Part 1, Kruger National Park reaps many rewards…A gruesome reality…Plus, cucarachas…

Although this may appear gruesome, this is the reality of life in the wild. Most likely, a lion killed and devoured this cape buffalo which was later “finished off” by vultures that we saw hovering when we first spotted this scene.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We were parked at the edge of the shore of Sunset Dam when this croc emerged from the water. Wow!

Sometimes when we go to Kruger National Park, we encounter breathtaking and unusual scenes. Yesterday was a little different. There wasn’t any particular incident or sighting that left us reeling as usual. 

Several vehicles had stopped to observe this kill.  We waited until we could get a better shot and zoomed in.  See the main photo for more detail.

Were we disappointed? Not at all. It’s not always the mind-blowing experiences that make it a good trip into Kruger. Instead, we encountered a wide array of birds and wildlife, which we’ll share over the next few days.

Hippos and impala at a distance on the Sabie River in Kruger.

Often, it’s the more subtle sightings that make us appreciate the simplicity of it all…wildlife living in their natural habitat, continually on the search for food, procreation, and a degree of comfort when possible. We, humans, are so much like them, aren’t we?

We take a side dirt road each time we go to Kruger and often see this wildebeest sitting under this same tree.  I guess  that explains how we’re all “creatures of habit.”

We began first thing in the morning to make the 20-minute drive to the Crocodile Bridge with a plan to drive to Lower Sabie to the Mug and Bean restaurant for a leisurely lunch. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but where in the world can one jump into their car and be in wildlife nirvana in 20 minutes? 

Now that we’ve fallen in love with Wildebeest Willie, we are particularly passionate about these calm and peaceful animals.
We never fail to appreciate this fact, nor do we ever get tired of seeing elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, rhinos, and so much more. One might think that since we can drive five minutes to the river in Marloth Park and almost always seeing elephants, that after a while, it could become mundane.
From this site: “An omnivorous bird, the Yellow-billed Hornbill, feeds mainly on the ground surface, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders, and scorpions. This is the bird we see most often in Marloth and Kruger Park, the hornbill. Termites and ants are a preferred food source in the dry season.”

It doesn’t. Each time we spot the magnificent beasts, we’re reminded of how fortunate we are to be here. Often, we ask ourselves and each other…”How did we get to be here? How could we have lived our lives without these amazing

An “implausibility” of wildebeest.

Previously, we’d mentioned that one of the reasons we chose to stay in Africa for so long was to “lick our wounds” from the costly Antarctica cruise, which was well beyond the limits of our yearly budget. To see the total expenses for the Antarctica cruise, please click here and scroll down the page for the information.

Impalas and warthogs are stopping for a drink.

But, we knew in doing so, it would be “heaven on earth” spending more time on the continent of Africa. Usually, “to lick one’s wounds” requires a certain degree of sacrifice. There’s been no sacrifice here.

This was the first time we’d ever seen a cape buffalo crossing the tar road. They are one of the “Big 5,” including the leopard, lion, elephant, and rhino.

Sure, there are inconveniences and occasional discomforts compared to living in some other parts of the world. However, we’ve adapted so well, we hardly notice anymore. 

Hippos resting on a sandbar on the Sabie River.  Note the number of oxpeckers on the hippos hides!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had many cockroaches (aka cucarachas in Spanish) in the house. Usually, one thinks of dirt and filth about the disgusting cockroaches. We have them here, and we had them in Costa Rica, both very clean and newer properties. 

This is a white-fronted bee-eater from this site: White-fronted bee-eaters nest in colonies averaging 200 individuals, digging roosting and nesting holes in cliffs or banks of earth. A population of bee-eaters may range across many square kilometers of savannah but will come to the same colony to roost, socialize, and breed. White-fronted bee-eaters have one of the most complex family-based social systems found in birds.”

Picture this, you’re taking a shower, and you see a cockroach crawling up out of the drain. The weird thing here is that they were crawling up out of the drain in the shower. This surely could be a scream-worthy event. 

These dark-capped bulbuls hang around for scraps from diners at the Mug and Bean restaurant in Lower Sabie, where we stopped for lunch yesterday. 

We don’t scream. Tom sprayed the shower, but when it didn’t resolve the issue, Louise and Danie came to the rescue with a particular product they use specifically for these situations. For a while, we won’t see them again. 

Yellow-billed storks lined the shore of Sunset Dam in Lower Sabie.

This is Africa, and they’ll return. Along with zillions of mosquitoes when the rainy season comes in the spring and then the humid summer heat with snakes and insects everywhere. We were here in the summer of 2014. We managed then. We’ll manage again.

Zebra stopping for a drink in the lake.

There will be a trade-off then; the return of dung beetles, which we love to see; the newborns of many of the wildlife; the blooming the bright red Flame Trees and the Sausage Trees and, it goes on and on. There’s so much to distract us from any possible inconveniences.

Another croc emerged for a breath of fresh air.  Crocs may stay underwater for up to an hour when they feel threatened.

Soon, we’ll be off for our usual exploratory drive in Marloth Park. Who knows what we’ll see? It’s now approaching the weekend, and holidaymakers are flooding the park once again. Today the wildlife “traffic” in our garden has already diminished a bit as the crowds move in for the weekend.

Several crocs at Sunset Dam, lounging in the sun.

We’ll be patient, and before too long, it will be Monday again, and everything will be right with the world, this world, right here and right now.

May everything be right in your world today and always.

Photo from one year ago today, July 20, 2017:

While in Las Vegas, I made these homemade hamburger buns (the recipe is shown at this link here) are huge enough to hold a 6 to 8-ounce patty with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion or other items added. They’re easy to make and delicious!  Please click here for more.

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