Settling in…Settling down…Adapting to the heat and other little challenges…Biltong…

This is a typical street scene, with lots of trucks parked on the side of the road while the locals people stop in the various shops along the route.

Gosh, we’re happy here. The house is exceptional, perfect for us, with a plunge pool, a pool table, a comfortable bed and bedding, and the living room where we’ll spend most of our evenings nestled in the comfortable furnishings with the availability of a flat-screen TV (to which we can plug in our HDMI cord) to watch our favorite shows.

We couldn’t wait to buy “biltong” (jerky) in Komatipoort. It’s by far the best jerky we’ve ever had.  We purchased a bag of pork on the far left and a large bag of the traditional biltong, as shown in the center, for a total cost of US $17.29 (ZAR 206.23).  We don’t care for the greasy sausage sticks on the far right. There’s a shop owned by the Butchery, right here in Marloth Park, if we run out before heading back to Komatipoort.

There’s no dining room or dining table (space is taken up by the pool table), but we moved around a few side tables to make an ideal dining spot in the living room. This way, we can watch episodes of Shark Tank during dinner, if we’d like.

After selecting the type of biltong, we’d like the store clerk to grind it into bite-sized pieces making it easy to eat. Otherwise, the enormous amounts are too large to chew.

Louise and Danie, our friends and property managers, oversee the operations of many properties in the Conservancy and are on the ball for anything we may need. This morning we mentioned we needed an extension cord to be outside all day with our laptops. 

Within 20 minutes, they drove up to the house with a new, never-used outdoor reel extension cord. We couldn’t appreciate their thoughtfulness more, a scenario all of their holiday renters have enjoyed with the utmost in service and attention to detail.

Biltong hanging from a rack in the shop.

Now, as we sit at the long handmade wooden table on the veranda in the most comfortable padded chairs, we can relax, work on posts, future travel plans, and stay in touch with family and friends as we wait for Mother Nature’s African treasures to arrive.

If none come by today, before dinner tonight, we’ll take a drive around the park to see what we can find, a relatively easy task in the early evening, when wildlife come out from the shelter during the heat of the midday sun.

This batch is venison biltong which we don’t care for.

And hot it is…Today’s temperature is expected to be around 90F, 32C, and in the upcoming days, we could be looking at much higher temps. With air con units in the living room and bedrooms, we still prefer to be outdoors all day. So what if we’re hot and dripping sweat? 

It seems as if we’re already used to the heat, which we thought would be much harder to do after coming out of Antarctica.  Ah, Antarctica…we’re still reeling from experience and will for a very long time.

Next door to the biltong shop is the Butchery, where the finest cuts of meat are available at fabulous prices. We purchased six considerable pork chops, five large lamb chops, 4.4 pounds (2 kg) mince (grass-fed ground beef), and 6.6 pounds (3 kg) cheese sausages for a total of only US $55.30 (ZAR 660.14). In the future, we’ll purchase all our meat, pork, and chicken at the Butchery.

Sure, living in the bush in Africa has its challenges. Last night, we spent an hour dealing with ants in the kitchen after we’d prepared a simple meal of pre-cooked roasted chicken, green beans, and salad which we’ll repeat for one more night. 

Our way to shop in Komatipooert was reminiscent of seeing banana trees with blue plastic bags covering the growing bunches to keep the bugs and birds away.

Someone, perhaps a previous renter, had left a sugar bowl filled with sugar in the cabinet where dishes are kept. After dinner, I cringed when I saw zillions of ants scurrying about,  on all the dishes and all over the granite countertops.  

A small market where many of the local people shop.

We sprayed everything, and today Martha (pronounced Marta) washed all the dishes and the inside of the cabinet. Last night, I cleaned the countertops, sprayed the counters, and then rewashed the counters with water we boiled and soap to remove the residue from the insect spray. 

We are confident the ants will return, dealing with them as it occurs. Louise suggested we leave our dinner dishes for Martha to wash, but that’s not possible with the ants. Tom will continue to do the dishes while I do the cooking.

Tom, like me, was exhausted on the day we arrived, but we managed to unpack and go out to dinner.

And yes, we’ve found things that need to be repaired in the house; no hot water since we arrived; microwave not working; ice dispenser on freezer door not working, and items we regularly used not available in the kitchen cupboards. This is Africa, after all, not Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Phumula, the bush restaurant where we dined on Sunday evening.

Louise and Danie are so “on the ball” we have no doubt everything will be in working order within 24 hours. Danie came early this morning, after I was up and dressed, while Tom slept in and got the hot water working. Not that we minded taking cold showers these past two days as we adjust to the temperature differences.

My dinner of steak and prawns.  Grass-fed steak is often challenging. The price one pays for choosing this option. There were three prawns on my plate with heads still on. I had chilled white wine with my meal.

The water here comes from the Crocodile River, which is purified at a processing plant.  The locals are used to drinking it, but we won’t take a chance. Thus, the water dispenser in the fridge makes purified water, and we were provided with a large water dispenser. As soon as we run out of water, we’ll take the empties to the “water store” in Marloth Park to have them refilled for a nominal cost.

Tom had a side of mashed potatoes and gravy with this chicken schnitzel and for two beers. Our total bill was US $38.98 (ZAR 465), which we felt was reasonable.

As always, we’ll be back with more on life, living in the bush in South Africa, sharing the costs and details of grocery shopping, which presents particular challenges for my way of eating.

Have a glorious day! We plan on it.

P.S. As we’re about to upload this post, we have our first visitor. Photos were coming!

                Photo from one year ago today, February 13, 2017:

In Geeveston, Tasmania, We took this photo through the water-stained window to find this Black Faced Cormorant at the end of the dock. They stayed for a few hours in the rain. In Antarctica, we also saw these penguin-like birds. For more photos, please click here.

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