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

Big Daddy stopping by a few weeks ago to nibble on the lucerne we had delivered from Daisy’s Den.  Now the bush is much greener after recent rains and the wildlife seem 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 food at the local lodge and restaurant but 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 evening, we had Rita’s birthday dinner party planned at our house with an extensive menu for 10.  On Monday afternoon, longtime friends Linda and Ken were arriving to spend the upcoming week with us, staying upstairs in the house.

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.  With recent rains, they may have found better areas to search for grubs and worms than in a dry garden.

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, weak and bleary-eyed and the 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 14, 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 outrageously hot, 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.  

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.  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!

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 have 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 amazing 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 Frikkie’s Dam braai parties over this past year.  
Adorable giraffe at rest.

Louise and Danie arranged ours 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 own 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 have no doubt that after the New Year, Louise will arrange for the aircon guy to get it fixed.  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, yesterday we took a chance and went out for a drive through the park.  Our expectations were low.  With fewer animals visiting us over the past two weeks due to holidaymakers infiltrating the park, we figured we would see much.

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 of 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 was 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 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 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 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 which 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.