Sunset game drive…First dinner out…A social life in the bush!…

There’s something magical about the skies over Africa from what we’ve seen so far in Kenya and now in South Africa.

Photos and stories of our experiences in the bush are backed up by a few days and as we get closer to the upcoming game drive in Kruger Park this Sunday, ending with a dinner in the bush, in the dark. Each time we go for a walk or drive in the neighborhood, it’s an entirely new experience that we’re anxious to share with our readers.

Sunset over the farm we visited adjoining Marloth Park.

So, folks, I doubt we’ll have many days while living in Marloth Park that we won’t have photos to share. Every day is special in this amazing location.

This Kudu wouldn’t turn around to allow a full face photo.  If possible, please try to decipher the horns from the tree branches in order to see the enormity of his antlers.

For me, I am happier here than at any other of our past vacation homes. As remote as we are, almost a mile from another house, as stranded as we are without a car (yet), as many scary bugs as there are, with heat that could soon climb to 108F, 42C, I feel at peace, as if I belong here. I’ve longed for Africa since I was a child and at last, my dreams are fulfilled.

Oranges grow wild on the farm, totally unattended.
Most of the land in the 3000-acre farm is leased for farming without the use of chemicals. This is field of corn but we also saw sweet corn growing as the land is now leased to local farmers.

We made our way through some dense brush, slapping branches away from our heads and faces, laughing along the way.

For Tom, this is his second favorite location, Belize on the Caribbean Sea , was his first. We both loved the beautiful LaruBeyu; the pool, the short walk to restaurants. For both of us, the friends we made in Belize will remain as friends forever.

The Crocodile River, walking distance from our home, is filled with crocs, making it too dangerous to navigate by boat. On the opposite side of the river is Kruger Park. The fence, lightly electrified in a deterrent in keeping the lions and elephants out of Marloth Park, although a few lions manage to get through from time to time.

The bright glare of the setting sun impeded our photo taking of these elephants across the river. But, we were thrilled to get these. Soon, we’ll see elephants up close when we enter Kruger Park.

This fence also keeps the crocodiles from entering Marloth Park, although Tom saw two, what is referred to as a monitor crocodile near our pool when I had stepped indoors.  It appears they live in our yard.  Louise explained they like to swim in the pool.  I promise to get a photo of this when it occurs.

On Wednesday afternoon, Leon, the owner of Jabula Lodge picked us up at 4:30 for a private sunset game drive with dinner following at his restaurant, the top rated restaurant in Marloth Park, of which there are only a few. He’d decided to take us on a special outing, to a 3000 acre farm that required permission to pass through the security gates.

The sounds of the hippos is enchanting.  They’re most noisy early in the mornings.
Usually hippos hang out together in herds (or referred to as pods, bloats or dales).
This bird caught our eye.  Louise had brought us a bird book but we can’t seem to find this species without a clear view of its head. Please write if you are familiar with this bird, which appears to be a type of stork.

As we approached the guarded gates, Leon made a call to the manager of the huge farm, asking permission to take us inside. He handed the phone to the guard who was informed that it was acceptable for us to pass. Many treasures lie beyond these gates, as you’ll see from many our photos.

Leon and his older vehicle handled the rough terrain quite well. Bouncing around is now easy and familiar to us after our past experiences on rough roads.

Leon put on his shades for the photo we insisted on taking of him.

After our outstanding drive shortly before dark Leon brought us to his resort for what proved to be a fabulous dinner. It took a few explanations to the cook to get my way of eating clarified. Finally, we had a delicious meal, everything made fresh to order, while sitting outside on the deck on cushioned picnic benches with many other diners surrounding us. 

The entrance to Leon and Dawn’s Jabula Lodge.

Jabula Lodge is a friendly casual environment with beautiful grounds, charming buildings and an excellent highly rated restaurant with superb service.  Most likely we’ll visit once a week for dinner and to hang out with Leon and Dawn who are most hospitable.

Jabula Lodge is an appealing holiday property in Marloth Park, South Africa.

Leon made a special effort to ensure everything was to our liking and befitting my way of eating, leaving us feeling pampered and like old friends.  After dinner, we were told a couple sitting at a nearby table, also experienced world travelers, were curious to meet us, as we were curious to meet them.

Check out this fresh crisp salad, as delicious as it looks.
My new favorite dish so far in the world, Peri Peri, a popular item on Jabula’s menu; chicken livers, fresh garlic, a wine and cream reduction. To die for!

After Leon made introductions, having completed our meal, we joined them at their table and the world travel stories begun. We’ve found that others are curious as to how and why we chose to travel the world for years to come, health providing. By the way, the cost for our game drive, drinks, food and tip for two was a total of ZAR $950, US $93.12.

