More Kruger photos…Final visit to Doc Theo….Already hearing from residents in The Villages…

The face of a crocodile in Sunset Dam.

Gosh, it’s fun hearing from residents in The Villages in Florida who’d like to get together during the three months we’ll be there. Also, we are hearing from family members and friends who live within a few hours’ drive of The Villages who also may come to visit, staying with us for a few days. This foray into a massive retirement community might be more fun than expected.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us now or in the near future if you live in or near The Villages and would like to get together. We are excited to meet new people and build a busy social life while we’re there. In the first few days after our arrival, we’ll submit our passport applications, but once that is done, we’ll look forward to socializing.

It was hard to determine precisely how many crocs rested in the sand at Sunset Dam.

This morning, we’re returning to Doc Theo to get my prescription to be filled for one year. The pharmacist, Eugene, the pharmacy owner, has agreed to fill them for such an extended period because once we leave Florida, we will mostly be in remote areas/countries where getting them may be difficult.

Sure, we’ll be back in the US in September for three weeks, but we don’t want to have to pay exorbitant prices for a doctor to prescribe them who most likely wouldn’t do so for extended periods anyway. None of my prescriptions are scheduled narcotics. In the US, getting refills isn’t that easy, and the prices would be four times more than here in South Africa. The handwriting is on the wall.

Wildebeests and zebras were grazing in close proximity. Wildebeest have poor vision and prefer to hang around with zebras, who are quick to spot potential predators.

Besides, Doc Theo is my doctor and the only doctor I’d want to contact if something that wasn’t life-threatening came up.  He’s stated emphatically that I contact him on his private WhatsApp number if I need him. How many doctors do this? It gives me great peace of mind, feeling as if he’s traveling along with us. I will miss him.

Some countries won’t accept prescriptions from foreign doctors. Ecuador, where we’ll spend quite a bit of time beginning in late September or early October, doesn’t require prescriptions for non-narcotic medications, but we’ve found these pharmacies often don’t carry the meds I take.

Elephants at Sunset Dam are accompanied by a cattle egret who often hangs out with elephants, picking at undigested morsels from their poop. 

Of course, I will bring my meds and a copy of the prescriptions in my carry-on bag. After losing our luggage so many times in the past few years, there’s no way we’ll take a chance putting anything so important in checked baggage.

After Doc Theo, we’ll head to the pharmacy to get everything filled. They may not have everything on hand but can order and receive them in a few days. We are returning to Komatipoort on April 25 for our teeth cleaning appointments and can pick them up at that time if necessary.

A breed of stork I was unable to identify online. Any suggestions with its pinkish bill and pink legs?

After that, a quick stop at the Spar Market for a few odds and ends we need to get us through the next two weeks until we depart on April 29, such as eggs and salad ingredients. We still have plenty of meat in the freezer and don’t need to purchase meat or chicken.

Our farewell party is a week from today, and with a great response to our invitations, we’re looking forward to a fun event to wrap up our time with many friends who are still here in Marloth Park. Many have left to return to their home base and embark on other worldwide travels, some of whom will return while we’re away for those long 14 months.

A short-tusked elephant is grazing in the tall grass.

Tonight, we’re off to Jabula for dinner as we begin to wind down our social life in Marloth Park. It’s been such fun, and we thank our wonderful friends for making every day so special.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 14, 2022:

Due to a weak signal on the ship, there wasn’t a post one year ago on this date.

More Kruger photos…Dreaming of the future…

A Cape buffalo was scratching an itch.

A short time ago, we returned from our walk. Walking on the rocky dirt roads hasn’t been easy, but I keep forging ahead. Since the multiple surgeries on my legs, which became grossly infected after open heart surgery four years ago, my legs don’t work as well as they used to, especially trying to navigate on the rocky, uneven dirt roads in Marloth Park.

When we spent ten months in lockdown during the pandemic in the hotel in Mumbai, India, I worked my way up to five miles, eight kilometers each day. Hopefully, when we get to The Villages in Florida, walking on the smooth pavement will be much easier.

Munching on tall grass.

Walking on rocky, dirt roads adds stress to joints and muscles, requiring more effort. I’ve noticed my muscles tense and spasm when walking on the roads here, but I only have to do it for a little more than two weeks until we depart South Africa on April 29.

Once we arrive in Florida, get a good night’s sleep, and submit our passport renewal applications, we’ll start walking every day. By the time we arrive in Florida, the weather will be very similar to what we’ve experienced here in the summer, hot and humid months. If it is too hot there to walk outdoors, I’ll join the local health club, walk on a treadmill, and lift some weights.

