It pays to go outside early in the morning…

This mom was looking out for her baby to the right as we watched from the road in front of African Reunion House early this morning.

It was 5:45 am and after our another great night’s sleep at African Reunion House, we were both awake and ready to get outdoors. The sun was up, the sounds of the birds wafted through the air, and nature was calling to us.

Shaded by dense vegetation and early morning sun hidden behind the trees, we weren’t able to get closer for better shots. Plus, giraffes are so tall, one can’t get too close in order to get a good photo.

I was in the other bedroom where I shower and dress to hear Tom yell out to me, “Giraffes! Hurry!”

This is the surprise room set among the treetops in African Reunion House, a fully screened Jacuzzi room on the second level. The temperature in this room is surprisingly about 20% less than the outdoor temperature. The surprise room is located off one of the two upstairs bedrooms, shown in the photos below.
One can imagine the charm of a glass of wine, the candles lit, surrounded by the sounds of nature while soaking in the relaxation of the whirling jets of warm water. Hum…seems like this may be a perfect end to Valentine’s night after the game drive and bush braai!

“Grab the camera!” I yelled back as I hurriedly threw on shorts and shoes, still in my sleep tee shirt. We were out the door in less than a minute.

One of the two upstairs bedrooms, this is the room off of which the surprise room is located which also includes an en suite bathroom with a double shower.

Tom was standing in the doorway between the house and the veranda checking out the status of the tree frog, still hanging out on a beam in the ceiling. He looked out toward the road to see a tail and tall legs.

This beautiful “nguni,” cow rug sets the theme of the room.

Running out the front door, we gasped when we saw them, four of them, nibbling on the treetops, on the road outside the house. We never cease to be amazed nor do the residents we’ve met in Marloth Park. No matter how long they’ve lived here they never stop feeling their hearts pound with excitement when they see the majestic giraffes, especially in their neighborhood.

Another view of that exquisite bedroom off of the surprise room upstairs.  The décor is lovely. Notice the matching vanity seat on the left under the built-in vanity table and the items on the bed.  An elegant African theme followed through the entire house.

And this morning we were given the treat to see them at African Reunion House reminding us when we first arrived at the little house that 12 giraffes came down the driveway to visit. Click here for the link. It was December 14th, two weeks after we’d arrived in Marloth Park, a day we’ll always remember. And four of them came another time. And one came alone racing through the yard on a mission.

Only Danie would think of placing a spigot inside of a tree.  Clever! Befitting!

This morning, although not as close as our past experiences, the excitement was palpable, our sensible caution, preventing us from getting too close, as we carefully approached the four giraffes this morning. Giraffes are gentle by nature but their sheer size can result in serious injury or in the case of a resident in Marloth park some time ago, death from an injury from getting too close.

The second late afternoon visit in a row, Mrs. Warthog was as happy to see us as we were her and her four babies.

They knew we were there as the mom kept a watchful eye on us as the baby stood nearby. After a few photos, they began to wander away, as did we. Our day was complete and it was only 6:30 am.  We’d seen giraffes.  What more could we want? 

With leftover cut-up fruit from yesterday’s breakfast with guests, the warthog family was thrilled to get fresh fruit which they eat off of the trees and bushes as they wander through Marloth Park. We’d removed all the pits from the apples, plums, nectarines, pears, and apricots.  The only fruit they didn’t eat was apricots which in the shrink-wrapped package I’d purchased at the grocery store, turned out not to be ripe. They’d take a bite only to spit it out.

We’ll take whatever comes our way, whether it be a tree frog as the same one from yesterday continues to observe us from the rafters, an unusual insect, a bird, a dung beetle, a warthog, or a zebra. We’ve loved them all!  Big and small.

See the slice of unripe apricot they refused to eat?  Mom and one baby were looking at us for more fruit that they would eat. We complied. How could we resist?

Tasks for today? A trip with Okee Dokee to pick up a few items at the little house and to the handy little nearby shopping center to buy beer for Tom. With Jabula closed while Dawn and Leon are on vacation in Cape Town, we’ve been making dinner. Once they return on the 18th, we’ll be anxious to return a few more times for the great food and festivities.

As for Valentine’s Day, around 4:00 pm, we plan to go on another four-hour guided game drive and nighttime bush braai in Kruger National Park all cooked and hosted by Louise and Danie. Dining amid the wildlife, once again, we’ll feel safe with armed guards (with rifles) ensuring our safety. The food, always delicious will include many items I can enjoy. What could be more romantic than being entrenched in nature with the person we love? Nothing. Absolutely nothing!

African Reunion…Our new home for now…A new “Vigil for Visitors”…A huge Spider, the Golden Orb…

African Reunion House, named after the island off the coast, is considerably larger than it appears in this photo with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, two huge verandas, a Jacuzzi room, open kitchen with dining bar, over-sized dining room and inviting entertainment/TV/living room/lounge. 

Yesterday, our only challenge once we’d moved into the African Reunion House, was which bedroom we’d choose. After nearly a half hour of walking up and down the stairs to the second level and back and forth on the main floor, we looked at each other contemplating our dilemma.

