Sultry Sunday in the bush…Peculiar nighttime invader…


An insect on the screen door that looks like a dried leaf or plant.

Since we wrote here yesterday, we’ve had three load shedding sessions of 7½ hours without power, an eight-hour session with no WiFi, and a five-hour session with some type of animal sounding as if she/he was trying to dig their way into our bedroom last night. Could it have been the porcupine Tom saw on two late-night occasions?

Neither of us cared to venture outside in the dark to see what it could have been. Even Tom, with his poor hearing, could hear the rambunctious scratching sounds coming from the bedroom’s exterior wall. I guess we’ll never know what it was unless we stumble upon it while we’re outside on the veranda in the dark.

Mr. Bushbuck was chasing around Ms. Bushbuck all day. Hmm, we wonder why?

Lately, the mosquitos have been so hungry for my flesh that we can’t stay outdoors after about 8:00 pm 2000 hours. They seem to get worse when it gets dark, even more so than at dusk. Once winter comes, we’ll be excited to stay outdoors much later.

Last night, when we returned from another fun dinner at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant in the dark, we found Ms. Bossy Kudu waiting for us at the edge of the driveway, along with her youngster and another female. No more than moments after we entered the house, the three of them were in the back garden waiting to see if we had some pellets. We did. We freely offered them a few good-sized portions which they devoured with enthusiasm.

I should mention how grateful I am that Dawn and Leon, owners of Jabula, who have special ordered my low-alcohol wine, Four Cousins Skinny Red, and also have special ordered hamburger meat without the usual fillers that restaurants often include in their burgers in South Africa, such as sweet sauces and flour. Dawn ordered the plain mince (ground beef) and personally cooked the two unless burgers for me last night, topped with “real” cheese as opposed to processed cheese used on most burgers.

The mating hornbills continue to return, but no babies yet.

On the side, I had three perfectly prepared fried-in-butter (not oil) eggs, cooked to my liking turned over medium. It was a perfect meal. Rather than leave them with a partially used bottle of red wine which would spoil before we return in a week, we always purchase the entire bottle, bringing the remainder home with us. We so appreciate their friendship and their caring service with their thoughtful attention to detail.

Before too long, we headed to our bedroom, turned on the air-con, and settled in for a few episodes of BritBox TV series, Shetland, which friends Linda and Ken (now back in Johannesburg) recommended. Oddly, season two of this series is missing. If any of you know where we can find Shetland’s season two, please let us know. We searched online with no results.

Right now, we’re doing a free 7-day trial of Britbox through Amazon Prime, but we won’t be able to get through all the seasons (even without season two) when we only watch two episodes a night. We set up my laptop atop the wooden kitchen cutting board to keep it from getting too hot on the bed. We’re willing to pay for Britbox for the next month to complete the series.

Bushbucks are always on guard when other wildlife stops by.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll pack and head to Louise and Danie‘s house where we’ll stay over, for one night, while they fumigate the house until the regular service provider returns from his two-week holiday when he’ll come out and take care of a second treatment. We’d have to move out again for another 24 hours at that time too. Instead, we’re hoping he can come after we leave for Kenya in 25 days, on April 8, 2021.

Load-shedding is expected to start again soon. Most times, the WiFi stays active without the power running, which we’re hoping will happen again so we can continue this post, add some photos, and upload it in a reasonable time frame. As all of you know, lately there have been many WiFi issues impacting our ability to upload posts in a timely fashion.

Taller animals drink from the pool, but now that the water in the mosquito breeding pond has been removed, warthogs and birds have nowhere to drink in our garden. Today, I put out a bowl of water.

Well, it’s after 11:00 am and the power didn’t go off as expected. With Eskom, the unreliable South Africa power company, such inconsistencies are typical. We can anticipate it will go off at some arbitrary time later today and tonight. It’s nice to know in advance allowing us to plan accordingly, but that’s not always possible.

That’s it for today, folks. We intend to post tomorrow after we move out of the house for 24 hours. So, please look for us then. We hope you have a pleasant Sunday wherever you may be.

