Lions on the loose in Marloth Park…We’re missing the adventure!…Photos…

Two female lions spotted in Marloth Park! (Not our photo).

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Ireland
runs under a democratic nation, and established their present constitution in
1937.”

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There’s no doubt about it…we’re missing the excitement over this past month when several lions were sighted in Marloth Park, walking about the streets in search of food.  Surely, they’ve found plenty in the bountiful wildlife reserve.


It would have been quite an experience to be one of these drivers on the paved Olifant road, when these two females, as shown above, sat leisurely on the side of the road oblivious of the cars stopping to take photos.


There were several occasions in the 15 months we lived in the bush, that lions found a way to get into Marloth Park via an opening in the fence, often dug up by warthogs.  Unfortunately, we never had a chance to see them, although we went out looking for them slowly driving from on dirt road to another.


During those periods we could often hear their roaring at night.  Many of our friends in the park are equally excited now, as they see and hear them.  Of course, we could always hear Daisy and Fluffy the two neutered lions who live in Lionspruit, the reserve within a reserve in Marloth Park.


Lionspruit was the location for many fantastic braais and parties we attended at Frikkee’s Dam with Louise, Danie, and many others.  We were aware of Daisy and Fluffy (male) presence in the area but hardly worried about it.


Now the workers, homeowners, and holidays renters are being warned to exercise the utmost of caution when walking anywhere in the park or even in one’s own garden. As always,  there is an after-dark curfew in place which is difficult to enforce when there are no police in the park.  


Through the hard work of local volunteers, the park is “policed” but they aren’t able to arrest anyone.  The three security companies in the park join in the “policing” but here again have little ability to arrest anyone.


Many may dismiss the fear of lions in the park as being overly cautious.  But, while we were in the park, we did a story with photos of Jonas, a local worker, now 20 years later, a popular builder and friend to the park, who was attacked by a lion in Marloth Park receiving horrific injuries.  


Somehow, Jonas survived to share the story and go on to live a productive life.  If you’d like to read the story of Jonas and see photos of his scars from the attack, please click here.


Here’s our photo of Jonas when he and Danie came to visit us so we could share his story along with photos:

Jonas has scars all over his body from the attack from 20 years ago when he was a young man, riding his bike at night in the dark.

Jonas speaks little English but speaks Afrikaans and Danie translated to English for our benefit on that memorable day.  He was so kind to have taken the time to meet with us and retell his shocking story of living to survive a lion attack.  We posted the story on March 11, 2018.


We’re hoping no one will be foolhardy and ignore the curfew and stay away from the lions who aren’t hesitant to be present during daytime hours.  When such warnings were out during our lengthy 15 months stay it wasn’t unusual to see children riding bikes and walking alone on the roads.  Who are these people who would be so careless?

We’ll continue to check out what will transpire until the lions are darted and returned to Kruger.  But, at this point, all efforts have been futile.  We miss the park, always will and hope to return someday soon.

Have a safe and fulfilling weekend!
                        ______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, July 6, 2018:

Mom and Dad were obviously very proud of their family.  Ostriches mate for life.  For more photos, please click here.

Lions in Kruger National Park…The fascination with lions…The scorching heat continues…

We shot this photo of a female lion taking a drink in the Maasai Mara in October 2013.  Although we had an amateur camera then, as we do now, being up close made all the difference in the world as opposed to today’s remaining lion photos taken in Kruger at a distance.  Here’s the link from which we copied this photo with many more lions photos, including one in a tree.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is our resident tree frog who mostly lives on a light fixture frame on the veranda.  In the winter months, he only appeared at night. Now, he’s there almost constantly except for this particular time when he came down from the light and sat on a chair on the veranda.  He eats lots of insects at night when we turn on the light.  

Human’s fascination with lions has persisted for centuries.  Their mystery, their fierceness and their voracity coupled with their physical structure, and their gender differences have been the primary source of interest for most photographers, both amateur and professional who are fortunate enough to visit their territories throughout the world.
From Kruger National Park’s website:

“GL SMUTS, LION (1982)

Butch Smuts worked in the Kruger National Park for many years, first studying what was causing a decline in zebra populations, and later performing intensive studies on the lion populations in the park, with a special emphasis on the central region of the park. Together with colleagues, they developed mass capture protocols for lions that are still used today. During the course of this research, the first lion ever to be fitted with a radio-collar was captured and released to provide information to the curious scientists.

Lions are often seen at a distance in Kruger.  It’s a rare exception to see them crossing the road as depicted in many photos.

Over four years in the 1970s, the stomach contents of 257 lions were examined. 47 percent of the lions had empty stomachs. For the remaining lions, ten prey animals had been eaten by the lions. These were impala (30%), wildebeest (24%), giraffe (15%), zebra (11%), warthog (8%), waterbuck (5%), kudu and buffalo (2% each). A domestic goat (probably from outside the park) and an unidentified animal were also found. When statistical analysis based on the sizes of the animals was performed, giraffe was found to make up the greatest bulk of the animals’ diet, followed by wildebeest and zebra.

We spotted the five lions at the Verhami Dam which during this hot season no longer has any water.

Smuts and his colleagues performed a lion census in the mid-1970s, luring over 600 lions to call centers where the lions could be darted and marked to enable counting. During a five year period, they managed to capture over 1 200 lions. He found that the central district of the Kruger National Park had over 700 lions, dispersed amongst sixty different prides. There was a sex ratio of two adult female lions to every adult male.

The five lions were all females.


The largest pride contained 21 lions, and on average there were two males per pride, although this ranged from one to five males per pride. The lion density was worked out as 13 lions per 100km2. They also worked out that in Kruger at that time there was one lion per 110 prey items. This was a strong contrast to the Serengeti where there is only about one lion per 1,000 prey animals.”

It was very hot that day at 40C (104F) as they sought shelter from the sun under trees.

Although this article is over 35 years old, it was interesting information we hadn’t seen anywhere in our recent research.  Kruger’s website, in general, has been an excellent source of information for us over these past many months.

Surely, calling groups of lions a “pride” has something to do with their proud and confident demeanor.  Hence, the “King of the Jungle.”

And yes, as we peruse the Crocodile River banks day after day from here in Marloth Park, we find ourselves on the proverbial search for lions when we enter Kruger.

We held our breath as we took these photos, in order to steady the camera.

Much to our surprise, we see them more often from the fence in Marloth Park than we do while on a self-drive or professional game drive in Kruger.  While in the Maasai Mara in Kenya n 2013 we did see them up close and personal.  

In a mere 87 days or so, we’ll be back in Kenya to once again visit the famed Maasai Mara (as part of a larger Kenya wildlife photography tour) when roads are not barriers to getting close to the magnificent beasts.  

These five may be part of what is referred to as the “Verhami Pride.”  

In Kruger, its required to stay on the paved or dirt roads.  Thus, when spotting wildlife, our photos may only be taken from the roads, making many scenes difficult to acquire.

We took today’s main photo in the Maasai Mara in October 2013.  You can clearly see the advantage of being close to the subject when using a less-than-high-end camera, as we had then and we have now.

She couldn’t have been prettier as this little branch framed her face.

Of course, we’d love to have the equipment to be able to get great shots from long distances,  But, as we’ve mentioned over and again, we don’t want to carry the extra weight around the world, nor are we able to handle a heavy camera since both of us have bad right shoulders.  It’s a reality we have to live with.

From time to time, a few would raise their heads, looking intently for possible prey.

As technology improves over the years, we’ll eventually be able to buy a lightweight camera with more efficiency and clarity.  We look forward to that time.  In the interim, we do the best we can.

Here we are attending a photographic safari for 16 nights in Kenya is a few months where most likely all the participants will have upscale sophisticated cameras.  We’re ok with this.  


Not everyone has a lifestyle similar to ours with certain restrictions.  We’re going on this adventure for the experience and for photos we can share with all of you along this exciting journey, many of which will be as clear as the main photo in today’s post, taken over five years ago.

They’d lay back down with one keeping a watchful eye for possible action.

We continue here now and will carry-on in Kenya searching for those special wildlife photos.  Please stay tuned for many more lion photos during our remaining time in South Africa which will only escalate once we return to the Maasai Mara.

The scorching heat continues as we sit here on the veranda drenched in sweat.  But, this is what one expects in Africa so we take it in our stride.  As long as we can sleep in aircon comfort at night, we have no problem. That means the power must stay on…another reality of Africa we’ve adapted to over this extended stay.


Tonight, we off to friends Jan and Steve’s bush home for dinner.  Rita and Gerhard are joining us after meeting them last Saturday at Jabula.  That’s how it is here, friendly and welcoming, even for newcomers.

Stay cool, stay warm, wherever you may be to provide the utmost in comfort.

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Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2017:

Our ship was this close to the walls to the walls of the passageway of the Panama Canal as this cargo ship in front of us.  This was our second passage through the canal since we began our travels.  For more photos, please click here.

What a day we’ve had!…Power outage for many hours…Trip to Kruger to entertain us, and it certainly did!…

 
In this photo, taken at Aamazing River View on Saturday night with friends, I cut off the top of his “tall” fluffy hair but I like this photo of my guy, Tom.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Zebras in the garden including a pregnant mare.  

Today’s post is going to be short and to the point. It’s very late in the afternoon as I type at this moment.  We always put our laptops away for the evening while we enjoy the wildlife in the garden and dinner on the veranda.  Doing a post at night has been a rare occurrence.

Neither of us using any digital equipment until later in the evening when we may watch one episode of a favorite series on my laptop or play with our phones when we go to bed, reading and playing mindless games.

All of today’s lion photos were taken at a huge distance from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger.  Excuse the lack of clarity, please.

This morning shortly after I awakened, while Tom watched last night’s Minnesota Vikings football game, streaming on NFL GamePass, the power went out.  This is not unusual in Marloth Park but generally, it comes back on before dark.

