Water outage…Power outages…The scorching heat…Digital disposal solutions…An evening overlooking the Crocodile River…

The waning sun from the veranda at Ngwenya.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Yesterday, no less than 10 warthogs waded in our cement pond, including mom and four piglets. The animals are feeling the heat as well as us humans.

The heat is stifling…the air is thick with mysterious moisture, coming from where? There’s no rain. I don’t recall ever feeling so hot. Yesterday, when Tom drove to Lebombo to buy carrots and apples for the wildlife, the thermometer in the red car read 43C (109).

When he returned to Komatipoort to find me grocery shopping, it had dropped back down to 41C (106F). With humidity running in the 40% to 50% range, it’s that type of heat that sucks the air out of your lungs, the energy out of your step.

The sun begins to disappear in the horizon.

It’s relentless. When we stayed with son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, in July 2017, we frequently used his beautiful pool. We’d lounge on chaises for a maximum of 20 minutes during days where the temperature was 46C (115F) but never felt as hot as we have over these past weeks.

Rain is desperately needed for the wildlife, for the bush, and its cooling-down effect. We’ve dined out three of the past six nights and avoided cooking, especially when we’ve had no power on a few occasions.

The sky is left with brilliant explosions of color.

Now, Marloth Park is having water problems. Luckily, I managed to shower early this morning, albeit with but a dribble of water. The water pressure is now non-existent. Tom just tried to take a shower, and there’s no water at all.

We’ll use buckets of pool water to flush the toilet. Luckily, we have plenty of bottled water for drinking, and for the moment, the power is on. We’ll see how this all goes.

Louise alerted us that two years ago, in December, there was no water for five days. That could be happening again. This is Africa. This kind of stuff happens here.

After the sun had set at Ngwenya, we wandered indoors for our reserved table for buffet dinner.  

We make every effort to go about our lives as usual as we can stay as upbeat as possible. We’re both excellent at holding it together during these uncomfortable and inconvenient times.

As summer approaches, beginning on December 22, 2018, and ending on March 20, 2019, more and more insects and snakes are coming out from their hiding places during the cooler winter months. By far, this is the most challenging period of the year, December through March. As mentioned a few days ago, we’re leaving Marloth Park on February 14, in 69 days.

To go on about our “business” yesterday, we headed to Komatipoort to shop and care for a few things. First, we stopped at the optometrist’s office, where we picked up Tom’s new glasses and prescription sunglasses, and my contact lenses.  

The final view of the sun.

As mentioned in a prior post, we decided to get eye exams and new glasses for Tom and contact lenses for me. We’d hoped it would be less expensive here as most things are, but eyeglasses and contact lenses are all imported and as pricey as anywhere else in the world.

Our total cost for exams, two pairs of designer frame glasses for Tom and contact lenses for me for a year came to a total of ZAR 17180 (the US $1220).  

This was comparable to what we paid at Costco about seven years ago.  We have no idea as to prices in today’s dollars.  With this out of the way, we can wait five or six more years until we do this again, unless we notice any further need for care, should our vision change.

Last night from the veranda at Ngwenya Lodge where we had a standing Thursday night buffet dinner reservation.

From there, we headed to the computer repair shop at the Spar Shopping Centre to recycle two old laptops and have the hard drives destroyed.  They wiped the hard drives before our eyes and kept the two old laptops for parts, not charging us a dime.  

Then we were off to the hardware store where we purchased a solar-powered LED light with the ability to last a full day to use when the power is out during the many upcoming ‘load shedding periods.”  

Not surprisingly, the scheduled power outages Eskom posted are not being followed.  With the solar light, we’re prepared for the evening hours, mainly so we can see, feed, and interact with our wildlife friends while on the veranda during outages.

Hot and hungry elephants were taking advantage of the cooling waters and green vegetation.

Recently, Tom’s phone wasn’t able to hold a charge. It made sense for him to purchase a phone to last while we remain in Africa. We went back to the trusty Vodacom store in Komatipoort, where we found him a new but older model of a Samsung. 

Tom only uses his phone for email, Facebook, and playing a few games.  Yesterday, he purchased the phone for ZAR 1600 (US $113.62), and by bedtime last night, I’d added all his apps, email, and books. He’s good to go.

From there, I headed to the pharmacy to buy a different insect repellent.  Uschi and Evan had recommended the non-toxic, non-DEET product, “Nguard,” that works better than the dangerous chemicals.   

Impalas and warthogs on the dry river bed.

I’ve been reapplying the toxic creams several times a day and was still being bitten. Last night, before heading to Ngwenya for dinner, I used NGuard and again this morning. So far, not a single new bite. I’m hopeful.  

After completing all of the above, I headed to the supermarket, and in no time at all, Tom appeared to help me with the groceries after he’d returned from Lebombo and the pellet store. We headed back to Marloth Park, content to have several tasks out of the way, and looked forward to a lovely evening out to dinner.

As always, the buffet at Ngwenya was excellent after river viewing for a few hours on their veranda. We chatted with other patrons and enjoyed a wonderful evening.

Last week’s rhino sighting in Kruger National Park during our previous self-drive.

Will the water come back on today? We don’t know. Will the power go out in 33 minutes according to the schedule? We don’t know. Will it get cooler and rain in the next 36 hours as predicted by the weather service? We don’t know.

All we do know is we’re making the best of it and will keep you updated.

May you have water, power, and the absence of venomous snakes in your life over the weekend!
                      Photo from one year ago today, December 7, 2017:

Tom and I made friends with Lisa and Barry, a lovely couple with whom we spent many good times on the cruise and stayed in close touch since the cruise ended. For more details, please click here.