No words can describe how meaningful it is to have friends from afar experiencing Marloth Park with us. Meeting the wonderful locals and our friends and seeing all the stunning wildlife is hard to explain to an outsider. For those who are not animal lovers, these experiences may hold little significance.
But, for the rest of us, each interaction leaves us reeling with pure delight. Once our friends leave at the end of the month, Tom and I will continue to treasure every day as we always have.
Now, as I write this, everyone is taking a much-needed nap. Our days and nights have been filled with one activity after another. Tom and I, used to all the commotion, are still sitting at the table on the veranda, watching numerous birds stopping at the birdbath, as shown in the photo below, to drink and bathe in the clean water.
Numerous animals have stopped by to drink. Now that the weather is warming up again, having access to clean drinking water is essential for our animal friends. Sure, they can search throughout Marloth Park to find a suitable waterhole, but such water sources are often dirty and filled with mud. Tom refills the birdbath a few times a day with fresh water.
With two bales of lucerne(hay) delivered here this week on Monday and Thursday, we had an opportunity to see many animals at one time. In some cases, there were no more animals than usual since our garden appears to be a desirable place to visit. You may say, “No wonder! The animals are being fed.”
But it’s much more than being about food. The number of animals that come here often clearly illustrates how safe they feel here. It is instinctual for wildlife to remain on alert for life-threatening predators. Sure, there are lions and leopards in Marloth Park. Recently, they’ve just about obliterated the entire ostrich population in the park, along with countless impalas and warthogs.
To see these beloved animals feel safe around us is heartwarming on the one hand but terrifying on the other. Lions and leopards could just as easily come to our garden as anywhere else in the park. At night, we often hear the roar of these dangerous beasts. On Facebook, we often see photos of the remains of an animal that the large cats had partially devoured.
They can “run, but they can’t hide.” Nature always wins. A starving lion is as entitled to eat as the gentle little bushbucks that come to our garden for pellets, carrots, and other vegetables and fruits. Who’s to say one wild creature is more or less deserving of eating than another? It’s all a part of the life cycle in the wild, and we have no control over how it ultimately plays out.
This morning Tom took some photos and a video while Connie and I were getting our pedicures at Imbewe Spa (where I go once a month to have my toes done) when he spotted Norman and his son Noah, who’s maturing quickly in what appeared to be a horns-to-horns scuffle. Was Norman teaching Noah how to defend himself, or was he giving Noah the message that it’s time for him to move to another territory and let loose of following his mom and dad around?
We’ll only know the answer to this question soon if we see Norman and Nina visiting without their son. The three of them often visit two or three times a day. Will we ever see Noah again when so many residents in Marloth Park have never seen the nyala family as those of us in this area have been blessed to witness, day after day?
Ah, if only “they” could talk and tell us their intentions. How fascinating that would be. But, like us humans with a degree of uncertainty about our eventual demise, we don’t get to know precisely what our wildlife friends are thinking. It’s another one of those “mysteries of life” we don’t get to know.
Soon, we’re off to Jabula with friends for our usual Friday night dinner. May all of you have a lovely evening as well.
Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2021: