“Overstaying our welcome?”…When is too long?…

An old weathered elephant wandering the dry bush on his own. Soon, the rains will come and the vegetation will be lush and green again. It can’t come too soon.

“Sighting of the day in the Bush”

This is Tusker’s girlfriend. It was a very hot day when we took this photo and she showed up covered in mud.  He didn’t seem to mind a bit. After all…pigs…mud…they kind of go together.

Yesterday afternoon when Danie stopped by, as usual, the three of us had a good chat. As often is the case, we couldn’t help but discuss some of the local politics in South Africa and especially in Marloth Park.

Lately, it has become commonplace for us to see lions across the Crocodile River. However, we never will take these sightings for granted.

If it appears this “little piece of paradise” is free from strife, politics, and a variety of outspoken opinions, we’re kidding ourselves. Like anywhere in the world, whether a town, a city, or a tiny village, there are issues and concerns that impact its residents in one way or another.

In most of our world travels, we’ve had little exposure to the political atmosphere other than what we’ve heard from locals as we learn about their culture.  

 It’s not easy to take good photos from such a distance but we continue to try.

However, staying in a country for an entire year (visa extension providing) we haven’t been able to escape frequently hearing and reading about the opinions, ideas, and frustrations of the local people living in this unique environment.  Without a doubt, it had an impact on us.

And, like other municipalities throughout the world, it is not always pleasant.  Having joined several Marloth Park Facebook groups, in order to stay in touch regarding local events, unusual sightings, and concerns, it has been impossible to avoid hearing negative comments. Sadly, isn’t that what people do on social media? Express their good and bad opinions??? 

Busy day to the river.

To tell the truth, hateful comments on any social platform make us cringe. If it weren’t for our need and desire to stay in touch with family and friends, I’d most certainly not have a presence on Facebook. The hatefulness is rampant. Plus, we prefer to avoid attaching any political opinions and ideas to our posts. 

Most days, I post a photo or two on Facebook of recent sightings along with the link to that day’s post so our family and friends can see what we’ve been discovering in our travels. Some of them read our posts and others do not.  That’s up to them.

These types of scenes are so satisfying to encounter.

After reading negative comments regarding many topics regarding Marloth Park, we’ve made an attempt to stay neutral in keeping our opinions to ourselves.  We’ve written a few posts suggesting concerns over the wildlife in the park and how tourists must follow the guidelines for behavior while in the park to preserve and protect the wildlife.

Speeding on the paved and dirt roads has been a serious problem, resulting in the senseless slaughter of wildlife in the park and yes, it makes sense to address this and other safety issues on social media.  

Two friends of Wildebeest Willie stop by now and then when they’ve heard we are generous with the pellets.  Notice the helmeted guineafowl and warthog in the background. They also love pellets. The only animal we’ve seen refuse to go near the pellets are the mongooses. The 30 species of mongoose are mainly carnivores and have no interest in pellets or vegetables we toss.

But many non-wildlife and safety issues have been addressed causing us to step back and realize we cannot get involved. As long as our year here is concerned, we still have no right to get involved. But it’s not always easy to ignore hostile comments and criticism.

The bashing of local businesses has been a sore spot for us. Why not address the issues with the owner of the business directly or the property owner who may not be complying with local ordinances?

A pair of unattached female zebras stopped by in the early evening.

I suppose it’s a part of the worldwide culture that’s evolved today. If you have an opinion, express it whether it hurts someone or not. Yes, we do believe in having conversations face to face on a wide array of issues which we do freely with our close friends.  

Perhaps, even come up with some solutions that may be implemented if taken to the right resources in a professional and organized manner? Ah, but in a perfect world…

Shortly later, another female entered the garden looking for food.

Overall staying in Marloth Park for this extended period has been blissful.  Spending time with our human and animals friends has been indescribable, an experience we’ll never forget and surely miss once we’re gone. 

But, as we discussed with Danie yesterday, staying this long in any country is way too long. After he left, Tom and I discussed this topic further and have decided we will not, unless a medical necessity, stay any longer than three months in any country we visit in the future.

We welcome every visitor except monkeys and baboons who are horribly destructive.

For us, this has been a magical number, long enough to really come to know the area, its people, its culture, and natural beauty but any longer results in us feeling too engaged, too responsible, and too affected by what’s going on.

We decided almost six years ago to embrace the nuances of each country we visit but not to get caught up in the negativity. As much as we’d love to say we “could change the world,” we cannot.  

Zebras usually “eat and run.”

But surely, we can share the beauty, the dignity, and the uniqueness of every special place we chose to visit, sharing it with our worldwide readers each and every day. Thank you for traveling with us!

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 1, 2017:

Low-lying morning clouds as seen from the veranda in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.

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