Repeating the vaccine registration process…Stats on the majestic maturing male kudu…

He stood there for quite a while, but we stayed inside the house until he backed off.

When we didn’t receive a confirmation text expected within 24 hours of both of us registering for South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine, I searched online for possible reasons. Apparently, when the site went live yesterday, we were two of the first 126,000 that registered. I found a mention that due to traffic on the site, we may need to re-register again today.

If you didn’t see yesterday’s post, here is the link to register for the Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa.

Also, I wondered when I entered our US phone number with a “1” in front of the area code, I needed to use +1, but there weren’t enough spaces in the field to enter the +1 which is the US country code. Today, as soon as I’ve uploaded this post, I will re-register both of us, using Louise’s South Africa phone number for her to receive the texts to notify us that our application has been received and where and when to go for the vaccine sometime in May or later.

I don’t like inconveniencing her like this, but she is always willing to help in any way she can. We are assuming the South African vaccine portal didn’t accept our US phone number. We will see how that goes.

These male kudus when fully grown may weigh 190 kg to 270 kg, 419 pounds to 595 pounds.

It’s a busy Saturday morning in the bush. There must not be as many holidaymakers here this weekend. We’ve had a steady stream of visitors this morning, including the first “Big Daddy” kudu who visited our garden since we arrived in January.

His horns weren’t as huge as a more mature Big Daddy, but in time they will be. His massive muscular body was a treat to behold.

From this site:

“The kudu’s horns do not begin to grow until the bull reaches 6–12 months, twisting once at around two years of age and not reaching the full two-and-a-half twists until the age of six.
Not quite full-grown with horns yet to grow, this Big Daddy stopped by early this morning.

Greater Kudu facts

  1. Kudu are highly alert and notoriously hard to approach. When they detect danger – often using their large, radar-like ears – they give a hoarse alarm bark, then flee with a distinctive, rocking-horse running motion, the male laying back his horns to avoid overhead obstructions.
  2. The common name kudu is derived from the indigenous Khoikhoi language of Southern Africa. The scientific name is derived from Greek: Tragos denotes a he-goat and elaphos a deer; Strephis means ‘twisting’ and Keras means ‘horn’.
  3. The horns of a mature bull kudu have two and a half twists, and, if straightened, would reach an average length of 120cm. However, they may occasionally have three full twists and the record length is a whopping 187.64cm. The horns do not begin to grow until the bull reaches 6–12 months, twisting once at around two years of age and not reaching the full two-and-a-half twists until the age of six. They have long served different traditional communities, as both embellishment and musical instruments, the latter including the shofar, a Jewish ritual horn blown at Rosh Hashanah.
  4. Male kudus are rarely physically aggressive but may spar during the courtship season, shoving one another with their horns. Occasionally, during these contests, their horns become interlocked and, if unable to free themselves, both males may die.
  5. The traditional sport of Kudu dung-spitting (Bokdrol Spoeg in Afrikaans) is practiced in the South African Afrikaner community. The winner is the contestant who is able to spit one of the antelope’s small, hard dung pellets the furthest – with the distance measured to where it comes to rest. An annual world championship was launched in 1994, with contests held at community events, game festivals, and tourism shows. The world record stands at 15.56m, set in 2006 by Shaun van Rensburg Addo.

Greater Kudu Conservation Status

With only 118,000 kudus remaining in the wild, kudus have a ‘near threatened conservation status’ according to the African Wildlife Foundation. Hunters shoot them for their hides and/or meat and their horns are a much-wanted collector’s item. Local people use their horns in rituals, to store honey or to make instruments out of them. Habitat loss is another threat to the kudu population. Awareness and responsible travel are key to preserve the kudu population.”

Based on today’s visiting kudu, we’re surmising he is approximately four years old. It was quite a treat to see him early this morning. I was still in bed when Tom quietly came to get me to see the kudu and take a few photos. I was awake, reading news on my phone, and couldn’t bolt out of bed fast enough.

We went indoors when he began to approach us on the veranda.

