Spending the better part of each day on the veranda, it’s not surprising that we have an opportunity to see various species interact. Many tolerate one another with minimal interaction, and others are aggressive. Most fights we’ve seen over the years are within a species, such as wildebeests, warthogs, kudu, and impala, primarily during the mating season and over territorial issues.
In Kruger National Park, we’ve seen hippos, wildebeests, and Cape buffalos engage in aggressive behavior among their species, and some may fight to the death. However, we’ve never witnessed such an event. Occasionally, animals in the garden will get in a scuffle over pellets, most often zebras, kudus, warthogs, and, most recently, bushbucks.
The animals are hungry—the bush is dry and parched. Few leaves remain on trees and bushes. Sitting here, I see a Big Daddy kudu pulling down branches on a tree with his massive horns to get to the few remaining leaves he can’t reach.
Norman and Noah have been here twice already this morning. Tom was outdoors the first time they stopped by, but I was there the second time. When they stopped by the first time, he and his son Noah jumped the little fence, and Tom tossed them some pellets.
When I got up a short time later, they were gone, but within minutes they arrived. I assumed they must have heard my voice echoing through the bush and wandered back for more treats. I cut several carrots from the big bag into bite-sized pieces suitable for them to chew. For the duikers and bushbucks, I cut them into much smaller pieces. The warthogs can manage an entire large carrot, but for safety’s sake, I cut those up into three or four chunks.
A Big Daddy kudu approached the fence as Norman and Noah enjoyed their carrots. He was no more than three meters from Norman, who saw him from the corner of his eye. He never turned to look at the kudu. Instead, he fluffed up his mane and tail to make himself appear larger and scooted sideways toward the fence to the kudu. We both watched in amazement.
A full-grown male nyala weighs 275 pounds, 125 kg. Male kudus with much larger horns can weigh about the same but appear much larger due to their massive horns. When Norman fluffed up, he appeared much larger to the kudu. As Norman inched his way toward the fence, in the sideways motion we’d never seen, the kudu retreated and moved away.
Gingerly, Norman returned to the carrots and again began munching to his heart’s content. During this interaction, Noah never stopped eating and paid no attention to what his dad and the kudu were up to…the blissful ignorance of youth.
It was a busy weekend in the bush, with many tourists visiting and staying in the myriad holiday homes throughout the park. Sometimes, we wonder if the day will come when there are too many holiday homes in Marloth Park, stripping the animals of their much-needed vegetation.
If that day ever came, I’d doubt we’d return. As much as we love the wonderful friends we’ve made here, our interest would wane substantially without the animals. We can always visit our friends throughout the world, but nothing can compare to the experiences we’ve had with wildlife.
In five days, our friends Connie and Jeff arrive. We’re looking forward to their arrival and will soon be getting things ready with a grocery store and liquor store shopping and stocking the little house with supplies they may need, such as toilet paper, extra towels, repellent, etc.
Over the weekend, load shedding escalated to stage four, resulting in a total of 10 hours, in 2½ hour increments. without power in a 24 hour period Our only worry was the food in the refrigerator. We managed to be without power during our dinner party on Saturday night. We used lanterns and candles for light at the table on the veranda. As planned, dinner was served before the load shedding started at 7:00 pm, 1900 hrs, ending at 9:30 pm, 2130 hrs., at which point, everyone had gone home.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of our food. I was still under the weather and preoccupied with getting the meal served before the power went out. It all worked out, and we had a lovely time. Everyone seemed to enjoy the cashew chicken stir fry, with some returning to the kitchen for seconds.
Now, with no social events planned until Rita and I go to Stoep Café on Thursday and Jabula on Friday night, I can spend the rest of the week taking it easy and preparing for our friend’s arrival on Saturday.
Photos from one year ago today, September 12, 2021: