Morning doesn’t come soon enough…The sights and sounds…Am I dreaming?

The Warthog family comes to visit via a path that leads to the braai (barbecue).

Awake at 5:30 this morning, I  tried falling back to sleep with no luck. I could hardly wait to get up and outside. Today’s agenda is pleasantly busy with a trip at 11:00 am with Okee Dokee to the village of Komatipoort to pick up a few grocery items and to visit the Vodacom store for SIM cards for our MiFi’s. 

Later in the day at 4:30, Leon, the owner/guide of the local Jabula Lodge is picking us up for a private sunset game drive and subsequent dinner at his restaurant. For some reason, I think this may be a regular occurrence.  We’re looking forward and will share details tomorrow. But, goodness, our trip to the grocery store was eventful in itself with many great photos for tomorrow.

The Three Little Pigs stood directly in front of us as we took this photo. 

Louise had provided us with a MiFi loaded with several gigs, but it’s difficult for both of us to be online simultaneously. And, Tom was unable to load the Minnesota Vikings Game video from Sunday. We’re hoping it will download properly using our newer, higher-powered MiFis.

This morning as we sat on the veranda by the pool, this group of 9 warthogs consisting of seven babies and two moms, walked up the driveway toward us, happy to visit.

Hurriedly, I showered and dressed, inpatient in getting outside to check to see if we had visitors. (Yes, I’m already totally hooked on the prospect of welcoming visitors to our home in the bush). At first, I didn’t see anything. 

Sitting down at the outdoor table facing the driveway, I reviewed my email, checked and responded to blog comments, and the general perusing one does online in the morning, Facebook, etc.  Always, with one eye scanning the area as far as we can see with the thick lush summer bush.

This mom and baby were showing a little affection.  These photos are not zoomed.

A short while later, Tom joined me and only minutes later, we found this family of warthogs walking up the drive toward us. We could hardly temper our enthusiasm to welcome them to our new home.

This warthog walked along the veranda while we were inside the house last night, sitting on the sofa facing this door.

It’s a trade-off in Marloth Park, Kruger Park, and other game reserves in Africa. In winter, the leaves and greenery are gone, eaten by the wildlife, and ravaged by the dry weather. During that period everything is brown. Many travelers prefer to go on holiday during winter with easier wildlife viewing with less obstruction by greenery. 

This mom approached us with caution, checking us out before she let the babies get close to us.

For us, we love the vegetation and the wildlife, and, although much hotter now, we’re delighted to see the wildlife visiting to nibble on the greenery. The heat is less difficult for us to bear when at any moment we can go inside to turn on one of three AC units to cool off. 

Mama felt so at ease, she plopped down in our driveway to nurse a few babies.

There are no screens on any of the windows here. It would be an invitation for the monkeys (we’ve only seen a few thus far) to rip through the screens to get inside to tear everything apart looking for food. Without screens and the windows shut, it stays cool inside the house, requiring that we only turn on the AC in the sun of the late afternoon and in our room at night.

This termite hill on our grounds is approximately 10 feet, 3.05 meters tall.

It is imperative to keep exterior doors closed to keep out the bugs. We learned this lesson on our first night. With our bedroom door shut at all times, we don’t need a mosquito net over the bed. Louise offered to have one put up if we needed it, but not one mosquito has buzzed our heads in bed so far.

The nocturnal mini bushbabies live in two hollowed-out logs we have hanging over the pool.

It’s the rainy season now. Last night it rained all night. There hasn’t been much sunshine since we arrived, making it cooler. The humidity is as high as it was in Kenya. We’re surrounded by the Crocodile River and about an hour from the Indian Ocean. The ceiling and roof of the house are thatched, but surprisingly stays dry during the rainy season from what we can tell so far.

We have no doubt that many visitors will stop by besides the warthogs. We’ll try to keep the warthog photos to a minimum. But for now, we are enjoying their curious visits as we await other species popular to Marloth Park.

The sounds are amazing. Tom’s eldest brother Jerry has been completely blind since 1970. Without a doubt, Jerry would delight in the sounds we’re hearing. Yesterday afternoon, we held our breath at the clear, not too far away sound of a lion’s roar over a period of 20 minutes. We sat frozen in our seats on the veranda, trying to determine how far away it could be. It sounded close.

Devising a rapid escape plan should it come too close, we were unafraid and in awe of the wonder of nature.  Usually, lions don’t enter Marloth Park with the Crocodile River acting as a natural barrier. There are flimsy fences to keep out the animals. But, we were told by Louise and Danie, that on occasion, a lion has been sighted.

Soon, we’ll have time to figure out the species of this bird, but today is a busy day in the bush.

Jerry would also love the sounds of the hippos, a sound we loved hearing when we slept in the tent (OK, fancy tent) along the Mara River in the Masai Mara on safari. Depending on the wind, at times the hippo sounds permeated the air, allowing us to hear them when we are inside, even at night in bed with the AC is on.