As it turned out, this particular male was somewhat bold, coming up onto the veranda without hesitancy in search of pellets. Tom and I stayed inside watching him through the screen door. Unintentionally (or not), kudus have been known to injure humans who get too close, some fatally. We weren’t about to take such a risk.

Once he backed off, Tom tossed out some pellets for him into the garden, which he was content to eat with enthusiasm. Once he was done, he wandered away toward the driveway. There was no way, with those big horns, he could make his way out through the dense bush, the reason we haven’t seen any Big Daddies in our garden during the past three months. Although, we have seen fully grown males when driving through Marloth Park or when visiting friends with less dense bush surrounding their property.

Today is another sunny, cool day with low humidity. It feels wonderful with the gentle breeze wafting through the bush, the sight and the sound of the leaves falling to the ground, and our ability to see further into the bush. But, with winter (upcoming on June 21st) on the horizon, this is a tough time for the wildlife. No doubt, we’ll do our part to feed the wildlife as much as we can afford.
We hope all of our readers have a fantastic weekend.
Photo from one year ago today, April 17, 2020:
Spotting these yellow-tipped stamen on these Anthuriums in Kauai was a first for us. For more photos, please click here.

Today, we signed up for Covid-19 vaccine…South Africa registration found here…

Narrow and The Imposter lying close together, appearing to be a two-headed warthog, one head at each end.

Appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine may begin booking in South Africa in mid-May. There is an option within the application process to enter a passport number as opposed to a South Africa ID number indicating that foreign nationals over age 60 will qualify for this second rollout after health care workers and emergency services workers have been vaccinated.

If you are currently in South Africa, including foreign nationals over 60 years old, you may register at this link. You will be notified by text message to confirm your registration within 24 hours of applying and then be informed where and when you may go for the vaccine, hopefully sometime next month.

Currently, we have two passports each, one expiring at the end of August and another expiring in 2024. To be safe and to ensure our vaccination certificates have the correct passport numbers we used the numbers of the latter of the two.

Siegfried and Roy drinking from the birdbath.

With a degree of uncertainty of sufficient doses available in South Africa, the uncertainly of the efficacy and various side effects, we hesitated, but for only a moment. If we want to continue traveling the world, we must get the vaccine. Even, if for some reason, we decided to stop traveling, we’d still need the vaccine if we ever wanted to cruise again or feel safe in the USA. The pandemic is not going away anytime soon.

There has been a lot of controversy as to if and when South Africa will have sufficient doses for the vaccine and according to news reports (could be fake news), it’s still up in the air. But, from what we hear, they are almost done with health care workers. There are 50 million people in South Africa.

Some may say that our being vaccinated while in South Africa is taking away an opportunity for South African citizens. But, wherever we’d be in the world, we’d be using up two doses. I suppose wherever one was located at the time of receiving the vaccine could elicit a case for objection by some.

Mongoose hovering by the hose for the pool

That same “hater” we mentioned in yesterday’s post here, berated us at the prospect of us returning to the US to get vaccinated since we’ve been gone so long, saying we aren’t entitled. Every human on the planet is entitled to receive the vaccine not only for their own benefit but hopefully the benefit of loved ones and others, with whom they may be in contact.

If you are in South Africa and choose to register for the vaccine, please keep in mind that it may take some time for the drop-down filters to load. I waited for 10 minutes to be able to select this municipality. I left it sitting while I did a few other tasks and when I returned to my computer the selections were available.

It’s best to plan that it will take about 20 minutes to complete the form for each individual, only due to the slow response time when attempting to enter the simple information into the drop-down menus. It’s one of those scenarios when patience prevails which is often the case when filling out certain online forms.

Mongoose lounging in the garden waiting for egg treats from Tom.

Today is cooler and cloudier than yesterday and a bit breezy. Sitting outdoors on the veranda feels especially comfortable. The visitors are stopping by on a consistent basis, especially large numbers of bushbucks. As it’s turned out, due to lack of recent rain, the vegetation for the wildlife is becoming sparse and they are hungry.

