An afternoon at the fair…Marloth Park Honorary Rangers Winter Fair, that is!….

At the entrance to the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers Winter Fair.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This was a first…three warthogs sleeping in the yard, from left to right, Tusker, Little Wart Face, and Ms. Warthog, who the two boys were both interested in courting.

Yesterday, Saturday afternoon, we drove the short distance to Henk Van Rooyen Park located on the Crocodile River to attend the annual Marloth Park Honorary Rangers Winter Fair. We had no idea what to expect.
Each year the Honorary Rangers work hard to present this festive fundraiser and social event for the residents and visitors of Marloth Park. The entrance fee was a paltry ZAR 20 (US $1.46) per person, paid at the entrance gate.

Marloth Park Conservancy display with educational information about wildlife.

Once inside the gate, we didn’t have trouble finding a parking spot that had Tom concerned a few days before the event. He always worries about traffic and parking. It must be a “guy thing.” I never give either a thought. With attendees coming and going to the day-long event, it was easy to slide into a convenient spot without concern.

A display of a variety of plant and animals items.

Within moments of entering the fair, we started running into people we knew, which surprised and pleased us both. We knew we’d met many beautiful people in the past almost five months in Marloth Park, but until many were assembled at the public venue, we had no idea how many we’d come to know.

Many locally made handicrafts were offered for sale.

We purchased raffle tickets, played a game, and Tom enjoyed a big glass of beer for only ZAR 25 ($1.82).  Wandering by and stopping at many of the kiosks, we engaged in lively conversations with people we knew and many new people we met. We’re always amazed by how friendly the locals are here in the park. We’ve been made to feel so welcomed.

This lovely Honorary Ranger was equally friendly as all of the others we encountered at the fair.

It’s not always easy for local people to readily welcome strangers to their special place. Often, new people are left feeling like “outsiders,” but this has never been the case here.

Of course, there’s always jewelry for sale at fairs.

We realized that as of late, we’d posted a few “controversial” stories that could make particular residents uncomfortable. Never for a moment did we feel any strain or judgment from any participants at the event or otherwise.

A band played during the festivities.

Let’s face it, and this is a tiny town. There are currently 4355 properties in the park, including yet-to-be-built “stands” (lots or plots of land). These stats may be found at this demographics site here.

Picnic tables were available for those eating, drinking, or chatting.

In speaking with locals since we arrived on February 11th, we’ve heard that there may be less than 1000 property owners in the park at any given time. Of course, there are always several hundred tourists staying in holiday homes, such as us, although not necessarily for as long as we do.

Three of our friends were operating the beer kiosk from left to right in the center, Paul, John, and Sandra.

Many homeowners have homes in other locations, many right here in South Africa in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and many other cities. Then, many homeowners from the Netherlands, the UK, and many other parts of the world.

Our friend Evan was selling soda and water.

Overall, most of the people we’ve met are native South Africans or have become residents/citizens of South Africa from other parts of the world. Oddly, as we’ve mentioned in prior posts, other than friends Kathy and Don, we’ve yet to meet any residents, property owners, or tourists from the US. 

There were several old telephones on the top shelf in this display, along with other antique-type items.

We assume few Americans here due to the long distance and the high cost to fly back and forth between any US state and Marloth Park. There aren’t many. As of today, the round trip fare to fly from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga, South Africa, is (as of today’s best rate) is ZAR 38,441 (US $2800) per person, and the flight is over 34 hours. 

Handmade beaded wildlife characters.

Can you imagine how costly and time-consuming it would be for US citizens to fly back and forth to their “vacation/holiday” in Marloth Park three or four times a year? Few people choose this type of location for a second or third home due to these facts.

More jewelry…

We’ve yet to go to Kruger with all the holidaymakers here right now. I’ve seen a few videos from sightings in Kruger, and the cars were backed up on the tar road. As mentioned above, we prefer to go to Kruger when the traffic dies down a little. Perhaps, we’ll attempt sometime this week between planned social events or the following week.

Artist’s renditions of wildlife along with an array of skulls, horns, and tusks.

The “school holiday” for South Africans ends on July 17th. Then, there will be many more Europeans and others coming to Marloth for their summer holiday.  All of this should taper off by mid-August. By the time we return from Zambia on August 23rd, it should be quiet again in the park, at least until Christmas, when it is packed with tourists once again.

This was my favorite.  For ZAR 20 (US $1.46), a participant could pull one of the tangled strings to see which bottles they pulled as their prize.  We took two tries for ZAR 40 ($2.92).  See what I “won” in the photo below.

A special thank you to all Marlothians who’ve made us feel so welcomed in your magical place and, thanks to all of our readers for sharing it all with us!

Here’s what I won, a large bottle of tomato sauce and bottled water, both of which we’ll certainly use.

May your day be as bright and sunny as we expect ours to be.

 Photo from one year ago today, July 1, 2017:

Wayzata Bay is only a tiny portion of huge Lake Minnetonka with over 14,000 acres and 140 miles of shoreline where we boated for many years. For more details, please click here.

Happy Easter to all!…Happy April Fool’s Day to those who like to fool!…An Easter fair in the bush…

Here’s our adorable Louise (always the successful entrepreneur) selling her inventory of colorful Himalayan clothing at the Marlothi Easter Fair, which is comparable to a mini-state fair. I purchased two dresses to wear here at a combined cost of ZAR 200 (US $16.90). 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

To the left (in our yard) is a hornbill.  To the right is our resident francolin, who hangs out for any morsels of food.  When we took this shot, the francolin took a dirt bath while the hornbill looked on in amazement.

We’ve always enjoyed attending fairs, farmers markets and local events in any country in which we may be living in the world. To see the local people at work proudly presenting their handmade crafts, foods, and services gives us an inside peek as to who these people may be.

With all the visitors coming and going, we had no trouble finding a good parking spot on Oliphant Road, the main paved road in Marloth.

In Marloth Park where the majority of citizens are white, we aren’t getting a realistic peek at the people of South Africa in general when the majority of citizens of South Africa are black as shown in the partial chart below from this site (the chart posted here is incomplete). Please click the link for more details:

Some visitors were able to park inside the tiny mall’s parking lot but we were content to walk from the main paved road.
Age group All races % of All Black African % of Blacks Coloured % of Col’d White % of Whites Indian or other Asian % of Asians
0–14 16,612,043 30.23% 14,244,663 32.21% 1,288,601 26.66% 789,492 17.41% 289,285 21.24%
15–64 35,465,499 64.53% 28,170,797 63.69% 3,299,771 68.28% 3,026,475 66.75% 968,649 71.12%
65-plus 2,879,378 5.24% 1,812,535 4.10% 244,544 5.06% 718,041 15.84% 104.068 7.64%
All ages 54,956,920 100% 44,227,995 (100%) 4,832,916 (100%) 4,534,008 (100%) 1,362,002 (100%)
% of SA 100% 80.48% 8.79% 8.25% 2.48%
The paper plates on this booth each had listed products and prices for various items for sale.

With only 8.25% of the country’s population white, such an event in Marloth Park gives us little cultural knowledge for the majority of the country. In its unique way, Marloth Park has become somewhat populated over the past 41 years since its inception, developing a persona of its own.

 This colorful booth was offering honey and other homemade products.

However, the Afrikaans speaking citizens in Marloth Park and others from a variety of countries (primarily Dutch and British), without a doubt, have a powerful cultural presence in their home country and, in this community, one we’re embracing each and every day.

This vendor was selling his locally made liquors.

Of course, we’ve only been here for a short period; three months, four years ago and a mere seven weeks, so far this time. We still have a lot to learn about South Africa’s culture which we’ll share as circumstances present themselves.

Various styles of artwork are on display.

With this in mind, we had a great experience at the fair. As mentioned in the above photo of Louise, I purchased two dresses from her, which I’ll wear while here and donate when we depart next March. They are too heavy for my luggage.

Antiques were offered in this booth.

We didn’t partake in any of the food or drinks at the fair. Tom had eaten and wasn’t hungry and I don’t usually eat anything until later in the day. Besides, most fair-type foods seldom are appropriate for my way of eating. The smells were intoxicating!

The Marloth Park Honorary Rangers were represented there as well.

As for Easter, we have no big plans today. We’ll have a nice dinner at home and will stay on the veranda as always, enjoying more of the daytime and nocturnal activities we’re blessed to continue to experience in the bush. 

Homemade food products are always popular at these events worldwide.

Tomorrow at 5:00 pm, we’re off to friends Kathy and Don’s river view bush home for an adult Easter egg hunt with a dinner to follow. They’ve been gone this past month, and it will be wonderful to see them both again and meet even more of their friends who’ll also be attending.

There were several jewelry booths.

I offered to bring something, but Kathy insists on letting her guests be “guests'” and come for the food and activities they so masterfully plan at their lovely home.

Many booths consisted of locally made products using locally acquired materials.

No doubt, we’ll reciprocate before too long and invite them to our place for dinner. As is the tradition in Marloth Park, guests bring their beverages when visiting friend’s homes, whatever those beverages happen to be. 

Even Tupperware was represented at the fair.

With South Africa known worldwide for its wine production, many of which I’ve tried and enjoyed, many locals drink wine. The balance tends to drink the local Castle beer (and others), which Tom seems to like. We’ve seldom seen anyone drinking other forms of alcohol, such as whiskey, vodka, gin, etc. 

Many of the people at the fair were tourists, here over the holiday weekend. But, we encountered many locals also, primarily working the booths with services and locally made products.

Prices for wine and beer in South Africa are very reasonable. But, alcohol, mostly imported, is pricey, often due to high VAT taxes. As of today, the VAT (value-added tax) in South Africa is rising from 14% to 15%, which is low compared to many other African countries. If interested, see this site for details on VAT in Africa.

From Jabula Lodge and Restaurant, Leon was serving fabulous-looking grilled beef sandwiches for only ZAR 40 (US $3.38).  They were selling as fast as they could prepare them.

We’d like to wish all of our friends/readers a very happy Easter and Passover, for those who celebrate. May your day be filled with love, compassion, and joy.

Pretty handmade beaded Africa animal characters.

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2017:

Houses along with the Dobroyd Head in Sydney, Australia.  Tom climbed down some steep rocks to get this shot. For more details, please click here.