Botswana…The African Quadripoint…Chobe Safari Lodge…An exquisite environment..

“The African Quadripoint. Are there any 4 way borders? Around the world, there are more than 150 different tripoints—borders where three nations meet—but only one international “quadripoint.” This is a spot in the middle of the Zambezi River, in southern Africa, where Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana all touch.”

This is the fourth time we’ve traveled to Zambia and then Botswana. Two Chris Tours drivers, Gordon and O’Brien, were waiting for us at the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport in Livingstone. They loaded up our two bags and two carry-on bags and we were on our way for the one-hour drive to the Botswana border, where a tour representative and her driver would take us to Chobe Safari Lodge, another 30-minute drive.

Two drivers, Gordon on the left and O’Brien on the right, who works for Chris Tours.

The immigration process was entirely different than on the past three occasions when we crossed the border between Zambia and Bostwana, where four countries meet as described here as the African Quadripoint:

“THERE ARE A NUMBER OF instances where the borders of two or three nations touch, but the rare confluence of a total four nations coming together on one spot only exists in Africa where the corners of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia meet.

Unlike the touristy spots where states come together in America, which are usually decked out with monuments and bronze medallions, the African quadripoint sits in the middle of a river that cuts between the countries. It has been theorized that the point is not a true quadripoint but instead a pair of tri-points separated by thin strips of real estate. Regardless of the quibbling, the obvious jurisdictional headache of having four countries so close to one another has resulted in some conflict.”

What an interesting tidbit!

When we arrived at the border, it was very different than in the past, where cars and trucks were everywhere, as well as people, and there was chaos in getting onto a small boat with our luggage to cross the Zambezi River to Botswana. The bumpy ride in the rickety boat reminded us of many such boat rides during our world travels in various countries. Now, the new bridge is completed, as shown in our photo and described as follows:

Crossing the new Kazungula Bridge in Botswana.

“Kazungula Bridge is a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi river between the countries of Zambia and Botswana at Kazungula. The Kazungula Bridge under construction over the Zambezi, at the quasi-quadripoint between Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The bridge was opened for traffic on 10 May 2021.”

In the past, we crossed the river, where we were picked up by another driver and taken to the even more chaotic immigration office, where it took about 30 minutes while we stood in line in the heat. This time there is a slick new air-conditioned immigration building. Yesterday, we moved in and out of there in five or six minutes. There were no lines.

We had to walk onto a chemical pad to clean the bottom of the shoes before we were approved for entry. That wasn’t so odd since we’d done this in the past here in Botswana and Antarctica. But in this case, we were told to open our luggage and take out all of our shoes to do the same thing. We’d never been asked to do this before anywhere in the world.

Our lovely room is on the ground level with a river view. See the next photo for views from our private veranda.

Soon, we were on our way again, directly to Kasane to the Chobe Safari Lodge, and once again, we weren’t disappointed with our room and the surroundings. It was as pretty as ever.

There are two chairs on our private veranda and these views of the Chobe River.

In no time at all, we were checking into the hotel at 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs. Our day started when we left Marloth Park at 8:30 am and arrived at the hotel. By our standards, it took six and a half hours, an easy travel day.

By 5:15 pm; 1750 hrs., we were seated on the veranda for sundowners. I had trouble finding a wine I liked, so I ordered a full bottle of white wine that should last for three nights. There are roughly five glasses in 750 ml wine bottles. Since none of the wine here is low-alcohol, I will drink only two small glasses each night from the bottle they saved for me at the restaurant up the hill, at the A’la Carte,  which we loved last time we were, and we loved again last night.

Last night’s sunset. We were so busy talking, we were late in taking the sunset photos!

There’s a buffet here for breakfast and dinner, but we’ll likely eat at the A’la Carte since at least I can order more easily. I never know what I’m getting at buffets and the ingredients included therein. That’s a bit risky for me. Here are a few photos from last night’s dinner.

We’ll be back with much more. Tomorrow morning, we will go on a game drive, and the new post with photos will be uploaded a few hours later than usual.

We don’t usually take photos of monkeys since they are so pushy and destructive, but this one was kind of cute.

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Photo from one year ago today, August 21, 2021:

A young giraffe and a few zebras blocked the road on our way to Jabula on a Friday night. For more photos, please click here.

Sunday in the bush…An easy day…An easy life…Staying engaged in life…

Late yesterday afternoon, this baby bushbuck found a comfortable spot inside the fence and rested in this spot for a few hours. Could she be any cuter?

Did it take two months of being away to realize how much we treasure this easy life in Marloth Park? No doubt, we appreciated being here in the past. But, after all the challenges we encountered during those two months, we are in a different head space right now.

Over the past few days, as we’ve begun feeling better at almost 100% of our old selves, it’s been all the more relevant for us to be ultra-aware of our surroundings, especially how few requirements there are of us to enjoy daily life. Other than the daily tasks of cooking, tidying up, doing dishes, and laundry, so little is required of us. We pay our bills once a month, do taxes once a year, and keep our posts updated daily.

Jumping over the fence to eat the vegetation on the other side.

Taking photos for the posts doesn’t feel like a chore, nor does preparing the post incorporating those photos therein. If we didn’t do the posts, we’d still take pictures. But, like many tourists, what do you do with all those photos? Have a slideshows for guests when they visit? You know how unenthused guests are to that prospect. See your vacation photos? Nah, not interested.

That’s not to say that everyone in our old lives is interested in our travel photos or posts. Some of our family members read our posts, but many do not, and at any given time, other than our kids, may not have a clue where we are and what we’re doing. We get that.

Fluffed up female bushbuck.

We may read a blog or website by other travelers from time to time. But, we stop in for a quick view and skip through the majority of the content. We are always amazed by how our readers continue to read our posts, day after day, year after year. We’re sure that many of you read like we do, skipping over content to glean a morsel of information that piques our interest.

What do we do all day after we’re done with the post and the day is still young? We don’t watch TV, go to Home Depot or make repairs around the house. We don’t work in the garden, sweep the driveway, paint a wall, or pick up our dog’s poop in the grass. We don’t walk dogs. Dogs and other pets are not allowed in Marloth Park.

Two bushbucks and two duikers.

But, pets aren’t befitting our lifestyle. We have all the “animal joy” we could want with all the wildlife visiting us all day. And even when the wildlife is sparse on some weekends, we still revel in the sights and sounds of the bush and, of course, the constant anticipation of who might suddenly appear.

This is Bad Ear. He stops by each day.

Funnily, it’s like fishing. It may be quiet for a while, but the anticipation of a nibble on the hook keeps an avid fisherperson engaged for hours. That’s us. We never get bored. So how do we fill our time?

As always, we’re outdoors on the veranda. There are a half dozen kudus in the garden which backs up to parkland. A gentle breeze is wafting through the trees, adding another layer of sound typical for the bush. The sun is shining. The temperature is mild with low humidity. It’s a perfect day. What more could we ask for? Nothing.

Yep, that’s Bossy. She’s found her way to us once again.

Besides our favorite Garage Logic, we listen to podcasts on topics that appeal to us. After dinner, we stream shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu at night. Occasionally, we add another streaming service to one of these apps when there’s a particular show we’d like to see. It’s a simple life.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 5, 2021:

A little altercation between Medium Daddy and warthogs. For more photos, please click here.

Two years of hell?…

At first, we thought this was one centipede tangled around itself. But, when Tom moved it to safety in the grass, it proved to be two. Were they fighting, or were they mating? Centipede poop beside them. Did she squeeze the you-know-what out of him?

Without much of a social life these days after most of our friends have left the bush, our days and nights seem to roll into one another, and we easily lose track of time. Many Marlothians are concerned about Omicron and staying close to home rather than going out and about to socialize.

We haven’t heard of any new virus cases here in the park, But it’s entirely possible they aren’t being recorded. Today, I contacted the Marloth Park medical clinic to see if they’ll have the J & J boosters, and they will not. I am awaiting a response on if I can get a different booster which I’ve read is fine to “mix and match.”

This is One Tusk and who may have been his mate, Momm, and three piglets. The two warthogs in the background are hers from her last litter, Barbara and Lori. She chases them off now that she has the new piglets. Family dynamics. Funny.

At this point, I don’t think South Africa has authorized boosters for the general population, but finding accurate information online is tricky. Answers are vague and confusing. All we can do at this point is to continue watching the news for updates. Also, we continue checking the news to see if the President will do his “family meeting” to see if he will extend visas again for foreign nationals.

This was hilarious. One Tusk happily lounges on the ground while the three piglets are “giving him a bath.” He didn’t mind a bit. Surely, these must be his kids! Note: Barbara and Lori are looking on.

