It’s not perfection…More Kruger photos…

Could these Cape buffalos be a mom and a youngster?

When I had a “to do” list in my old life, I’d do everything on it in record time. It’s different now. I’ve let go of trying to be perfect. A goal one can never achieve. Trying to achieve perfection can leave a path of destruction in its wake. Funnily, although hard to admit to the world, I had to leave to change my ways. It wasn’t easy.

It wasn’t as if I ever thought, “Oh, I have to leave Minnesota to stop trying so hard.” But when Tom suggested we traveled the world when he retired on October 31, 2012, I was all over it. I wanted to see Africa and knew that it was my chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.

A male Cape buffalo, part of a group of “retired generals?” The African buffalo is a large sub-Saharan African bovine. Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies and the largest one found in Southern and East Africa. 

But, as the weeks rolled on, two thoughts came to mind after we’d decided to begin this journey. One, I could write, which I always longed to. When I retired but knew retirement in Minnesota wouldn’t be challenging enough to inspire me. Two, I could break the chains I put around myself, always striving for excellence, if not perfection. No one ever “made me” do it. It was all on me.

It took being away for a few years to realize this fully. It didn’t happen overnight. It began to transpire when we started selling or giving away all of our belongings. But, it escalated when we unloaded all of our overweight and excess luggage and all the items contained therein.

The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Its unpredictable temperament may have been part of the reason that the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. Adult African buffaloes have few non-human predators aside from lions and large crocodiles. As a member of the big five game, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting. Not good, as far as we’re concerned.

Shipping worldwide is costly and inconvenient, although we still do it from time to time. I’d thought we needed all of that “stuff” when we left. Now I’m content with one bag for my personal belongings, only disappointed when a favorite item wears out and the challenge of replacing it from afar becomes cumbersome.

It baffles me that I’m content without a garlic press, cookbooks, Egyptian cotton sheets, and pillowcases. But I am. It baffles me that I only have one handbag I purchased in South Africa at the shop in Lower Sabie, which soon must be replaced due to wear and tear.

Buffalos rarely have twins. Buffalos kill more hunters than any other species. Buffalos are good swimmers.

It baffles me that I promise myself to do tasks but totally excuse myself when I don’t do them and never feel guilty or burdensome on myself. I pay the bills. I manage travel arrangements and keep records. I cook nice meals, do laundry, and grocery shop. I remember friends and family members’ birthdays, staying in touch worldwide. I host social events and dinner parties from time to time.

But, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all of the tasks awaiting me or the things I “should do.” I’m free. Recently, I started walking indoors with a goal in mind. I haven’t missed a day yet, but there’s always tomorrow when I do.

At the end of life, no one will ever say, “I wish I’d got more done! Or, I wish I’d done everything on my “to do” list.”

A “sausage” growing on a sausage tree. Kigelia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae. The genus consists of only one species, Kigelia Africana, which occurs throughout tropical Africa. The so-called sausage tree grows a poisonous fruit that is up to 60 cm long, weighs about 7 kg, and resembles a sausage in a casing.

Almost three years ago, when my mortality faced me head-on with open heart surgery and a relatively poor future prognosis, I didn’t think of tasks I needed to accomplish. I have a will, and Tom knows my final wishes. Instead, I think of the people I love, family, friends, and acquaintances we’ll make along the way.

I think of my husband, partner, and best friend and how I can better his life in small ways each day. I think of the tasty plate of food I place at our table each time we eat in and smile when I see the satisfaction on Tom’s face.

The sky was quickly changing at sunset as we were on the move.

I think of the eyes on the faces of the animals that visit and how they connect with me, with us. I think of the little dance that Little does each time he sees me, shuffling his feet in a playful way, no different than a dog wagging his tail when you come home at the end of the day.

Simple. Uncomplicated. Not perfect. No pressure. No guilt. I love this life. I am grateful.

May your life be filled with the joy of the “little” things.

Photo from one year ago today, January 17, 2021:

What a handsome face with young horns. Antelopes in Africa don’t have antlers. They have horns for life, never shedding them. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to the airport!…My plan worked!…Pig in a pond!…

Little rested in the cement pond on a sweltering day, his ears flicking as he listened to me talking to him.

This morning at 11:45, we’re heading to Kathy and Don’s house, to head to the airport in their car, and then when we return, dropping off their car back at their house, which we’ll lock in their garage. We’ll jump in our rental car. and head back to our bush house in time for dinner.

