Yesterday’s fantastic visit with a dear old friend…Quiet afternoon and early evening in the hotel while Tom was out…

This photo was taken on December 6, 2013, from Marloth Park. See the link here. 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.

When Tom was meeting with his son TJ at a restaurant about 15 minutes away, I decided to see if I could change my planned visit to my dear friend Chere’s home in Eden Prairie. As much as we treasure time with friends, we have prioritized time with our children and grandchildren over all else.

Based on the time he and TJ were getting together, it didn’t leave time for him to pick me up when he’d be done. Nor did I want him to have to rush his time with his son to come to get me at Chere’s home. When I called and explained the situation to Chere, her husband Gary agreed to drop her off at our hotel. Chere recently had knee replacement surgery and hasn’t been cleared to drive.

By 1:30, she walked in the door, albeit a little shaky on her new knee, and we hugged as close girlfriends do. Instead of coming to our messy room with all of our recent purchases piled up, we sat in the lovely hotel lobby at a table with comfortable chairs and sipped on hot tea, and caught up.

It wasn’t as if we had much catching up to do when we’d last got together during our US visit in 2019 (but not when we were here, sick with Omicron last May). We’ve stayed in close touch over the years via text and email and knew what was going on with one another. Plus, Chere regularly reads our posts which easily fills in the blanks of what we’ve been up to.

Chere is a highly educated nutritionist and holistic dietician who has appeared on many local and national TV news stations over the years, as well as speaking as a keynote speaker at countless conventions on health, nutrition, and wellness, often sponsored by large corporations. It was as if we’d never been apart. I wanted more details about her life over the past few years.

There’s something magical about the skies over Africa from what we’ve seen so far in Kenya and now in South Africa, also from this date, nine years ago.

This passion we share for health, fitness, diet, and food brought us together years ago and remained a favorite topic as we share more intimate details of our lives, as girlfriends often do. It was delightful catching up with her. The almost three hours we spent together passed way too quickly.

Her husband Gary arrived to pick her up a few hours later but only after sitting with us for a while for more lively conversation. By the time they walked out the door after warm hugs and goodbyes, it was 4:30, and Tom had yet to return. But my delightful afternoon wasn’t over yet.

The lovely guest services representative, Kelly, at the hotel front desk, poured me a glass of Pinot Grigio, and another great conversation ensued, only occasionally interrupted when a hotel guest needed attention. Again, the discussion was lively and entertaining, and time flew by. Suddenly, it was close to 6:00 pm, and I headed back to our room. I was getting hungry and opened the meat and cheese tray in the little refrigerator for such an occasion.

A short time later, Tom returned, smiling over his enjoyable time with his son, and we decided to forego dinner. I’d eaten enough meat, cheese, and olives to hold me, and Tom said he had two generous portions of popcorn at the bar and wasn’t hungry. Also, we knew we could head to the included breakfast at this excellent hotel at 6:30 am, and we could easily wait for that.

Speaking of this hotel, Hyatt Place in Eden Prairie, we’ve decided to stay here each time we return to Minnesota. The only inconvenience is the lack of washers and dryers at the property. But everything else is superior to the other hotels where we’ve stayed in this central location. Their breakfast is good, the coffee is excellent, and the service is over-the-top.

The hotel had recently been remodeled and is attractive and modern, whereby the other hotels where we’ve stayed in this area in the past are somewhat dated. This seems to be a popular hotel for business people, with efficiency and competitive pricing the norm, typically at $118 a night, a real bargain for this suburban area. When we return in September, we will certainly stay here again.

Today is a quiet day. No family members were available to get together, so we will head to TJ Maxx to buy a suitcase for everything we purchased. We will also stop at the local CVS pharmacy for more of the sinus treatment product I’ve been using that I’d purchased at the pharmacy in Komatipoort. I hope they have something similar here since I’ll be running out by the time we depart. I don’t want to worry about heading to Komatipoort the day we return.

Otherwise, all is well. We’ll be dining out with Greg’s family tomorrow night on our final evening in Minnesota. We’ll head out for dinner since the cost of takeaway is as costly as dining in at some restaurants we like. We begin the long trek back to South Africa and Marloth Park on Thursday.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago, December 6, 2021:

A male impala is on the lookout in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.

Whew!..Time in Minnesota moving quickly…

This morning view from the living room of our holiday home on this date in 2016 in Penguin, Tasmania. It’s a fantastic, sunny day.

Note: Today’s photos are from 2016, when we first arrived in Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos and the story, please click here.

In only four days, we’ll be on the move once again. Our flight to Newark on Thursday departs Minneapolis at 1:59 pm. We’ll be ready to go. The items we ordered from Amazon.com are arriving as planned, and the contact lenses I ordered from Vision Direct in the UK have also arrived earlier than expected.

Once everything arrives, we’ll know how big of a suitcase we need to purchase to fit all the replacement clothing. According to Ethiopian Air, we can’t consider our bags lost until 25 days after they’ve disappeared. We’ll have to deal with that claim when we return to Marloth Park.

Once we know the space we’ll need after all the packages arrive by Wednesday, we’ll head to TJ Maxx, where we’ve often purchased brand-name bags at great prices and bought a new bag for the new items. We keep everything folded in their original plastic bags for easy packing. We feel confident all of the things will fit and meet our needs.

We had to purchase items to replace some of the things that were in our missing baggage. Why not wait until we see if the bags are truly lost for good? We can’t find items like these in South Africa that we know will fit and work for us. If we ordered everything from the US and had it shipped to our mailing service in Nevada, we’d have to pay no less than US $500 in shipping fees plus customs fees, all of which is more than what we’ve spent on the items, buying them while here in the US from Amazon.

White sand beaches with rarely a human in sight.

It made more sense to assume the bags were gone and shop accordingly. So far, we’ve received about half of the items, with the remainder arriving. In any case, we have not purchased replacement items, for nearly half of which were in each of our bags. We’ll be well-equipped if we get the bags back after all. But we aren’t hopeful.

Yesterday, after a great breakfast with Greg, Maisie, and her boyfriend Nick, we returned to our hotel and hung out for the rest of the day. At dinner time, Tom went to Chipotle to pick up our dinner. I had a salad bowl, and he had tacos. It was hard to believe the cost of the takeaway meal was $48.

When we were here in May, the identical items would have been less than $30. It would have been in the $25 range a few years earlier. We recall making these same purchases when we lived in Minnesota over ten years ago, being no more than $18 to feed the two of us. Wow! Times have changed.

This morning, we had a nice breakfast included in our hotel booking, of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and a wide array of accompaniments. This breakfast holds us until dinner each evening, although Tom saved a few donut holes to enjoy in our room each day and evening. Tom has particularly enjoyed the donut holes but passed on the pancakes, toast, juice, and other breakfast side dishes. The coffee has been delicious.

From one area to the next, the scenery changed. With almost half of Tasmania’s entire population living in Hobart, most terrains were untouched areas of pure beauty.

Soon, we’ll be heading to Greg’s house to watch the Minnesota Vikings game with Greg and the family. We’ll do our two loads of laundry, washing the clothes we purchased at Target a week ago at their house. Doing so will avoid spending two hours sitting in a laundromat. (There are few laundromats in this suburban area). We’ll stay for the game and idle chatter afterward, then head back to our hotel for the evening. Most likely tonight, we’ll dine out.

As the time winds down until we depart, we’re making a point of seeing as many of our family members as we can before we leave. The time has gone quickly. We’ve made the very best of our time here and enjoyed every moment with family. But, we look forward to returning to Marloth Park to our animal and human friends. By Saturday afternoon, we’ll be back and settled into our house, hoping all of our favorites have been waiting for us!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2021:

Look to the right of this tree in the center, and you’ll see our occasional visitor, a porcupine. For more photos, please click here.

In shock after a night out to dinner in Minneapolis…

This giraffe didn’t seem to mind being included in the photo with us. This photo was taken in our neighborhood. Louise explained that the giraffes would soon come to our house, and they did then, and they do now. For the post from December 3, 2013, please click here.

Last evening, when we arrived early at restaurant Benihana in Minneapolis to celebrate our grandson Vincent’s 17th birthday, we sat at the bar and ordered two drinks. I ordered nine oz. of Pinot Grigio, a little less than two glasses in a small carafe, and Tom ordered one Michelob Golden Light.

The total bill for the two drinks was US $39.75, ZAR 697.84, not including a tip. Our mouths were agape when we paid the bill. We don’t spend that much on dinner, drinks, tax, and tips at Jabula on a typical Friday or Saturday night, ordering anything off the menu we could possibly want.

However, this was only the tip of the iceberg. The cost of the dinner was yet to come. Tammy, Tracy, Vincent, and Tracy’s mom Lena were in attendance for six of us. Of course, the concept of teppanyaki is fun and festive, and we all expected to pay a little more than in a typical mid-range restaurant.

We usually pay the bill when we go out to dinner with our kids and grandkids. But this time, Tammy and Tracy insisted on paying for their own meals while Tom and I would pay for the two of us. I’m glad we had that arrangement on this specific occasion. I don’t mean to be a “tightwad,” but the total bill for all of us, excluding our drinks (we never ordered more), was US $494.87, ZAR 8687.84. Had we paid for everything, the total bill would have been $534.62, ZAR 9384.10. Can you believe it?

Thanks, Tammy and Tracy, for paying for the four of you. Our bill, separate from the above total, was US $159.62, ZAR 2802.26. We’d already lost a ton of money with this Seychelles fiasco and surely would have flinched for this outrageous bill which included a 20% service fee, and yet the server asked us for cash for more tips. Oh, good grief! Don’t ask! Tacky.

