Female lion sighting from the fence…A short reprieve in the commotion…

There were other lions in this pride, but they were all lying down in the bush, making it difficult to get a photo. We both were thrilled Tom captured this photo.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Zebras in the bush with an ostrich in the background.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post here, we’d seen a post on Saturday in the Marloth Park Sighting page on Facebook that lions had been sighted at the “Two Trees” overlook.

Planning to head directly to the Henk Van Rooyan Park fundraiser, we didn’t hesitate to make a rapid change in plans to head to Two Trees to see what we could find. An hour had passed since the sighting was posted, and we suspected the lions could be long gone.

Once Tom spotted this female lion through his binoculars, he grabbed the camera to zoom in as shown.

One might think, head to the location, look through binoculars, and the lions could be spotted. It’s not that easy. Like us, many others had gathered at the location and, with utmost frustration, couldn’t quite get the distant scene in their scope or viewfinder.

After trying for almost a half-hour with no luck, we headed to the fair at the park, deciding we might give it another try after we were done there. We were in and out of the fair in less than 30 minutes, with both of us chomping at the bit to return to Two Trees to give it another try.

Female ostrich checking us out as we drove by.

This time, we were in luck. Tom, with much better distance vision than I, found them in no time but couldn’t get a decent photo of the pride hidden in the bush and tall grass. However, he held steady enough at the long-distance to capture these two photos of a female lion while leaning on the car door for stability.

We always say we’re going to bring our tripod, but invariably we don’t because most photos we take while on one of our regular drives are taken from inside the little car. A tripod would be of little use.

Elephants at the river. 

Obviously, the female was on the hunt as she unsuccessfully chased a warthog and impala while we watched. Unless a photographer is willing to maintain a position with a tripod for hours, it’s pure luck to get a shot or video of a lion mounting an attack. 

While in the Maasai Mara in 2013, we witnessed several kills, but in Kruger, we’ve yet to see one. It all has to do with being in the right place at the right time. Perhaps when we’re back in the Maasai Mara in February, we’ll have many more opportunities when on safari for several hours each day, most of which is done off-road.

It’s always a pleasure to see a mom and baby elephant.

In Kruger, neither the public, engaged in a self-drive or with a safari guide, can drive off-road.  There are plenty of dirt roads and the one main paved road, but spot wildlife near the road is more fluke than anything when you think about it.

Fortunately, many visitors to Kruger have that good luck from time to time, having the opportunity to see nature at its finest. With all the wonderful and unique sightings we’ve had in Kruger, we have no complaints. We’re hoping to return to Kruger this week, now that this first round of tourists has left.

Zebras are on the move on the tar road.

Speaking of tourists leaving. Yesterday was the last Sunday or the South African “school holiday.” The kids return to school today. Well, just as expected, the wildlife began returning to see us last night around 17:00 hrs. (5:00 pm) and did they ever!

Once again, we had one of those special evenings where we had no less than eight species coming and going throughout the evening, including about 60 guinea fowl; Frank (Francolin) and the Mrs.; no less than 10 warthogs, including Little Wart Face, Tusker, Mom and Babies and several whom we didn’t know; eight female kudus; three bushbucks including Tom’s “My Girl”; four wildebeest including Wildebeest Willie; the often visiting Mr. and Mrs. Duiker; and of course our noisy frog Loud Mouth.

A good-sized herd of cape buffaloes.

This morning some of the above were back, along with many others. Each hour since we’ve been outdoors this morning on this very cool day, we’ve had visitors. It’s exciting to have our wildlife friends returning.

But, the reality remains that although the South Africa school holidays have ended, school holidays in Europe continue until mid-August. More tourists will arrive in Marloth Park by mid-week, with more of the precious wildlife being killed by speeding motorists on Oliphant Drive. 

The edges of the elephant’s ears get nicked over the years from a variety of hazards.

So far over these past school holidays, 13 animals have been killed on the road. No doubt, animals do dart out onto the roads, but if drivers are extra cautious, deaths can be averted.

