Movie night in the bush!!!…Many visitors wanted in on the action…

“Hmmm…” says Clive to Clove, “I wonder what these humans are up to now.  Are we invited?”

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

An apparently happy oxpecker on the hide of a kudu we spotted on yesterday afternoon’s drive in Marloth.  From this site: Oxpeckers graze exclusively on the bodies of large mammals. Certain species are seemingly preferred, whereas others, like the Lichtenstein’s hartebeest or Topi are generally avoided. Smaller antelope such as lechweduikers, and reedbuck are also avoided; the smallest regularly used species is the Impala, probably because of the heavy tick load and social nature of that species. In many parts of their range, they now feed on cattle but avoid camels. They feed on ectoparasites, particularly ticks, as well as insects infecting wounds and the flesh and blood of some wounds as well. They are sometimes classified as parasites because they open wounds on the animals’ backs.”

When Lousie and Danie invited us to a fundraiser, they did so with the thought in mind that our attending this might be ideal for a post for our worldwide readers.  The intent was clearly not in having us donate lots of money.

About 25 guests had arrived in the bush area for the wildlife rescue event, Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.  Within minutes there were about 50 guests who stayed for the meal, the presentation, the auction and eventually the movie, Out of Africa.

With the food hosted by local shop owners and the meat market, the US $8.66 (ZAR 100) per person donation for attendance was a mere pittance for the quality of the experience bestowed on the 50 attendees, most homeowners in Marloth Park or nearby surrounding areas.

We may have looked like idiots wearing our bug resistant “Africa” clothes while everyone else was wearing shorts, tee shirts, and flipflops. But, this time we aren’t taking malaria pills and feel it’s diligent to be careful especially with my weakened immune system after taking so many antibiotics.  The mozzies love me.

Louise and Danie showed up at 5:45 pm so we could follow them to the site.  They also brought chairs for us and sat with us for the entire event, although they were acquainted with almost everyone in attendance.  We had a great time at the entire event! Thanks, Louise and Danie!!!

The locals are used to applying repellent especially when out at dusk and into the evening when the mosquitos can be downright annoying and also, carrying many types of diseases besides malaria. 

The event took place on the grounds of a thoughtful homeowner who kindly cooked the fabulous food and hosted the event.

After contracting this awful gastrointestinal issue in Fiji which still plagues me today, we’d both decided that we can’t be too careful.  Illness is the only thing that will put a fast end to our travels and we’re simply not willing to take the risk.  So we look foolish?  Who cares?  We’re happy and continuing to travel the world.

Even now, as I’m posting from the veranda where we spend all of our days there’s a variety of bees and hornets buzzing us, let alone mozzies that find me, day or night.  A little caution can go a long way in protecting us.

Our first visitor to the event, a lone warthog who was curious and perhaps wondering, “Do you have any pellets?”

Anyway, back to the event…Louise and Danie graciously introduced us to many attendees which easily brought us into many interesting conversations about wildlife and Marloth Park.

She was on her knees eating some greens.

Each person we spoke to freely expressed their unbridled passion for this magical place.  Some had been living here for decades, others frequently visiting family who lives in the park.  All of the people we met are from one part of Africa or another although the majority are from South Africa.

At no point, did we or the other guests feel pressured for added donations.  The auctions provided more needed revenue and although Tom bid on a few items we lost to more enthusiastic bidders interested in various types of alcoholic beverages being offered in pretty baskets.

Deidre from Wild & Free Rescue Center in Marloth Park did a heartwarming presentation.

The food was superb as mentioned here, the movie Out of Africa, which we’d seen many times, was again entertaining. But most of all, the visitors who stopped by to check out the evening’s event, left us all in stitches with cell phone cameras flashing along with my camera.

A lookout tower on the property. Notice the kudu grazing beneath the structure.

Sometimes I could kick myself for not seeking the best possible scenes for taking photos.  I certainly have the ability to do so but in my enthusiasm, I get sidetracked by the scene in front of me and I forget to be more diligent.  I promise to work on this after it became especially evident to me this morning when I looked at last night’s photo.

We watched a heartwarming slide presentation of some of the baby animals rescued by Wild and Free Rehabilitation Centre.

Why in the heck didn’t I get the shots of the visitors with the crowd of humans in the background?  This would have created more humorous photos.  Thus, I must describe to you that the following animals came to call and hovered around the perimeter of our event: warthog, wildebeest, zebra, and ostrich.

Note the tiny bushbaby on the end of a finger.  Soon, we’ll visit the center and do a more comprehensive story on this exceptional facility.

In defense of myself to a small degree, based on the positioning of the wildlife when they hovered around our “camp,” I would have had to get behind them to get such a photo.  All of these animals weight 100’s of kilos (pounds) and doing so may have been risky.  One swift kick by an annoyed visitor could result in a tragedy.

The food was excellent; pulled pork, pulled chicken, homemade pickle slices, coleslaw, and buns.  I ate a little of everything but was concerned about the sugar in the delicious barbecue sauce.  Typically, barbecue sauce has a lot of sugar.

And so, I ask you to use your imagination and picture the animals shown in today’s photos, standing very close to us, smelling, snorting and making a variety of sounds and gestures wondering what we were all about.

I could have easily eaten twice as big a serving of the meat, it was so good but I refrained.  Tom had one bun filled with pork, coleslaw, and pickles on the side.  We noticed the locals putting the pickles in the bun with the meat.  That looked good!

Throughout the movie, we continued to hear the music-to-our-ears sounds us bush-dwellers continually strive to identify.  Tom and I are learning those sounds more this time in Marloth Park as opposed to four years ago. 

This delightful man sang a few times during the evening.  He is Etienne van der Nest also known as the “Cooking Tenor.”  What a voice and special unexpected treat!

Perhaps we’re a little wiser, a little more appreciative, and a little more in awe than we were four years ago.  A reader wrote to us a few days ago asking, “Since you’ve been in Marloth Park before, is it any less interesting and magical this second time around?”

The zebras were hovering around the perimeter of our group curious as to what was going on.

We wrote back to our reader, stating it like this, which we’ve said before, “Being here again is like having an “E” ticket to Disneyland…the anticipation of the “next ride” is almost as exciting as the ride itself.”  Even when “they” don’t visit us, our perpetual state of expectation is indescribable.

Louise explained that wild animals are often attracted to the noise of human activity and of course, like the other visitors at the event, curious as to what’s going on.

For example, the above photo featured in “Sighting of the Day in the Bush” of the oxpecker with its mouth agape while sitting atop a kudu is another of those bonuses we never seek or expect.  It’s sheer joy in the simplest of terms.

Please continue to enjoy the “ride” along with us!


Photo from one year ago today, February 25, 2017:

Had we arrived a month or two earlier, the hilly countryside in the Huon Valley would have been a lush velvety green.  For more photos, please click here.

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