If he does not extend visas, we’ll have no choice but to return to Zambia again for the new visa stamps. Flights are still available to Livingstone, from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger. This time, we’ll bring a copy of our flight cancellation and a newly purchased ticket to the US. South Africa immigration doesn’t approve of “border jumping” for visa purposes, although it is legal. In this case, we won’t have a choice.

If our cruise cancels, will we attempt to stay here longer, or will we book a new location? Fortunately, United Airlines now has a free cancellation policy that makes bookings easier. If we find out that our cruise is canceled after we’ve booked it, we’ll be able to change or cancel the flight after deciding what we’d like to do.

It’s fun to see the three generations getting along.

At this point, a new location is more appealing, providing the various countries we investigate will accept passengers from South Africa, which is a real dilemma, especially since the onset of Omicron. But, at this early date, we have no idea. Everything could change between now and March or April.

If we go to Zambia on January 24, 2022, and get another 90 days, and if the cruise cancels, most likely, we’ll stay here until the end of the 90 days. We’d be able to stay in South Africa until April 24, 2022. Our next cruise, sailing from Istanbul, isn’t until June 29, 2022. Hopefully, we could find somewhere interesting to stay for a few months in that part of the world while we wait for the cruise.

The piglets are hilarious. We never tire of watching their antics. One Tusk is a very gentle guy, even with the one vicious-looking task.

So much is up in the air. But after spending ten months in lockdown in India in 2020, we are much more adept and patient in dealing with the unknown. As complex and challenging as those ten months were, we did learn a few things about ourselves and our ability to adapt and accept such a trying situation.

If anyone had told us that we’d experience such a difficult challenge for ten months during our first nine years of world travel, along with dealing with my open-heart surgery, all transpiring in a two-year period, we’d have wondered if we could handle this degree of strife. But, amid those difficulties, we had countless fantastic experiences. The two years weren’t, by any means, a total loss for us.

Eventually, Mom and the babies were left on their own, when of course, we tossed more pellets their way.

As those times have passed, we look back with gratitude for the personal growth and strength we gleaned, individually and as a couple, during those tough times.  It has only made us more resilient than we ever imagined. Waiting out this current scenario is a piece of cake,

We’re safe. We’re content. We have each other and the love from friends and family worldwide. What more could we ask for?

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 9, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #261. After arriving in Nevada to visit family in 2019, we were on our way to the Vegas Golden Knights game, guest of son Richard, a super fan. For more, please click here.

We’re back!…First ever missed post due to illness…

Big Daddy was stopping by a few weeks ago to nibble on the lucerne we had delivered from Daisy’s Den. The bush is much greener after recent rains, and the wildlife seems less interested in the lucerne.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Oxpeckers eating ticks and fleas off the hide of a kudu.

Update on yesterday’s missing post: On Thursday night when it was still very hot, we all decided to forego our usual Thursday night buffet dinner at Ngwenya. Instead, since Rita and Gerhard had never been there, we decided to go to Phumula, a nearby restaurant we’ve visited a few times since we arrived last February.  

We didn’t love the focal lodge and restaurant food, ut it was always fresh and acceptable and they had aircon in the main bar/dining area.  It was a good choice. I didn’t drink much wine, only having a few glasses of light dry rose with ice in the hot weather. I ordered beef, veg, and salad, nothing too exciting but proved to be fine although my meat was way overdone.  I prefer it rare.  It was medium but tender so I didn’t complain.  

The four of us were so deeply engrossed in our conversations, not having seen each other in a week, we didn’t pay much attention to the food. We’d arrived at 1700 hours, (5:00 pm) and were out the door by 2030 hours, (8:30 pm).

Once back at the house, which was as hot as an oven, we decided the spend the rest of the evening watching “America’s Got Talent” on my laptop in air-conditioned comfort in the bedroom. 

Most of the wildlife groom themselves quite well.  Other than warthogs, they seldom appear dirty.

During the second episode I dozed off for a few minutes and Tom awakened me. A nap wasn’t good before going to bed for the night which would tend to make it hard to fall asleep later. I awoke from his gentle nudge with a shudder.  A wave of nausea washed over me that literally made me jump up and run to the bathroom. As soon as my feet hit the floor, I felt so dizzy I could hardly stand.

Something was terribly wrong. Was it food poisoning? What could it be? It was 2200 hours, (10:00 pm) and I knew I had a long horrid night ahead of me. I had never in my life felt so nauseated and dizzy.  

No doubt, I put Tom through hell with me when I was up and down all night, stumbling my way to the bathroom only to (gross, be prepared) have the dry heaves. I hadn’t puked in 20 years nor was I going to now.

I even found myself groaning and moaning (how disgusting) when the dizziness and nausea were almost more than I could bear. What was going on? The night was so long. I literally watched the clock on my phone waiting for it to be over.  Things are always worse at night, aren’t they?

As much as the kudus eat the vegetation, they still enjoy pellets and an occasional marula that falls to the ground from the tree in our garden.

At certain points throughout the night,  I imagined having to go to the hospital in Nelspruit, over an hour’s drive away. But I couldn’t imagine sitting up and riding in the car.  It was entirely impossible to sit up.  The room was spinning.

After a while, I took a Tylenol (aka Paracetamol or Panadol, here in SA).  It didn’t help at all. I knew I just had to wait it out.  

In the morning, I contacted Rita.  She’d eaten the same meal I had but hadn’t suffered any consequences. Thus, it wasn’t food poisoning—more than anything, I wanted to know what was going on and why I was feeling this way. I was too sick to look it up on my laptop.

In the morning, still as awfully ill, I managed to shower and get into a comfy nightdress, heading straight back to bed.  Tom brought me my usual first-thing-in-the-morning lemon water and a large mug of iced Sprite Zero. No doubt, drinking a lot of fluids was important, regardless of the source of this scourge.

Kudus are good at making woeful eye contact indicating they are looking for pellets.

During the day, I had so much on my mind. On Monday afternoon, longtime friends Linda and Ken were arriving to spend the upcoming week with us, staying upstairs in the house. On Monday evening, we had Rita’s birthday dinner party planned at our house with an extensive menu for 10.

The weather predictions for Sunday and Monday were over-the-top, expected to be well over 40C, (104F). The thought of cooking all that food in such high temperatures was daunting particularly if I wasn’t going to be fully recovered from this awful bout of nausea and dizziness.

On Thursday night, unprompted by me, Rita suggested we move the party to later in the week when cooler weather was predicted. This thought stuck in my mind all day yesterday when I trashed about in bed in a dreadful dizzying state.

I didn’t eat a morsel of food all day long. Tom had taken a container of great leftovers out of the freezer for his dinner with enough should I decide to eat. By 1800 hours, (6:00 pm) I knew eating was vital to my recovery. Not eating alone can cause nausea and dizziness.  

Recently, we’ve seen less helmeted guinea fowl in the garden. WTheymay has found better areas to search for grubs and worms than in a dry garden. with recent rains

Tom made each of us a bowl of the food, heated in the microwave and we ate in air-conditioned comfort. It was hard to sit up to eat so I managed small bites, using a spoon to get it down. Much to my surprise, I ate most of the food, leaving only about 25% which I managed to finish a few hours late. I began to feel a little better.

We watched a few episodes of the show, and by 2200 hours (10:00 pm), I took an over-the-counter Somnil and slept straight through for a full eight hours. I awoke this morning weakly and bleary-eyed, but nausea and dizziness were almost completely gone.

Today will be a resting day but at least I can write today’s post with my head up. That was the first time out of 2359 posts, over a period of 6 years, 9 months, 29 days, that I failed to do a post due to illness. We didn’t begin posting daily until sometime in the first year.  

Thus, there’s been 2495 days past overall since we started doing the post on March 15, 2012, which may be found here at this link. But we didn’t leave Minnesota until October 31, 2012, with the link for that day’s post found here.

Frank and The Mrs. and some friends stopped by for a visit.  Frank is on the far right, the Mrs. on the left.

I deliberated over whether or not I should go into the details of my 36-hour illness but thought perhaps someone out there has experienced something similar and could offer some insight. Please feel free to write a comment at the end of this post or write to me via email.

Had I had a heart condition or some other serious type of condition, surely I would have sought medical assistance.  But, I must admit, I’ve had similar occurrences in years past, although not quite as severe as on this occasion, and recovered just fine. I’ve had recent medical exams and blood tests and all is fine. Go figure.

Tonight, we have plans to go to Jabula with Rita and Gerhard for dinner. Since it is so scorching, I have no desire to cook a meal. If I spend the rest of the day resting and recovering, I’m planning on being able to go out to dinner.  