We looked on the map for The Villages, and it looks like the closest health club is no more than a ten-minute golf cart ride. If I sign up, most likely, I’ll go five days a week and walk with Tom on cooler days. Based on my weather app, it appears the temperature in Florida during the period we’ll be there is comparable to the weather here in South Africa, hot and humid with a high dew point.

“Let’s try on this side,” he says.

We’ll be there at the beginning of the rainy season and the tip of the hurricane season. Hopefully, we won’t experience much in the way of hurricanes since the location is 35 miles inland and 75 feet above sea level, as mentioned below. I found this interesting guide to the ten locations safest from hurricane activity, in case you are interested. See here for the full details. The Villages is listed as #7 as indicated below:

“7. The Villages

The number seven spot was previously held by Naples on the Western coast of Florida. However, due to the recent impact of Hurricane Ian, Naples has moved down on the list. The Villages now holds this spot as it’s located 35 miles from the nearest coast and has an elevation of 75 feet above sea level. The Villages is a large, gated, 55 and over retirement community of 81,000 residents in central Florida.”

A hippo transporting a few oxpecker friends at Sunset Dam.

It’s fun for us to do research for our next holiday home location. It’s been a long time since we booked a holiday home when we’ve spent the past 2½ years in and out of South Africa since we were able to leave India after the long lockdown. Before that,  the last holiday home we booked was in Shirenewton, Wales, in 2019.

The rest of the time was spent on cruises, staying in hotels (including the ten months in Mumbai, India), and spending a few weeks with friends Karen and Rich in Apollo Beach, Florida a little over a year ago.

Once we’re settled in Florida, we’ll start planning our upcoming adventures in South America for about a year until, again, we return to Marloth Park in June 2024 for a shorter stay, no more than six months total. We’re discussing possibly returning to Kenya to get a new visa stamp after the first 90 days and to embark on more safari adventures.

Seeing some elephants on our sparse sighting day in Kruger was great.

It’s wonderful to be thinking about the future with enthusiasm once again, especially now that we’ve received a clean bill of health for both of us. No, it’s not always easy, and we must continue to adapt to new locations and their nuances. From time to time, we experience health issues we must address, as may be the case for many seniors who travel frequently, but that isn’t putting a damper on our future goals and objectives, at least, not right now anyway.

Regardless of our age, none of us can guarantee what the future holds, but we can dream, can’t we? (Hmmm…that reminds me of a song from long ago).

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 13, 2022:

Due to a poor signal on the ship, there was no post one year ago.

Our last visit to Kruger National Park, this time around…

Finally, one of the hippos exited the Sabie River in Kruger National Park.

With time flying by quickly toward our departure date on April 29, and finally, with the holidaymakers gone and crowds thinning out, we decided to head to Kruger National Park today when we awoke to perfect weather. The sun was shining with a few clouds, low humidity, and no rain predicted.

By 8:30 am, we were out the door and on our way to the Crocodile Bridge entrance, an easy 20-minute drive. Since the school holidays had ended on Tuesday, we expected to see few vehicles in the park but were surprised by the number of vehicles accumulating whenever there was a sighting of any wildlife.

Hippos are always fun to watch, but waiting for that open-mouth shot can mean hours of waiting. Tom isn’t patient enough to wait for such an event.

Our expectations were low to avoid disappointment, and we were wise with that state of mind. We didn’t experience a single outrageously exciting sighting, but we were content with what we saw, taking photos of simple and familiar scenes we’ve encountered many times in the past.

However, the drive was lovely, and the breakfast at Mugg & Bean was predictable, with its usual less-than-stellar service. We each ordered omelets, and Tom had his usual strawberry shake with two pieces of white toast (his one slice plus mine), the thinnest slices of bread we’d ever seen, to which he added butter and strawberry jam. I had decaf coffee with real cream. Again, our expectations weren’t high, and we weren’t disappointed.

This fish eagle posed for this photo.

After breakfast, we headed to Sunset Dam, where we encountered a few good sightings but nothing spectacular. So please bear with our less-than-exciting photos of scenes along the way during the four hours we spent in Kruger National Park.

Back at the house by 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs., we had only a few tasks on hand for the remainder of the day. I’d already made tonight’s salad before we left the house and had defrosted tonight’s chicken in the refrigerator overnight. At dinnertime, I will cook the chicken, to which we’ll add the salad and Tom’s white rice. After dinner, we’ll have a piece of the keto strawberry cake I made yesterday, which was delightful.

We encountered several zebras on the move.

Besides making the rest of dinner, I only had to do today’s post and update our expense reports after uploading the post. This evening’s time on the veranda will be comfortable with the temperature so tolerable. This morning, Nina and Natalie stopped by before we left, but nowhere was Norman in sight. We haven’t seen him since last Friday, although we saw that many photos had been posted on Facebook with his image.

The holidaymakers were feeding him something extraordinary to keep him away from the mundane healthy vegetables, fruit, and pellets we offer. Hopefully, later today, he’ll stop by. Many other animals have visited in the past 24 hours as the holidaymakers left Marloth Park.

The first wildlife we spotted was a solitary giraffe hidden behind a bush.

I haven’t started packing yet, feeling I don’t need to start making a mess until next week, although I have been paying a lot of attention to our food supply and analyzing items we’ll take and other items we’ll leave behind. I could pack everything in one day if I had to, but I always like to prepare well before our departure date.

Next week, I will begin. Tom only needs to pack his clothes and the digital equipment, while I will figure out what to take and what to leave in the totes for our return in 14 months. I am not stressed by this at all. I never get stressed about packing and unpacking. My only concern is that we remain within the airlines’ weight restrictions on any particular flight.

More Kruger photos will follow in days to come. That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 12, 2022:

They brought me this when I asked for some grilled fish for dinner on the cruise. Chef Gordon Ramsay would have been horrified if he had been served such a dish. For more photos, please click here.

Raining since last night…Final Kruger National Park photos, for now…

Although we aren’t fans of baboons, this mom and baby in the tree caught our eye— zoom in for detail.

We’d planned to shop in Komatipoort today since it’s almost been two weeks since we last grocery shopped, but the rain and possibly flooded roads prompted us to stay home. We have plenty of food to get us through the weekend if we don’t feel like going until next week.

We always dine at Jabula on Friday and Saturday nights. This morning I prepared a new recipe that should last for two evenings, tonight and Thursday. The next time I will cook again will be on Sunday, with plenty of meat left in the chest freezer and plenty of ingredients for salad and sides. There’s no rush.

Our next pressing issue is getting our 10-year passports renewed, which it appears we’ll be able to do while we’re in South Africa. his morning, we drove to the US Embassy in Pretoria to apply for our passports. e could mail in our passports, but as mentioned in a past post, we don’t want to take the chance of being without our passports in hand while the new passports are being processed.

Two zebras with wildebeests in the background.

We will try and coordinate the trip to Pretoria when we have to drive to Nelspruit to pick up our visa extensions when those come through. That way, we’ll be a third of the way to Pretoria by the time we get to Nelspruit. Hopefully, the timing on all of this works out well. Pretoria is a five-hour drive from Marloth Park.

Once we arrive in Pretoria, we’ll have to stay overnight to avoid driving on the N4 in the dark. We’ll be able to accumulate more points for staying in a hotel for our account. Plus, we have thousands of reward points we can use on our other credit cards, leaving us with several options.

Over the past few days, we’ve been busy with several projects while the work on the house has been wrapping up. It appears all the electrical work is completed, and now we can sit back and relax, knowing that we are immune from load shedding. The only way we noticed load shedding is occurring is when the WiFi goes off for about five to ten minutes when the power is restored.

Two wildebeests with zebras in the background.

Most of the time, we have to wait patiently until the WiFi returns. Of course, this isn’t an issue late at night, but it certainly is noticeable during the day when we’re working online. It’s a minimal inconvenience. When the load shedding starts; we notice a little “beep” that has no impact on our power usage.

Of course, we’re mindful not to use the oven during load shedding periods. If we plan to use the oven for baking, we must check the schedule at the Eskom app on our phones to ensure it won’t drain the system since the oven requires so much power when in use, although the gas stovetop does not.

Perhaps a mom and dad wildebeest and their baby. Female wildebeests also have horns.

Also, we aren’t running the aircon at times when we’re using other appliances, which also drains the inverter system to a substantial degree. However, we only run the aircon at night when we’re in bed when no other appliances are in use. It’s working out perfectly, and we’re enjoying the sense of being relatively load-shedding-free. It’s almost as fantastic as having an elaborate solar power system.

We’ve been busy taking photos of events in the garden, and now that we’re finished with our most recent Kruger National Park photos, we’ll be posting some new and exciting photos tomorrow. We’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 8, 2022:

Little looked a little drunk after eating several fermented marula fruits that had fallen to the ground. Many animals, especially kudus,  elephants, and monkeys, enjoy the intoxication effects. For more photos, please click here.

Finally, we researched and booked a stay…More photos from Kruger National Park…

Two hippos were playing in the Crocodile River.

No, it may not be the most exciting booking we’ve done, but we were pleased to finally get a booking done for our upcoming one-month trip to the US, beginning in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 30, 2023, when our two cruises come to an end, sailing into Boston Harbor.

We’ll spend one night in Stoughton, Massachusetts, visiting cousin Phyllis, and then head out on an early non-stop flight to Las Vegas, Nevada, where we’ll spend nine days in Henderson, Nevada, once again at the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa, close to son Richard‘s home.

This was likely a “Go-Away” bird known for its go-away sounds.

We were able to get great pricing from Expedia on our site. The rate included our airfare (for the two of us) from Boston to Las Vegas and nine nights at the fabulous five-star resort for a total of US $2041.37, ZAR 377932, which includes all taxes, fees, and the nightly resort fee of US $51, ZAR 875.

We’d checked pricing at multiple sites and ended up booking this package which saved us almost US $1000, ZAR 17160! Plus, we get a 10% discount on all meals and non-alcoholic beverages as Expedia’s VIP members after considerable bookings with them over the years. This also entitles us to early and late check-out, which is helpful for us on many occasions.

Kudus, waterbucks, and impalas hang out in the dam’s green vegetation.

We are thrilled with this booking. We prepaid everything but the resort fee yesterday of US $1579.67, ZAR 27125, and will pay the resort fee of US $461.70, ZAR 79260, at the hotel when we check in, which totals the above US $2041.37, ZAR 377932. Now, we will work on booking the remaining time in the US in Minnesota from September 9 to September 23 for a total of two more weeks.

Next, we’ll book where we’ll stay in Scotland from June 8 until August 1, 2023, but we won’t do this until we know if we received our visa extensions. If we are rejected, we’ll have to leave next month in March. We hope to know within about four weeks. Once we see if we can stay, we’ll book this leg of our upcoming journey while we are away from South Africa for over a year. We have many bookings to set up but await the visa info before proceeding further.

Waterbuck at a distance. Excuse the blur.

As mentioned above, we’ll spend one night in Boston on August 30, but we have yet to book it. The hotel where we stayed last time in Boston after a cruise, the Four Points by Sheraton, is now priced at almost US $500, ZAR 8583 per night. No, thank you. There is no way we’d spend that much for one night in a hotel in the US. The other options were few to be near my cousin’s home in Stoughton, but we’ll figure it out in the next few days.

We’re having an easy day today. It’s cooler today than it’s been over the past several weeks, and we enjoy every moment. The laundry is done, and the clothes are put away. Our paperwork, for now, is under control. All I have to do today is finish this port, search for some photo ops in the garden, and do my nails which I usually do on Fridays.

Small elephant family crossing the road.

Tonight and tomorrow evenings, we’ll head out to Jabula for dinner, and as always, we’re looking forward to seeing Dawn, Leon, David, and other staff, along with any locals who may stop by for lively chatter. Each time we head out the door, we always say…”Gosh, that was fun, wasn’t it?” and “Watch for snakes!”


Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 3, 2022:

Little was resting in the cement pond on a sweltering day. For more photos, please click here.

Calm amid the chaos…What a wonderful cool and rainy day…More Kruger photos…

We happily stopped to let this adorable, if turtles can be adorable, crossed the road.

The work to install the new inverter system has been a five-day process, with most of the work conducted over the past three days. Fortunately, we were out of the worker’s way on Monday when we went to Kruger National Park and again yesterday when we drove to Nelspruit to drop off our documents at the immigration office.

It’s always a thrill to see the majestic elephants close to the road.

The house has been an upside-down mess, but with Zef here this morning, cleaning around the chaos to somewhat return to normal. Slowly, everything will be back in order. Danie spent time with us explaining the nuances of the new system, which will prevent us from noticing load shedding except for a few things:

  • If we are running the aircon, we won’t be able to use power grabbers like the oven, the teapot, the toaster, the hair dryer, and the microwave. But, the only time we run the other appliances is during the day, when we don’t run the aircon, other than on a few occasions when we go in the bedroom to cool off for a few minutes when it’s above 42C, 104F. But, if we were in the bedroom to cool off, we wouldn’t use other appliances.
  • The two refrigerators, chest freezer,  lights, WiFi, and recharging of our equipment will always be available to us, regardless of load shedding. Mainly, for us, load shedding caused concern over food spoilage. Now we can grocery shop for two weeks and never worry we’ll lose food.
  • When there is an area-wide power outage, we will lose power after a day or two if we don’t use the aircon, which drains the most energy from the system. This only happens once or twice a year. In four months, we’ll leave for over a year and return to this same house in 2024.
  • We will still have water. We’ll have plenty of water using the pump for our JoJo tank, which is located outside. This makes a huge difference when the reservoir runs dry due to load shedding.

    Moments later, we spotted this elephant family grazing on the side of the road.

Now, the system is running smoothly, minus a few necessary tweaks over the next few weeks, and we will no longer experience any nuances whatsoever. We are content with this and appreciate the time and expense on Louise and Danie’s part. It’s a costly task. An, it’s set up for the eventual addition of solar panels, another considerable cost.

Last night, when we had no WiFi all evening, we wondered if it resulted from the work being done. Later, we discovered the outage was a fiber problem with the grid, and the entire area was out of WiFi all evening. But we didn’t want to bother Danie to come back once again.

This elephant continued walking on the road, preventing us from passing for over 30 minutes.

With no possibility of streaming, we ended up watching a bad Steven Seagal movie on the hard drive, most of which I slept through.

I mentioned yesterday’s post about a challenge we encountered at the immigration office. After the law firm sent us a detailed list of the documents we’d need to bring, in a specific order, to our appointment, we discovered they wanted two more documents, our flight out of South Africa by June 8, the day our visas expire and copies of the last three bank statements. The reason we didn’t have these documents on hand is that the law firm never explained we’d need to bring them.

Occasionally, she’d turn sideways, and we thought she’d enter the bush, but she only continued to graze from the road. She was missing her left tusk.

When we heard we’d need these documents, which I had on my phone, we headed downstairs to a packed Internet Cafe to make copies. The tiny space wasn’t airconditioned and was packed body to body with about five old computers for users who wanted something printed.

Then, she was on the move again, staying on the paved road.

Of course, I didn’t feel comfortable printing our bank statements, but we had no choice. We brought all the documents back upstairs to the immigration office and only had a short wait to submit the final documents.  After we were done, I watched the experienced owner/manager of the tiny shop delete them, one by one, from the computer. I didn’t feel 100% sure they were gone, but we had no choice. It had to be done.

Last night, we received confirmation that our documents had been submitted. In the next several weeks, I’ll receive an email stating that we have to return to Nelspruit to their office to open the sealed envelopes to determine if our applications have been approved. If so, we will most likely be able to stay until June 8, 2023. If not, we’ll have to leave on March 9. We’ll play it by ear.

After over 30 minutes, she turned and headed into the bush, and once again, we were on our way.

That’s it for today, folks. Enjoy our photos from Kruger National Park; we’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 1, 2022:

Hal stopped by for a visit as usual. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to the immigration office in Nelspruit…More Kruger photos!…

We don’t often have an opportunity to see baby wildebeests, so seeing this family with a calf was special.

In a short time, we’ll be heading out the door to make the drive to Nelspruit. We have all our papers ready for our 10:45 am appointment.  It’s a place where they do the equivalent of “musical chairs,” whereby we sit in rows of chairs, moving over each time a person(s) is called for their turn. Even with an appointment, the wait can be long and boring.

With my short attention span, just sitting and doing nothing is torture for me, whereby Tom is quite at ease with his thoughts. It’s funny how we get along so well and enjoy each other’s companionship when we are so different. The old adage about “opposites attract” may well be true after all.

We accidentally left out this photo from yesterday’s many lion photos. That woman is taking a big risk with her arms hanging out the window. One of those lions could grab her and pull her out of that vehicle in seconds.

We don’t plan to do anything else in Nelspruit. We have no interest in shopping and have enough groceries to last until the end of this week or the beginning of next when we’ll return to Komatipoort. People always suggest we shop at the massive Woolworth’s market, which the locals call “Woolies.” But, based on the fact that primarily we eat only meat, veg and small amounts of dairy, shopping at a fancier market with more variety isn’t important to us.

Once we return by around 2:00 pm, 1400 hrs, there will be plenty of time to prep for dinner, finish and proofread this post and upload it for our readers. We had a huge response yesterday after posting the lion photos. Thank you for all of your comments here, on Facebook, and by email.  It always means so much to us to hear from you, our readers, when you enjoy new and exciting photos.

We drove the loop of Verhami Dam and spotted quite a few species.

We certainly understand that you can become bored with our endless stream of photos of kudus, bushbucks, zebras, and mongooses. Oddly, we never tire of seeing them, but that’s a whole lot different than looking at a photo.

A vulture in a tree with what may be a bit of carrion for lunch.

Today, the work will be completed on our new inverter system after we experienced our last session of load shedding last night. This morning, we’re leaving a few minutes before the start of the 9:00 am session, and by the time we return, it will be done.

We just returned from Nelspruit, and the electricians are still here. The house is an upside-down mess with wires and equipment everywhere, but we are fine. Vusi will clean tomorrow when he comes, but we’re fine overnight. With the doors to all the rooms open during the electrical work, tonight Tom will spray thoroughly since the insects are many.

Many vultures were sitting in a tree, scouring the area for possible carrion.

Last night I got up during the night to use some calamine lotion, and there was a nasty-looking black insect on my hanging bath towel. I didn’t do anything about it; this morning, it was gone, where we don’t know. I’m sure it will pop up somewhere.

This may not look like a hippo, but upon closer inspection, we confirmed it was a hippo with an oxpecker sitting on its head.

We ran into some obstacles at immigration this morning, but all is resolved now. We left with peace of mind, knowing the process will continue. It will be weeks before we receive an answer. We’ll share more details in tomorrow’s post.

The first elephant sighting of the day. Many more followed, which .we’ll share shortly

When we returned, I busied myself with prep for tonight’s dinner of saucy (low carb), sliced grilled chicken strips, which Tom will have on his little white buns, and I’ll have on my homemade keto bread with a side of coleslaw for both of us, and white rice (for Tom). It’s not as hot today as it’s been lately, and we’re delighted to be able to enjoy a  cooler evening on the veranda with our animal friends.

Enjoy today’s photos from yesterday’s self-drive in Kruger, and have a lovely evening wherever you may be. More photos will follow.

Photo from one year ago today, January 31, 2023:

Yesterday, I made Tom’s favorite dinner, low-carb pizza with cheese and egg crust, sausage, onions, green olives, and mushrooms. It was delicious! For more photos, please click here.

Hot and humid the rest of the week…Water is back…Thanks, Lindsey for Kruger photos…

This buffalo looks sleepy, not angry.

Today’s photos are mainly Lindsey’s from a visit to Kruger National Park with her mom Connie, shortly before they left here after the passing of her dad Jeff. We didn’t join them that day, feeling that time of their own in a place Jeff loved might be good for them.

Plus, they wanted to spend plenty of time shopping for gifts for friends and loved ones at the fantastic shop at the Mugg & Bean in Lower Sabie. Without us, they could take all the time they wanted and not be concerned we were waiting for them. Before Jeff passed away and on our first trip to Kruger together, Connie and Lindsey helped him pick out several golf-type shirts and tee shirts with various Kruger National Park logos.

Several Cape buffalos crossing the road in Kruger National Park.

Fortunately, they were able to return everything after Jeff passed away and use the credit to purchase the gifts as a pleasant reminder of how important this trip to Africa was for him. What a thoughtful gesture!

We’ve heard from Connie several times, and they are busy planning the two memorial events for Jeff, one in South Dakota and the other in Minnesota. As a professional chef, Connie will have her staff prepare the food for the two events while she keeps a watchful eye on the quality of the food and ingredients, leaving her free to mingle with the guests.

They took their time, sensing no urgency to hurry.

Although we won’t be there with her, Jeff will remain in our hearts and minds for the magical four days we were able to spend with him. We wish it could have been longer, but as it turned out, the timing worked for Connie to acquire most of the necessary documents required from South Africa and the USA. A few documents remain, which may require the assistance of an attorney.

On another note, today is another scorcher with slightly lower temperatures but higher humidity. The dew point is slightly under tropical, making it very uncomfortable and causing us to sweat. This morning, I made a favorite low-carb hamburger (mince) casserole to get us through three dinners with leftovers to freeze for another time.

We always chuckle over the faces of the Cape buffalos. They look angry.

Tom helped, doing all the dishes, pots, pans, and hand-grating cheese, which made it much easier for me. But, I was running around the kitchen, sweating up a storm, for almost two hours getting all the ingredients put together and into the baking pans to be cooked an hour before dinner.  I prepped Tom’s rice for later cooking, and all I have left to do is make the salad, which I will do once I upload today’s post.

I awoke this morning without a headache, making this lofty cooking task much easier. Also, today, I don’t feel the pain in my face. I’ve been trying to figure out why I had the headache yesterday but haven’t had it for the last seven days. Both nights I’d slept well, and there wasn’t anything I ate or drank that varied from the previous pain-free days and nights.

Quite the hunter, the fish eagle is often seen in Kruger.

This morning, when I logged on to our site, there was a comment from one of our readers…they will be in Marloth Park next week for about a week. We hope to meet them while they are here if the timing works for all of us. It’s always such fun to meet people who’ve come here from reading our site.

So far this morning, we haven’t seen many animals in our garden, although yesterday was a busy day. It was cooler and less humid yesterday. The animals stay undercover in their favorite shady spots when the weather is uncomfortable. Norman has stopped by a few times, along with Gordy, Lollie, and a few kudus.

A vulture scoping out its next meal.

Birds have been plentiful, drinking and swimming in the birdbath, which keeps many of the animals well hydrated with its two levels. Even the mongooses drink from it. Tom refills it with fresh water, especially easy now that the water has been restored to Marloth Park after six days. We keep thanking Danie and Louise for providing us with the JoJo tank allowing us to have water, except during load shedding.

That’s it for today, folks. May you have a comfortable and yet purposeful day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 11, 2021:

Two hornbills were banging on the kitchen window, an almost daily occurrence. For more photos, please click here.

A rewarding day in Kruger National Park with friends…

Two waterbucks near the Vurhami dam.

With rainy weather on the horizon today and tomorrow, we all decided to chance it and go to Kruger National Park this morning. We realized the risk of a rainy and windy day existed, but we were all willing to give it a go. By the time we left, it was drizzling, but we were happily on our way.

Young waterbuck at Vurhami Dam.

Fortunately, we spotted some decent sightings before the rainfall escalated about an hour into the drive on the paved road. It always surprises us when we see so much wildlife when driving on the only tarred road in the vicinity of the Crocodile Bridge. But sightings are galore, and we’re rarely disappointed.

Stork at the Verhami Dam.

No more than 40 minutes into the drive, several “parades” of elephants gave us quite a show, and Tom and I were excited for our three friends to experience the sightings. It is an exquisite joy to share this with our friends from afar. They often expressed their utter pleasure in these experiences.

Yellow-billed stork at Verhami Dam.

The rain impeded our views from time to time, but we forged on with enthusiasm and commitment to see as much as possible. We were lucky to see what we did and look forward to sharing more photos in days to come. We didn’t get back to the house until almost 5:45, which meant we spent a whole day in Kruger after arriving shortly after 10:00 am. Often people say you can’t see anything of significance unless you arrive at the break of dawn, but we’ve never found it necessary to arrive so early in the morning. We don’t like getting up at 5:00 am to go to Kruger.

We stopped for lunch at the ever-popular Mugg & Bean, enjoying a nice meal and conversation! How fun it is to share the wonders of the bush with our friends who have never been to Africa in the past. Connie, Jeff, and Lindsey were shocked by the reasonable prices of the food and the quality of our lunches.

Baboons were hanging off the bank of the Sabie River.

The bridge over the Sabie River offered some good hippo sightings. We took many photos of hippos, as shown in today’s pictures, let alone the many others we’ve yet to post. After lunch, we headed to the Sunset Dam to see crocodiles, storks, herons, and hippos, which further rounded out of viewing experience.

We didn’t return to the house until after 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs., which was too late to defrost meat for dinner, so we decided to order takeaway from the Tin Shack restaurant, the first experience for all of us. There were leftovers from last night’s dinner that I opted to eat as opposed to ordering takeaway for myself. There’s rarely anything on a takeaway menu that works for my way of eating.

A leopard turtle crosses the red.

It was a great day with friends, sharing Kruger National Park, including their shopping spree in the fantastic gift shop at the Mugg & Bean. They loved every moment and made several purchases.

It rained most of the day, and the rain continued as we rolled into the evening. We dined indoors at the dining room table, which was lovely. Tom and Jeff watched the Vikings football game together while seated at the dining room table while we all had dinner and much delayed sundowners.

Be well. More to follow tomorrow.

Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2021:
Wildebeests in the driveway. They eventually headed to the back garden for pellets; for more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Extraordinary Kruger National Park experience…Safari luck prevails…Hippos…

For years, we’ve been taking photos of hippos, always attempting to get that much-revered shot with a hippo’s massive mouth wide open. We failed miserably, time after time. On Thursday, when we visited Kruger National Park, often referred to as “The Kruger,” we got those shots repeatedly.

Note: Today, there are no captions under our photos. The images speak for themselves. were

We couldn’t believe we were able to take the above video at the Sunset Dam in Lower Sabie. It couldn’t have been more exciting and rewarding. Speaking of the above video, please excuse the jittery camera. We were about a kilometer (.62 miles) from this event. Fortunately, we were also able to take several photos of the excitement, as shown here today.

Our camera cannot zoom such a long distance without sacrificing the quality of the photos. But, to upgrade to a camera that could handle such distant images would result in a bulky piece of equipment, adding more weight to our already heavy baggage.  I can place our lightweight Canon Power Shot camera in a carry-on bag without fear of it being stolen.

It’s only during such occasions that we wish we had a long-range lens, but it’s the way it is, and we’ve learned to live with our limitations on baggage weight and our unwillingness to handle heavy carry-on bags.

As for the hippos, it was quite a fight. Included on this site, hippos are fascinating animals who may fight for the reasons listed further in the article, as described below:

“What is a hippo?

There are two species of hippos — the large/common hippo and the smaller relative, the pygmy hippo. Hippos are the third-largest living land mammal, after elephants and white rhinos. Despite their large and bulky appearance, they have adaptations to their semi-aquatic environments allowing them to move swiftly on both water and land. Their feet have four-webbed toes that splay out to distribute weight evenly and therefore adequately support them on land, and their short legs provide powerful propulsion through the water. The pygmy hippos digits are more spread out and have less webbing and, proportionally, their legs are longer relative to its body size. They both have skin tones of purple-gray or slate color, with brownish-pink coloring around their eyes and ears. They have very thick skin that is virtually hairless except for the thick bristle-like hair on their heads and tails. The outer layers of skin are quite thin, making them prone to wounds from fighting. Their flat, paddle-like tail is used to spread excrement, which marks territory borders and indicates status of an individual. Their powerful jaws are capable of opening up to 150 degrees revealing their enormous incisors.


Hippopotamus populations are threatened by hunting.

Hundreds of hippos are shot each year to minimize human-wildlife conflict, despite the fact that ditches or low fences easily deter them. It is more likely that the popularity of their meat is the reason for this strategy. Their fat and ivory tusks are also valuable to humans.  At the beginning of the 21st century, the population of the common hippo declined more than 95 percent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2002, about 5.5 tons of hippo teeth were exported from Uganda, which equates to an estimated 2,000 individual animals. Hippopotamus teeth have been excluded from many of the strengthened ivory bans now spreading across the world making this vulnerable species at an increased risk from ivory poachers.

While the pygmy hippo is not generally a primary target for subsistence hunting, they are reported to be hunted opportunistically by bushmeat hunters.

Humans are pushing hippos out of their habitats.

As human populations grow, they encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads. The hippopotamus once ranged from the Nile Delta to the Cape, but now is mostly confined to protected areas. The primary threats to both hippopotamus species are habitat loss and deforestation.


Unlike us, the hippopotamus does not have sweat or sebaceous glands.

Both species rely on water or mud to keep cool — this accounts for the amount of time they spend in the water. Instead of sweating, they secrete a viscous red fluid, which protects the animal’s skin against the sun and possibly acts as healing agents.

Their social structures are dependent on food and water conditions.

These animals have a flexible social system. Common hippos are usually found in mixed groups of anywhere from 20 to 100 individuals held by a territorial bull, but in periods of drought large numbers are forced to congregate near limited pools of water. This overcrowding disrupts the hierarchical system, resulting in even higher levels of aggression, with the oldest and strongest males asserting dominance. Old scars and fresh, deep wounds are signs of daily fights. Unlike their social cousins, pygmy hippos are solitary and aren’t territorial. If they encounter each other outside of mating, then they simply ignore each other.


The surprisingly agile hippo climbs steep banks each night to graze on grass.

They leave the water pool at night to graze for four to five hours, covering up to eight kilometers (five miles) of territory. They will eat about 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of food during this time. Their modest appetite is due to its sedentary life, which does not require high outputs of energy. When returning from grazing before dawn, they will enter their water pool at the same spot they exited.”

We hope you enjoy today’s video and photos and will stop back tomorrow for more exciting wildlife photos from our recent visit to Kruger National Park.

Today is a beautiful, warm, sunny day with a slight breeze and low humidity. It couldn’t be more perfect. We had a fantastic social time and dinner at Jabula last night. Tonight, we’re headed to Alan and Fiona’s for sundowners which surely will prove to be another great night with friends in the bush.

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2021:

The pool at the Green Valley Resort in Henderson, Nevada. For more photos, please click here.