Tom, doing his usual power lounging on the “new” veranda at African Reunion House, another temporary house we’re enjoying in Marloth Park.

“You know what, Honey?” I said, grinning from ear to ear.  “Look at us. Our biggest problem is which bedroom to choose.” We burst into laughter.

The stone braai area, conveniently located to the house and pool.

At that point, we quickly made a decision. We’d choose the two bedrooms on the main floor, the one overlooking the pool for me to use for showering and dressing for the day and the other for sleeping. 

The infinity-edge pool is cool, clean, and refreshing. We took our first dip today.

This way, I wouldn’t awaken Tom in the mornings when I usually get out of bed before him. We’ve made this type of arrangement in most of the houses in which we’ve lived in the past 16 months. This plan has served us well.

Today, we had a chance to soak up a little sun after the dip.  No wonder I’m behind on posting today.  I was goofing off!

Moving was relatively easy with Zeff and Okee Dokee helping on both ends. An hour after arriving at the African Reunion House, we were fully unpacked and organized, in awe of the ample supplies and storage areas at our disposal.

This wall of various size and shape twigs and branches provides a privacy wall at night simply by flipping a light switch that magically creates full blocking of the veranda.

Louise and Danie stopped by later in the day to check on us, although it was totally unnecessary. Their thoughtfulness and consideration for our well being are outrageous. 

The view from the main floor veranda provides an excellent sweep of the yard as one searches for visitors.

Louise, bless her heart, had brought along four beautiful white linen napkins knowing that we were entertaining Linda and Ken for breakfast on Tuesday morning. Apparently, she’d read our recent post about how in our old lives, I’d always used linen napkins when entertaining and for ourselves when dining alone. 

Danie handcrafted this wood door. Not only is he a highly talented designer and builder, but, he also excels in the fine art of woodworking. 

There are no words suitable to describe the quality of service and attention to detail that these two over-the-top hosts provide on all of their properties. One hardly needs to ask. They pick up tidbits in conversation and respond to them quickly with the utmost of consideration. We’ve never felt so pampered in our lives.

Yesterday afternoon, while riding with Okee Dokee and Zeff, both of whom helped us move from Khaya Umdani to African Reunion House, we spotted this giraffe along the road. We tried to entice her to stop munching and pick up her head for a good photo.

And, this same personal service they offer is evident in the meticulously stocked, designed, decorated, and maintained houses they own and manage. If one were expecting perfection, they’d be totally fulfilled. If one expects less than perfection, they’d be surprised and in awe, as we have been long before we arrived, by the prompt and complete answers they provided for all of my annoying and seemingly endless questions.

This was the best photo we could get from her.  That must have been one tasty tree.

African Reunion House, although different from Khaya Umdani, offers similar quality design, decor and construction. With four bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom as well as a fifth half bathroom on the main floor, two are located on the main floor, one of which is fully handicap assessable with a “roll in” shower and extra-wide doorways, the room we finally chose for sleeping. The bed, the pillows, and the covers were exquisitely comfortable. 

A few hours before leaving Khaya Umdani on Sunday, our friends Linda and Ken stopped for a visit. Earlier, I’d noticed this spider when I walked through its web. Ken captured this excellent photo, identifying it as the Golden Orb, which is non-poisonous.  As far as Spiders go, what a beauty!  As far as photos go, what a beauty!

One of the many enticing aspects to this home is the “outdoor” fully screened Jacuzzi tub off of one of the two bedrooms in the second-floor suite which also includes an inviting living/TV/entertainment room. 

Coincidentally, today, when OKee Dokee and I stopped at the little house for supplies she spotted this Golden Orb, hanging over the pool. My camera can’t do as good a job as Ken’s. But, I was thrilled to get this shot showing a smaller spider caught in the web.

There would be no disappointment by a group of four couples deciding on which of the four bedrooms to select. Each of the bedrooms and the other rooms in this fine home has its own special charm and amenities.

We’d planned to dine out last night, but decided to cook instead. The fully equipped kitchen was calling to me.  I couldn’t wait to chop and dice in the open space overlooking yet another tastefully decorated dining room with seating for eight. Also, eight can be served on the veranda at the comfortable handcrafted wood table and wicker chairs.

Last night, not only did we dine at that spacious table on the main floor veranda (there’s an additional veranda on the second level), but we stayed outdoors until after 11:00 PM, looking and listening to the nighttime sounds of Marloth Park, now so familiar and music to our ears.

After an excellent night’s sleep, we couldn’t wait to wander outdoors to begin the new “Vigil for Visitors” which without a doubt, will prove to be rewarding, as will be our stay for however long, in the enchanting African Reunion House.

Today, shopping was on the agenda resulting in another trip to Komatipoort for groceries, more data at the Vodacom store, the chemist to pick up Tom’s vitamin B6, which we’d ordered last week, a stop at Credence Clearwater for more bottled water, and a quick trip to the little house for more of our stuff. Leaving at 10:00 am with Okee Dokee, we didn’t return until after 12:00 pm which put me behind on posting today. 

For the early birds out there not seeing our post this morning, we apologize for the delay. Tomorrow, we’ll be back on track posting in the morning with lots more photos, South Africa time, of course.

Happy day to all.