Most extraordinary day yet…Is this really happening?…

On Thursday morning as I stepped outside onto the veranda, camera in hand, this was the first thing I saw. Quietly alerting Tom, who was still inside the house, he rushed out to witness this same sight. And then, in minutes they were everywhere. No words can describe our elation.
At first, we thought there may only be a few when we saw only this one. Giraffes hang out in groups, often changing to a new group every few hours with no special loyalty to any grouping, other than moms and a baby of which only one is born at a time.
Walking out onto our driveway we were able to see the others arriving.

It won’t always be this exciting. After a while, we’ll have shared more and more new photos of visitors that have already visited us in the past. But for us, this is only the beginning of our adventures in South Africa. 

As they entered the yard, they scattered about, making it impossible to take photos of more than a few at a time. 
They enjoyed nibbling on our untouched tree touch, full and flavorful from recent rains.  On December 21st, summer begins in South Africa. In the winter, the leaves will be gone, and everything turns parched and brown, leaving less food for the wildlife.
Scratching an itch.

In six days, we’ll pick up a rental car to use for our remaining days in Marloth Park. With many plans on the horizon over our remaining over two months, we’ll have much to share.

They often stopped dining to look at us. We kept our distance, not wanting to disturb and as an inducement for them to return another day with little intrusion from us.
Nice pose with the right leg bent.
Tom with three giraffes behind him.

We’ve found it’s best not to get into “what we’re considering doing” as opposed  to “what we have locked in, via dates and reservations.” Doing so prevents us from feeling pressure to follow through on the possibilities as opposed to the realities. This is low-stress living, right?

Adding a frame of reference in the driveway.
Reaching for a low lying morsel.

A lone warthog wanted in on the excitement. No problem. You’re in!

Tentatively, we present these photos today knowing full well that it will be a tough act to follow. Living in the bush anything exciting can happen at any moment, as we’ve already witnessed. We sit back in watchful anticipation, welcoming magical moments our way. 

Perhaps a bit of romance brewing? Check out the eyelashes on the female on the right, definitely involved in the flirting process.
The “togetherness” continued.
“Stop with photos already.  I have to fill up the right cheek with these tasty greens.”

We call it our “safari luck” that began when we went on safari in the Masai Mara in early October and saw the “Big Five” in the first ten hours in the vehicle with Anderson. Even he commented on how lucky we were. On the little plane when upon departure, many other travelers commented that they’d only be able to see four of the Big Five and their subsequent disappointment. Yes, we were lucky. 

This male was sitting in the yard taking a break from being so tall.

That same “safari luck” has been with us since arriving in Marloth Park only two weeks ago. This is evidenced by today’s photos. From the day we arrived, we longed for the Giraffes to visit, the visit Louise and Danie assured us would definitely transpire over a period of three months. And they did come. All 12 of them on Thursday morning, a day we’ll never forget.

“Please,” says Mr. Warthog, “one more photo of me and the tall ones. I’m always camera ready”

If this was a typical two-week vacation/holiday as most travelers plan when visiting Marloth Park, we would have had a rich and memorable experience. But for us, the fact that we have the opportunity to reach out and grab more of this magic leaves us humble and grateful.

We counted 12 giraffes as they gathered for their joint exit after their hour-long visit.

This morning when once again, the family of nine Warthogs appeared, standing in the bush partially hidden by low lying brush as if waiting for us to come outside. As we stepped to the railing to our veranda, they freely marched toward us, all nine of them, two moms and seven babies ready to make us laugh, ready to entertain us, and ready to respond to my goofy high pitched voice welcoming them. 

Thanks for the visit giraffes!
But somehow, we knew they’d return.

Not for one second, did we ever feel we’d had enough of them or that we’ll ever tire of their visits. If we have “safari luck” and the giraffes to visit another time, we’ll be in as much awe as we were this first time.

Your visit meant the world to us!

There is no doubt in my mind that when these three months come to a close, it will be difficult to leave all of this behind. It will be difficult to no longer constantly scan our surroundings for a hint of movement, the sound of hooves, a snort, a growl, or a gentle call. 

For now, we let those thoughts waft away to allow ourselves to live in the moment, knowing in our hearts that this, dear readers, is “Why,I always dreamed of Africa.”

Comments and responses Most extraordinary day yet…Is this really happening?…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hi Jess and Tom,

    Oh boy, I want to come to Marloth Park. I couldn't believe it when I checked your blog today! My favorite animal ever and you had 12 of them visiting. Every photo was more exciting than the are sooooo lucky. It just makes me thrilled to see these animals walking around freely eating from the trees with not a care in the world. Oh that all animals could be so fortunate.

    I totally agree when you say it will be hard to leave all this behind when the time comes to move on.

    And what are you missing in the States? Snow and more snow along with ice. Remember those days of digging out, well they are back. We only had 4 inches but our daughter, who lives just a 40 min drive from us, had 8 inches. Of course the grandkids are thrilled. At least by the end of next week, the weathermen are predicting temps in the 40's. That sounds like a heat wave.

    Tomorrow we go to the mall where 3 of our grandkids are playing in a piano recital. That is always fun with the Christmas decorations and people stopping to listen. My 14 year old granddaughter, Samantha, has 8 piano students she is teaching and they will be in the recital also. Samantha is so musically talented. She also plays in 2 bands. She plays the trombone and the clarinet. One of the grandsons plays the trumpet and the other plays the saxophone along with the piano. And the 3rd grandson is just starting on the piano. We are quite proud of all of them. Sorry for the grandparent bragging.

    We can't wait for your next visitors, even when they are repeats. It is still so exciting to see them and to vision you there watching and taking photos for us to enjoy; and you too! ha-ha

    Have fun,


  2. Jessica Reply

    Pat, I thought of you when they came, thinking how much you'd have enjoyed your favorite animal. It was an experience that I'll never forget, nor will Tom. We can't wait until they come back and we expect they will.

    I especially laughed when Mr. Warthog insisted on being in two of the photos. They seem to like to please us with their antics.

    You wouldn't love Marloth Park today. It's very hot, going up to 98F, 37C in a few hours but it feels like that now as we sit outside, afraid to miss anything, sweating on the veranda. The humidity is outrageous to boot.
    We wonder if the visitors will come in this high heat, although yesterday was slightly cooler at 94F and the came. Soon I'll post the amazing day we had yesterday!

    Your grandchildren's musical abilities is refreshing. No one in our family has a musical tendency but I imagine it is fun to watch the grandkids making their best efforts in any case. It is a fun time of the year to enjoy the family. We miss our but one year from now we'll all be together and that sustains us.

    We don't miss the snow, the ice, the shoveling, the slipping and sliding, none of it. But, as I always say there are trade-offs. This morning I had to take my shorts off twice after dressing after my shower. There was something in my shorts biting me. I never found it but after the second major shaking and pinching, I was home free. The question becomes: shovel? bugs in pants? shovel?…

    Have a wonderful Sunday. I'm sure you're busy with Christmas but i bet you enjoy it all!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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