Photos working now…Such a stressful situation…Figured out the issue…By the skin of our teeth…

Mom and babies…

There are no captions on some of the photos today and in the past few posts due to WiFi issues.

Saturday morning and load shedding just started at 9:00 am for the next 2½ hours. Much to our delight, yesterday, electrician Moses came and rigged a means for us to have WiFi during power outages. That way, we can distract ourselves during the few hours without power. I’m thrilled to see it’s working this morning. Plus, I am over-the-moon happy that I figured out that photos from my phone won’t show in our posts but will easily upload from my camera

Until I figure out how to rename the older photos I took using my phone when we first arrived, I will be using only the camera for all photos. Hopefully, we’ll never encounter this issue again. I can’t tell you how many readers contacted us about this issue and I’d tried to respond one by one. Unfortunately, with so many, I won’t be able to respond to each one. Please know we thank each and every one of you for writing to us.

As for the posts from January 13th and 14th, I will work with our web people, to get those photos to upload on the prior posts. If it’s not possible, we’ll have to resign ourselves that they are lost forever and new photos will replace them in the many months to come. Goodness, with the abundant wildlife before us, there is certainly plenty of time and wildlife to fill in the blanks.

Baby poses by big rock.

Well, we’re still reeling and happy to be here, but according to yesterday’s news, we arrived by the “skin of our teeth.” Emirates Airlines has suspended all flights to and from South Africa, See the news story here. Also, with three days having passed since our arrival, we remain hopeful we won’t experience any symptoms of Covid-19.

Band of mongoose…

There was one situation during the 59 hour travel period that worried us. We were waiting for at least 20 minutes in the tube when the doors to the plane had yet to open. Hundreds of passengers were crowded into the small space, many with their masks below their noses, talking loudly, coughing and sneezes. This is the airline’s fault. They should have been more stringent in boarding passengers.

Wildebeest Willie came to call…

Also, during boarding and de-boarding, no social distance guidelines were followed, on any of the flights. Mask wearing on the flights was also sketchy when passengers justified removing their masks in anticipation of food and drinks being served. It was a scary 59 hours.

Mongoose trying to crack an egg we offered.

Now, safe in our wonderful bush house, we are feeling hopeful the remaining 11 days of self-quarantine will pass quickly and we can relax from there while continuing to exercise the utmost caution when out and about or with friends in Marloth Park. Jabula and a few other restaurants have adequate social distancing outdoor seating which we’ll visit in the weeks to come.

Soon, once we’ll upload today’s post, we’ll head to Daisys’ Den for birdseed for our numerous visitors. There are about six mating pairs of francolins, Frank & The Misses, nesting hornbills in a bushbaby house at the edge of the veranda, and many noisy and fun-to-watch other bird species. We try to avoid feeding the helmeted guinea fowls since they are pesky, relentless, and can be bothersome.

Tonight, we’ll make bun-less burgers on the grill with “butt” bacon, topped with fresh cheddar cheese and topped with a fried egg, alongside more of the delicious cheesy sausage known as boerewors, here in South Africa.

I have yet to figure out a walking strategy. I posted a request to rent a treadmill or stationary bike from anyone who may be interested in Marloth Park. I’ve had one response so far for a bike, but I do prefer a treadmill. We’ll see how that rolls out over the next several days.

Ah, folks, now that we know the new photos will work, we have peace of mind and are beginning to relax. Yes, it’s very hot and humid outdoors today where we’ll spend the bulk of our day. There’s plenty of flies, insects and for all we know, venomous snakes nearby.

The only air-con in the house is in the two bedrooms, only available when load shedding is done. If it becomes unbearable, we can always opt for a short nap during which we’ll turn on the air-con and cool down, shortly later returning to the veranda. It’s too hot for me to walk on the roads. It should cool down in a few months.

May you have a safe and pleasant day. We’ll be back with more tomorrow and also with photos you can see!

Photo from one year ago today, January 16, 2020:

Three years ago today, this scene at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires particularly caught our eye. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Rain, at long last…Few visitors last night…Today is Women’s Day in South Africa, a national holiday…

Wildebeest Willie is drinking from the cement pond.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

It’s a little bit challenging finding a comfortable position when you have razor-sharp tusks!

Miraculously, last night it rained and continues to drizzle throughout the day. It’s cold again, today as low as 13C (55F), and after the scorching day recently, this feels very cold. Thank goodness for the outdoor heat lamp that enabled us to stay outdoors last night and will again tonight. It makes all the difference in the world.

As for last night’s visitors, we were pleasantly surprised when no less than eight warthogs, some we didn’t know, stopped by to say hello and check out the pellet situation. It was pretty good, they observed.

View of the Crocodile River from the overlook.

A short while later, several bushbucks and two duikers, female and male, all of whom we do know, appeared, anxious to get in on the action. It was easy for us to help them participate. 

We got up to feed them several times during dinner, leaving our dinners to get cold. This is such a common practice. We no longer mind a bit. Now, chilled to the bone, we’re still sitting outdoors while the drizzle continues hoping to see more and more vegetation turn green for the wildlife. It’s a happy occasion in the park today.

Three little pigs…not so little…Mom and babies eating pellets at the bottom of the steps, intended for Ms. Bushbuck.

We thought it is important to mention that instead of frequently apologizing for late postings, in the future, please plan to see a post between the usual posting time and five hours later. We’re so busy here in Marloth Park. We often head out on mornings to shop, go to Kruger, or head out on a drive, especially when we see notices posted on Facebook on unusual sightings.

As much as it seems we may have idle time, we’re swamped each day with only a few idle hours in the late afternoon. I’m sure this is the case with many retirees. How did we ever manage to have a “regular” job and get anything done?  

Croc lounging on the bank of the Crocodile River.

We’ve often heard retirees make such comments as “I’m busier now than when I worked.” I suppose it’s no different for us when each day we strive to engage in more fodder for the next day’s stories and photos, have a social life, cook most of our meals while spending the bulk of each day interacting and observing wildlife.

Tom says, “Being retired, I get up every day with nothing to do, and by noon, I’m three hours behind.” Hahaha, so true.

Three zebra butts.

Add the fact we spend at least three to four hours each day preparing a post, proofreading, taking and managing photos, and coordinating photo ops for future posts. It’s surprising to us that we have any time at all left for frivolity. But, we make sure we do.

So, for now, we’re back from shopping for the next week until we depart for Zambia and Botswana next Thursday. We’ve eaten almost everything in the big freezer except for two boxes of fish we recently purchased from the traveling “fish guy.”  

Little Wart Face often naps in our garden.  He’s so at home here.

If the power goes out for an extended period while we’re gone, Lousie and Danie will rescue the fish and other frozen items in the fridge’s freezer and put it all on ice.No worries.

Today, when we drove to Komatipoort to shop, we noticed the pharmacy was closed at 10:00 am. While at the Vodacom store purchasing my new phone (more on that tomorrow), the sales staff stated that due to Women’s Day in South Africa as a national holiday, the pharmacy would open for only one hour. How weird was that?

Vervet monkey on a rock on the bank of the river.

For details on this holiday, see below from this link:

National Women’s Day
National Women's Day.jpg
Women in Lesotho at a National Women’s Day protest against violence against women at the National University of Lesotho
Observed by Republic of South Africa
Date 9 August
First time 9 August 1995

“National Women’s Day is a South African public holiday celebrated annually on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanization, and manages migrant labor during the apartheid era.

The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994. On 9 August 1956, more than 20,000 South African women of all races staged a march on the Union Buildings against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the “pass laws.” In 2006, a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans.

The march was led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, and Sophia Williams. Other participants included Frances Baard, a statue unveiled by Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins in Kimberley (Frances Baard District Municipality) on National Women’s Day 2009. The women left 14,000 petitions at the office doors of prime minister J.G. Strijdom.

The women stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing a protest song composed in honor of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.). In the years since, the phrase (or its latest incarnation: “you strike a woman, you strike a rock”) has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.”

Moms and babies.

What an important day for South African women! We wish the very best for every woman as they are reminded of this critical period in time to celebrate together.

We’d heard about this important day of celebration but had no idea some stores would be closed or open for only short spans of time. After keeping an eye out, we managed to get into the store during the one-hour-open period and purchase a few toiletries for our upcoming trip.

Five waterbucks and lots of elephants near the river.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos from Tom’s new haircut and the story of purchasing a new smartphone in South Africa, where there certainly are a few differences from buying in the US.

Have a spectacular day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2017:

The view of the main pool from the master bedroom in the villa in Costa Rica. These sliding doors and others on an adjacent wall open wide with fine screens to keep out insects. It was such a treat for us to have screens! For more photos, please click here.