Last night as we waited for visitors, we overlooked the small pool. This morning Tom scooped a few centipedes out the pool after last night’s torrential rain.

The bird sounds day and night often change minute by minute are many that we’ve never heard before. At night, the mini bush babies living in their houses hanging by our pool, come out making the sweetest sounds, music to our ears. Tom, hard of hearing after 42 years on the railroad, still can hear many of the sounds, relishing in the uniqueness each creature provides.

So, as we anxiously await more visitors, which surely will come to see us in the three months we’ll be in Marloth Park. We’ll treasure every moment, every sound, every singing bird, every chirping frog, the constant hum of the crickets, and of course, the sound of each other’s awe and excitement of sharing in Mother Nature’s wonderland.

P.S. Soon, we’ll post interior house photos as we continue to organize our stuff and clear off the shelves and counters for a less “cluttered’ look.


4 thoughts on “Morning doesn’t come soon enough…The sights and sounds…Am I dreaming?

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hi from Pat,

    It is something how the warthogs come right in your yard with you and Tom sitting there. I suppose they are used to people being there. I did not know they were so curious and social. At the zoo I always just thought they were very ugly. But I guess it is different when you can sit and watch their actions. Of course all baby animals are cute!

    Your blog today was very interesting; just to read about someone actually living in the bush in Africa is so unreal. And you said you do not mind being in a remote area; but at least you do have your landlord and the houseboy coming over several days a week. And with a cell phone you are never out of touch. It sounds like you definitely will not be bored. I am anxious to hear about the Jabula Lodge and for the pictures.

    The lion sounds were a bit frightening though. I probably would have run into the house and locked the doors!
    And I can't imagine what a hippo sounds like.

    I was wondering if you have tried capturing all the different sounds on video. Just think, you could make your own "sounds to sleep by" for when you leave Africa. That would be neat.

    You spoke of the roof being a thatched roof. Dan and I stayed in a thatch roof cottage for 7 days when we were in Moorea, Tahiti a few years ago and it was very comfortable. We also had rain at night and the roof did not leak. Even though rain did not come in, the lizards did. And we were awakened every morning with the roosters crowing. It was such a delightful trip. Maybe Moorea could be on your agenda for your world travels. I know you would thoroughly enjoy it. If we ever went back to Tahiti, I would like to stay in the over the water huts on Bora Bora.

    Today we had 68 degree temperatures and tomorrow it starts dropping and we end the day with 28 degrees and a chance for 1 to 4 inches of snow. I am not looking forward to winter at all. Sometimes I wish we lived in SanDiego, California where it stays mild all year round. Too bad I was not born there. Oh well, we will just have to do as you and Tom are; making the best of a difficult situation and waiting for the sunshine that follows.

    Take care and watch out for those lions!


  2. Jessica Reply

    Yes, we have tried recording some sounds but it just wasn't clear enough to post online. But, we will try again soon.

    We've actually noticed some info abut Moorea and of course, the huts over the the water in Bora Bora peaked my interest long ago. Unfortunately, with us not enjoying moving more than we have to, those huts are too costly for a long term stay. Maybe someday. But, I'm happy to know that you and Dan had a wonderful time. It sounds dreamy.

    Yes, we all must make the best of a difficult situation. But for now, nothing is particularly difficult here in the bush but I will mention of few interesting tidbits in today's post that may make you squirm. Sorry.

    Sorry about the snow. We don't miss it, especially the cold.

    Thanks for writing, dear Pat.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Jessica, I highly recommend a Tahitian cruise with a pre or post trip stay in an over water bungalow for a few nights. It is the most affordable way to experience Tahiti. We did a 3 night stay plus 10 day cruise on a small Princess ship and loved it.
    I am reading your blog while sitting on my SW Transit bus which is slowly making its way downtown on the icy and snowy roads. Reading your daily entries makes my commute feel much shorter each day. Thanks for sharing your well written updates!
    Jody in Chan

  4. Jessica Reply

    Hi, Jody! So nice of you to write.

    We've looked at the Tahitian cruises and your idea is great. We'll have to check that out further.

    I can feel the ride on the SW Transit on the icy and snowy roads remembering how we struggled in the winter weather. It's smart to ride the bus and probably a lot quicker and safer when all is said and done. Be safe. It sounds as if you have a big winter ahead of you.

    There are no words we can express for the appreciation we both feel knowing you are enjoying reading our posts.

    Others have written to us saying they read it in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand before they tackle the newspaper. In my old life I never seemed to have time (or allowed myself to take the time) to sit and read the paper, coffee in hand. Now, I have all the time in the world and there's no newspaper. Oh, well. Small price to pay for a relatively low stress life.

    Thanks for reading and now for writing. It will be hard to get the image of you (although I don't believe I know you. Please correct me if I'm wrong) riding the bus downtown on the icy roads reading our story.
    Take care and stay warm.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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