Will I ever know what caused this? Probably not.  But, all I can do is move forward and pray this never happens again on a travel day! Traveling the world while taking good care of one’s health is no guaranty one won’t get sick or encounter situations such as this.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 12, 2018:

Chef Ramsey would be proud of this perfectly cooked medium rare 800 gram (28 ounces) sirloin steak at La Cabrera Restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The ribeyes looked good but had more fat, and Tom prefers less fat on his meat.  For more great food photos, please click here.

Happy New Year’s Eve…Party in the bush tonight…More power outages…No aircon…

May the New Year bring us all together regardless of our spots or stripes…

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Baby and Mom.  What a sight!

Tomorrow, we’ll be posting our “Year in Review” with photos and stories of special times we’ve experienced in this past fantastic year of our world travels. This past year may prove to be our most memorable ever if there is such a thing. Every year has been over the top!

Tonight we’ll be celebrating as we bring in the New Year at Royal Kruger Lodge here in Marloth Park owned by JJ and Flo, a lovely couple we met through Louise and Danie at one of several Frikkee’s Dam braai parties over this past year.  

Adorable giraffe at rest.

Louise and Danie arranged our and Rita and Gerhard’s invitation, and we won’t be surprised to see that we already know many of the attendees from other social events in the park.

As is the tradition in South Africa, we bring our beverages, ice, and at times, a dish to share. I made a low-carb chicken, sausage, mushroom, and cauliflower casserole, which I’ll bake ahead of time and cut into bite-sized squares. It may be served warm or at room temperature.

There were dozens of zebras playfully carrying on in the parkland.

Speaking of temperature, it was another hot night when the power went out for five hours during the night; no aircon, no fan. Somehow, we managed to get some sleep, although we often awoke from sweating profusely.

When the power came back on early this morning, the aircon wouldn’t come back on. Thus, once again, we have no AC. We do not doubt that Louise will arrange for the aircon guy to fix it after the New Year. It’s just impossible to get service over a holiday, and we understand that service people want time off for holidays.

Although at quite a distance, it was delightful to see so many giraffes and zebras together in the open field.

Today’s expected high is 37C (99F) which, although is hot, is not nearly as bad as it was days ago. We can manage this for the next few nights until we get service, hopefully on Wednesday.

With a limited inventory of good photos, we took a chance yesterday and went out for a drive through the park. Our expectations were low. We figured we would see much with fewer animals visiting us over the past two weeks due to holidaymakers infiltrating the park.

At times, it appeared the two species were interacting.

On a few occasions, we embarked on our usual drive, only spotting impalas who are easy to find at any time. Their prolific numbers and sturdiness keep them readily available for viewing on the hottest days and active regardless of tourist traffic.

We took the shorter route, starting at Volstruis Road, where we often find ostriches. As mentioned in earlier posts, Volstruis means “ostrich” in Afrikaans. Ironically, that’s where most of the ostriches in the park seem to hang out.  Go figure.  

Playfully interacting with one another.

At that point, if all we could get were ostrich photos, we wouldn’t complain.  Ostriches are other animals that don’t seem to care if there are tourists in the park or not. They proudly walk about as if they own the place…maybe they do.

Once we approached the intersection of Volstruis Road and Hornbill Street, yep, we saw ostriches as shown in today’s photo. From there, we drove a few a little further to behold a scene unlike any other we’ve ever seen in Marloth Park.  

Zebras and giraffes were sharing the same space in the parklands.

In an open field, part of the parklands, we spotted no less than 17 giraffes with youngsters and at least two dozen zebras, including their recently born offspring.  

It truly was a sight to behold, a menagerie of animals co-mingling in the same space with no concern whatsoever as to one another’s presence. They occupied an area equivalent to a long city block, and we held our breath in the total wonder of what lay before our eyes.

Zebras and giraffes at a distance.

Sure, I wish we’d been able to get better shots, but we were on the road, and they were in the center of a large open field. But that fact didn’t keep us from trying to get a few good shots to show here today and more to share after the New Year, most likely on Wednesday.

As mentioned above, tomorrow, we’ll be back with a “Year in Review” post with some of our favorite photos, including some from Antarctica and Buenos Aires, both of which occurred in 2018.

Ostriches don’t seem to mind what’s going on in the park. They are easily found near Volstruis Road.

May your New Year’s festivities be joyful, festive, and safe, and may the New Year bring you all the riches you so well deserve. Happy New Year to all!