Kathy and Don are heading back to Hawaii for their glorious winter weather and the holiday season. They prefer to avoid the busy holiday season in the park and, of course, the sweltering weather, some of which we’re experiencing now.

After yesterday’s 105F, 42C, temperatures, today’s predicted ten degrees cooler will be easy. Yes, we sat outdoors last night when it was still 100F, 38C, with no breeze and high humidity. Although we get used to the heat over time, it’s impossible not to feel some of the discomforts that go with these outrageous hot temperatures.

Based on our travel plans, we’ve accepted the fact that we’ll continue to spend more hot summers in Africa (when it’s winter in the US). When we return to Marloth Park in December 2022, 13 months from now, again, it will be during the heat of the summer.

On another note, yesterday, I devised a plan to help me get some sleep. At the same time, I continue to itch ferociously for many days to come from my dust mite allergy that kicked in last weekend, leaving me reeling in the misery of hundreds of raised red welts on my left side. The pain and itching of these welts usually last for over two weeks.

After no more than three hours of sleep over the past few nights, I devised a plan yesterday. I’d use no anti-itch creams during the day (putting them on seems to make it worse). Before bed, I’d shower again, using hot water, which seems to help for a few hours, and afterward apply copious amounts of calamine lotion, which I can dab on as opposed to rubbing in creams.

Benadryl. When I crawled into bed after the above, I waited until 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs, to take what I’d planned would be two-25 mg. When I was so tired, I decided to take one 25 mg tablet, leaving one out on the nightstand for a second dose if I woke up itching during the night. According to the leaflet, the dosing for adults is 25 mg Benadryl, one to two tablets every four to six hours for allergy relief.

A benefit of this over-the-counter medication is that it can cause sleepiness. The one tablet knocked me out 20 minutes after I took it, and I didn’t wake up once during the night and slept until after 5:00 am. Although I needed more sleep, I decided not to take the second tablet and get up and start my day earlier than usual. I’d hope to get today’s post uploaded before we have to leave for Kathy and Don’s house around 11:20.

Back to sitting outdoors on the veranda late yesterday afternoon…I got a fantastic treat. Little showed up at 4:00 pm, as usual, give or take 20 minutes, and after we’d fed him a few piles of pellets, he crawled into the cement pond filled with rainwater to cool off.

He’d done this on another scorching day when we lived at the Orange house in 2018. Not only did he get into the cement pond, but he climbed the seven slippery tile steps up the veranda and came into the house. We wrote a post about this in several past posts, entitled Pig on the Porch, Pig in the Parlor, Pig in the Pond shown in this link, and another shown here.

Seeing a “pig in the pond” makes us laugh, especially when it’s Little, who makes us laugh over and over again from his funny antics. He’s got so much personality, and no doubt he loves showing off for us, not unlike a dog or cat would do to impress their owner.

So, folks, we’re off for the day, most likely returning in plenty of time for Little’s regular visit at 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, to once again enjoy a lovely evening in the bush.

Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #239. TKaahumanu Church, in Maui, on the US National Register of Historic Buildings For more photos, please click here

Hottest day since we arrived last January!!! What a scorcher!…Expected to be 105F, 42C…Trail cam photos…

    There was Little hanging around in the garden at 5:45 am. We weren’t up yet, Little!

Other than in Africa, we’ve never experienced such heat without using air conditioning during daylight hours. Thank goodness we have aircon at night, or we’d never be able to sleep on during these heat peaks that often occur in the spring, summer, and fall in Marloth Park.

Not all locations in South Africa are as hot as it is in Marloth Park. Right now in Cape Town, it’s 59F, 15C, a far cry from what’s going here right now at noon at 100F, 38C, and rising by the hour. The peak will be reached in about three hours. We can’t help but be indoors right now. Even Johannesburg is a comfortable 81F, 27F.

But this is the bush, the savannah, and the plains in Africa, and it’s consistently hotter in these areas.

A case of malaria was reported in Marloth Park a few days ago. The mozzies are back in their rampant mission to consume human blood, and without Deet, we have no chance of avoiding their annoying and potentially lethal bites. Every six hours, I apply another dose to any exposed skin, which I keep to a minimum.

Clothing is a good mosquito deterrent, and I am seldom bit beneath my clothes. In the morning, after showering, I cover myself from head to toe and then let it dry. If my clothes potentially rub off any exposed skin areas, I reapply them promptly. Its become quite a habit. I don’t give it much thought except when it’s time to reapply, which I rarely forget to do.  At night, when preparing for bed, I make a similar application.