We currently have four 40 kg bags (88 pounds each) of pellets right now and don’t hesitate to offer pellets freely which we’ll happily do during the lean times in the upcoming winter. Before our eyes, the bush is rapidly losing leaves and already we can see well into the bush which was obstructed by lush vegetation only a few short weeks ago.

Mongoose stretching to reach the water in the birdbath. Tom refilled it after this mongoose struggled to reach the water.

We’ll be posting today’s story on Facebook today, especially on Marloth Park pages for those who may not be aware of the availability of registration for the vaccine. There are many residents over 60 residing in Marloth Park.

Have a pleasant day. Be well.

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

The setting sun between the palm trees in Kauai in 2015. For more photos from this post six years ago today, please click here. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Thank you for the positivity!!!…

Medium Daddy, not quite full grown but on his way to being a Big Daddy in years to come. Notice his musculature. Wow!

It was a year ago yesterday, that I uploaded a post with a heading that read:

“Please “unfriend me” if…Social media during lockdown…”

The purpose of that post may be found at this link, was accomplished. Throughout the lockdown period and continuing today the positivity we’ve experienced from our worldwide readers and social media friends has been nothing but upbeat and positive.

Even now, as we’ve reported our upcoming return to the US to visit family, get the vaccine and get our passports stamped, allowing us to reenter South Africa when we’d adamantly stated, we wouldn’t be returning to the US during the pandemic, has been supportive and encouraging.

Frank standing on the veranda railing.

Well, who knew what this pandemic would bring? Who knew it would be impossible to get the vaccine in South Africa anytime soon? Who knew, a planned trip to Kenya would be canceled due to more lockdown measures implemented by its government? Who knew it would make so much sense for us to change our minds?

Our change of mind could easily have been fodder for criticism and negative feedback. But, not a single reader of our site or on social media wrote a negative word or comment, instead, encouraging us all the way. For this, we are very grateful.

Whether or not, our “Please unfriends me if…” had an impact will never be known. Primarily, that particular post was intended for our social media contacts, not so much our readers, who have always been outrageously kind and supportive with a few rare exceptions.

Lots of kudus stopped by this morning.

But, at times, Facebook, although not necessarily directed to us specifically, was rife with negativity. We’ve seen a dramatic change for the better in the past year. Did the pandemic do this?

One could say, we could easily leave Facebook if we don’t like the majority of the content. But, for us, it’s a convenient and useful way to stay in touch with friends and family when often we are isolated, such as while in lockdown in India. And even here, now, we don’t have the usual numbers of social interactions we experienced in our previous stays in Marloth Park. People are careful to avoid social contact in most cases.

When we were in Marloth Park in 2018/2019, we saw friends several times a week. Now, with Covid-19 on everyone’s mind, it’s been less frequent, leaving us feeling a little isolated at times. Of course, the wildlife visitors continually entertain us and, no doubt, we thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and, that of the friends we’ve been able to see. Thank goodness for that!

He, like, everyone else, loves the pellets which we offered freely.

Many have written to us over the past few days with heartfelt empathy over the cancelation of our trip to Kenya. As we’ve written back, we appreciate the generous messages, but in actuality, we are quite fine with the change, especially when we receive all of our money back. We’re still waiting for a few bigger sums to be refunded, almost US $4000, ZAR 59424, from both Little Governor’s Camp and Kenya Airways. Hopefully, we’ll see these refunds coming through soon.

Getting our passports stamped for another 90 days in South Africa and the opportunity to receive the vaccine have been huge motivators in returning to the US. The bonus is the opportunity to see our family members after an 18-month hiatus, which has been typical of many family members who haven’t been able to travel to see one another, due to the pandemic.

Quite handsome.

Thus, this change in our itinerary will ultimately prove to have been the most sensible and beneficial change in our past many years of world travel. We thank all of our thoughtful readers for their thoughtful comments, email, and WhatsApp messages and look forward to continuing to share our story for years to come, health providing.

    He stayed around for quite a while, posing for the camera.

Stay healthy and embrace life as many of us mourn the loss of loved ones during this dreadful pandemic and attempt to accept a new way of life in times yet to come.

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2020:

An owl we spotted at Kanha National Park in India. For more, please click here.