Photo from one year ago today, December 31, 2017:

Tom’s monstrous meal from a great barbecue place in Palermo, Buenos Aries. I ordered the guacamole for my salad and ate all of his sugar-free coleslaw. For more photos, please click here.

Stunning wildlife from five years ago today…Another entertaining dinner in the bush..

Five years ago today, a Big Daddy came to call at the Hornbill house.  

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

The family of nine warthogs stopped by almost every day.  The other mom and one more baby were off to the side when taking this photo.  The babies love looking at us almost as much as the moms.  Each time they arrived, we take a head count ensuring all nine are still there.

Five years ago on December 30, 2013, we posted all of the photos included here today.  The story we wrote, which may be found here, revolved around some of the hardships one may experience living in the bush while reveling in the extraordinary experience of living among wild animals.

In reviewing this old post we realized how much we’ve changed over the years and how much more tolerant we’ve become, not only in Marloth Park but throughout the world as we continue in our travels.
I took this up close male kudu photo while standing behind the railing of the veranda at Hornbill.

We never give gecko poop a single thought; we now love the rain (for the sake of the wildlife’s source of nutrition); we don’t mind cloudy days based on the prospect of rain; the insects don’t bother us so much anymore; we pay no attention to the bumpy roads other than to navigate them without damaging the rental car; and, we’ve learned enough about the wildlife and precautions we must take to ensure ours and their safety.

However, we still experience frustration over power outages especially during periods of extreme heat.  That situation results in losing sleep and feeling awful during the heat wave.

This is the mineral lick we’d purchased at the time for visitors that was recommended by the Rangers as an excellent adjunct to the visitor’s natural diet of greenery.  The kudus were the only visitors that seemed to like it.  The others sniffed and walked away.  We’d hoped this would attract wildebeests, which at that time had yet to come to the garden, only running through on one occasion.

Today, the third comfortable day in a row, the temps are staying well below the previous 40C, (104F) and higher and the cooling breeze provides a considerable amount of comfort.  The expected high for today is 35C, (95F) which we can handle easily without using aircon until bedtime.

Speaking of aircon, Louise texted me this morning to ask if it was working.  She’d contacted the aircon repair guy, Louis, but wasn’t certain if he’d been here or not.  Much to our surprise, it worked when we tried it.  Whether it reset on its own or Louis fixed it, we don’t know at the moment.  At least it’s working as long as we have power.  We’ll see how that goes as it heats up again.

This same warthog from five years ago may still be in the park.  Warthogs have a lifespan of up to 15 years.

So far today, we’ve had a few more visitors than we’ve seen in the past 10 days, making us think that perhaps some of the holidaymaker crowd may be thinning out.  So far, we’ve had two bushbucks, nine kudus and two warthogs, one of which was “Little” of course, all of whom we fed with enthusiasm.

Last night, while driving on Oliphant, the paved road, while returning from another excellent dinner for nine of us at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant, Rita and Gerhard turned on their flashers to alert us to something on the road, a magnificent highly venomous puff adder snake, as shown in our photo below from when we attended “snake school.”
Puff adders are commonly seen in Marloth Park. This photo was taken while we were at snake school in March.  Click here for the link.

We’d love to have been able to take a photo but it moved so quickly there was no time to turn on the camera and get the shot from the car.  None the less, we were quite excited as we’re sure Rita and Gerhard were as well.

As for the evening at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant, it couldn’t have been more enjoyable.  Three of Don’s cousins; Lorraine, Mike, and Hugh, joined the six of us (Kathy, Don, Rita, Gerhard and Tom and I) and the conversation was outstanding.  

The nine of us were seated at a long table on the veranda, the same table where we’d had my 70th birthday party last February 20th.  It’s hard to believe that was so long ago; 313 days or 10 months and 10 days ago.

Hanging out upstairs in the loft with aircon from a much-needed break from the awful heat, we took kudu photos from the second-floor veranda as he looked up at us. “How about some pellets?” he asked. Kudus can weigh as much as 317.5 kg, (700 pounds) or more.

Now as we look to the future, we’re equally surprised by the fact that we’ll be leaving Marloth Park in a mere 46 days.  How the time has flown!  And now, with only about one week until the park crowds thin out, we’re looking forward to the immediate future and the return of our wildlife friends.

May your day be filled with sunshine!


Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2017:

Tom’s burger with ham, eggs, cheese and beef with fried potatoes on this date, one year ago.  For more photos of Palermo, Buenos Aires, please click here.