Photo from one year ago today, March 14, 2020:

This kind man, Mr. Ganapthay of Cholan Art Village, made the experience of visiting his nine-generation family bronzing business all the more special to both of us. For more, please click here.

Oh, oh…Frequent power outages scheduled for December…A challenge in our lives…

We didn’t see much on the river yesterday but we were thrilled with our other sightings, including this young zebra and mom.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is our boy Wildebeest Willie, who stops by most afternoons for pellets and several naps.  He waits for other wildlife to appear then gets up to join in on the pellet frenzy.  He isn’t interested in carrots, celery tops, apples or pears.  He responds enthusiastically to his name and most likely responds to names other residents have given him.  Smart guy, that Willie!

It was a shocker yesterday when there was a notice on Marloth Park’s Facebook page about power company Eskom’s scheduled power outages, referred to as “load shedding.” 

What is load shedding?  Here’s a description from Eskom’s website here:

“As South Africa’s primary electricity supplier, Eskom’s mandate is to ensure the security of supply to service the South African economy and society.

Eskom, therefore, generates, transports and distributes electricity – and this is managed predominantly by Eskom for the entire country; however, Eskom only directly supplies more than 5 million households which means that most of us are supplied by municipalities.
At all times there must be sufficient supply to meet demand, but electricity demand is not consistent because of:

  • peak periods when demand is higher
  • and continuous growth in the number of customers requiring electricity services.

This means that the power system requires constant and prudent management of supply to meet demand but, today, Eskom faces the challenge of a constrained power system that will affect us until substantial new power capacity is available. In the meantime, to meet demand, our older power stations and infrastructure are being used to full capacity. In addition, routine and necessary maintenance of plant and infrastructure are carefully scheduled to limit compromising supply capacity during periods of high demand. We have also strengthened the distribution network to reduce the incidence of localized outages when the power trips because of overload in local areas such as suburbs.

Localized outages should not be confused with load shedding. Local outages can occur when there is either a technical fault in the transmission or distribution network, or when electrical equipment has been tampered with such as theft of cables, or when there is an overload of the local system because of irregular high usage due to electricity theft as well as normal faults.

Five years ago we saw ostriches at this bush house and they continue to visit almost every day.  The owner is able to walk freely among them and distribute pellets.  We’ve yet to have an ostrich at the Orange house but had one at the Hornbill house in 2014.

Load shedding, or load reduction, is done countrywide as a controlled option to respond to unplanned events to protect the electric power system from a total blackout. While we generally use the word blackout loosely to mean “no lights” in our local area, a country-wide blackout has much more serious consequences, which can occur when there is too much demand and too little supply, bringing the power system into an imbalance – tripping the power system in its entirety.

Many countries and cities in other parts of the world have experienced complete blackouts. To re-start their system, they are able to tap into a power system from a neighbor which can take a few hours or days, but we have to rely on ourselves to start the system from scratch – energizing one power plant at a time and one section of the country at a time. It could take up to two weeks to restore full power, which would have a severe impact on our country! This is why we use load shedding, or load reduction, to effectively manage our power system and assist in protecting it from such an event.”

This is one of the chicks we’ve been following for the past several months. They certainly have grown. One of their amazing attributes of the ostrich is the fact that they will grow to adulthood in 18 months. They weigh about 1kg when born and in the space of 18 months grow to an incredible size of about 140kg. The female ostrich will start laying eggs when she is about two years old.

There’s nothing we can do.  This is the way it is and will be especially over the busy holiday month of December.  The holidaymakers will begin arriving this upcoming week and it will be relentless throughout the entire month of December and part of January.

When reviewing the schedule for outages, we realize in many ways this will be a challenge for our daily needs as well as that of other residents and tourists in Marloth Park.  Our biggest concern it being able to upload our posts with new photos daily. 

Of course, we found them on Volstruis St. which means ostrich in Afrikaans, where they are often found.