All of us agreed we’d never return after those outrageous charges. Prices have obviously increased since the pandemic, and we appreciate the dilemma the establishments have had to face. But, goodness, consider diners’ reactions and interest in returning.

Yes, the food was good, but none of us ordered the most expensive items on the menu. Nonetheless, Vincent enjoyed his birthday dinner, and we all had a lovely time. We were out the door two hours from the time we arrived. It was windy, cold, and snowing, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to our hotel.

Tammy and Tracy are leaving for a week’s holiday in California while grandma Lena stays at the house with Vincent. We’ll be gone when they return, so our goodbye was for now, although we’ll be returning in nine months, spending time with everyone once away.

This morning, at 9:30, we’re driving to the town of Shakopee to meet up with Greg’s family for brunch at a popular restaurant. Hopefully, everyone is feeling well, and we’ll all be able to be together for the first time since we arrived one week ago today. We’ve been here for one week since we arrived last Saturday afternoon. It seems like a long time ago that we shopped at Target, exhausted and dirty after wearing the same clothes and underwear for 56 hours.

Hopefully, the return flight in five days will be easier than this most recent one. When we arrive in Johannesburg next Friday, we’ll be staying overnight. Otherwise, we’d have had to drive in the dark to Marloth Park, which is way too dangerous on the N4 at night due to “spiking,” carjackings, and murders.

If all goes well and we arrive in Marloth Park after driving during daylight hours from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport to Marloth Park, we should arrive in the afternoon. If we’re well rested, we’ll head to Jabula for dinner. We’re looking forward to seeing our friends, Leon and Dawn, and any other locals who may have stopped by for sundowners and dinner.

Of course, amid all this travel, we’ll be searching for the status of our missing baggage. We’ll keep you updated on the results.

That’s it for today, folks. It’s time for us to head out for breakfast with Greg’s family. We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2021:

Hippos aren’t necessarily the cutest of animals, but it’s fun to take their photos. For more, please click here.

Change in plans, nothin’ to it…We’re flexible…Photos from nine years ago today!…


We posted today’s photos from nine years ago when we arrived in Marloth Park for the first time. For the story, please click here.

Note: Due to the reposting of old photos, there are spacing issues in today’s post.

The more time passes, the more we’ve adapted to the recent reality of our change of plans. A kind reader wrote and called our unexpected time with loved ones as bonus time with family”. Indeed it has been. We’re enjoying every moment. But life continues for everyone and last night’s plans changed at the last minute.

Our plans to go to Champs for dinner changed. Greg and Madighan were both sick and didn’t want to infect us. Instead, we took Miles, Maisie, and her boyfriend Nick to dinner at a restaurant in their area. We had a lovely time with the kids. Tonight at 5:15, we’re meeting Tammy, Tracy, Vincent, and Tracy’s mom Lena (who’s visiting from Pennsylvania), at Benihana, a popular teppanyaki restaurant, to celebrate Vincent’s 17th birthday, which is on December 15.

We’re busy, but not so busy we don’t have time to take care of some things while we’re here and prepare a new post each day. It’s nice not to feel rushed. We’ve been getting up by 6:00 each morning, having the included breakfast in the hotel by 7:00, and back in our room by 8:00 to work on tasks at hand and the day’s post.

Love the baby! We didn’t need to see many wildebeest during the Great Migration. They are here in our neighborhood, hopefully making a personal visit soon.

Tom’s enjoying watching football on NFL GamePass requires him to use our VPN, showing we are outside the US since the app won’t work while we’re in the US.

Soon, when the housekeeper comes to clean our room (they only clean every other day at this hotel), we’ll head out for a few items we need at Walgreen and quickly stop at our bank for some cash. Then, we won’t have anything to do other than begin calling the credit card company to see if they can help with any of our losses based on the benefits offered by the cards.

We aren’t expecting to recover anything. If we do, it will be a pleasant surprise and a perk we hadn’t anticipated. I’ve spent considerable time shopping on Amazon in the event our bags are lost for good. My bag contained every warm-weather clothing item I owned that was hanging in the closet in Marloth Park. Sure I have some tee shirts, but all my nice tops and pants were in that bag, along with 80% of my underwear and pajamas.

We didn’t know that baby zebras have fluffy hair and short bodies until seeing one up close and personal. Too cute!

!

The clothing we purchased at Target when we arrived without any baggage is all cold-weather items, all of which we’ll be able to wear during the upcoming cruise to Norway and again in the cool winters in Africa. For Tom, it’s not much different. We ordered him several short-sleeve button-up shirts he wears when we go to dinner or meet with friends. Also, he desperately needed some new tee shirts.

Nothing we purchased will have been in vain. I desperately needed some new items when I’d come to the point of tossing out old and worn items. I don’t think I will ever wear the shirt I wore on the trip here for 56 hours. I can’t even look at it. I had to toss the black pants I wore during that period when they were full of holes when we arrived here. I don’t know why that happened.

Several of our readers wrote inquiring about my headache during all this commotion. My headache improved after the last round of antibiotics, which I ffinished almost a week ago, but I am left with frequent sneezing and nose-blowing. Maybe once and for all, this is clearing out. The headache and facial pain are not entirely gone, but it’s much improved. I believe all the sneezing and blowing is allergy and sinusitis based, not a cold or virus, since otherwise, I feel fine.

Nine years ago today…she was wonderful then and she’s wonderful now! Louise stocked the cupboard with nuts, seasoning, and other foodstuffs that we use. Gosh, I haven’t had the use of a plastic container with a lid in almost a year. I’ll be spoiled!

There’s still quite a bit of Covid in the US with over 39,000 new cases recorded two days ago. We still see several shoppers wearing masks. But also, several other viruses, many as serious as Covid/Omicron, are rampant in the US and other countries.

We can’t help but remember how sick we were when we were here seven months ago. Hopefully, this residual sinusitis problem I developed with Omicron will soon be resolved with time and continuing treatments which I’ve diligently followed since we arrived last Saturday. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be heading back to Marloth Park in a mere six days. We’ve enjoyed being here but look forward to our return, as always.

That’s it for today, folks. Thank you for all the support and encouragement from many of our readers/friends. We appreciate every one of you!

Be well

Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2021:

This may be a Southern Masked Weaver, who’s about to enter her nest. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to Seychelles…A few important points for our readers…Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends in the USA!…

Starting on the 26th, we’ll be cruising to these islands in Seychelles.

First, let’s start by wishing our US family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving day with fantastic food, love, and friendship. It was always a fun holiday for our family, with lots of stories to share and delicious leftovers for a few days while we began decorating for Christmas the following day and weekend.

There will be no Thanksgiving celebrations for us. Today is a travel day for us on our next visa run, hopefully allowing us another 90-day visa for South Africa. We’ll certainly report the results once we know when we try to re-enter the country on December 4, a mere ten days from now.

Our packing is just about done, with only digital equipment, power cords, converters, and adapters to be added, plus the medication I’ll still need to use as we travel. That’s a bit tricky since the nasal rinses and treatments I do every few hours will have to be postponed until we arrive in Mahe for one night in a hotel which will be about 24 hours after we leave here this afternoon.

Once boarding the first flight in Nelspruit, the travel time is 19 hours, including as many layover hours as flight times. But, we still have to drive to Nelspruit around 3:00 pm, 1500 hours, with many road delays and then wait at the airport for the 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, flight to Joburg with an upcoming 11:30 pm, 2330 hrs, departure. This trip will consist of three long layovers.

Tom spotted a snake trying to take a drink from the splash pool. I missed the shot but got another after instead, as shown below. We’ve been so busy getting ready the past few days I’ve been too preoccupied to take photos. But surely, on our upcoming trip, we’ll be taking plenty.

See the green snake atop the post by the pool?

This morning I awoke feeling a little better and hope to continue to improve over the next several days as I continue the medications and treatments. I felt tentative about going on this cruise, not feeling up to par, but there were no other options. Once we paid the final payment for the cruise and the flights, we were committed. Plus, our visas expire on the 26th, and we had to go somewhere.

This morning, Vusi washed the little rental car, which we’ll return to the airport when we arrive. We’d rather give the money to Zef or Vusi to wash the car each time we leave instead of giving it to the carwash while Tom stands and waits for an hour or more. They do a perfect job. Once we return on December 4, another car will be ready, likely similar to what we’ve had.

The animals kick up a lot of dust and dander each day. While we’re away, Louise will arrange for the outdoor refrigerator to be repaired, and Zef and Vusi will do a deep clean of the house, which, even with their diligent daily cleaning, still gets dusty in tucked-away places. When we return, all will be fresh and clean.

An important point to share with our readers as we head to what will eventually be a remote location…we may not have WiFi for many periods during the cruise. If you do not see a post from us, please consider that as a day lost in our consecutive uploads. We won’t try to “make up” lost days while without internet access by doubling up.

Once we have a signal or, in the worst case, once we return, I will post the stories and pictures consecutively for many days to come. Please do not be alarmed if you don’t see any new posts during this period. Instead, I will document our activities offline as each day passes, taking photos.

However, we will be able to post from the hotel in Mahe tomorrow and most likely the first day/night on the boat while we’re still in port. You may check daily to see if there’s a new post. For sure, we’ll be back on December 5. We might get lucky and be able to post each day since there is WiFi on the boat, and for all we know, it may work well. We will be purchasing the best WiFi package they have available.

So, we’re signing off for the next 24 hours and hope to be back with you soon.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2021:

This was the total size of the foam tree frog nest before it rained. After it rained hard for hours, it was half its original size. We aren’t sure if the rain destroyed it or if the male tree frogs will fertilize it. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…Tom’s unexpected appointment…Update on piglet Hoppy…

This morning, we were thrilled to see Lollie and her three piglets. She’s kept them hidden since they were born about ten days ago, but perhaps she’ll bring them around more often.

Our packing is in the works. All I have left is to pack a few more clothing items, shoes, toiletries, and medications. Tomorrow, Tom will finish all his packing for our Thursday afternoon departure. Our flight from Nelspruit to Johannesburg isn’t until 6:30 pm, after which we have an almost four-hour layover until the overnight flight to Addis Ababa. Then, we’ll have another long layover until we finally arrive in Seychelles after a total of 19 hours of total travel time.

It will be a long trip, like most flights we’ve taken when leaving the African continent. There’s no quick and easy exit off this continent, except for a few non-stop flights here and there. I wish we could sleep better on planes, but neither of us seems to be able to sleep for more than an hour; as it turns out, this trip to Seychelles consists of three short flights, none over five hours. Most of the time will be spent waiting in airports which are especially challenging with no place to nod off.

If I were feeling better, I’d undoubtedly be more excited about this trip, although this morning, I awoke without a headache which is encouraging. But I don’t want to expect the sinusitis to go away this early in this new regime. We’ll see how it rolls out over the next several days. It’s the price we pay for this lifestyle we live.

The gestation period for warthogs is 152 to 183 days, which works out right since we arrived in May and met Lollie immediately. We knew Lollie was pregnant, but she never was very full-looking with her three piglets. Most likely, the dad is either Busybody or Rueben, who pursued her some time ago.

This morning, at 11:00, Tom and I are going to the local spa owned by Patience and her husband, named Doctor, where I have gone many times for pedicures. But, much to my surprise, this time, Tom is also having a pedicure for the first time in his life! Of course, mine will take longer with the polish application, which he won’t have.

Tom was inspired by Leon, who’d recently joined Dawn on a pedicure appointment, and he told Tom it was pretty nice. Coming from another guy seemed more significant than if I’d suggested it. So, when I booked my appointment, Tom said, “Get one for me, too!” I couldn’t believe it but was thrilled he would join me as we’d both have our services simultaneously.

When we return, I’ll finish this post, upload it and get back to work on my packing, which is a little more complicated than usual, considering the possibility that we won’t be let back into South Africa, there is always a chance when we go on a visa run. This last time we traveled from Zambia, I surmised that the immigration officer made notes of our frequent stays in their system.

If a flag is raised when we try to re-enter, it’s possible we’d be turned away and have to fly to the US immediately. We are hopeful that we won’t run into any issues and can return to Marloth Park on December 4, as planned. We are looking forward to spending a festive holiday season in the bush as we have on three different years in the past.

Ah, sad news about little Hoppy. We assume she passed away when she struggled to breathe when she was here with her mom and two siblings on Sunday. She lay in a little bed of lucerne, gasping for air, unable to nurse or eat pellets. Last night, her mom and two siblings arrived at sunset but no Hoppy. We knew her days were numbered.

Broken Horn stopped by last night for a quick visit.

Then, we knew. Her little body is left in an unknown location for the predatory creatures and vultures to devour. So sad. It broke our hearts to see this little life fade away. We can only imagine what her mom thought when suddenly she only had two piglets instead of three. We often underestimate animals’ sorrow when they lose a loved one.

This behavior is readily evidenced in the emotions of elephants, ranked #4 in intellect. Pigs are ranked #7 in the 2022 rankings on this site. There are varied opinions on the top 10 most intelligent animals on the planet on many sites. But this particular site mentions:

“Pigs just barely edged out dogs for our list of the ten most intelligent animals. While dogs have intelligence comparable to toddlers, pigs operate at a much higher IQ level. They can understand the concept of reflection at only six weeks old; it takes human children several months to comprehend.

Pigs also have approximately 20 different sounds that they use to communicate, and mother pigs sing to their children while feeding. Pigs respond to emotion and even show empathy when appropriate, an extremely rare trait in the animal kingdom. Other pig facts can be found on this page.”

The intellect of pigs has been a huge factor in my interest in them over these past years we’ve spent in the bush. Relating to them daily makes it easy to see how smart they really are. It’s easy to see the emotion on their faces, and last night, Hoppy’s mom looked forlorn.

Life in the bush…it’s always interesting. It’s always unusual.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2021:

Homemade keto bacon-wrapped meatloaf. See details at this link.