Just couldn’t take the itching anymore…Off to see the doc…

A kudu drinking out of the birdbath in the garden.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Bushy-tailed bushbabies are huge compared to bushbabies in our garden. We took this photo at Jabula a few weeks ago.

After over a month of itching unbearably especially during the night and rarely getting enough sleep, I was becoming frustrated with these awful pepper tick bites, mostly on my arms and neck where my skin was exposed when we wandered through the bush toward the river. 

In every case, I had on tons of repellent but apparently, it doesn’t work for ticks. There are much harsher and toxic chemicals required to keep ticks at bay, including the tiny pepper ticks. They’re called pepper ticks since they are as tiny as a single fleck of finely ground pepper, not visible to the human eye.

Each time we see flowers and plants we now wonder if they are invasive alien plants that are awful for the local ecosystem and wildlife.

Yesterday, when we returned to the eye doctor for Tom to select his new glasses (first replacement lenses in over six years) and for me to pick up my new contact lenses, we first decided to stop at the local pharmacy to see if the pharmacist had any suggestions for the itching.

I’d already tried several creams to no avail and even took sleep-inducing Benedryl during the day, after trying two other antihistamines, in a desperate attempt at some relief for a few hours. Nothing, I mean nothing gave me any relief for more than an hour at most.

It appears pretty but does it belong here?

On a few occasions, I was hopeful the creams would help but they were so greasy and messy I was unable to wear repellent on top of them. I didn’t want to take the risk of getting more bites from mosquitos which have begun increasingly populating the bush with the recent rains and warmer weather.

A few days this week I hid away in the bedroom, wearing my long-john type pajamas with the air-con on, in an attempt to avoid the necessity of wearing any repellent. I still got a few more bites only adding to my discomfort.  

We call this pair of wildebeest, Dad & Son.  They aren’t frequent visitors like Wildebeest Willie but always welcome as are the zebras and warthogs.

Also, I didn’t want to have to spend our last three precious months in Marloth Park hiding in the bedroom. I needed some relief and a long-term solution. At the pharmacy when I showed the pharmacist my arms, she said I must go to the doctor immediately.

She explained I was at risk for tick-bite fever, a dreadful condition, and it appeared many of the bites were inflamed and on the verge of becoming infected. That freaked me out enough to send us to the doctor’s office down the road to ask for their next available appointment. As it turned out, she was right.

Lion lying under a tree, as seen from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

Dr. Theo scolded me a little for suffering for a month. Why hadn’t I come in sooner? I wish I knew the answer. Perhaps I was trying to “tough it out” and no be a whiney tourist running to the doctor with every little complaint. Hadn’t our six years of world travel toughened me up a bit?

In many ways, it has toughened me up but practicality must supersede pride and at 1630 hrs (4:30 pm) we returned to Komatipoort for the appointment with Dr. Theo.

Two male lions checking for possible dinner subjects.

In the interim, we’d planned dinner at Ngwenya with Rita and Gerhard which we had to cancel when we had no idea how long the appointment would take, and the trip to the pharmacy to collect my three prescriptions. Besides, I wasn’t feeling much like going out.

We haven’t seen them since they returned from Germany a few days ago and were disappointed to have to cancel. But, we have plans for dinner reservations at Jabula tomorrow night with Kathy and Don as well for the six of us. They’ve never met. It’s quite wonderful to introduce old friends to new friends.

Two Big Daddies, horns entangled in a little scuffle over pellets.

This morning, after eating as required, I started the big dose of Prednisone to be tapered over a period of 12 days. Hopefully, this will begin to reduce the severe itching which is by far the worst itching I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m feeling confident this will work.

Since Prednisone can cause insomnia (yikes) the doctor suggested I take it in the morning. This morning, I took six pills as prescribed. If lucky I may experience improvement by tonight since I’m literally exhausted from lack of sleep for over a month due to the worsening of the itching at night.

No harm was done…back to being friendly.

Today is a low-key day. It’s cloudy and cooler and we’ve had tons of amazing visitors we’ll be sharing in tomorrow’s post.

We hope all of our USA friends and family had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, November 23, 2017:

We stopped to take this photo on the way to the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica.  This is a Northern Crested Caracara: “The northern crested caracara, also called the northern caracara and crested caracara, is a bird of prey in the family Falconidae.”  For more, please click here.