Friendly South African braai in the wild among new friends and the beasts…Frikkie’s Dam, Lionspruit…

Such a funny thing (to us anyway), an oxpecker on this giraffe’s nose.
We were so close to this giraffe it was easy to get this photo.
After exiting Lionspruit, we spotted this giraffe on the opposite side of the fence. We noticed an oxpecker on his nose.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
A Vervet monkey in a tree in the yard.

How do we begin to tell the story of friendship and hospitality that surrounds us in South Africa…in Marloth Park? Sure, we’ve met wonderful people all over the world, on cruises, during tours, and in neighborhoods, many of whom we’ve stayed in close touch over these past years, many of who’ve become lifelong friends.

The somewhat enclosed braai area offered a barrier between the lions and us in Lionspruit.

We never take for granted the opportunity to meet new people and to build new relationships. Undoubtedly, such friendships take time to cultivate, and when we have time in a location, we relish in these relationships as they mature.

It was a perfect day to be outdoors, not too hot, not too cool.

Some relationships are with couples we meet along the way, and others are individuals with whom we find a particular affinity when meeting one-on-one or in a group. On Sunday, such was the case when Louise and Danie included us in their “inner circle” (my words, not theirs) of people they’ve come to know and love after many years in Marloth Park.

The covered veranda at Frikkie’s Dam provides shelter in the event of rain.

The commonality they share, as Danie described only this morning when he and Louise stopped by, is their “lack of baggage,” the kind that may make some people judgmental, critical, or of a less than warm demeanor and personality. 

From left to right, Danie, Alison, and Dean posed for a photo. Everyone works tirelessly and unselfishly for the preservation of Marloth Park.

Over time, this group was “hand-picked” for the special qualities they each possess in their unique way. What intrigued us the most was how different each individual is, bringing a wealth of great experiences, education, and backgrounds.

From left to right, Nicki, Louise, and Cora.

Many countries are represented in this group of friends…many cultures, many varying walks of life. But, the one passion they each share is their passion and love for Marloth Park and their determination and dedication in contributing, however big or small, in maintaining the integrity that so well defines this magical place.

Andre, Cor, and Tom.

It’s not that other locals are excluded from this group. Luckily, they all came together over time, as friends and ultimately as “family” when many of their family members are so far away.

Andre was one of the first residents of Marloth Park in the 1970s. He and Cor, to his right, are great friends. Michel is to the left.

To be included means a lot to us, as it has been with all of our friends here in Marloth Park. We don’t have South African roots, heritage, and culture in our repertoire of world experiences as many of them do.  Even those from far away places have been here long enough to have wound their lives, their existence around a lifestyle and persona that is unique unto itself, unlike any we’ve encountered in these past years of world travel.

Nicki, Louise, and Cora.

They have so much history together entwined in endless stories that made us both realize, should we have the opportunity to be with them again, that in time we’ll collectively build our own stories, our memories, and our level of inclusiveness that is found in a friendly mélange of locals sharing their lives, their dreams, and their hopes for the future.

Cora, Matthew, Michel, and Andre.

We apologize if we’ve missed including photos and names of everyone present on Sunday’s braai at Frikkie’s Dam. Hopefully, next time, we won’t be so preoccupied with the wonder of it all, failing to include everyone in our photos.

We brought a gluten-free quiche to share.  Louise and Danie cooked meats on the open fire, and others brought their items.

Again, and we mean again, thanks to Louise and Danie and all of our friends in the bush for making this life genuinely feel like “home.” Wherever we may travel in the world, our memories will travel with us…in our hearts, in our minds, and our eternal love of Marloth Park, South Africa.

When we return from Zambia, we plan to meet with Andre to write a story of his over 40 years in Marloth Park. He’s holding a piece of our quiche in his hand.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, May 8, 2017:

Aboard the ship, I made a new friend, Helen. She and I decided to visit Lahaina Maui for some “girl time,” leaving Tom behind on the ship while we browsed the shops. It was a great day. For more details, please click here.

Change in plans…Social calendar filling up!…Power outage on 100F, 38C day!…Hot, hot, hot!

Vervet monkeys aren’t as destructive as baboons, which we’ll send on their way
while Tom stands tall while holding up a big stick. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This handsome male bushbuck rested in the yard for quite a while as the sun was setting.  He was still there after dark, as far as we could tell.

Last night, we changed our plans for our anniversary night.  We intended to go to Ngwenya overlooking the Crocodile River for Kruger Park and sunset views. 

As it turned out, a few times during the day, Danie stopped by, once bringing us a bottle of wine. I couldn’t wait to try last night and loved it, and another time, he suggested we go to Ngwenya tonight instead of last night. 