My sautéed cabbage and carrots, bacon and an egg over a bun-less burger.  Delicious! Three plates of food later, I was stuffed.

Lynne and Mic had traveled for an extended period of nine months, eventually making their way to Marloth Park when they now have owned a home for over 12 years, visiting a few times each year over extended periods.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is here as these lights twinkle behind Tom. As you can see, he too, is having a great time in Marloth Park.

Jabula Lodge owners Leon, his wife Dawn, our hosts Louise and Danie, and Lynne and Mic will be our safari and bush dinner mates on Sunday night. We’re looking forward to an exciting and interesting adventure. Of course, we’ll report back with photos on Monday.

 Tom’s dinner, steak and potatoes, his usual dining out choice.  He doesn’t eat this way when we dine in.  In a effort to be supportive of me, he eats what I cook for all of our meals, splurging when dining out. As long as he’s healthy and not gaining weight, I stay mum.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we’ll be back with a most unusual sighting while on a walk in the neighborhood, and additional delightful visitors in our yard on both Saturday and Sunday.

Nature at its finest at sunset.

Comments and responses Sunset game drive…First dinner out…A social life in the bush!…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Just about every time I read your blog, I go Wow! And today is certainly no exception.

    I see what you mean when you say the skies are magical over Africa and you capture it so well.

    It is amazing to me that in a remote area of the bush of South Africa, with high temperatures anticipated, the bugs and stranded without a car, that you are happier and more content than in any of your other homes. It must be a fantastic feeling to be at peace and to be living out your dreams. We are so happy for you and Tom. And we get to follow along; technology is so great!

    I checked out the LaruBeyu in Belize because Dan is always wanting to go back to Belize. It looks really nice, and it had some really good reviews. So maybe that will be in our future.

    A number of years ago we stayed at the Jaguar Paw Resort in Belize for 4 days and loved it. We did their tubing through the dark caves and it was very interesting, to say the least. As we came out of the last area of the cave, we spotted a snake hanging over the cave exit. I don't think I would want to do that again, but it was an experience to talk about. The resort was very well kept up and the food was terrific. But I understand that it is now closed; so sad.

    After leaving there, we stayed 4 days on the island of Ambergris Caye. Our 2 daughters went deep sea diving on the Great Barrier Reef, longest in the western Hemisphere. They left very early in the morning and did not return until around 6:00pm. I was nervous the whole time, deep sea diving really scares me, especially since my youngest daughter tries her best to get as close as she can to sharks to get a good picture. I try not to think about that while they are gone. Of course they said it was their best dive ever. We also rented a golf cart to get around the island, which was fun. Anyway, Ambergris Caye is a beautiful island to visit but the flight over there on a really small plane is so scary, as you well know from your experience.

    Sorry, I did not mean to rattle on and on.

    When I saw the picture of Tom's dinner, it was another "wow". The size of the steak was incredible and yours looked good too and another wow at eating 3 plates of food. Actually, I can understand why you are happy there. I know how you and Tom love to visit with people and now you have that too. It seems like everywhere you have been, they go out of their way to see that you have a good time.

    About the cancelled party, the lady who was sponsoring it was afraid that we would not get back home before it started to snow. She said she would feel really bad if someone had an accident. Our weather forecasters always make everything sound much worse than it usually is. But I guess, as they say, better safe than sorry.

    I was only going to write a little bit because it was already 10:45 pm before I even started reading your blog. As usual I kind of got carried away.

    Our 12 year old grandson was in the play of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" tonight so we were out late. Of course he was so cute but he did not have a big part because this was his first year in the drama class.

    It is not 12:08 am so I am definitely going to close.

    Looking forward to more pictures and we will never become tired of them.


  2. Jessica Reply

    Dear Pat, good morning to you!
    I had no idea you had all been to Belize. It sounds if you had a fabulous time. Before you book Laru Beya, let us know so we can share a few thoughts that may save you time and money. Gosh, you two have been everywhere. Its no wonder you enjoy reading our posts. You are dedicated world travelers yourselves.

    We never stayed away from Placencia in Belize but if we go back, we'd definitely visit the islands. Of course, at this point I doubt we'll do repeats when there's so much to see. It will be hard for me to leave here and not see wildlife every day. Can't think about that now.

    Sounds like your grandson's play was enjoyable.

    Oops, our Warthog family of 9 just showed up at the fire pit. I have to go say "good morning Warthog family" in my high pitched "talk to dogs" voice which they seem to like, looking directly at me when I do. So funny.

    Tonight, a new restaurant. Tomorrow, Kruger Park safari and bush dinner. Lots more photos coming.

    Thanks for reading and sharing this with us. We so appreciate the comments.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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