A little life is fading away…

Hoppy is trying to eat a little but is not thriving like the other piglets. The hair on her back stands up as a sign of defense since I stood nearby to take this photo.

There are no words to describe how sad it is to watch precious little warthog Hoppy slowly lose her life. Her mom brings her and her two siblings to see us at least once daily. But Hoppy’s broken leg prevents her from thriving, and she is losing weight and drifting away. Now, when they visit, she nuzzles the remnants of the lucerne into a little bed she makes for herself using her snout.

She no longer stands to eat pellets, even if we toss them near her. When it’s time to go after they stay for an hour or more; she hops along on her three legs, unable to put any pressure on her right front leg. It’s swollen. There is nothing the rangers can do. Some animals may be treated, such as bushbucks and other animals. In the wild, nature takes its course, however sad it may be.

Warthogs may proliferate with three or four piglets each season, while bushbucks, kudus, duikers, wildebeests, zebras, and others generally only have one offspring per season. As a result, less money is allocated to treat injured and ill warthogs, which, as you’ve seen in our past posts, often fall prey to severe injuries.

Hoppy doesn’t have much chance of survival with this severe leg injury. We don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to keep up with her mom and siblings.

Warthog’s protective nature of protecting their young, and their territory, coupled with their often feisty personalities, lead them to be easy targets for other prey, including lions and leopards, as illustrated a few days ago in this post. These types of injuries are hard to see when we have a particular affinity for warthogs with their intelligent and humorous nature.

But, Hoppy? What happened there? It’s unlikely it was an injury. The newborn’s bones are flexible, and it’s doubtful she incurred this severe injury after we saw her within hours of her birth when mom and babies stopped by, and we observed the leg problem immediately.

With all the inbreeding in wildlife in Marloth Park, other areas, and national parks, it’s possibly a congenital disability, but it could quickly have occurred during birth. We’ll never know for sure, but in the interim, we’re watching a fast path to her demise, which, based on how she is moaning when she lays in the lucerne, we expect it won’t be too long. She’s withering away.

On the right is the mom we called Wounded, who was attacked by a leopard or lion. She likely won’t survive either, although her injury looks a little better, as shown in the photo below.

We know that one day soon, her mom will arrive with only two piglets, and then we will know….unless she passes during the hour or two, they are in our garden each day. Yes, I know the words people always say., “It’s the nature of wildlife,” with the same logical sense that accompanies life in the wild.

The great joy of spending our days and nights in the bush leaves a propensity to feel deeply for these animals. It’s unavoidable. But, in this environment, unique from anything else we’ve ever known, it’s easy to become attached in a way similar to falling in love with a puppy in only a few days.

Last night, we canceled our reservation at Jabula and stayed home. I wasn’t up to going out again. One of the medications I am taking causes me to be sleepy, and I didn’t have the steam to go out. We took out a container of leftover stir-fry with fried rice for Tom, and I made a salad to go with us. We had a nice dinner in the dining room. Since the insects were so awful outdoors, we had no choice but to eat indoors.

Wounded’s injury still looks awful, and she will not survive when sepsis sets in.

This morning, when we got up, I washed all the insects off the kitchen counters before we made breakfast or prepped any food for tonight’s dinner of bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, fried rice (for Tom), green beans, and salad. We already had dozens of flying insects in the kitchen, which are attracted to hot food and meat when prepared and served. We had to shut the dining room doors during dinner. After dinner, we headed to the bedroom so Tom could spray the kitchen with Doom.

A few of today’s photos are repeated. There haven’t been many photo ops this weekend, with more tourists in the park and the awful heat on Saturday topping 103F, 39C. Fortunately, today is a fantastic and cloudy day with moderate temps and humidity. It certainly is appreciated by both of us.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, November 20, 2021:

Gordon Ramsay, also known as Gordy, lounged in the garden after eating veg and pellets. He visits us at this house as well as the last. Each bushbuck has some distinguishable markings, making it possible to recognize past visitors using our past photos for reference. For more photos, please click here.

Five days and counting…Packing on the horizon…

Tulip and Lilac were striking a post in the garden.

The packing for this trip won’t be easy. We don’t have many clothes appropriate for daywear on this ship. I purchased a few items online from an international shipper, and everything arrived, so I have what’s needed to wear in the evenings, but I am at a loss for daywear. Tom has plenty of shirts and shorts.

After the awful surgeries on my legs in 2019, I tossed all my shorts, thinking I’d never want to wear shorts in public again, and rightfully so. While outside all day in the bush, I have cool pants to wear to keep my legs covered to avoid getting mosquito bites. With all the rains, the mossies are out in full force.

Today will be 1017F, 38.3C, and I’m wearing a cool long sleeve shirt and pants with socks and shoes. This way, I only have to use DEET on my hands and around my neck. The thought of covering with DEET to the degree necessary to protect me from bites certainly can’t be healthy for the long haul.