When the power goes out, the Wi-Fi also goes out and there is no way for me to do the post. I have an offline app I can use but my almost-four-year-old laptop’s battery won’t last more than 90 minutes without being recharged.

A mom and her playful cub.

If I used all my battery power we’d be left in total darkness when we come inside from the veranda where we may have spent the evening in the dark with no lights to see the wildlife and no lights to accompany our meal, let alone the need to prepare our dinner without power.

We save my laptop’s battery for that one show we may watch at 2200 hrs (10:00 pm) before we’d go to sleep.  On top of that concern is the fact that today, still spring, not summer, the temperature has been 40C (102F).  Not having aircon by bedtime could result in an extremely uncomfortable night.

Two lovely females.

So, instead of sitting around, frustrated and bored in the awful heat, we jumped into the new not-so-little red car (with excellent aircon) and headed to Kruger.  One expects that on such hot days, the wildlife would stay undercover and many do.

But, today was special and we had many excellent sightings we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.  This time, we didn’t stop at the Mugg & Bean in Lower Sabie for breakfast since I had to eat something before I take the required six Prednisone tablets before 9:00 am for my outrageous case of pepper tick bites.

Her cub was suckling.

Luckily, the tablets are working and the situation is resolving nicely.  However, I’m plagued with the awful side effect of insomnia.  The first night I took one of the Ambien prescribed by Doc Theo to help me sleep at night during the 12 day-course of medication.

But after reading about the dangers of this mind-altering drug, I decided I would not take another.  Instead, I’ve had fitful night’s sleep without using any sleep aids of any type as I’m drifting in and out every hour or so.  Overall, though, I’ve had five to six hours of intermittent sleep and feel fine.

Such adorableness for such fierce animals.

This morning I fell back to sleep for an hour which helped tremendously after Tom got up to watch the game.  Not out of bed until 8:00 am, the power went out moments after I got up.  I showered and dressed in the dark.  

Tom was frustrated being unable to watch the remainder of the game and I was unable to do the post.  Thus, we decided, as we’ve done during past power outages, a trip to Kruger was in order.  By 9:00 am, we were on our way hoping the power would be restored when we returned.

Two females who almost appear to be posing.

It wasn’t back on when we walked in the door five hours later.  I was concerned about the food in the refrigerator, not so much the chest freezer.  Of course, Louise was all over this situation and the electrician and Wi-Fi guy were here in no time and now at 1615 hours (4:15 pm), we’re back in business…lights, aircon, and Wi-Fi.  Thanks to Louise, Jacques (the Wi-Fi guy) and Moses (the electrician) for attending to restoring the power in the house.

(As a footnote, the power was out in Marloth Park but when it’s restored some properties may need to be attended to in order to get things back up and running properly.  So was the case here.)

Two females with the persistent cub nipping at mom’s leg.

Soon, it’s time to prep the veranda for the evening’s excitement.  Since we returned today we’ve had tons of visitors including Wildebeest Willie, Mom Warthog and Four Tiny Babies, several Ms. Bushbucks and Babies, two Mr. Bushbucks, zillions of helmeted guineafowl and Mr. and Ms. Duiker.  

Actually, they were all here at once shortly after we returned from Kruger.  They scattered when the service staff came to help but surely will be here again as soon as we set up the veranda.  This happens every night promptly at 1700 hrs (5:00 pm).  Go figure.

See you tomorrow with new and exciting Kruger photos!  The Vikings won.  Tom is ecstatic.

Have a fantastic evening!

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 Photo from one year ago today, November 26, 2017:

A tour boat under tarps at the marina in the Grand Cayman Islands, a port of call off the ship where we met a couple who’d seen our site and are now also traveling the world.  For details and their photo, please click here.

Four big boys near the river…Safari luck prevails…

The four lions had a destination in mind…a recent kill.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This kudu had an anomaly in her markings of dark circles around her eyes.

Having an opportunity to take photos of lions out in the open is rare and unexpected.  Yesterday morning on a whim we took off for the river road overlooking Crocodile River between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

They walked along the river embankment, single file but not too close to one another.

As we approached the “Two Trees” overlook, a regular spot for sighting lions and other big beasts across the river, we knew we were going to see lions as we approached a number vehicles in the parking lot.

Each of four male lions was obviously on a mission.

Prepared to stretch ourselves to spot a lion or two, often hidden under trees or between craggy rocks and ravines, we were shocked to easily see the four lions with the naked eye walking on the embankment out in the open.

It was a rarity to see them out in the open, like this.

We squealed with delight.  This easy sighting was truly a first.  Weather conditions were right, overcast and dark, and the lions weren’t hiding in the shade as we often discover.

They were moving at a good clip.  We had to change our location in order to continue seeing them.

Keeping in mind, its quite a distance from the fence to their location, maneuvered my way down a ridge to get as close as possible to the fence.  As mentioned in earlier posts, there are two fences one must navigate to get a clear shot into the park.

Finally, they reached the kill perhaps left behind by another lion.

One of the fences has barbed wire every 15 cm (6 inches) which requires caution when trying to use the wire as a guide to steady the camera for the distant shot.  Set further out from the barbed wire is the electrified fence which doesn’t present any risks based on its distance from the barbed wire.

It was difficult to ascertain exactly what animals had been killed.

I commend whoever designed the layout of the two fences.  It certainly allows amateur photographers like me to use the barbed wire fence as a temporary support to steady the camera.

It’s us amateur photographers that need all the help we can get in shooting distant photos, especially in cases like ours with less than ideal cameras and lenses.

The four lions didn’t stay at the kill for long.  It could have been decayed or already eaten.

As we took photo after photo, we were in awe of what lies before our eyes once again.  But, this time was special.  This time was unique.  We thought about Tom and Lois and how much they’d have loved seeing these four male lions in plain sight.  Hopefully, they’ve recovered from their long travel day(s) and will see this post sometime today.


Last night we had another delightful evening at Jabula Lodge, this time dining with new friends/readers Rita and Gerhard.  The conversation was lively and animated as Rita and I chatted like long lost friends and Gerhard and Tom did the same.

One by one they wandered off searching for other opportunities.

We’re excited they’ll be staying in Marloth until February minus a few weeks away for other plans and, we look forward to many more get-togethers with them.

This morning we’d hope to have breakfast at Steop Cafe when we had a few grocery items to pick up for tonight’s dinner at Spar in Komatipoort.  Alas, Steop Cafe is closed on Sunday, much to our surprise so we hurried through the market and returned home.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled for these out-in-the-open photo ops.

I’ve already prepared the dinner which only requires oven time an hour before we dine.  Tonight, now that it’s clear and sunny again, should be an excellent night on the veranda.  

Hopefully, many of our wildlife friends will stop by.  So far today, we’ve had visits from female and male bushbucks and some interesting birds but no one else.  The park is packed with visitors this weekend which once they begin to leave will increase the number of visitors we see in the garden.

May you have an excellent day and evening!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2017:

Tom’s early morning view of the moon setting in the horizon on Costa Rica, taken from the veranda.  For more photos, please click here.

A lioness and her kill….Camera issue resolved for now…

A lioness and her kudu kill on the bank of the Crocodile River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is some type of chameleon lizard that takes on the appearance in its surroundings, as in the case of the tree in this photo.  We’ve seen it in this same spot every day for the past week.

A few days ago while Tom & Lois were still here we made our usual drive to the river to search for sightings beyond Marloth Park’s fence into the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park.


Each time we find several cars lined up at either “Two Trees” or one of many lookout spots along the river road, we knew we were in for a treat.  Most often, the enthusiasm is generated by lion sightings, much more than for elephants, cape buffalo, giraffes and others.


This day was no exception.  Photography enthusiasts, both amateur and professional may be found at the fence striving for the perfect shot of what treasures lie beyond the limitations of the fence between the two parks.
We couldn’t believe our safari luck in getting these photos.
Recently, one of our two identical Canon Powershot cameras got soaked by an unopened bottle of red wine I had in a grocery bag.  Since I mostly drink low alcohol wine, I often bring my own bottle to a restaurant and pay a corkage fee which generally runs no more than ZAR 30 (US $2.09) for the entire bottle.

Recently Jabula Lodge and Restaurant had started carrying my favorite low alcohol red and white wines so when I brought the bottle of red, I never used my own bottle, instead respectfully ordering from their supply. 
At the end of the evening with the wine in my cloth grocery bag, I placed the camera inside the bag, not thinking anything of it.  Lo and behold, as we were getting ready to leave after another fine meal I placed the bag on the stone floor with a slight thud.
It was quite a sight to observe her bloody nose from eating her kill.
The thud was powerful enough to break the glass wine bottle and the contents poured all over the camera and the floor.  I wiped up as much as I could at the restaurant and worked on the camera further when we returned to the house, taking out the battery and SD card, hoping it would dry out.

With the upcoming exciting Kenya photography tour in February, I thought perhaps it was a sign I needed a more sophisticated camera.  Tom could continue to use the identical second model and I could learn to use whatever I could find.

Knowing the postal service is a nightmare in South Africa and not wanting to pay outrageous DHL five-day shipping and customs fees, my best hope was to find something suitable in South Africa.
Every so often, she’s stand to investigate her surroundings.
This proved to be hopeless.  None of the models I was interested in are available online here and there was no way we were willing to drive to Johannesburg (minimum five-hour drive each way) to purchase a new camera.

At one point, a few days ago I resigned myself to the fact that a new camera wasn’t in the cards for me at this time and I’d have to use the one we had left which is in fine condition.  

This would mean Tom wouldn’t have a camera to use during the Kenya trip or any other outings we’ll take to Kruger over these next months. I put the bad camera on the dresser in the bedroom figuring we’d have to dispose of it at a recycling facility before too long.
Was a male lion in the area that would steal her kill if he spotted it?
Yesterday, a few hours after Tom and Lois left, I decided to try, one more time (I’d already tried no less than 10 times) if I could get it to work.  I inserted a battery and SD card, fired it up and goodness sakes, it worked!

The end result?  I’m not going to purchase a more sophisticated camera until we get to the US in five months.  We’ll live with what we have in Kenya.  No doubt, this being a “photography tour” may leave us as the only people in the small tour group with a less than ideal camera for such an event.

But, I can’t worry about that.  I know we’ll end up with decent photos our worldwide readers will enjoy as they’ve frequently commented positively on our photos.  Sure, the photos can always be better and eventually, they will be as I gain more skill and eventually buy another camera.
Lois’s last time feeding the kudus yesterday morning before they departed.
The reality remains, our site is about the lives of two nomads traveling the world without a home, without storage, and without a place to call their own.  It’s not an arena to boast photographic skills and expertise.

Let’s face it. I have minimal photography skills and expertise. As much as I get a kick of out taking some decent photos, it’s just not my major love.  My love is sharing our story, year after year regardless of how exciting or uneventful our days and nights may be.
Thanks to all of our readers for hanging in there with us during this long period in Africa.  In a mere 110 days, three months, 18 days, we’ll be on our way to Kenya and won’t be staying in a vacation home until next May. Lots will transpire in the interim.

Have a fantastic weekend, living life to the fullest!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 2, 2017:

Tom got this distant shot of the Montezuma Oropendola which is a New World tropical icterid bird. It is a resident breeder in the Caribbean coastal lowlands from southeastern Mexico to central Panama but is absent from El Salvador and southern Guatemala.  For more photos, please click here.

Scenes from a day in the park with friends…More lions…

Elephants crossing the Crocodile River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We wondered why this female kudu has black around her eyes when the others don’t.

The time is going too quickly.  In nine days Tom and Lois’s three weeks with us will end and they’ll head back to the US.  It’s been such a pleasure having them here.  We’re busy planning how we’ll spend their remaining days.

A family crossing the river together.

So far, we have an evening bush braai in Kruger dining among the wildlife, a Sunday morning bush braai at Frikkie’s Dam in Lionspruit with Louise, Danie, and friends, our six-year anniversary celebration at Jabula Lodge, several evenings out at favorite dining spots and more and more wildlife viewing.

Elephants walking close to the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

In addition, the time came quickly for us to return to Nelspruit for our immigration appointment.  Tomorrow morning at 6:30 am we’ll drive to Nelspruit in order to arrive at the immigration office by 8:00 am when they open. 

Single file, from matriarch to baby.

We won’t have an answer as to whether or not we can stay until the middle of November or later.  We’ve decided not to worry and just continue to enjoy each and every day, especially as we wind down our time with Tom & Lois.

Yesterday afternoon we took off for the river in the afternoon, not expecting to see much.  As we drove through Marloth Park on a lovely day we spotted very few animals until we reached the area near Two Trees.

Climbing back up the hill from the river.

Often, from the fence, we can see elephants, cape buffalo, impalas, and in every case, we spot waterbucks who thrive on living on the banks of the river.  as we drove the long distance along the river, we stopped several times for photos and viewing.


With fewer tourists in the park at this time, we couldn’t be dependant upon “following the crowds” to see if anyone has spotted lions across the river.  Instead, we were on our own, perusing the riverbank to see if a lion or two was on the rocks or under the base of trees.

Giraffe on the river bank with dark spots.

We were all thrilled when Tom zeroed in on a few lions on the hunt in the late afternoon.  Although they were quite far from us, even after we moved along the fence to be as close as possible, it was tricky taking photos from such a distance.  Thus, our few lion photos aren’t as clear as we’d prefer.

Large male lion at quite a distance.

Last night, we dined at a local restaurant with disappointing service.  It took about an hour for our food to arrive which was mediocre at best but the atmosphere was pleasant and as always we had an enjoyable evening.


As soon as I upload this post we’re off for Komatipoort to have lunch at the Komatopoort Golf Course restaurant which overlooks the Crocodile River.  From there, we’re heading to grocery shop for tonight’s and tomorrow’s dinner.  

Tom shot this distant photo of a female lion.  

We’ll make enough food tonight to last for leftovers for tomorrow night so we won’t have to do much prep when we return after the appointment in Nelspruit.  Tom and Lois will stay behind while we’re gone. We’re hoping to return by 1400 hours (2:00 pm) or so at which point we’ll do the day’s post.


Have a great day and we’ll “see you” again tomorrow after we return.

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Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2017:

This style of feeder attracted plenty of hummingbirds in Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation…Rescue and release…Last night’s dinner party for eight

Deidre feeding one of the tiny rescued genets at Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is the adorable bushbaby, named Doc which I fed by hand in June.  See the links included here today from the prior posts to see me feeding him.

Several months ago we wrote a two-part series on Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre located in Hectorspruit, South Africa.  Those stories may be found at this link for Part 1 and this link for Part 2

Wild ducks found a home at Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
With friends Lois and Tom here we thought it would be a rewarding experience for them to visit the facility with us, meet director Deidre and to experience the wonders of the work done by Deidre and her staff of volunteers who are committed to working with her in her unfaltering dedication to “rescue and release.”
These two tiny genets only a few months old require Deidre feeds them every two hours around the clock in order for them to thrive.  
Visiting with Deidre and her precious little creatures all of whom who’d never have survived without her care, love and attention proved to be more rewarding than we expected.

Lois, holding one of the baby genets while standing next to Linda, one of Deidre’s new volunteers.

As a repeat visit for Tom and I, once again we found ourselves reveling in the wonder of this very special place especially when we had an opportunity to share it with our friends.  

There are several peacocks residing at the property.  This particular bird was intent on making lots of noise and showing off. 

The following afternoon we headed to Lisa’s home in Marloth Park for a second visit to again share the value and reward of rescuing the precious bushbabies with the same plan for eventual release into the wild once they are well and able to thrive on their own.

To further entice us with his majesty, the peacock flew into a tree to make some serious noise. 

We shared some wine with Lisa and visiting Deidre who also lives in Marloth Park, and heard wonderful stories about wildlife, rescues, and releases.  It was again for us, a highly meaningful and interesting visit.

Deidre is currently caring for six jackal pups which will eventually be released into Marloth Park to balance the eco-system.

We encourage anyone who loves wildlife to consider donating, even the smallest amount, to help support this worthy cause by visiting Wild & Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre  Facebook page where amazing photos and information may be found.

What a view of the Crocodile River at this location, with many opportunities for wildlife sightings.

From there, we began getting ready for Sunday night’s dinner party for eight which included the four of us, Louise and Danie and a couple to whom they’re renting the same house we rented five years ago, Rita and Gerhardt who are from the USA and Germany.

There were two tortoises at the facility who’d also been rescued and rehabilitated.

Much to our delight Rita and Gerhardt had found out about Marloth Park from our website which they began reading a few years ago.  When they saw our endless posts of how much we love it here, they decided to come for a three-week stay.

The next day we visited Lisa at her home in Marloth Park where, as a volunteer with Wild & Free, she rescues and releases bushbabies.  Such dedication.

They contacted Louise from references on our site and eventually rented the house we’d enjoy so many years ago.  As we had at the time, they’re seeing plenty of visitors at the equally conducive environment.


It was fun talking to Rita and Gerhardt about their lifestyle of travel through Europe with their a vehicle the equivalent of a very sophisticated motorhome. They have a home in the US in the state of Oregon where they often travel a lot as well.

The bushbabies live in a bushbaby villa in Lisa’ closet in her bedroom.  Nocturnal, the bushbabies who can now go out into the wild at night through her open bedroom window and they experience life on their own.

The food worked out well when we’d made a pumpkin soup, low carb chicken pot pie, broccoli salad, lettuce salad and ice cream bars for dessert.  Rita is also gluten and lactose-free so the meal worked well for her.

Lois, holding a newborn bushbaby Lisa had recently rescued.  All the bushbabies will eventually be released except for one named “Special Needs” who has brain damage from hitting his head on a ceiling fan when kept as a pet.  Lisa’s cared for him for the past few years and will continue to do so when he won’t be able to make it on his own in the wild.

As soon as we’ve uploaded today’s post, we’re off for a drive in Marloth Park to hopefully spot more of Mother Nature’s wonders, ending with a stop at the local market for a few items for meals for the next few days.


Tonight, we’ll dine out at yet another local restaurant as we strive to provide Tom and Lois with a wide range of experiences in Marloth Park.
We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

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Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2017:

Close up of an iguana face at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica, a rescue facility.  For more photos, please click here.

The wildlife drama continues..Lions, lions and more lions…including a cub and a croc!….Guest photographer’s rhino shots!…

This male stole the warthog kill from the females, eventually leaving the remains for the hungry females.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Huge crocodile at the Crocodile River.  It’s no wonder that humans and boats aren’t allowed on the river.

Yesterday around noon, Tom noticed a posting on Facebook on the Marloth Park River Viewing page stating lions had been sighted from the fence in the park into Kruger National Park.

Bloody faced lions after eating their kill.
We wasted no time grabbing cameras, binoculars, and repellent and heading out in the little car to see what we could find.  We weren’t disappointed.  I must explain that simply knowing lions are located across the river is only a small portion of getting some decent shots.

Female lion on the hunt.

The scenery on the river banks along with the lion’s colors makes it nearly impossible to spot them, even through the viewfinder of a camera or the lens of binoculars.

Four female lions lying on the rocks.

Tom makes every effort to provide me with landmarks that indicate where he sees the lions using his binoculars.  But this is tricky.  Everyone has a different way of explaining what they see through their own eyes, often different from what others see through theirs.

Two female lions lying on the rocks.

After considerable effort and having no luck spotting them through the viewfinder in the camera, Lois stepped in and in a single sentence from her description, I was able to spot the lions.  From there, magic happened.

Another view of four female lions on the rocks on the bank of the Crocodile River.

And, although the photos aren’t as perfect as I’d like based on the limitations of the only camera  and my occasionally unsteady hand from such a distance, overall we were pleased with what we’re sharing today, not due to any skill on my part but based on the scene that unfolded before our eyes.

The four of us were thrilled to witness these magnificent scenes.

Nature?  Wow!  Remarkable! How did we get so lucky to witness such fine acts in nature?  Surely, part of it is “safari luck” which Tom and Lois certainly seem to possess as well as we’ve been in awe over our sightings since they arrived 10 days ago. The time is going so quickly.

Mom and baby.  

Not only has this tremendous experience reshaped their views on wildlife and nature, but it’s also provided us with an opportunity to see these amazing scenes through their perspective, only enhancing the enthusiasm we’ve already experienced in these past eight months in Marloth Park.

The cub wanted to nurse but mom was having none of it!

Although mom was turned away, we couldn’t resist posting this photo of the cub.

I couldn’t wait to return to my laptop to download the photos we’re sharing in today’s post.  As often is the case, we deleted many of the lesser quality shots and saved the best for posting on our site.

The cub gave up the pursuit of suckling and settled down.

As for our guest photographer, Lisl, whom we met at Ngwenya Lodge and Restaurant on Thursday night, we’re grateful she took the time to send us her three photos we’re posting today.  

Lisl also took this great rhino photo to forward to me.  Thanks again, Lisl.

I had made the mistake of bringing the destroyed camera to Ngwenya instead of the working camera and wasn’t able to take the precious and unusual shots.  Our friend Tom only had an iPhone with him and it doesn’t have the capability of distant shots.

Lisl’s photo as darkness fell.

Subsequently, I approached Lisl as she sat on Ngwenya’s veranda with her son and husband, asking if she’d send me a few of her photos.  What a kind person she is to have done so!  Thanks, Lisl! It’s so appreciated!

Lisl, our guest photographer took this rhino family.  Thanks, Lisl!

As for today, we’re staying in while we prepare an American-type dinner for guests Louise and Danie and a couple from the US we’ve never met, Gephard and Rita.  We’re looking forward to another wonderful evening in the bush with friends!


Be well.  Be happy!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2017:

Basilica Nuestra Senora de las Piedades church in Naranjo, Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here. 

Getting outside of our heads in this chaotic world we live in…Distractions…More lions..Giant lizard!…More, more, more!…

Traffic jam on the way to the river.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Monitor lizard breezing through the garden yesterday afternoon.

For those of our readers who may have missed yesterday’s post please click here regarding our goof-up on the arrival date of our friends who actually will be here tomorrow around 1300 HOURS (1:00 PM) not today as we’d originally thought.

Then there were two more, both youngsters.
We certainly do become distracted from time to time.  It’s hard to avoid becoming doing so when there are so many distractions around us at any given moment. 

A bloat of hippos.

Last evening while still light, Tom spotted a monitor lizard in the garden and we both went into action taking the above photo we’re sharing here today.  Whether its a lizard, a frog, a wildebeest or a pair of duikers, it’s all worthy of our undivided attention.

As I prepared this post there was four bushbucks, two duikers, eight helmeted guineafowls, dozens of birds hovering by the birdfeeder waiting their turn and a handful of mongooses wondering if they’ll get eggs. They will. They always do.

A hippo plowing through the vegetation in the river.

Much to our relief, yesterday we heard both Frank and the Mrs. making their noise.  She’s been incognito for the past week and we were worried something had happened to her.  Alas, she’s been off with her eggs, soon to be hatched into adorable little francolin chicks.  And yes, we do get attached to birds.

Lately, there’s been countless cape buffalo on the river.

Before too long the chicks will magically appear and we’ll have to keep a close watch each day to make sure the mongooses don’t go after their eggs or eventually the little chicks.  This could be challenging.  Talk about distractions.

Yesterday afternoon after getting many tasks completed, we jumped in the little car and once again headed to the Crocodile River. To get there, we choose a fairly long route that takes us through areas on or near the river that often results in some spectacular sightings.  Yesterday was certainly no exception!

What a face!

We saw it all; elephants, hippos, cape buffalos, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, and lions.  What an adventure!  What a fantastic distraction from thoughts that occasionally flutter through our minds on the horrible news we read online about what’s transpiring in our own country, here in South Africa and many other countries throughout the world.

Female lion checking out the territory.  Earlier in the day, two females killed a warthog, the males took it from them but eventually, they all feasted.

Did we run away to escape it?  In part yes, we did.  Unfortunately, with the internet before our eyes, several times a day, there is no escaping the harsh reality.  We’d love to be able to ignore it but it doesn’t seem possible when its smack-dab in our faces everywhere we turn.

Marloth Park and Kruger National Park have become our ideal distractions pumping our bodies and our minds with feel-good hormones released each time we see something that peaks our interest. 

Two male with full bellies.

Whether it’s that same frog that comes to call every night, sitting atop the outdoor light fixture snapping at insects, a monitor lizard slowly wandering through the garden or lions at a distance in Kruger Park, we love it all and, indeed it does take us outside the noise inside our heads.

Contemplating a nap after a big meal.

And soon more distractions will come our way when our friends come to visit for three weeks, where we’ll surely have some great times together.

Tonight, to make it easy, we’re heading to Aamazing (yes, spelled correctly) River View Restuarant located on the Crocodile River where we’ll have more distractions, along with sundowners and a good meal.

Yep, a nap definitely is in order.  Lions tend to hunt during mornings and late afternoons after it cools down.

Have a fantastic day and evening, finding distractions that take you away to a wonderful place.

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Photo from one year ago today, October 9, 2017:

Sinkhole as a result of flooding from Hurricane Nate, courtesy of the Costa Rica Post.  For more photos, please click here.

Oops, we goofed…Go figure!…Talk about preoccupied!…

The elephants walk by in single file with many cape buffalos in the background.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
The lioness picked up her head long enough for us to capture this distant photo.

When friends Tom and Lois gave us their flight information several months ago, somehow it stuck in our brains that they were arriving on October 9th when in fact, that was their departure date.  

When we read on Facebook at the Marloth Park Sighting Page that lions had been sighted we dashed to the river to see if we could get some good photos.  Unfortunately, the lions were hard to see when hidden behind a tree.

Dumb us, we didn’t stop to think that they’re coming from the US and won’t arrive until October 10th.  You’d think we’d know this by now after all these years of travel.  But, in our enthusiasm, October 9th went on our calendar.

We were sitting on a bench watching the cape buffalo and suddenly these elephants walked passed us.

Last night when sending email messages back and forth to confirm their estimated arrival time we realized they wouldn’t be here until October 10th, most likely reaching Marloth Park by around 1:00 pm.

We were surprised to see so many cape buffalos along the river.

Louise had planned for Zef and Vusi to do the “spring clean” today but once we realized this we suggested they come tomorrow which worked out better for her after all.  

With school holiday guests leaving many of her rental properties yesterday and today, having the boys available today to clean the houses, made lots more sense today than tomorrow.

They were scattered along a one kilometer stretch of the river bank.

As a result, the boys will be here tomorrow and we’ve changed our plans to return to Komatipoort for more shopping until tomorrow so we can be gone while they’re here.

In one 45-minute period, we saw three of the Big Five on Crocodile River.

We can only recall how much work it was preparing for houseguests in our old lives when we wanted everything to be as perfect as possible.  Now, with perfectionist Zef and Vusi, there’s little for us to do other than clean up some clutter and to coordinate plans and upcoming meals.

At the moment, as I write this text the company that provides Wi-Fi is here upgrading something in the system.  The Wi-Fi will be down for an hour at most but we’ve decided to stay put and wait for the work to be completed.  In the interim, I’ve completed the post-offline using a special blog posting page in Microsoft Word, a solution I’ve used when we don’t have a working connection.
We were able to zoom in to see a youngster grazing.
With the change in plans and Tom and Lois’s expected arrival time, we’re taking advantage of the extra day to complete some organizing and reduce some of the clutter.  Although we’re relatively tidy on a day to day basis, with limited cupboard space, closets and drawers as is typical in many holiday homes, we’ve created some clutter in a few areas and today is the perfect day to address this. 
Most tourists only stay for short periods and often don’t even unpack their bags.  With us carrying literally “everything we own” with us everywhere we go we prefer not to “live out of a suitcase” and find space for all of our stuff.  
They aren’t particularly handsome animals but they are an important part of the animal kingdom.
Keeping in mind we don’t necessarily have that much stuff but being here for this extended period we’ve found ourselves accumulating more than usual.  It’s easy to do without realizing it.  I guess by nature us humans really are packrats and have a hard time avoiding collecting “stuff.” 
With only four months (visa extension providing) until we depart South Africa, we need to begin thinking of what we need to donate and clear out before our departure.  Since I’ve recently lost a lot of weight (more on that later), most of my clothes no longer fit and will be donated before we leave.  Once we arrive in the US in April, I’ll have to replace many items as will Tom who’s also losing weight. 
More elephants on the river.
Of course, the reality always remains that our limited wardrobes wear out after washing the same items over and over again.  For the first time in years, I actually have holes in my jeans and shirts.  

I see that holey jeans are fashionable in the US but I’m too old to wear that style, although I do see some old timers at my age, wearing them.  I don’t get that.  But, who cares?  To each her/his own.
Today, we plan to head out for another search for wildlife to see what more we can find. 
Have a fulfilling day!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 8, 2017:

In Costa Rica, a pair of Inca Doves landed on the veranda railing and posed. These pretty birds mate for life and spend considerable time preening one another’s gorgeous feathers that appear to be small scales.  For more photos, please click here.