Storm of the century!…Well, kind of…What a night!…Thank goodness for rain…

Mongooses were wondering when I’d cut up paloney for them. Upon seeing them at the door, I complied promptly. There ended up being about 40 of them by the time I was ready to toss it to them on the grass. Could they be any cuter?

With the dew point over 70 most of yesterday, it seemed likely to rain at some point. We made it through dinner but dined indoors at the dining room table, thinking it could start raining any minute. By the time we finished eating, the rain had begun. We immediately locked the veranda door.

While Tom did the dishes, as usual, I set up my laptop and the JBL speaker on the bed, wondering what we’d watch with the WiFi out the minute the winds kicked in. Without WiFi, we had nothing to watch except the 900 movies Gerhard had downloaded on the external hard drive he and Rita gave me last year on my birthday. What a great gift!

Big Daddies in the garden eating lucerne and pellets.

We’d seen many of the movies over the years, and without WiFi to look up the storyline, we’d choose movies based entirely on the title and the pictures on the front of the movie. It was hard to tell. But we decided to wing it and found two movies that managed to entertain us mildly. They weren’t great, but they were ok.

Each time we watch one of those 900 movies, we delete it from the hard drive. Otherwise, we’d have to remember which ones we’d already seen. Mostly the movies were from 2015 to 2017. When we’ve often streamed TV shows and movies, we’ve watched more TV series than movies. We prefer a series with numerous episodes to allow for binge-watching.

This is a blue waxbill, a tiny bird that loves to eat the seeds on the bushbaby stand.

As a result, we haven’t seen many movies over the years we’ve been traveling. We only watch something if we are home from evenings out by 8:00 or 9:00 pm, 2000 hrs. to 2100 hrs; Tom doesn’t care to watch anything later than that since I tend to fall asleep if I watch something after 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs.

The WiFi never came back on until this morning. The company serving our house and others in Marloth Park could not make the outdoor repairs when the storm raged for hours. A few times, the power went out, but we were still able to watch the movies when my computer was fully charged, and we had the inverter providing energy to our devices when plugged in at the outlet on my side of the bed.

It isn’t easy to describe the intensity of the night’s rain, lightning, thunder, and wind. On several occasions, we felt the lightning hit something in our garden outside the bedroom window. It may sound crazy, but we both smelled smoke. Tom went outside to check to make sure everything was ok. After all, we, like many residents in Marloth Park, are in houses with thatched roofs that can easily catch fire.

It’s a rarity for Big Daddies to jump over the little fence.

By no means were we panicky. As soon as we saw everything was fine, we went back to watching the movie. The storm continued until about midnight. Often, I wondered where the animals were hunkered down. Surely, they’ve all experienced such storms in the past and knew how to keep themselves safe and out of harm’s way.

With the sun back out this morning, it was hot and humid with the dew point at 72, considered “tropical,” which is very uncomfortable. But, the bush looks green with the dust washed off the leaves on the trees, and soon, from the rain, the bush will begin to green with fresh new vegetation for the wildlife. Lots more rain is needed to provide the lush green nourishment they so much need to thrive.

This is Aggie, our resident agama. He changes colors almost daily. Today, he showed us these orange spots on his body. I wish we could find things to feed him.

Of course, along with the rain comes the hatching of mosquitos. In a few weeks, we’ll begin to feel their wrath. I am already wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts to reduce my use of DEET and prevent getting too many bites. I have had three new bites in the past 24 hours, all under my clothes. I may have to use DEET before dressing for the day.

Norman, Nina, and Noah have spent the entire morning with us, hovering in and near the garden. It’s always such a joy to be with them. Also, bushbuck, Bad Leg, has been resting in the garden against the little fence. Every so often, I bring him some pellets, cold cabbage, and carrots since he’s not able to forage for himself with his injury. The birdbath has fresh, clean water so all of the animals can drink.

This is a millipede with zillions of legs. With red on her underside, I don’t believe this one is venomous.

Lollie lives outside the little fence, but she finds waterholes from which she drinks and takes mud baths almost daily. We watch her leave for a few hours, later to return a muddy mess which eases our minds that she has access to water. If and when a time comes when waterholes may dry up, if we don’t get sufficient rain, we’ll put out a shallow pan of water for her each day.

My headache is still gone, but the facial tenderness continues. I am icing it a few times each day, hoping it will resolve soon. I am still walking, regardless of the weather. Today, I will do 7500 steps toward my goal of 10,000 by the weekend.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2021:

Zebras were grazing on the grass at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia. For more photos, please click here.

Funny little mongoose story with photos…

This morning, the mongoose’s fur got wet, and they looked spikey!

Mongoose are funny little characters. Having been around humans in Marloth Park for all of their lives, they’ve become quite used to us. We take special care to avoid getting too close to them, but they wait at the screen door to the veranda for us almost every day. They carry several diseases, and their bite may cause a severe infection.

As carnivores, known for killing snakes and being immune to the venom, they always welcome visitors as the snake season is fast approaching. Snakes don’t necessarily hibernate, but their system slows down during cool weather. Thus, we’re less likely to see snakes during the cooler winter months.

The minute we put down the prawn scraps, a mongoose arrived and alerted the others with her cackling that treats were being served. They all came running so fast. I didn’t have time to take more photos.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone killing snakes, scorpions, and other venomous reptiles and insects. They are all a vital part of the ecosystem of the bush. Add that we see no less than a dozen, often as many as 50 or 60, of the little furry creatures almost daily. We feel at ease knowing they’re keeping an eye out for venomous snakes and insects.

But, if it’s a choice of “them” or us, we let the mongooses do their thing with respect and admiration for their determination,  skill, and immunity to toxins. Subsequently, we don’t hesitate to feed them daily, inspiring them to come around as often as possible, usually two or three times in one day, then miss a day or two, only to return with considerable enthusiasm to see what’s on the menu today.

One after another came cackling toward the prawns, grabbing as much as they could fit into their mouths. We couldn’t stop laughing.

Here are some exciting facts on mongooses from this site:

“Mongooses are long, furry creatures with pointed faces and bushy tails. Despite popular belief, mongooses are not rodents. They are members of the Herpestidae family, which also includes civets and meerkats.


There are 34 species of mongoose in 20 genera, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web (ADW). With so many different types of mongoose, sizes vary greatly. According to National Geographic, their bodies range from the dwarf mongoose at 7 inches (18 centimeters) long to the Egyptian mongoose, 2 feet (60 cm) long.


According to National Geographic, most species of mongoose are found in Africa, but some also live in southern Asia and the Iberian Peninsula. Some species of mongoose have been introduced into other areas of the world, such as the Caribbean and Hawaiian islands.

It happened so quickly; they were all gone in about two minutes.

Mongooses live in caves made of complex tunnels or trees in many different landscapes, including deserts and tropical forests. The bushy-tailed mongoose, for example, lives in lowland forests near rivers. The Gambian mongoose lives in areas with grasslands, coastal scrub, and forests.


Some species of mongoose are very social and live in large groups called colonies. Colonies can have as many as 50 members, according to ADW. Other species of mongoose like to live alone. Banded mongoose colonies live, travel, and fight together as a team. According to Animal Planet, they stay in one area for around a week, then move in a wave to another location, much like a flock of birds when they migrate.

Mongooses are active during the day and sleep at night. Throughout the day, they chatter incessantly to each other and combine discrete units of the sound somewhat like human speech, using vowel and syllable combinations to possibly coordinate group movements, foraging information, and other essential messages.


Mongooses are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and vegetation. Typically, they prefer to eat small animals such as birds, reptiles, fish, snakes, crabs, rodents, frogs, insects, and worms. They will also supplement their diet with eggs, nuts, fruits, roots, berries, and seeds. To get into eggs, mongooses are known to crack the eggs against complex objects, according to National Geographic.

The pile of prawn scraps was dwindling fast.

Conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), most mongoose species are threatened but not extinct. Ironically, in the 1800s, mongooses were introduced to Hawaii and the West Indies to control rodent populations at sugarcane plantations. This introduction, in turn, caused many species of birds and other animals to almost become extinct.  The small Asian mongoose is listed as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive alien species.”

We enjoy visits from these humorous little animals. Their endless chatter amongst themselves truly sounds like conversations in the form of a high and low-pitched cackle. When they visit us, standing on the veranda, that cackle is different from those when they’re issuing a warning, such as when another band is approaching or an eagle or hawk is flying overhead. The variations are impressive, and if we listen carefully, we can detect the various tones. It’s pretty entertaining and fascinating.

So on to our little mongoose story. On Friday night, while out to dinner at Jabula with Kathy and Don and Rita and Gerhard, I asked Kathy if we could share in some of the leftover prawn shells and tails from both hers and Don’s dinner. They laughed when we suggested this. “Why in the world would you want our leftover prawn tails that always go into the garbage at the restaurant?”

And then…they were gone, gone, gone. That slight scarp that fell onto the veranda was taken a few moments later.

We explained how we brought them home from their last dinner with us at Jabula when they didn’t have any interest in saving them in a “doggy bag.” I said it would be fun to see if the mongoose would like them. After all, they eat crusty snakeskin, crunchy scorpions, and spiny centipedes. Perhaps prawn (shrimp) tails and shells would be equally appealing.

When we had dogs in our old life, they loved the shrimp tails but not the shells. When Ben and Wille smelled shrimp cooking, they twirled around in circles, hoping to get the uneaten seats. We always laughed over their interest in them. Why would mongoose be much different?

So, last Friday night, Don gave us his leftover spicy peri-peri seasoned prawn parts, and Kathy, who agreed to give it a try as well, took her lemon-garlic shrimp tails in a doggy bag.  We added Tom’s leftover rib bones to the plastic bag. The last time we brought the scraps home and served them to the mongoose, they ate every morsel, every tiny prawn leg, and every little scrap.

On Saturday morning, I received a text from Kathy saying, “Jessie, you’re nuts! My mongoose hated them, and now I have prawn parts stinking up my garden.” Tom and I laughed out loud. Were we lucky the last time they ate them?

Over the busy weekend with holidaymakers in the park, we never saw our band of mongoose again until Sunday afternoon when they arrived, looking into our eyes with their beady little eyes, wondering, “What’s on the menu today?”

I took this photo a few minutes ago. Mongooses piled up on each other on the veranda since it was raining. Too cute for words.

We grabbed the bag of shells and bones from the fridge and proceeded to first dump only the prawn scraps onto the pavement at the edge of the veranda so they wouldn’t be covered in dirt on the ground. Immediately, while cackling with fervor, they went after them, grabbing a chunk and running off a little way into the bush to avoid sharing their bounty with the others, kind of like a dog does when they get a special treat.

Well, leave it to me to take a before and after photo to send to Kathy. In a few minutes, the prawn shells, tails, and heads were gone, gone, gone.

After Tom noticed them drinking from Frank’s litter water dish, he said, “Those were Don’s peri-peri seasoned prawn parts. Maybe they liked them better than Kathy’s lemon garlic seasonings.” We couldn’t stop laughing. They were thirsty from the spicy prawns.

After they finished the prawns, we dumped the rib bones, and once again, they got busy, grabbing bones and heading to the bush to avoid having to share. More cackling ensued. It was pretty fun.

Again, this morning, they arrived looking like oversized hedgehogs with their wet hair standing up from the gentle rain falling in the bush. This time, with no leftovers, we cut up some paloney (a huge round loaf of meat) for them, and they were as content as they could be.

Cackle. Cackle. Cackle. It was a fun morning in the bush. Hmm…that reminds me. Soon it will be Halloween, our ninth anniversary of traveling the world. Time to celebrate.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #182. The chef at the Blue Moon Cafe in Kenya in 2013 insisted we take a photo together! For more photos, please click here.