Returned from Kruger…Marloth Park…To feed or not to feed…Oxpecker invasion…

Surprisingly, the animals don’t send the oxpeckers on their way, but it may not be easy to do. They hang on tightly with their clawed feet, determined to feed off their “host.”

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This female kudu has a heart-shaped marking on her neck.

Today marks our fifth month since we arrived in Marloth Park on February 11th. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed. We’ll be leaving South Africa in seven months to travel to Kenya for an exciting adventure, not returning to Marloth Park until  December 2020 for a short 90 day stay.

That sounds like such a long time away, but in this life of world travel, time seems to pass more quickly than at any other time in our lives. Perhaps, it’s related to “old age” or, on the brighter side, from having such an exceptionally great year in Africa. 

If anything startles the oxpeckers, they fly off one kudu to another.

We just returned from several hours spent in Kruger National Park.  om’s busy grating cheese for taco salad night here in the bush (no cheese for lactose-free me) while I’m quickly pounding away on the keyboard in hopes of uploading today’s post before 17:00 hrs. (5:00 pm) when the evening’s action begins, and visitors come from all over.

Last night was no exception when at one point, we had nine warthogs, dozens of mongooses, eight kudus, Frank, and the Mrs. all in the garden simultaneously. 

We were so busy tending to them and fawning over them. We barely had dinner ready by our usual time. It was a splendid evening we look forward to repeating tonight.

Oxpeckers eat insects off the host but also can cause sores and infections.

As for the day spent in Kruger…as much as I dislike this expression…OMG! OMG! OMG! We can’t wait to share our experiences in tomorrow’s post. The first hour, we didn’t see much, and then, safari luck kicked in. 

On the return drive, I said to Tom, “Where in the world might one live to be able to jump in their car, drive for 20 minutes and go on a self-drive safari?”  There’s no trip to Home Depot, Target, or Whole Foods in this lifestyle. 

This kudu had eight oxpeckers, some of which are on the other side of her body. Excuse the blur. It happens.

There’s only driving in the vast wilderness of massive Kruger National Park to see some of the most majestic animals in the world in their natural habitat, the struggles they bear, the behaviors we find breathtaking, and above all, their innate ability to survive.

There’s been no rain in almost two months. The riverbeds, streams, and rivers have dried up, yet somehow these resourceful creatures have found a way to survive. 

Nine female kudus came to call last night shortly before dark.

Unfortunately, some do not survive the harsh winters without rain or abundant vegetation. Finally, in the spring and summer months, the park will once again thrive.  We see this possibility in Marloth Park.

There’s a lot of controversy over whether to feed the wildlife in Marloth Park during this time of year. We understand about nature “taking its course, with the good and the bad.”

Their yellow eyes and orange beaks make them stand out on the similarly colored kudus.

But, when we animal lovers in this magical place see these beautiful creatures hungry and thirsty this time of year, it’s impossible not to provide some appropriate sustenance. Unfortunately, Lucerne bales, hay, salt licks, and troughs are breeding grounds for spreading disease among the wildlife.

If one must feed, as we do, tossing pellets and vegetables onto the ground is better than the above. And also importantly, keeping watering holes clean is another vital means of reducing contamination to some degree.

When the kudus showed up last night, there were dozens of oxpeckers hanging around and on them.

There’s no perfect world. There’s no easy answer. We all live by our own beliefs and choices, and those may not always be ideal, but most of us do the best we can.

Now, I must wrap this up and finish chopping and dicing for tonight’s dinner with leftovers planned for tomorrow evening. Our evening begins soon enough, and there’s plenty to do to get ready for the evening’s adventures.

We didn’t recognize these four warthogs whose hair is almost black instead of the brown and greyish tones.

Have a fabulous evening! We sure plan on it!

Photo from one year ago today, July 11, 2017:

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