no animals are coming into the park or heading out of the park in the boot of a car.
When we came to South Africa in 2013, we were aware of the high rates of crime in some areas, as is the case, and in our own US and many other cities throughout the world. But, we thought living in the remote bush might offer some security. Over the years we’ve spent here in Marloth Park, we’ve heard many stories of burglaries occurring during the night. Some include guns and, in the case of one couple of our friends, being tied up while the burglary occurred.
That’s the news for today, folks. We will get back to you when we know more.
Photo from one year ago, January 4, 2020: