Bumpy roads, baboons, and broken baked clay…

We shot this photo of the Crocodile River while standing at the brick overlook. With the five-day May Day holiday and many tourists in the park, we won’t be returning for several days. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Happy caterpillar dancing across the floor!

The five-day holiday observation includes today’s Freedom Day (Freedom Day is a public holiday in South Africa celebrated on April 27th each year. It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held in 1994), then the May Day celebrations begin. See this link for details.

Once again, Marloth Park is packed. All of Louise and Danie’s holiday rentals are booked (not unusual for their exceptional properties. There’s an endless stream of vehicles along our ordinarily quiet dirt road, and the shops and restaurants will be packed over the weekend until Tuesday when the festivities come to an end.

Yesterday, we didn’t see any wildlife along the Crocodile River, although the scenery is always stunning.

With company coming for dinner tomorrow evening (friends Kathy and Don), we plan to stay put over the next several days. We have plenty of food, drinks, and supplies on hand and a plan to make a great dinner not only tomorrow but for the remaining evenings as well.

With the post done and uploaded yesterday around noon, we decided to take one more bumpy drive on the dirt roads in Marloth Park to see if we’d discover any unique sightings.  Whether it’s a turtle or a lizard on the road, a parade of elephants along the river, or a bloat of hippos lounging in a pool of water, it all matters to us.

We didn’t see much wildlife on yesterday’s drive in the park.  This ostrich made the day!

As we drove over one outrageously bumpy road after another, seeing very little, which can be attributed to the increased traffic in the park, we decided to call it a day and head to Daisy’s Den for more birdseed and a few items we needed for the weekend.

Male ostriches typically have black feathers, while females and youngsters are a greyish brown color.

It’s such fun going to any one of the three small shopping centers here in Marloth Park. Talk about a small-town feel! These are oozing with charm and quaintness, leaving both of us enjoying any necessary shopping runs we may make throughout the week to fill in on any items needed.

The pickings are slim in either of the two little grocery stores carrying just the basics. At times, we’re surprised by the excellent produce and odds and ends we may find that prevent us from the necessity of the long drive to Komatipoort for only an item or two. 

A male kudu resting in the bush from the hot midday sun was looking our way as we shot this photo.

The drive to the Marloth Park shops is three minutes. The purpose to Komatipoort is 20 to 25 minutes, depending on what big trucks we’re stuck behind on the two-lane road. 

Back at home by 2:00 pm, the moment we stepped out of the little blue car we realized we had visitors…unwanted visitors…a troop of baboons. Luckily, there isn’t much they can destroy on the veranda at this house. Sure, they could ruin the cushions on the outdoor chairs, but the potted plants are simply too heavy to tip over.

At a distance, we could see these two young baboons playing in the yard.

There are some decorator items on the stucco walls and both a gas grill and wood-burning braai (grill), neither of which seem to appeal to baboons on one of their destructive rants.  Weeks ago, we knew they’d been here when we found poop, baboon poop, all over the veranda and cushions from a few chairs tossed about.  We cleaned up the stinky mess and put everything back in order.

As we kept a watchful eye on yesterday baboon invasion after closing the doors to the house, we heard several loud crashes coming from next door. Maybe they were heading our way next! Tom grabbed his big stick designated for precisely this type of situation, which if he holds over his head cause the baboons tend to freak out and run away. It worked perfectly. 

We immediately shut the doors to the house.  Once baboons enter, they can tear a home apart.

After we were assured they were gone from the general area, Tom walked next door to check out the damage, taking these photos we’ve shown.  If they’d turned over a trash bin, he could set it upright to avoid more baboons and Vervet monkeys coming to eat from the garbage which often occurs. That’s why homeowners have wired or steel cages to hold their trash until pickup arrives.

It didn’t take long to see we were surrounded by destructive animals.

Luckily, they never returned the remainder of the day. We spent the evening as usual, on the veranda enjoying our dinner and watching a variety of “friends” come and go.

We heard several loud crashes from the house next door, where no one is living right now. Rina and Cees had left to return to The Netherlands. The baboons broke many clay pots, as shown in these photos.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the heartfelt story of an injured animal we’ve come to know and love and how we’ve attempted to help him a little as he hopefully recovers soon. 

We’ll be sharing some hard-to-look-at photos of his awful injury and why some animals in the park are treated by volunteer vets and others are not or in some cases euthanized by shooting. Please stop back for this story.

What a shame. I suppose this lighter-weight pottery makes no sense in the bush.

Have a lovely day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, April 27, 2017:

Clouds above the pretty beach in the Isle of Pines, a port of call on last year’s cruise. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Bookings for South Africa…The “adventure” and it’s “paperwork” never ends…

Orange.....more than just a colour!
The entrance to our new vacation/holiday home we’ll be renting in Marloth Park beginning on February 11th, aptly named “Orange…More Than Just a Colour.”  For the link to this listing, please click here.

Yesterday, much to our delight, we wrapped up the first 89-day vacation/holiday rental for Marloth Park. Louise had promised she’d find us a great property that would work for our budget and yet meet our criteria.

This property she chose for us more than met our criteria. It’s a virtual dream house in the South African bush, possessing all the features that make a living in the rugged terrain more comfortable and experiential.

In Africa, many houses have a name, especially in the Conservancy of Marloth Park. The house on which we paid a 50% deposit yesterday is peculiarly and perhaps aptly called “Orange…More Than Just a Colour.”

Fully equipped self catering kitchen
We’re looking forward to cooking again in this modern kitchen after an 80-day hiatus.

The exterior orange-based color certainly prompted the house’s name, but there is nothing gaudy or outlandish in its appearance or design. It is pure bliss by our standards, and we gratefully thank Louise, our friend, and property manager for Marloth Park, for making this happen for us.

Not only did she make this outstanding property affordable for us, but she also locked up our time slot from February 11, 2018, to May 11, 2018, a total of 89 days.  Once we arrive, we’ll work with Louise to wrap up this or other properties we’ll rent during our one-year stay in Africa.

We’ll travel in and out of the country to satisfy the immigration requirements of a maximum of 90 days while we visit many other countries on the continent to fulfill our goals of expanding our African horizons.

Outside pool under roof
Most of the pools in Marloth are plunge pools intended for cooling off instead of swimming laps.

Of course, we’ll share many more photos of this spectacular property located in our dream location during our lengthy upcoming stay, along with photos of our daily “visitors.”

Our inspiration to return to Marloth Park was precipitated by two aspects. One was the bush setting with wild animals walking around the house, and two, the amazing friends we made while there in 2013/2014, all of whom we’ll see when we’re there and have stayed in contact with during the four years since we left.

Today, here in Palermo, Soho area of Buenos Aires, once again, we’ll take off on foot and walk the streets of this fascinating area. Once the holidays end, we’ll do a bit of sightseeing.

Tomorrow, we’ll share most of our dining experiences over these past few days and more photos of life and culture in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 Have a blissful day.

Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2016:

On a walk across the street in Penguin, Tasmania, which is lined with a wide variety of blooming flowers, we spotted this unusual plant. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Bookings for South Africa…The “adventure” and it’s “paperwork” never ends…

We find these colorfully painted buildings interesting and befitting the somewhat flamboyant nature of Buenos Aires.

Where do we begin and end? This outrageous lifestyle only knows an end when we “can’t do it anymore.”  Surely, someday this will come. But, for now, we keep planning and booking one adventure after another.

I used the word “adventure” based on our perception of what adventure may be. To many, experience connotes white water rafting, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, and other physically related risk-taking events.

There are many designer-type furniture shops in the area.

For us, an adventure may be defined as follows from the dictionary:

  1. 1.
    an unusual and exciting or daring experience.
    “her recent adventures in Italy”
    synonyms: exploitescapadedeedfeattrialexperienceincidentoccurrence,
    the eventhappeningepisodeaffair;

Well, not totally. We focus more on the above-stated, “an unusual and exciting” experience and less on the “daring.” Couldn’t “daring” be described as selling everything we owned, leaving our family and friends, as traveling the world for years to come; homeless, without a car, with no storage anywhere, no apartment/condo to return to, to repack and take care of things?  I guess so. 

Perhaps, for us, all of it is an adventure. We’ve never considered we must put our physical beings in harm’s way for our lives to qualify as an adventure. 

Colorfully painted buildings are a common trend in Buenos Aires.

Along that path is the future planning for what we consider the ultimate adventure…re-visiting Africa (we were there four years ago), which will transpire in a mere 46 days (with the cruise to Antarctica in between in only 27 days.) Good grief! Could it get more exciting for us in this short period?

Finally, yesterday, after checking prices for a few months, we booked our flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Nelspruit, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga,  South Africa, a location other “adventurers” fly to embark on their journey on an insatiable quest for adventure.

Another colorfully painted building.

The cost for the one-way economy flight for two was shocking. We’ve never paid this high a fare for a one-way flight.

Here are the details:

Price summary
Traveler 1: Adult $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Traveler 2: Adult              $1,754.66 Flight $1,301.00 Taxes & Fees $453.66
Expedia Booking Fee $14.00
Total US $3,523.3
(ARS 64,934)
All prices are quoted in USD.

705 points
for this trip

Travel time:           16 hours total (3 flights)
Depart:                  12:50 PM, February 10, 2018
Arrive in Nelspruit:    9:50 AM, February 11, 2018
Layovers:       2 hours in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
1 hour 40 minutes in Johannesburg, South Africa

Airlines:         GOL Linhas Aereas S.A
                          South African Airways (last two flights)

We flinched paying this high a fare for coach but, we made up for it a little when we were able to rent a car at the Nelspruit Airport for a total of 89 days for only the US $1,750 (ARS 32,252), including all taxes, fees, and insurance which averages at US $583 (ARS 10,745) per month.

We plan to stay in Africa for up to 13 months and share more details as we book further into the future, much of which will be outside South Africa. But, we’ll continue to return to Marloth Park after satisfying visa requirements for a maximum of 90 days as required in most African countries.

There isn’t an abundance of flowers blooming at this time in the Palermo area.

Today, we’re finalizing our vacation/holiday rental details with our dear property manager friends, Louise and Danie Thiart, who can be reached at this site. We’re so appreciative of their friendship and assistance in finding us more outstanding accommodations in Marloth Park.

Tomorrow, we share details of what will be our new home beginning on February 11, 2018.

Thanks for stopping by!

Photo from one year ago today, December 27, 2016:

This was the view from our holiday home from an elevated road in Penguin, Tasmania. For more details, please click here.