This is Thick Neck at 3:08 am, who often stays in the garden most of the day and night.

When we go sit on the veranda in the evenings, Tom sprays the bedroom with Doom and keeps the door shut to kill any mozzies that may invade the room during the day. Tom doesn’t get bit, and thus, he doesn’t apply repellent except on a few rare occasions we may be out in the bush after dark. Lucky him.

With all these diligent precautions, I still get bit. Right now, I have a few bites on my neck and two on my arms. They are easy to pinpoint. The itching lasts for five days or more. I’ve tried every cream on the market, and nothing makes the itching go away for any longer than an hour or two. It’s not unusual to awaken during the night with all the bites itching at once.

Need I say, we’ve become used to this, and other than mentioning the heat, the insects, and the snakes here to provide our readers with the raw facts of the discomforts of the hot months in Africa, both of us do pretty well. In our usual way, we don’t complain to one another. Not even right now, as the temperature has risen to 102F, 39C, since I began preparing this post, neither of us mentions how hot it is, other than the curiosity of how high it goes.

When we were in Henderson, Nevada, in summer 2019, staying at son Richard’s home in Henderson, we sat outdoors on his veranda by his pool, dunking every 15 minutes when the temperature was 115F, 46C.

This is Holey Moley and an unknown friend at 11:54 pm. She spends most of her days and nights with us. Note the huge temperature drop at night, as indicated by the camera’s description.

According to this chart, the temperature we are experiencing today is within a few degrees of the highest record temperature in this area of 106F, 41C. But even these highs may be surpassed from time to time. When this happens consistently, the power grid can’t keep up with the electrical use of air conditioners, and we lose power.

Hopefully, our electricity will hold, and we’ll make it until tomorrow when we’ll see a substantial drop in temperature to a high of 69F, 21C. It’s hard to believe there will be a considerable drop in 24 hours. We’ll see how that rolls out and welcome such a huge change, one that may require us to get out the hooded sweatshirts once again.

This morning I prepared most of the food for tonight’s dinner. I made a prawn and vegetable stir fry for myself, a huge salad, and a batch of homemade dressing. Later Tom will cook his pork chops on the braai, which he’ll have with rice, green beans, and salad. His muffins, ice cream, and apple crisps are no more. He’s back to eating healthy, along with me.

Somehow, Tom can eat white rice, called a “resistant starch,” and lose weight. That’s not the case for me. For more information on resistant starches, please click here. Lucky him. Good genes.

I hope you are experiencing a relaxed and comfortable day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India,  on day #207. As more guests from Camp Olonana arrived, the women and children waited patiently to begin their welcoming dance. For more, please click here.

Hoping it was Tiny!…Photo comparison…

Yesterday afternoon, when this warthog stopped by, we were hopeful that it was Tiny. After careful examination of the photo of Tiny shown below, we were certain he was not Tiny.

Since we returned from the US at the end of July, we haven’t seen Tiny, who, along with Little, was our favorite warthog. Expressive faces, eye contact, and response to the names we’ve given them, these two warthogs always make me smile. On the other hand, Tom isn’t quite as attached for me but has kept an eye out for Tiny when we haven’t seen him since we’d returned.

This is a photo of Tiny we posted on February 21, 2021. The differences between him and the pig we saw yesterday are distinct.  Note the eye bags, the size and shape of the facial and temple warts, and of course, the size and shape of the tusks.

Little often visits two or three times a day, seldom missing a day. If we don’t see him during any day, we can always count on him stopping by around 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs. He loves to appear when we are sitting on the veranda, ensuring he gets our attention to toss him pellets. This always makes us laugh.

Day after day, we continually check every giant tusked warthog to see if it’s Tiny, keeping in mind many such animals look very similar. But over the years we’ve spent in Marloth Park, we have learned to 0observe identifying characteristics that distinguish one animal of a particular species from one another.

