Post from seven years ago…Less fearful than years ago…Willie…what a guy!…

Willie often makes eye contact, usually only one eye, as indicated in this photo. Wildebeest’s eyes are far apart on either side of his head. He loves for me to talk to him. How do I know this? He won’t begin eating a single pellet until I’m done talking. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Little’s vacuum-like mouth scours the ground for a stray pellet he may have missed.

While searching for a photo Louise had taken of a warthog in the kitchen of one of her holiday homes, I stumbled across the post from March 16, 2012, from over seven years ago.

It was this photo plus one of this same pig lying in front of the fireplace, sleeping, and snoring that inspired us to come to Marloth Park while researching possible locations. A pig in the kitchen? I’m all in! Tom, not so much.
It took a lot of convincing to get Tom to feel comfortable with the concept of wild animals walking around the grounds of our vacation/holiday home. I explained the Big Five (rhino, lion, cape buffalo, leopard, and elephant would be a short distance down the road at the Crocodile River, separated by a fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.
Wildebeest Willie stopped by with two bushbucks joining him to see what was on the menu.
This put his mind at ease a little but not entirely. But even then, seven years ago, I had some hesitancy of the prospect of 227 kg to 318 kg (500 to 700-pound) animals hanging out in our yard (referred to as a “garden” in South Africa) along with the cringe-worthy prospect of vicious baboons, venomous snakes and a wide array of venomous insects, flies, and mosquitos.  
In that post from March 16, 2012, I wrote in part:
We ask ourselves so many questions, not so much to put a damper on our adventure but to maintain a sense of the reality of what is yet to come. “They say” that worry is a useless emotion. If worrying prompts or motivates one to take self-preserving steps, then worry has some unmitigated value.  

Overcoming fear is next in line. Fear in itself is a powerful motivator. The healthy self-love and appreciation we experience after overcoming fear are the greatest rewards life has to offer us in our continuing search for personal growth and self-discovery.”

Willie doesn’t care for carrots, celery tops, or apples. He likes pellets. He doesn’t usually “look,” begging for pellets as many animals do.
We both had lived our lives with a certain degree of risk, a sense of adventure, and occasional fear. Were we going to push ourselves to our limits by coming to South Africa for this ultimate adventure?  
It’s funny, now as we look back after spending almost two years in Africa, how our fears have lessened regarding the danger of animals and increased regarding danger from human beings. Ironic.
We’ve never felt afraid in Marloth Park, even when lions have crossed the barrier of the fence at the river and wandered the roads. Curfews were established during these periods, and everyone in the park kept a watchful eye, reporting any sightings.  
One wouldn’t necessarily go for a walk or ride a bike when lions have been sighted, and yet a foolhardy few don’t hesitate to embark on such activities during these periods.
When he wipes out the pellets on the ground, he often lies down near the clothesline, politely waiting should more pellets come his way.  It’s hard to resist giving him more.
It was only a few days ago when we posted the story of Jonas in the “year ago photo” who was attacked by a lion while riding his bike at night, on March 11, 1999, some 20 years ago. At that time, there was no fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park. It was frightening for the few residents who lived in the park at that time.
What do we fear now? Certainly not as much as we had in March 2012, the first month we began posting. We can narrow it down to only a few areas of concern; ill health (especially as of late), risks on travel days, and the possibility of crime-related incidences impacting our lives.  
It was only a few days ago, on March 13th we posted information on crimes that occurred in Marloth Park, as described in this post. As we’ve mentioned in many posts over the years, there is nowhere on this entire planet that is entirely safe.  
And yet, we make every attempt to surround ourselves with a positive state of mind while maintaining a degree of mindfulness and awareness of everything around us.
The most frightening experience thus far in the past years of travel? This. I continue to recover.
Be well. It means everything.
Photo from one year ago today, March 18, 2018:
This warthog appears to have been rolling in mud as she hangs out with male impala. For more photos, please click here.

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