Today, we are on the move!…Back to the bush…

New friends Barry and Lisa, enjoying one last night together on the ship, on this date in 2017, during a cruise to South America. See the post here.

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We’re packed and ready to leave the hotel to return the rental car at Ace, take their shuttle to the airport, check our bags and begin the long wait until our flight at 2:00 pm. The first flight to Newark is easy, less than three hours,, but the typical five-hour layover is to be expected.

During the layover, we’ll have dinner at an airport restaurant and spend time on our laptops to kill time while we wait for the 16-hour flight to Johannesburg.

This morning, Louise and I texted back and forth on Whatsapp. Apparently, things are not good in Marloth Park right now. It’s very hot and humid, the power has been out for almost a day, and there’s no water from the reservoir due to the 11½ hours of load shedding each day. But now, the power is out due to some type of fault or damage to equipment, and they can’t get the power back on.

We feel bad for Louise. All of her houses are rented with dozens and dozens of guests for a golf tournament in Komatipoort and holidaymakers. Can you imagine the complaints from the holiday renters who don’t have power…or water.  There’s no news on when both of these will be restored.

That night, Tom was having a great time, dining in the private “wine room” in the Tuscan Grill with Lisa and Barry.

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We hope things are resolved by the time we return in a few days, but as we always say, “TIA, This is Africa!” What do we expect? In any case, we’ll be fine. We’ll definitely have to throw away all of the perishables in the refrigerator but hopefully not everything in the freezer. When shopping next, we’ll only buy enough for a few days, knowing power outages are even worse during December.

With all the holidaymakers in the park, we don’t expect to see many animals in the garden when we return. But mostly, we can’t wait to see Norman and Nina’s new baby, born a few days after we left. No news yet on the gender of the baby, but we have a few names in mind, of course beginning with an “N.” Noah has wandered off in search of a mate for himself, but there are no other nyalas in Marloth Park other than their family of four. Wild animals generally do not mate with species other than their own.

Hopefully, the rangers can find another female to bring to the conservancy for Noah. We hope to hear this has been done at some point. He’s certainly entitled to having a mate, now that Norman and Nina are preoccupied with their new baby.

It was easy packing the new suitcase that had plenty of room, and we filled it to the brim. We have no way to weigh it and will wing it hoping it meets the maximum 23 kg. limit. Of course, we have no idea if our missing bags will be waiting for us when we get to Joburg or Nelspruit. Only time will tell.

Last night, we had dinner with Greg and granddaughter Madighan at Champps. We’d hoped to see the other grandkids one more time, but we managed to have some quality time with everyone while we were here.

An antipasto board was served to each couple before our other courses were served.

This morning, I spoke to our friend Connie, whose husband and our dear friend Jeff passed away at our house in the bush, when they’d come to Marloth Park to fulfill Jeff’s dream of seeing Africa. We are so grateful he was able to fulfill that dream with us during the time he, Connie, and their adult daughter Lindsey were with us.  It was good to hear her voice. Next time we come to Minnesota, we will make a point of getting together with Connie and Lindsey.

This unexpected trip to Minnesota was such a flurry of activity with the family, leaving little time to see friends. We’re hoping for better planning next time to make time to see some of our dear old friends, too.

Well, it’s time to load the one bag and our carry-on bags into the rental car and make our way to the car rental facility. We are dressed warmly but without jackets, since we don’t want to carry extra clothes through all the airports. I don’t know when we’ll write again. It could possibly not be until Sunday after we arrive on Saturday, in time to shower, change and hopefully head to Jabula for dinner. It will be nice to see our friends once again and to share the latest news with all of you.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2021:

When Melissa Grobler of Dubai, currently staying in  Marloth Park with her mom, a resident, captured these lion photos this morning, we were enthralled. Melissa witnessed this fantastic sighting of one of the female lions known to roam the streets of Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to Seychelles…A few important points for our readers…Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends in the USA!…

Starting on the 26th, we’ll be cruising to these islands in Seychelles.

First, let’s start by wishing our US family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving day with fantastic food, love, and friendship. It was always a fun holiday for our family, with lots of stories to share and delicious leftovers for a few days while we began decorating for Christmas the following day and weekend.

There will be no Thanksgiving celebrations for us. Today is a travel day for us on our next visa run, hopefully allowing us another 90-day visa for South Africa. We’ll certainly report the results once we know when we try to re-enter the country on December 4, a mere ten days from now.

Our packing is just about done, with only digital equipment, power cords, converters, and adapters to be added, plus the medication I’ll still need to use as we travel. That’s a bit tricky since the nasal rinses and treatments I do every few hours will have to be postponed until we arrive in Mahe for one night in a hotel which will be about 24 hours after we leave here this afternoon.

Once boarding the first flight in Nelspruit, the travel time is 19 hours, including as many layover hours as flight times. But, we still have to drive to Nelspruit around 3:00 pm, 1500 hours, with many road delays and then wait at the airport for the 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, flight to Joburg with an upcoming 11:30 pm, 2330 hrs, departure. This trip will consist of three long layovers.

Tom spotted a snake trying to take a drink from the splash pool. I missed the shot but got another after instead, as shown below. We’ve been so busy getting ready the past few days I’ve been too preoccupied to take photos. But surely, on our upcoming trip, we’ll be taking plenty.

See the green snake atop the post by the pool?

This morning I awoke feeling a little better and hope to continue to improve over the next several days as I continue the medications and treatments. I felt tentative about going on this cruise, not feeling up to par, but there were no other options. Once we paid the final payment for the cruise and the flights, we were committed. Plus, our visas expire on the 26th, and we had to go somewhere.

This morning, Vusi washed the little rental car, which we’ll return to the airport when we arrive. We’d rather give the money to Zef or Vusi to wash the car each time we leave instead of giving it to the carwash while Tom stands and waits for an hour or more. They do a perfect job. Once we return on December 4, another car will be ready, likely similar to what we’ve had.

The animals kick up a lot of dust and dander each day. While we’re away, Louise will arrange for the outdoor refrigerator to be repaired, and Zef and Vusi will do a deep clean of the house, which, even with their diligent daily cleaning, still gets dusty in tucked-away places. When we return, all will be fresh and clean.

An important point to share with our readers as we head to what will eventually be a remote location…we may not have WiFi for many periods during the cruise. If you do not see a post from us, please consider that as a day lost in our consecutive uploads. We won’t try to “make up” lost days while without internet access by doubling up.

Once we have a signal or, in the worst case, once we return, I will post the stories and pictures consecutively for many days to come. Please do not be alarmed if you don’t see any new posts during this period. Instead, I will document our activities offline as each day passes, taking photos.

However, we will be able to post from the hotel in Mahe tomorrow and most likely the first day/night on the boat while we’re still in port. You may check daily to see if there’s a new post. For sure, we’ll be back on December 5. We might get lucky and be able to post each day since there is WiFi on the boat, and for all we know, it may work well. We will be purchasing the best WiFi package they have available.

So, we’re signing off for the next 24 hours and hope to be back with you soon.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2021:

This was the total size of the foam tree frog nest before it rained. After it rained hard for hours, it was half its original size. We aren’t sure if the rain destroyed it or if the male tree frogs will fertilize it. For more photos, please click here.

One day and we’re off!…We’re busy getting ready…Male lion warnings!…

This Big Daddy visited early this morning, wondering why he didn’t see us yet. Too early for us!

Last evening, we had intended to visit Louise and Danie for sundowners before taking off on our Thursday trip. When we returned from our pedicure appointments, there was a message from Louise on Whatsapp stating that Danie had come down with the flu overnight. It made no sense to expose ourselves to germs with this upcoming trip.

We appreciated her letting us know. She’d insisted on stopping by before dinnertime to drop off a special treat she’d made for our intended visit. We certainly didn’t want to take any risks, especially since I am already working on recovering from this long-term acute sinusitis.

Wearing a face mask, Louise approached the veranda’s railing, handing off a warm pan of prawn skewers and a fabulous dipping sauce. I’d already prepped a dish and a salad for dinner but decided the prawns would be perfect for tonight, our last night before leaving. We only chatted for a few minutes, and then she was on her way.

Since Tom’s not a big fan of seafood, except lobster, Oysters, Rockefeller, and escargot (which he likes to eat on cruises ships), we could take a few pork chops out of the freezer for him while I eat the prawns tonight. Of course, last night, I couldn’t resist eating a few of the skewers; they were delicious.

Last evening, there were many insects on the veranda, so we decided to eat at the dining room table with the doors closed. Four zebras stopped for remnants of the day’s pellets during that time.

This morning, I prepped Tom’s pork chops after they defrosted overnight in the fridge, made a big salad, and got Tom’s rice ready to cook when we put the chops on the braai. I’ll quickly reheat the prawn skewers and enjoy them with the sauce and the salad on the side.

Tom just returned from Daisy’s Den, where Tracy is a seamstress. Tom left this morning to pick up a pair of jeans. I had  Tracy cut off to hem for long shorts. Over the past few years, I wore that pair of jeans so often, I wore holes in the knees. There was no way I’d wear jeans with holes in the knees. Although it’s cute for young people to wear jeans with holes, I don’t find it attractive on older individuals.

I need to get over myself about the scars from the heart surgery. Since I don’t own a pair of shorts, all of which I’d tossed a few years ago with all the scars on my legs from the surgeries, I knew this tropical trip would require at least one pair of shorts to wear when we go out to the islands on our upcoming Seychelle cruise. This is a step in the right direction.

I’m even bringing the one swimsuit I own. But, the antibiotics I am on, specifically state to avoid the sun due to a high risk of sunburn. Since neither of us has tanned for so long, we must be cautious. We’re bringing organic sunscreen with an SPF of 30, which should serve us well. The cruise line requires all sunscreen, shampoo, and conditioners to be environmentally safe for coral reefs. Fortunately, we were able to find such products at Takealot.

Tom didn’t get outside until around 7:00 this morning and missed this handsome visitor.

On another note, warnings about lions in Marloth Park are posted on Facebook a few times daily. There are two males on the hunt. “And another warning! Here is today’s warning:

 🦁🦁🦁🦁
‼️ VERY URGENT CARNIVORE ALERT‼️
November 23, 2022
The Carnivore Team has released a VERY URGENT WARNING that two substantial male lions are on the move and hunting! They are active and moving fast between Gate 1, East of Olifant and Oribi! The situation is extremely dangerous, and the status could change anytime, so PLEASE be vigilant!
If you encounter the lions, please get in touch with the Carnivore Team! DONT POST IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA for safety reasons!
The Carnivore Team and Security are patrolling and monitoring the areas and situation and will report any variances for safety reasons!
Everybody needs to be highly cautious, especially if you are having a braai outside tonight; make sure the area is well-lit and sit with your backs to the wall!
This an urgent alert for joggers, hikers, and cyclists along these areas throughout the day!
Please do not allow children alone in these areas, period – as the lion could be hiding anywhere! 😳
Unfortunately, the warnings are not taken seriously, but the onus is on everyone to adhere to the alerts and warn others of the dangers.
Should you spot any lions, please get in touch with one of the following persons at all hours:
Rangers 082 802 5894
CPF/ Nadine 082 672 4545 Gerrie Camacho 082 353 9097,
Ernst Röhm /MTPA 083 626 6309,
April Lukhele: 082 807 1057. Jan Koekemoer 063 053 7601.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding – Carnivore Team, Rangers, MTPA, CPF, Security, and the Vet.”
We can only hope that visitors and locals will heed these warnings and be diligent when outdoors, whether near their braai, bonfire, walking, or biking on the roads and to and from their vehicles when out to dinner, bars, and shops. We’ve heard several stories from locals who’ve seen the lions and heard the roar of these lions but, as yet, we have not. We are very careful.
That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with a post tomorrow as we prepare to head out the door by 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs., for our 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs. flight from Nelspruit to Joburg.
Be well.

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

An Egyptian goose was fluffing her feathers while on an island on the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…Tom’s unexpected appointment…Update on piglet Hoppy…

This morning, we were thrilled to see Lollie and her three piglets. She’s kept them hidden since they were born about ten days ago, but perhaps she’ll bring them around more often.

Our packing is in the works. All I have left is to pack a few more clothing items, shoes, toiletries, and medications. Tomorrow, Tom will finish all his packing for our Thursday afternoon departure. Our flight from Nelspruit to Johannesburg isn’t until 6:30 pm, after which we have an almost four-hour layover until the overnight flight to Addis Ababa. Then, we’ll have another long layover until we finally arrive in Seychelles after a total of 19 hours of total travel time.

It will be a long trip, like most flights we’ve taken when leaving the African continent. There’s no quick and easy exit off this continent, except for a few non-stop flights here and there. I wish we could sleep better on planes, but neither of us seems to be able to sleep for more than an hour; as it turns out, this trip to Seychelles consists of three short flights, none over five hours. Most of the time will be spent waiting in airports which are especially challenging with no place to nod off.

If I were feeling better, I’d undoubtedly be more excited about this trip, although this morning, I awoke without a headache which is encouraging. But I don’t want to expect the sinusitis to go away this early in this new regime. We’ll see how it rolls out over the next several days. It’s the price we pay for this lifestyle we live.

The gestation period for warthogs is 152 to 183 days, which works out right since we arrived in May and met Lollie immediately. We knew Lollie was pregnant, but she never was very full-looking with her three piglets. Most likely, the dad is either Busybody or Rueben, who pursued her some time ago.

This morning, at 11:00, Tom and I are going to the local spa owned by Patience and her husband, named Doctor, where I have gone many times for pedicures. But, much to my surprise, this time, Tom is also having a pedicure for the first time in his life! Of course, mine will take longer with the polish application, which he won’t have.

Tom was inspired by Leon, who’d recently joined Dawn on a pedicure appointment, and he told Tom it was pretty nice. Coming from another guy seemed more significant than if I’d suggested it. So, when I booked my appointment, Tom said, “Get one for me, too!” I couldn’t believe it but was thrilled he would join me as we’d both have our services simultaneously.

When we return, I’ll finish this post, upload it and get back to work on my packing, which is a little more complicated than usual, considering the possibility that we won’t be let back into South Africa, there is always a chance when we go on a visa run. This last time we traveled from Zambia, I surmised that the immigration officer made notes of our frequent stays in their system.