We’d like to assure all of our readers, that regardless of this difficult schedule, we will continue to post each and every day.  The exception will be in the event of a total power outage lasting more than a day.  

Here’s the proud mom still fussing over her growing brood.

Thus, if you do not see a post by the end of any 24-hour period, you can be assured we have no power and cannot do a thing until the power is restored.  At first, we were shocked and disappointed.

But now, after reviewing the schedule, we’ve discussed ways in which we’ll make it work.  For us, lousy sleepers that we are, the hardest times will be on hot nights when we won’t be able to use a fan or aircon.  The windows have no screens so we’ll be in the equivalent of a “hot box” during the two to three-hour outage.

Here’s the family all together; mom, dad, and growing chicks.

For example, here are the scheduled power outages for us in Stage 2 over the next week:

Sat, 01 Dec
07:00 – 09:30                                         2.5 hours
15:00 – 17:30  (3:00 pm to 5:30 pm)      2.5 hours       TOTAL OUTAGES IN 24 HOURS – 7.5 HOURS
23:00 – 01:30  (11:00 pm to 1:30 am)    2.5 hours
Sun, 02 Dec
Mon, 03 Dec
Tue, 04 Dec
Wed, 05 Dec
Thu, 06 Dec
Fri, 07 Dec

The load shedding schedule varies by week when many of the outages will be during dinner time from 1700 to 1930 hours (5:00 pm to 7:30 pm).  Last night was the first evening we experienced this particular schedule.  

For the first time yesterday, we spotted giraffes at a particular overlook we often visit, but rarely see any wildlife, on the Marloth Park side of the fence.

Knowing in advance, while the power was still on, we prepared everything we needed for our dinner.  We usually start pulling the dinner together around 1830 (6:30 pm) with ease with lights on.  Last night we got everything out and ready to prepare while it was still light (it gets dark about 30-minutes later).  We ate  by candlelight.  

However, the hardest part for us at this time of day is not the meal.  We’ll manage that just fine.  It’s the fact that it’s our prime wildlife viewing time from the veranda when our evenings are so special, is from 1700 hours (5:00 PM) to 2100 hours (9:00 pm).

We’re always in awe of giraffes, especially those in the neighborhood.

The remaining schedule includes outages for most of these hours in 2.5-hour increments.  This changes everything.  We won’t be able to see a thing.  This is a big disappointment for us and our lifestyle.

There is nothing we can do but adapt to this situation to the best of our ability.  Next Thursday, when we go to Komatipoort to shop, we’ll stop at the hardware store to see if we can locate a good solar powered light we can see the garden at night.  

We spotted five giraffes in this area, including a youngster.

As it turns out the power issues during the prime evening hours don’t begin until December 9th.  This will work out well if we can find a solution.  In reality, this is always the case, finding solutions to situations we find discomforting.

Traveling the world isn’t always convenient.  It isn’t always comfortable as we’ve seen by the outrageous over 40C (104F) heat we’ve had with much hotter temps ahead of us.  

It wasn’t easy when I was attacked by pepper ticks from walking in the bush at the river resulting in over 100 awful bites lasting for over a month, requiring medical intervention and a 12-day course of cortisone (only three days of meds remaining – situation greatly improved) when I’ve hardly been able to sleep as a side effect of the drug.

For the time being to avoid getting more tick bites, I’ve taken photos from the car while on the daily drive in the park.  I only get out where I don’t have to walk through the bush to get to the fence in order to avoid taking photos of the fence. These gorgeous waterbucks males typically weigh from 198–262 kg (437–578 lb) and females 161–214 kg (355–472 lb).

We never have to ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?”
Without a doubt, we rest easy in the knowledge that we love this life we’ve chosen, even with its ups and downs.  No life is free from challenges, medical concerns, inconveniences and for us, immigration issue.

We carry on with joy, love and happiness that somehow supersedes the hardships, knowing full well, this is what and where we’re meant to be…in the world.

Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2017:

Slurpy mouthed iguana posing for a photo at the park in Manta, Ecuador as seen one year ago today.  For more photos, please click here.