Thursdays at Ngwenya are weighed-by-the-plate buffet, which is a great deal and offers a wide variety of options suitable for my way of eating. Both Louise and Danie eat like we do and have done so for many years.

In the yard, there’s a fenced-in garden intended to protect the vegetation.  Ha!  the monkeys have no trouble crawling inside and making a mess. These vervet monkeys are fun to watch with their playful antics.

Since it was so hot at 100F (38C), it made sense not to have to put on nicer clothes than my braless tank top and baggy Capri jeans, so we decided to dine at “home” rather than head out on a sweltering evening.

Even the little rental car’s AC can’t keep up with its miniature engine and low AC output. Staying in, cooking on the grill, and eating outdoors made a lot of sense to us. Plus, I could sample that bottle of wine Tom chilled in the freezer long before “happy hour.” 

We cooked the two pork chops for Tom with a lamb chop for me, along with a side of mushroom casserole, fresh green beans, and a crispy chilled salad, perfect for the hot and humid evening.

Little did we expect the power would go out just before we sat down to eat at 6:30. Of course, it would. With power limitations in Marloth Park and with many tourists here for spring break (started in some parts of the world), everyone runs their AC on the ultra-hot day.

There was a troop of about 20 vervet monkeys in our yard.

We only use AC when we go to bed. With no screens on the windows, it gets scorching indoors. We don’t use the AC in the central part of the house when it can’t cool enough with the two-story-high ceilings. Plus, we’re in Africa. What did we expect? Cool comfort and ease of living?  Hardly.

After a rash of visitors early in the day, we were content to sit back and relax for dinner. I needed to get an early start on today’s post since we have company this morning, initiated by Danie, bringing us a heart-stopping story we can’t wait to share tomorrow.

Wow!  Will the action-packed adventures and stories ever settle down?  We don’t think so…not in Marloth Park. Our Cozi calendar is smoking with scary and exciting daytime plans on Saturday (you won’t believe what we’re doing!!!) and many upcoming social events.

They move so quickly, and it’s tricky getting good photos.

Also, we have fun social plans for Sunday night with lovely couple Janet and Steve, whom we met at Kathy and Don’s party a few weeks ago and enjoyed great conversation. It is thoughtful of them to invite us!

Also invited to dinner on Sunday are friends Lynne and Mick, who came for dinner last Saturday night at our “house.”  (Kathy and Don are at their other house near Pretoria right now, returning around April 1st with more social events on the horizon). 

This valuable time in Marloth Park is an easy reminder of why we longed to return to this magical place. Sure, it’s hot, sticky, and uncomfortable at times. The mozzies and insects can be downright annoying at times. 

Seldom do they stop playing long enough for a photo.

The dusty unpaved roads bring up allergy symptoms from watery eyes, itching, and runny noses. After all, this is Africa, not Scottsdale, Arizona, or Boca Raton, Florida. 

We can’t jump in the car and head to a modern mall to replace all the swimsuits we accidentally left on one of our last cruises. At the moment, I don’t own a single swimsuit. Tom has one.

There’s a plunge pool here, but we don’t use it. It’s too risky to go without with no swimsuit and too many support staff stopping by each day. After the magnificent pool in Atenas, Costa Rica, we’re kind of spoiled anyway. How could anything compare to that pool? 

These two vervet monkeys were playing in the sideyard.

Living in the dense bush doesn’t allow for most pools to be in the sunlight. Neither of us cares to swim or lounge in an undercover or indoor pool. So no swimming here, but swimming isn’t why we’re here. 

It’s the wildlife, the ambiance of this tucked-away place, and it’s the people who add so much to the charm and magic of this unusual wildlife-rich location.

We dined outdoors by candlelight during the power outage, and when the bugs got too pesky, we wandered into the bedroom with a candle and watched a few shows on my laptop to keep us entertained. By around 11:00 pm, the power came back on, and we were able to get a good night’s sleep. Today’s temps will be comparable to yesterday.

Please watch today’s video to see their playfulness and how easily they fly from tree to tree. 

What can I say? We couldn’t be happier and more fulfilled. Regardless of any minor inconveniences, we couldn’t be enjoying ourselves more. Our daily lives are rich, with each day manifesting into another special day, entrenched in beautiful memories we’ll carry with us forever.

Thank you, dear readers, for sharing it all with us.

Photo from one year ago today, March 8, 2017:

Each night on most cruises, my meals consist of salmon or chicken breast with prawns and a side of spinach and mashed cauliflower. For more cruise food photos, please click here.