If a flag is raised when we try to re-enter, it’s possible we’d be turned away and have to fly to the US immediately. We are hopeful that we won’t run into any issues and can return to Marloth Park on December 4, as planned. We are looking forward to spending a festive holiday season in the bush as we have on three different years in the past.

Ah, sad news about little Hoppy. We assume she passed away when she struggled to breathe when she was here with her mom and two siblings on Sunday. She lay in a little bed of lucerne, gasping for air, unable to nurse or eat pellets. Last night, her mom and two siblings arrived at sunset but no Hoppy. We knew her days were numbered.

Broken Horn stopped by last night for a quick visit.

Then, we knew. Her little body is left in an unknown location for the predatory creatures and vultures to devour. So sad. It broke our hearts to see this little life fade away. We can only imagine what her mom thought when suddenly she only had two piglets instead of three. We often underestimate animals’ sorrow when they lose a loved one.

This behavior is readily evidenced in the emotions of elephants, ranked #4 in intellect. Pigs are ranked #7 in the 2022 rankings on this site. There are varied opinions on the top 10 most intelligent animals on the planet on many sites. But this particular site mentions:

“Pigs just barely edged out dogs for our list of the ten most intelligent animals. While dogs have intelligence comparable to toddlers, pigs operate at a much higher IQ level. They can understand the concept of reflection at only six weeks old; it takes human children several months to comprehend.

Pigs also have approximately 20 different sounds that they use to communicate, and mother pigs sing to their children while feeding. Pigs respond to emotion and even show empathy when appropriate, an extremely rare trait in the animal kingdom. Other pig facts can be found on this page.”

The intellect of pigs has been a huge factor in my interest in them over these past years we’ve spent in the bush. Relating to them daily makes it easy to see how smart they really are. It’s easy to see the emotion on their faces, and last night, Hoppy’s mom looked forlorn.

Life in the bush…it’s always interesting. It’s always unusual.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2021:

Homemade keto bacon-wrapped meatloaf. See details at this link.

Four days and counting…Saving more money on future cruises…Blood on the veranda…What could that be?…

We were shocked to see the blood on the veranda, but there was no evidence of its source.

We had a busy morning. We rushed off to the doctor at 9:15 am to get a few more prescriptions. This will be my third round of antibiotics for the acute sinusitis I got when I had Covid-19 in April. The other medications I am currently on have been adjusted, lowering some doses, and adding a nebulizer treatment. I tried to avoid taking more antibiotics but this needs to go away once and for all.

Once back at the house, Zef was here cleaning and changing the linen. There was a problem with the bathroom sink over the weekend and it was tricky trying to do six nasal flushing treatments a day in the bathroom sink when we knew it wouldn’t get fixed until Monday. We didn’t tell Louise about it until this morning since we didn’t want to disturb their short holiday in Mozambique. over the weekend.

We put a large bowl in the bathroom sink and used that each time I did the nasal treatments or washed our hands, dumping the water onto the shower floor and rinsing the bowl each time. That worked. TIA. This is Africa. Stuff happens. Then again, stuff happens wherever we’ve lived in the world, including back in the USA.

When Tom stepped onto the veranda this morning, he spotted this trail of blood with no indication of its source. There are a few leaves in the center but aren’t of importance.

The extra refrigerator we use that’s on the veranda died over the weekend. We emptied everything out and moved the items to the main refrigerator in the kitchen. I’m sure while we’re gone, Louise will arrange to have the refrigerator repaired since we use it often, especially when doing a two-week grocery run or having guests.

Tom is currently on his way to Komatipoort to get my prescriptions filled so we’ll be good to go on Thursday. Fortunately, he was willing to drive up and back on his own as he’d done last Friday for the same purpose. This enabled me to work on some projects around the house; folding laundry, prepping for dinner, and writing a schedule for all of the medications which require my attention every two hours.

I contacted Louise to send the link for our next three months’ rent due at the end of this month and immediately paid that, taking one more item off of the “to-do” list. Yesterday, I set up bill pay for upcoming credit card payments due in December in the event we have poor WiFi on the ship which we’re expecting. We entirely pay off our credit card balances each month unless we’ve charged a huge amount for a pricey cruise or trip, which we’ll pay over two months.

The animal (or human, for that matter) walked along the side of the house where the blood droplets continued.

Speaking of money, Tom discovered another price drop, a Black Friday special, on Cruise Critic, for our upcoming cruise next August. He called Costco Travel that evening and we received another price reduction of US $1100, ZAR 19175…plus an additional US $1000, ZAR 17432, cabin credit which added to our existing US $300 cabin credit, ZAR 5227 for a total of US $1300, ZAR 222652, that we can use for purchases of drinks, WiFi or purchases in the shops which are always fun for me when we have unused cabin credit. The cruise lines do not refund leftover cabin credit.

Our total benefit for that one call to Costco on November 18, resulted in us saving US $2100, ZAR 36588, less the reduction on the complimentary Costco gift card, which we can’t use until we get back to the states. The last such gift card we had, we used toward the purchase of this new Lenovo Windows 11 Ideapad Flex 5 which I am very happy with. Using a Chromebook, for all we do wasn’t ideal for me but works well for Tom.

A hornbill stopping by for some birdseed we place on the bushbaby ledge.

Of course, this price reduction reduced the amount of the gift card Costco provides for booking travel with them. Originally, before all the price reductions we’ve got on this cruise with credits for canceled cruises and price drops, we only owe US $2996, ZAR 52161 as compared to our original price for that cruise US $16275, ZAR 2834406.

It’s imperative that we stay on top of all of these posted price reductions. The cruise seller/agents don’t watch for the price drops on cruises. It’s up to us to keep an eye out and then ask for the benefit of the reductions and perks.

Earl stopped by last night for some pellets on the bench which he prefers to eating off of the ground.

This upcoming cruise in Seychelles didn’t offer any price reductions or perks. Once we set sail or at the end of the cruise, we’ll be posting the cruise fare and added expenses.

Today, the temperature and humidity are moderate and we’re quite comfortable which is a welcomed relief. There are many hours of load shedding but we are fine with that, as long as our inverter is working and provides WiFi, the ability to recharge our equipment, a fan in the bedroom, and the light from one lamp.

May you have a pleasant Monday! Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 21, 2021:

It was great to see this elephant from Amazing Kruger View restaurant while out to dinner with another couple the previous night. For more photos, please click here.

A little life is fading away…

Hoppy is trying to eat a little but is not thriving like the other piglets. The hair on her back stands up as a sign of defense since I stood nearby to take this photo.

There are no words to describe how sad it is to watch precious little warthog Hoppy slowly lose her life. Her mom brings her and her two siblings to see us at least once daily. But Hoppy’s broken leg prevents her from thriving, and she is losing weight and drifting away. Now, when they visit, she nuzzles the remnants of the lucerne into a little bed she makes for herself using her snout.

She no longer stands to eat pellets, even if we toss them near her. When it’s time to go after they stay for an hour or more; she hops along on her three legs, unable to put any pressure on her right front leg. It’s swollen. There is nothing the rangers can do. Some animals may be treated, such as bushbucks and other animals. In the wild, nature takes its course, however sad it may be.

Warthogs may proliferate with three or four piglets each season, while bushbucks, kudus, duikers, wildebeests, zebras, and others generally only have one offspring per season. As a result, less money is allocated to treat injured and ill warthogs, which, as you’ve seen in our past posts, often fall prey to severe injuries.

Hoppy doesn’t have much chance of survival with this severe leg injury. We don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to keep up with her mom and siblings.

Warthog’s protective nature of protecting their young, and their territory, coupled with their often feisty personalities, lead them to be easy targets for other prey, including lions and leopards, as illustrated a few days ago in this post. These types of injuries are hard to see when we have a particular affinity for warthogs with their intelligent and humorous nature.

But, Hoppy? What happened there? It’s unlikely it was an injury. The newborn’s bones are flexible, and it’s doubtful she incurred this severe injury after we saw her within hours of her birth when mom and babies stopped by, and we observed the leg problem immediately.

With all the inbreeding in wildlife in Marloth Park, other areas, and national parks, it’s possibly a congenital disability, but it could quickly have occurred during birth. We’ll never know for sure, but in the interim, we’re watching a fast path to her demise, which, based on how she is moaning when she lays in the lucerne, we expect it won’t be too long. She’s withering away.

On the right is the mom we called Wounded, who was attacked by a leopard or lion. She likely won’t survive either, although her injury looks a little better, as shown in the photo below.

We know that one day soon, her mom will arrive with only two piglets, and then we will know….unless she passes during the hour or two, they are in our garden each day. Yes, I know the words people always say., “It’s the nature of wildlife,” with the same logical sense that accompanies life in the wild.

The great joy of spending our days and nights in the bush leaves a propensity to feel deeply for these animals. It’s unavoidable. But, in this environment, unique from anything else we’ve ever known, it’s easy to become attached in a way similar to falling in love with a puppy in only a few days.

Last night, we canceled our reservation at Jabula and stayed home. I wasn’t up to going out again. One of the medications I am taking causes me to be sleepy, and I didn’t have the steam to go out. We took out a container of leftover stir-fry with fried rice for Tom, and I made a salad to go with us. We had a nice dinner in the dining room. Since the insects were so awful outdoors, we had no choice but to eat indoors.

Wounded’s injury still looks awful, and she will not survive when sepsis sets in.

This morning, when we got up, I washed all the insects off the kitchen counters before we made breakfast or prepped any food for tonight’s dinner of bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, fried rice (for Tom), green beans, and salad. We already had dozens of flying insects in the kitchen, which are attracted to hot food and meat when prepared and served. We had to shut the dining room doors during dinner. After dinner, we headed to the bedroom so Tom could spray the kitchen with Doom.