Lilac continues to visit us daily with her mom Tulip.

But, in Africa, we see many people wearing long safari pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect themselves as well, when in the bush and on safari, for the same reasons, bugs and too much sun. But, this attire doesn’t necessarily translate to appropriate daywear on a small cruise ship. Oh well, I will make do with what I have on hand.

Mainly, we’ll enjoy the sea, the scenery, and the socialization commensurate with cruising. It will be nice not to cook for a week and see what the chef can come up with for me to enjoy. Weeks ago, I sent the cruise line my list of appropriate foods for my eating. It’s pretty easy to prepare some meat, fish, or poultry plus non-sauced vegetables and egg dishes when they’ll have all those items on the boat.

This is Little Johnny. Notice his tiny budding horns.

Last night, we had a good evening at Jabula with Dawn, Leon, and other locals we know who regularly frequent the fabulous establishment. The food, ambiance, and service were as exemplary as could be, as were the fun conversations and laughter. Leon and Dawn are surprisingly upbeat with all they have on their minds. It’s always wonderful to see them. Tonight, we return for another great evening.

This morning, I awoke without a headache, but I’m not jinxing myself (a silly premise) by saying what I am taking and doing is working. Last night, I was a little distracted since my headache was pretty bad, the first full day off of that sleep-inducing Amitryptyline, but I’d read there could be a rebound headache when stopping the drug. The headache could return any minute after having had it since April.

Little Johnny usually visits with his mom, Jasmine. But on this day, he was alone. He’s quite good at head-butting other bushbucks when vying for pellets.

Every few hours, I either take a tablet or do a sinus rinse comparable to using a Netipot equivalent with special solutions to aid in reducing symptoms of acute sinusitis. It was too soon to take more antibiotics, so I’m following the most extreme treatment protocol to remedy this problem. Today I am hopeful. Yesterday, I was not.

Once I upload today’s post, I’ll head into the bedroom and start selecting items to pack in my duffel bag. It has plenty of room, and the cruise line asked passengers to bring soft-sided bags to reduce weight and bulkiness. Fortunately, we purchased two soft-sided duffle bags from Takealot, South Africa’s version of Amazon, a few years ago.

Well, that’s it for today, folks. I am off to get to work on my task. We’ll be back with you again tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 19, 2021:

As always, Broken Horn stopped by for a visit. We have another Broken Horn at this house, but the opposite horn is broken. We call him Broken Horn. Be well. For more photos, please click here.

One week from today and we’re off to Seychelles…Another horrible animal injury…Enough, already!!!..

This is Bad Leg who had a leg injury a few weeks ago. In no time, he seemed to recover, and now, he showed up with this hole in his head. How in the world will he recover from this injury?

This morning, I awoke with my left eye really swollen, and itchy, the same side of my face where the headache and cheek pain is located. Unable to see Dr. Theo today, I decided to go to the local Marloth Park clinic and see Dr. Shane, a highly regarded doctor, also loved by many locals.

I guess I don’t have trigeminal neuralgia for which I am on a drug to help with the head pain. Instead, it appears I have chronic sinusitis precipitated by Omicron in April. Lately, I’ve been treated for a sinus infection which did resolve, but I am still left with inflammation in the sinus cavities on the left side of my head only.

Dr. Shane prescribed medication that should resolve this issue once and for all, with a strict regime of treatment I must follow at home, and continue on our upcoming trip in one week. I’m glad I got this addressed today rather than taking the risk it would worsen while we are away.

We spotted these two Cape buffalos this morning as we drove along the river. With all the rain and plenty of water holes, less wildlife head to the river. However, Cape buffalos and waterbucks always remain close to the river.

I will strictly adhere to the nasal treatments (three different procedures) each day, along with the meds and hopefully can get off the Amitriptyline before we leave next Thursday. This will require as many daily procedures as Tom needed when he had Covid-19 pneumonia in April, whereby every few hours there was something to take or do. I am highly motivated to get this never-ending discomfort under control.

After we returned to the house, Tom immediately took off for Komatipoort to pick up the prescriptions so I could begin the procedures and meds today, rather than wait another day until they could be delivered here to Marloth Park. Each day is important as the countdown to depart begins.

Last night, we had a lovely evening with Mario and Peter who joined us for sundowners on the veranda. It was a warm evening but fortunately, the humidity was low and the insects weren’t too bad allowing us to sit outdoors well after dark.  Before we knew it, they headed to their home in the bush and after we cleaned up the food and glasses, we were off to bed to stream a show and later drift off to sleep.

As we drove along the river we spotted these two Big Daddies resting in the shade on another hot day.

As I write here now, Norman is in the garden eating a few bananas, carrots, cabbage leaves, and of course, a few batches of pellets. I hadn’t seen him in two days which was unusual for him but this morning when Tom got outside by 6:30, he was waiting for him. Tom fed him some bananas and pellets. I was disappointed I didn’t see him then when I didn’t get up until 7:30.