Such characteristics on warthogs include:

  • Size of tusks and variance in each tusk’s size
  • Size of facial warts on males on both their cheeks and temples. Females don’t have facial warts and small temple warts but have white whiskers in varying sizes that aid in identifying them.
  • Body size can vary considerably, but, along with the above, it helps identify warthogs.
  • Bags under the eyes, most prominent in older males
  • Personality – it’s easy to detect a particular warthog when they are overly timid or bossy (Little is bossy and persistent while Tiny was not) along with the other identifying characteristics
  • They appeared alone, as a twosome or with more warthogs, with “sounders” as small as three, as large as ten or more. Often males are “friends” and graze the bush together and groom each other. It’s a rarity to see females together without piglets. Moms will often hang out with another mom and her young, supporting each other and even going as far as nursing each other’s piglets.

We must admit we are more interested in male warthogs based on their seemingly more quirky behavior. As I write this, there is a lone female in the garden, whom we call Lonely Girl. She is shy without much of a distinctive personality.  And yet, there are many male warthogs we see over a week that we can easily identify as a regular or new visitors.

We only observe one or two new male visitors each week. They eat and wander off, never to return. Daily, we see “regulars,” all of whom we enjoy and seem to respond to their various names and the sounds of our voices. Tom isn’t as excited about warthogs as I am, but as mentioned above, when I am busy indoors, he keeps an out watchful eye, always looking for Tiny.

Regardless of what I am doing, when he tells me there’s a large, sizeable-tusked warthog with huge, droopy warts on his face on the premises, I come running outside with the camera to see if it’s Tiny. Sadly, time after time, we’ve been disappointed.

Was he culled while we were away? We haven’t heard that warthogs have been culled in the past few months. Most impalas and kudus were taken to Lionspruit to thin out the huge populations in Marloth Park and provide food for the lions, Fluffy and Desi, who reside in Lionspruit, henceforth the name.

Yesterday, Tom hollered out to me when I was in the house, “Hurry,” he said, “There’s a large pig with big tusks in the garden.” I grabbed my phone to quickly bring up a photo of Tiny I have on my home screen. I was extremely excited that it was him upon first inspection.

However, when comparing the photo of Tiny with the new visitor, we both sadly realized it wasn’t him. Now, we wonder if we’ll ever see him again in our remaining three and a half months in Marloth Park. It’s hard to say. He was huge, and he looked very old. He could easily have died from old age or illness, been hit by a car, or made his way under the fence into Kruger National Park, never to return. We’ll never know. He, like Little, was a loner.

On occasion, Little appears with the same female and two fast-growing female piglets. We referred to them as his “family” since the otherwise greedy pig doesn’t share food with anyone but them. Like many animals in the wild, generally, fathers don’t participate in the upbringing of their young. It’s always fun to see ostriches, who can remain as a mating pair for life, and the dad is equally responsible for rearing the chicks.

In any case, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for Tiny and hope we’ll be able to post a new photo of him if and when he returns.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, October 8, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #199. Like all animals in the wild, this female lion is constantly on the lookout for the next meal to feed her cubs, who were lying under this tree. For more photos, please click here.

A little Little in the morning…What a great way to start the day!…

Less than three feet, one meter, from me, Little settled in this spot at the edge of the veranda, napping from time to time.

This morning, only minutes after Tom stepped out onto the veranda, he called out to me, “Little is here!” We hadn’t seen him in a week.

With holidaymakers coming to Marloth Park over the past holiday weekend (Women’s Day in South Africa), the influx of humans kept many of our favorite animals away. An exception to that has been Tiny, who visits each evening within minutes of 4:30 pm, 1600 hours, regardless of what’s transpiring in the park.

Occasionally, he’d get up onto his knees or stand when he’d hear a noise or see something moving in the bush.

As for Little, he’d last visited about a week ago. Tom is not as attached to him as I am when he considers that Little is like a “bull in a China shop.” but Tom shooed him away from eating Frank’s bird seeds, and we hadn’t seen him until today. I genuinely believe he decided to let go of feeling rebuffed and return to see me.

Little came into the living/lounge room in the Orange house last time we were there. After all, Little tore the screen to the lounge door, which has since been repaired. It was Little who languished in the cement pond on hot days. Little precipitated our post entitled, “Pig on the Porch, Pig in the Parlor, Pig in the Pond.” See here for the post.

He rested his chin on the ground or the edge of the veranda.

Little brought a friend into the house to share in his bounty of pellets, as seen in this link. The laughter and amazement we experienced in 2018/2019 are now repeated in 2021 by the intelligence of this bossy and yet charming warthog who continues to bring us great moments of awe and wonder over his ability as a wild animal to communicate with us humans to this degree.

This morning, was it love he exhibited when he nestled on the ground only three feet, one meter, from me after having his fill of pellets and the forbidden birdseed, as I sat in my usual chair at the table on the veranda? He couldn’t take his eyes off of me. I couldn’t help but laugh in sheer wonder.

When Zef and Vusi arrived to clean the house, Little stood up, checking out the visitors. Moments later, he settled back down to his former position, lying down next to the veranda.

Some may say he was looking at me to give him more pellets. But it’s been Tom who’s tossed him the pellets when he’s better at throwing them into the garden than I am. But, even Tom is amazed by how Little responds to my voice and interacts with me. We always loved our dogs and their ability to communicate in loving ways with us. Pigs, much more intelligent than dogs, certainly can do the same. It’s not always about “the food.”

We see a tremendous amount of loving behaviors in the bush. The moms and babies of most species exhibit an enormous amount of love toward one another. We often see friendly and loving behavior among the kudus, giraffes, warthogs, zebras, bushbucks, and other species. Why would it be so unusual that a wild animal could, under certain circumstances, express caring behavior for us human animals?

Last night’s sunset from the deck at the Amazing Kruger View Restaurant, we dined with Linda and Ken, who left today to return to Johannesburg.

As far as wild animals are concerned, most likely, we are simply another species they encounter in the wild with whom they may choose to interact or not. We often find ourselves gifted with a response that warms our hearts and fills us with great joy for those of us passionate observers who choose to interact with the wildlife in subtle ways, such as through eye contact, voice tones, and appropriate food offerings.

Yes, we know. That’s not our intent. They are wild animals, and we shouldn’t attempt to domesticate wild animals. Instead, we find ourselves in a state of awe and appreciation over the gifts of life so blissfully bestowed upon us by Mother Nature to enable all of us to live in harmony on this earth.

Yes, Little, and now also Tiny, each in their way, teaches us the importance of their existence and how to cohabitate in this unique environment. For this, we are grateful, as we spend every day living in the bush continually reveling in their very existence, let alone in an opportunity to somehow communicate with them.

We’d intended to post this photo from Friday evening’s sundowner party on our veranda, but WiFi issues prevented us from doing so at that time. We had a great evening, which ended when the mozzies came out with a vengeance.

Tonight, after spending five evenings celebrating life with local friends, we’re staying in. The heat and humidity continue to be outrageously uncomfortable. But, we’re managing well, especially when the air-con in the bedroom allows us to get restorative sleep at night. We sweat on the veranda during the daylight hours, occasionally taking a break to come into the bedroom to turn on the AC for a short reprieve. Knowing we can do this helps tremendously.

We’ve had several days without WiFi or power outages which have been delightful. But, as we discussed with Linda and Ken last night at the Amazing Kruger View Restaurant, after all, this is Africa. It’s a hot, dusty, humid, bug-infested continent with snakes, wild beasts, and dangers in many directions. If one cannot adapt to these conditions, visiting Africa may not be for them.

For us, with all its challenges, we feel right at home while continuing to stay on guard for any potential risks. By the way, in 30 days, we’ll be on our way to Kenya.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 9, 2020:

Sundowners on the beach at the Ideal Beach Resort located in Mahabalipuram, India. For more, please click here.

An old friend comes to call…Sheer delight…

It only took me a split second to realize it was Little, not only by how he looked at me but by his funny-shaped little tusks.

Note: We’ve yet to receive the link for the stream of our interview on Lowveld Radio on Saturday. Once we receive the stream for the podcast, we will upload it in the next day’s post. We’ve returned from Malalane after seeing Dr. Singh, the dental surgeon, and for the first time, leaving a doctor’s office, I was on Cloud 9.

There is no abscess, nor is there any issue of any kind with any of my teeth or gums. His sophisticated scanning equipment revealed every aspect of my mouth. He stated emphatically that I had the teeth of a much younger person who’s cared for her teeth all of her life. This news made me smile.

The pain I had in my check resulted from a sinus infection, which the antibiotics I’d taken may have resolved. What a relief! I was anticipating bad news, not such good news. We’re both thrilled. After we left the dental office, we headed to Click’s Pharmacy, a store comparable to a CVS or Walgreen in the US. Tom waited in the car while I shopped.

Little kneeling on his knees for some pellets. He was in heaven. Me, too.

I loaded up on some much-needed cosmetic items. After all, I hadn’t been to such a store in over a year, back in the US at the end of 2019. It was fun to load up on some of my favorite items. In my old life, I usually used department store cosmetics. In the past eight years plus, I’ve been content using drugstore items when I can find such a drug store in any given country. It’s not always possible.

After Click’s, we drove a short distance to the massive Spar Market, which is twice the size of the Spar store in Komatipoort with many more options and, again, reasonable prices. It was more like Sam’s Club or Costco store. I felt like a kid in a candy store, squealing with delight each time I found something new, befitting of our way of eating.

From there, we headed back to our bush house, anxious to unload our “haul” and get to work preparing today’s post with the intent of getting it uploaded before 4:00 pm. Tonight is a cause to celebrate. But, then again, a lot of evenings are worthy of celebration. It’s comfortable and cool today. The WiFi and power are working. We have a great dinner planned, and we couldn’t be more content.

Perhaps a nap was on the agenda, not uncommon for Little.

However, something extraordinary happened yesterday afternoon while we lounged on the veranda in the early afternoon. A warthog came up to the veranda looking for pellets. Immediately, Tom said, “Oh, that’s the pig that tore a huge hole in the screen door a few days ago,” while I was indoors. He was trying to make his way into the house.

The moment I looked at him, I recognized him. It was, unquestionably, without a doubt, my boy Little. My heart skipped a beat with sheer joy. It was easy for me to recognize his unique features, particularly his girth and his flint-shaped little tusks, the reason I’d named him “Little.”

I couldn’t grab the camera quickly enough. But first, pellets were on the menu. Tom tossed him several containers while, happily, I took one photo of him after another. To confirm it was him, for which I had no hesitation, Tom looked up old photos of him for comparison, and he too agreed. It was, in fact, our boy Little. Sadly, I’d surmised that perhaps he’d been culled during the last culling  2020.

Napping was elusive when there were more pellets on the ground.

The big question remained… Did he remember me from 22 months ago, the last three of which I spent very little time outdoors while recovering from open-heart surgery? I’d been stuck lying on the sofa in the lounge room until I was able to walk after the two-leg surgeries began to heal. He continued to visit each day during those long three months. When I could muster the strength and energy, I’d occasionally get up to greet him.

Keep in mind that science states that pigs are even more intelligent than dogs and, we all know dogs remember those they love years after they’ve been separated for whatever reason. Why wouldn’t a pig? And Little did. He stopped eating pellets while I called him by name, talked to him, and looked into his eyes. If a pig could smile with that goofy snout, he would have been smiling.

But, I smiled for both of us. It took over six weeks for him to come here and find us, and I accept the reality that I may not see him for many more weeks or even months to come. Having seen him once was magical. Any more times will be a bonus. I doubt he and Tiny will get along, and one could scare off the other permanently, as happened at the Orange house with Tusker and Basket. The basket came after Tusker and dominated the garden. Tusker never returned after having been a regular in our garden for many months.

When we were gone today, Vusi was cleaning, and Little returned and tried to get inside again. Vusi suggested we move the big bags of pellets from the lounge to another area. We’ll do this tomorrow.

Ah, yes, I am a died in the wool animal lover. Some may say I am an “animal whisperer” when I quickly build relationships with animals, as has always been the case throughout my life. I love them all, big and small, but especially those where eye contact becomes a relevant means of communication, coupled with their response to my high-pitched yet gentle voice.

We had a great day out, and we plan to spend the remainder of today on the veranda, appreciating the cool, rainy weather and the visitors who come to call, hour after hour. Whether it’s Tiny, who usually arrives each afternoon around 4:00 pm, Little, whom we don’t know will return, or the 24 impalas who graced us with their presence only minutes ago. It’s all magical and will continue to be so for every moment we spend in this life-changing environment.

Currently, we are working on travel options for getting out of South Africa on or about April 12th, when our 90-day visa expires. It doesn’t appear there will be a “free” automatic extension for foreign visitors when President Cyril Ramphosa spoke last night, dropping COVID-19 restrictions down to Level 1 from Level 3, easing some restrictions, none of which impact us at this time. As a result, we’ve decided to take a trip out of the country with some exciting possibilities in the works. We will report back once these plans are confirmed, sometime in the next few days.

That’s all, folks! Stay safe. Wash your hands. Social distance and for those who can and are willing, get vaccinated.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, March 1, 2020:

The outdoor dining room at Tuli Tiger Resort. It was very cool at night, and we had to bundle up for dinner. For more, please click here.