A few of today’s photos are repeated. There haven’t been many photo ops this weekend, with more tourists in the park and the awful heat on Saturday topping 103F, 39C. Fortunately, today is a fantastic and cloudy day with moderate temps and humidity. It certainly is appreciated by both of us.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, November 20, 2021:

Gordon Ramsay, also known as Gordy, lounged in the garden after eating veg and pellets. He visits us at this house as well as the last. Each bushbuck has some distinguishable markings, making it possible to recognize past visitors using our past photos for reference. For more photos, please click here.

Five days and counting…Packing on the horizon…

Tulip and Lilac were striking a post in the garden.

The packing for this trip won’t be easy. We don’t have many clothes appropriate for daywear on this ship. I purchased a few items online from an international shipper, and everything arrived, so I have what’s needed to wear in the evenings, but I am at a loss for daywear. Tom has plenty of shirts and shorts.

After the awful surgeries on my legs in 2019, I tossed all my shorts, thinking I’d never want to wear shorts in public again, and rightfully so. While outside all day in the bush, I have cool pants to wear to keep my legs covered to avoid getting mosquito bites. With all the rains, the mossies are out in full force.

Today will be 1017F, 38.3C, and I’m wearing a cool long sleeve shirt and pants with socks and shoes. This way, I only have to use DEET on my hands and around my neck. The thought of covering with DEET to the degree necessary to protect me from bites certainly can’t be healthy for the long haul.

Lilac continues to visit us daily with her mom Tulip.

But, in Africa, we see many people wearing long safari pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect themselves as well, when in the bush and on safari, for the same reasons, bugs and too much sun. But, this attire doesn’t necessarily translate to appropriate daywear on a small cruise ship. Oh well, I will make do with what I have on hand.

Mainly, we’ll enjoy the sea, the scenery, and the socialization commensurate with cruising. It will be nice not to cook for a week and see what the chef can come up with for me to enjoy. Weeks ago, I sent the cruise line my list of appropriate foods for my eating. It’s pretty easy to prepare some meat, fish, or poultry plus non-sauced vegetables and egg dishes when they’ll have all those items on the boat.

This is Little Johnny. Notice his tiny budding horns.

Last night, we had a good evening at Jabula with Dawn, Leon, and other locals we know who regularly frequent the fabulous establishment. The food, ambiance, and service were as exemplary as could be, as were the fun conversations and laughter. Leon and Dawn are surprisingly upbeat with all they have on their minds. It’s always wonderful to see them. Tonight, we return for another great evening.

This morning, I awoke without a headache, but I’m not jinxing myself (a silly premise) by saying what I am taking and doing is working. Last night, I was a little distracted since my headache was pretty bad, the first full day off of that sleep-inducing Amitryptyline, but I’d read there could be a rebound headache when stopping the drug. The headache could return any minute after having had it since April.

Little Johnny usually visits with his mom, Jasmine. But on this day, he was alone. He’s quite good at head-butting other bushbucks when vying for pellets.

Every few hours, I either take a tablet or do a sinus rinse comparable to using a Netipot equivalent with special solutions to aid in reducing symptoms of acute sinusitis. It was too soon to take more antibiotics, so I’m following the most extreme treatment protocol to remedy this problem. Today I am hopeful. Yesterday, I was not.

Once I upload today’s post, I’ll head into the bedroom and start selecting items to pack in my duffel bag. It has plenty of room, and the cruise line asked passengers to bring soft-sided bags to reduce weight and bulkiness. Fortunately, we purchased two soft-sided duffle bags from Takealot, South Africa’s version of Amazon, a few years ago.

Well, that’s it for today, folks. I am off to get to work on my task. We’ll be back with you again tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 19, 2021:

As always, Broken Horn stopped by for a visit. We have another Broken Horn at this house, but the opposite horn is broken. We call him Broken Horn. Be well. For more photos, please click here.

One week from today and we’re off to Seychelles…Another horrible animal injury…Enough, already!!!..

This is Bad Leg who had a leg injury a few weeks ago. In no time, he seemed to recover, and now, he showed up with this hole in his head. How in the world will he recover from this injury?

This morning, I awoke with my left eye really swollen, and itchy, the same side of my face where the headache and cheek pain is located. Unable to see Dr. Theo today, I decided to go to the local Marloth Park clinic and see Dr. Shane, a highly regarded doctor, also loved by many locals.

I guess I don’t have trigeminal neuralgia for which I am on a drug to help with the head pain. Instead, it appears I have chronic sinusitis precipitated by Omicron in April. Lately, I’ve been treated for a sinus infection which did resolve, but I am still left with inflammation in the sinus cavities on the left side of my head only.

Dr. Shane prescribed medication that should resolve this issue once and for all, with a strict regime of treatment I must follow at home, and continue on our upcoming trip in one week. I’m glad I got this addressed today rather than taking the risk it would worsen while we are away.

We spotted these two Cape buffalos this morning as we drove along the river. With all the rain and plenty of water holes, less wildlife head to the river. However, Cape buffalos and waterbucks always remain close to the river.

I will strictly adhere to the nasal treatments (three different procedures) each day, along with the meds and hopefully can get off the Amitriptyline before we leave next Thursday. This will require as many daily procedures as Tom needed when he had Covid-19 pneumonia in April, whereby every few hours there was something to take or do. I am highly motivated to get this never-ending discomfort under control.

After we returned to the house, Tom immediately took off for Komatipoort to pick up the prescriptions so I could begin the procedures and meds today, rather than wait another day until they could be delivered here to Marloth Park. Each day is important as the countdown to depart begins.

Last night, we had a lovely evening with Mario and Peter who joined us for sundowners on the veranda. It was a warm evening but fortunately, the humidity was low and the insects weren’t too bad allowing us to sit outdoors well after dark.  Before we knew it, they headed to their home in the bush and after we cleaned up the food and glasses, we were off to bed to stream a show and later drift off to sleep.

As we drove along the river we spotted these two Big Daddies resting in the shade on another hot day.

As I write here now, Norman is in the garden eating a few bananas, carrots, cabbage leaves, and of course, a few batches of pellets. I hadn’t seen him in two days which was unusual for him but this morning when Tom got outside by 6:30, he was waiting for him. Tom fed him some bananas and pellets. I was disappointed I didn’t see him then when I didn’t get up until 7:30.

I noticed Norman wasn’t eating pellets but was staring at me. There was something else he was looking for. I grabbed a few more overripe bananas from the kitchen and tossed them to him. in a second he was happily eating his favorite food. Bananas ripen quickly in the heat and humidity so we are happy to share them with the wildlife to keep the annoying flies out of the kitchen.

We purchased boxes of 12 bananas but after Tom eats a few over a few days, he’s had his fill and Norman will gladly eat the rest. They never go to waste, as is the case with any vegetables we buy.  Since I don’t eat fruit, and Tom only cares for bananas, we never buy fruit, only non-starchy vegetables, most of which the wildlife seem to enjoy.

We are thrilled with all the green vegetation for the animals, which sometimes makes them hard to spot.

Just now, after tossing some leftover zucchini to Norman, which he doesn’t love, I saw that mom and four piglets had arrived. Immediately, I jumped up to get them pellets. Even the piglets have started eating pellets. They chew each pellet for what seems like several minutes but immediately go back for more. They are delightful to watch.

At this point, we have no less than four sets of moms and piglets stopping by daily, including Hoppy and her family and of course, sadly, the mom with the awful injury and her babies who have been here a few times in the past several days. See this post here for photos of her horrific injury. We are devastated for her and this life-threatening injury.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a fantastic day!

Be well.

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

Little rested in the cement pond on a sweltering day, his ears flicking as he listened to me talking to him. We miss Little. He’s never found us here over 2 km away from our last location. For more, please click here.

Another horrifying and heartbreaking animal injury in the bush…See below for photos, adults only, please…Could it have been a lion attack?…

Two moms and seven piglets stopped by this morning, and we couldn’t believe the injury on one of the moms, as shown in the photos below.

With all the wonders of the bush, we will inevitably witness horrific injuries inflicted upon wildlife by other wildlife and, sometimes inadvertently, by humans driving too fast on the roads. When feeding this and another mom this morning with their combined seven piglets, our jaws dropped when we spotted this horrific injury on one of the moms.

It may be why she joined up with another mom with piglets since she may know she won’t last long with this severe injury. This morning I messaged Ranger Jaco, sending him the photos, and he agreed this injury was from a leopard or lion.

Did a lion or leopard do this? We’ve never seen such an injury from a horned or tusks animal in the past.

Warthogs are not necessarily territorial but live in groups in a home range, called sounders, and may or may not be together at certain times. Males mainly live alone but may hang out together from time to time, but not in the female sounders and only with females during the mating season. We’ve often seen moms and piglets together and later aunts, nieces, and sisters. We have witnessed all of this.

Jaco also stated that although warthogs are sturdy and often recover from serious injuries, it’s unlikely that flies will eat away the dying flesh from this type of injury. Eventually, she’ll become septic and die.

Two things come to mind for us after this sighting. One, will she die nearby since we’ve seen her and her piglets several times since they were born a few weeks ago? Two, is the lion or leopard that inflicted this severe injury hunting nearby in our area?

At first, we were excited to see the two moms with seven piglets between them. We tossed lots of pellets and carrots.

We will be extra diligent in the future. Many have seen lions and leopards during the day and their usual evening hunting time. People walking and biking must be extra careful, knowing an attack is possible if getting too close. Often, unknowing tourists will go to inspect a “kill” only to put themselves in danger. What if the lion or leopard returns to eat the remainder of their kill?

I had a busy morning getting food prepared for tonight’s sundowner gathering. There will only be four of us since one of our guests had a family emergency out of town. It’s a scorching day, so I made a point of making easy snacks that won’t require any fussing when the power goes out for load shedding at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, for at least two hours.

The seven piglets all looked healthy and active.

Right now, as I write, the temperature is 97F, 36C, but the humidity is only 29% with a dew point of 59, much more bearable than it has been for several days this past week, with tomorrow about the same. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be looking at temps over 100F, 38C, and 103F, 39, respectively, with higher humidity and dew point than today.

I’m glad we planned tonight’s little gathering today rather than over the weekend. We’ll be back at Jabula on Friday and Saturday, but according to the load-shedding schedule, they should have power while we’re there. There’s aircon in the bar, which makes it quite comfortable during hot periods.

This poor mom. Her hind end is horribly injured. This could have occurred while she was attempting to protect her piglets. She must be in terrible pain. We fed her lots of pellets and fresh vegetables this morning.

Tom just took a short nap since he didn’t sleep much last night. Soon, I will join him for a bit of a rest while the fan is on. We don’t use the bedroom’s aircon during daytime hours, saving it for sleeping, which is more important to both of us.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2021:

Medium Daddy and his girls. For more photos, please click here.

Heartbreaking photos…Nature is hard…Preparing for tomorrow’s sundowner party…

We are trying to report it, but often warthog injuries aren’t handled in the park based on the excess number of pigs and piglets. It’s simply not affordable to treat all of them. But it’s heartbreaking nonetheless.

We made several new friends while at Jabula on the weekends. Last Saturday, we chatted with Brad, a resident we’ve come to know, and Maroi (pronounced “ma roy) and Peter, who have a home here in Marloth Park but spend the rest of their time in Holland.

We’ve known Maroi for several years, and it was about time we invited her and her boyfriend Peter for sundowners. The three of them will arrive on Wednesday around 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs. As always, we’re serving an array of easy and fun-to-eat finger foods that should fill everyone sufficiently so that they won’t need to make dinner when they return home later in the evening.

This is Hoppy, the adorable little piglet that appears to have a broken leg.

Sundowners can end anytime from 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs., to after midnight, depending on how late our guests like to stay up and how bad the insects are on the veranda, a huge deterrent on certain nights.

Today, I am preparing a short menu of sundowner appetizers that are easy to make and won’t require me to spend hours in the kitchen on what appears will be a hot day tomorrow. Tom always does the dishes. We always use regular plates and flatware with linen napkins and placemats. I’ve never been a big fan of paper plates and plastic forks. They work well on an outdoor picnic in a public location but not “at home” for us.

A closeup photo of Hoppy and the swollen joint on her right leg. Her hair was standing up on her back since she was uncomfortable with my presence.

We purchased the required biodegradable shampoo, conditioner, and sunscreen from online Takealot to bring with us. We received a notice from Intrepid Travel that only biodegradable items are allowed on the ship. We’ve never experienced this in the past.

But to protect the coral reef in Seychelles, this is a country-wide requirement. We were happy to comply but couldn’t find such items at Spar or the pharmacy in Komatipoort. Takealot only had one option for each item, so we bought what they had. Hopefully, they will be acceptable.

Based on the fact we saw this litter within a day of being born, she may have had this leg anomaly since birth.

There aren’t any specific Covid-19 requirements to enter the country or re-enter South Africa on December 4. Our fingers are crossed that we don’t experience any issues as we go through immigration in Johannesburg before our final short flight to Nelspruit, considered a “domestic flight” on December 4.

I’m still waking up at 2:00 am since I started taking the drug for my headache. The literature on the medicine says it may take weeks to work. But, I am accepting this since, during the day, my headache is easily 80% better in the past four days since I started the 10 mg dose four nights ago. With this immediate response, I am hopeful that I may be pain-free entirely over time.

If that’s the case, I’ll have to decide how long I stay on the drug since stopping it too soon can cause a rebound of symptoms. If I am not experiencing annoying or unbearable side effects, I will stick with it for months or longer, if necessary. It’s no big deal to pop a little pill a few hours before bedtime.

Kudu mom and baby.

If we stay up late, I’ll take the pill whenever we head to bed since I don’t want to miss a dose and see the symptoms return. The facial pain is still there when I touch my face, but it’s 50% better, so I avoid touching my cheek other than when gently washing my face or applying makeup.

Today is a perfect weather day with low humidity and reasonable temperatures. I may spend time this afternoon doing some of the prep for tomorrow, once I upload this post, make Tom’s low-carb blueberry scones (when load shedding ends and we can use the oven), and after our trip to the local meat market and the little shop for a few things we’ll need for tomorrow.

Have a lovely day, and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 15, 2021:

Stringy has a little plant growing at the end of his left horn. Too cute for words. For more photos, please click here.