I noticed Norman wasn’t eating pellets but was staring at me. There was something else he was looking for. I grabbed a few more overripe bananas from the kitchen and tossed them to him. in a second he was happily eating his favorite food. Bananas ripen quickly in the heat and humidity so we are happy to share them with the wildlife to keep the annoying flies out of the kitchen.

We purchased boxes of 12 bananas but after Tom eats a few over a few days, he’s had his fill and Norman will gladly eat the rest. They never go to waste, as is the case with any vegetables we buy.  Since I don’t eat fruit, and Tom only cares for bananas, we never buy fruit, only non-starchy vegetables, most of which the wildlife seem to enjoy.

We are thrilled with all the green vegetation for the animals, which sometimes makes them hard to spot.

Just now, after tossing some leftover zucchini to Norman, which he doesn’t love, I saw that mom and four piglets had arrived. Immediately, I jumped up to get them pellets. Even the piglets have started eating pellets. They chew each pellet for what seems like several minutes but immediately go back for more. They are delightful to watch.

At this point, we have no less than four sets of moms and piglets stopping by daily, including Hoppy and her family and of course, sadly, the mom with the awful injury and her babies who have been here a few times in the past several days. See this post here for photos of her horrific injury. We are devastated for her and this life-threatening injury.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a fantastic day!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2021:

Little rested in the cement pond on a sweltering day, his ears flicking as he listened to me talking to him. We miss Little. He’s never found us here over 2 km away from our last location. For more, please click here.

Another horrifying and heartbreaking animal injury in the bush…See below for photos, adults only, please…Could it have been a lion attack?…

Two moms and seven piglets stopped by this morning, and we couldn’t believe the injury on one of the moms, as shown in the photos below.

With all the wonders of the bush, we will inevitably witness horrific injuries inflicted upon wildlife by other wildlife and, sometimes inadvertently, by humans driving too fast on the roads. When feeding this and another mom this morning with their combined seven piglets, our jaws dropped when we spotted this horrific injury on one of the moms.

It may be why she joined up with another mom with piglets since she may know she won’t last long with this severe injury. This morning I messaged Ranger Jaco, sending him the photos, and he agreed this injury was from a leopard or lion.

Did a lion or leopard do this? We’ve never seen such an injury from a horned or tusks animal in the past.

Warthogs are not necessarily territorial but live in groups in a home range, called sounders, and may or may not be together at certain times. Males mainly live alone but may hang out together from time to time, but not in the female sounders and only with females during the mating season. We’ve often seen moms and piglets together and later aunts, nieces, and sisters. We have witnessed all of this.

Jaco also stated that although warthogs are sturdy and often recover from serious injuries, it’s unlikely that flies will eat away the dying flesh from this type of injury. Eventually, she’ll become septic and die.

Two things come to mind for us after this sighting. One, will she die nearby since we’ve seen her and her piglets several times since they were born a few weeks ago? Two, is the lion or leopard that inflicted this severe injury hunting nearby in our area?

At first, we were excited to see the two moms with seven piglets between them. We tossed lots of pellets and carrots.

We will be extra diligent in the future. Many have seen lions and leopards during the day and their usual evening hunting time. People walking and biking must be extra careful, knowing an attack is possible if getting too close. Often, unknowing tourists will go to inspect a “kill” only to put themselves in danger. What if the lion or leopard returns to eat the remainder of their kill?

I had a busy morning getting food prepared for tonight’s sundowner gathering. There will only be four of us since one of our guests had a family emergency out of town. It’s a scorching day, so I made a point of making easy snacks that won’t require any fussing when the power goes out for load shedding at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, for at least two hours.

The seven piglets all looked healthy and active.

Right now, as I write, the temperature is 97F, 36C, but the humidity is only 29% with a dew point of 59, much more bearable than it has been for several days this past week, with tomorrow about the same. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be looking at temps over 100F, 38C, and 103F, 39, respectively, with higher humidity and dew point than today.

I’m glad we planned tonight’s little gathering today rather than over the weekend. We’ll be back at Jabula on Friday and Saturday, but according to the load-shedding schedule, they should have power while we’re there. There’s aircon in the bar, which makes it quite comfortable during hot periods.

This poor mom. Her hind end is horribly injured. This could have occurred while she was attempting to protect her piglets. She must be in terrible pain. We fed her lots of pellets and fresh vegetables this morning.

Tom just took a short nap since he didn’t sleep much last night. Soon, I will join him for a bit of a rest while the fan is on. We don’t use the bedroom’s aircon during daytime hours, saving it for sleeping, which is more important to both of us.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2021:

Medium Daddy and his girls. For more photos, please click here.