Also, we hear stories of tourists feed the wildlife leftover “human” food, potato chips, pizza, and even marshmallows. Of course, animals will eat any of these tasty and sweet human foods. But, they do not have the enzymes in their digestive tracts to digest such foods and can become ill and perish.

These elephants were so close to the Marloth Park side of the fence. We didn’t have to zoom in.

Sadly, some people don’t consider this or care to learn what is appropriate to feed the animals, mainly pellets and certain vegetables. Most fruits don’t contain enough nutritional value to provide them with any sustenance.

Right now, as we close for today, Tom is in the driveway with a long telescopic pole chasing away the monkeys who continue to pester us and the visiting wildlife. They’re always on the food search, including stealing birdseed out of our birdfeeder. 

They congregate near one another, especially when there are youngsters.

If monkeys and baboons weren’t so destructive, we’d feed them too. But, this practice never makes sense when they can tear apart a house in a matter of minutes and are very crafty in getting indoors.

Today, we’ll embark on one of our usual drives, hoping that soon the clouds will dissipate, allowing for a warmer and sunnier day. (If rain were in the forecast, we’d welcome the clouds!)

May you have a warm and sunny day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 15, 2017:

Segura Cactus in Las Vegas, one year ago. For more Las Vegas photos, please click here.

Yikes!…Yellow Burmese python…Another event in the park…More lions…

This is Barend Bloem, nicknamed Slangman (snake man in Afrikaans). We’d have loved to be able to “wear” this Yellow Burmese Python for a photo, but it wasn’t possible when children were waiting for a chance to touch it.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We stopped along the river on the return drive for a few exciting photos, more of which we’ll share tomorrow.

Over the years, we’ve made a point of participating in more and more local events wherever we may be living at any given time. Doing so gives us a better opportunity to learn more about local culture and mingle with people we encounter at these events.

Here’s the flyer from yesterday’s fundraiser at Henk Van Rooyen Park, located in Marloth Park.

As it turned out, based on the busy school holiday season in South Africa at this time, soon coming to a close, many of the fair-goers were tourists. As a result, we ran into few people we knew instead of the last fair we attended a few weeks ago for the Honorary Rangers annual event, which included many local citizens. Click this link here for details of that event.

The morning was busy preparing the post and sorting through many photos we’d recently taken. Shortly before heading out, Tom noticed a comment from a Marloth Park resident stating they’d seen lions at the Crocodile River through the fence. 

The event wasn’t as crowded as the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers Winter Fair of a few weeks ago at this exact location.

There are several overlook areas on Seekoei Road that run along the river. This is the road on which friends Kathy and Don live, who are now back at their home in Pretoria and soon embarking on several exciting travel adventures, including visiting Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears in a few months. Maybe, someday, we’ll do the same! Humm…that sounds interesting.

A real estate company was promoting its business at the event.

Anyway, one of the most popular overlook areas is called “Two Trees,” a short stretch of land on the riverside of the road with ample parking without too much of an obstructed view by trees and vegetation. We often stop there on our almost daily drives in the park to check out the wildlife on the river.

When lions were spotted from this location, we couldn’t get there quickly enough. Tomorrow, we’ll share those photos. Today, we wanted to focus on yesterday’s fair.

Many of the same vendors presented their products at the winter fair.

The entrance fee to the fair was ZAR 20 (US $1.51) per person. Where in the world is an entrance fee for any event only this much? (This upcoming week, we’ll be doing a story on the cost of living based on our experiences in Marloth Park thus far). 

Once again, we found a good parking spot and proceeded to explore the displays, entertainment, and informational booths. In no time at all, we’d wandered through the entire fair and found our way back to the little car, deciding to give the river one more drive in hopes of seeing more wildlife.

Some participants drank beer under the tents on the ground.

And, we did, more than we’d expected, enjoying every moment. We don’t need movie theatres, fairs, parks, and zoos to entertain us. Mother Nature continually provides a plethora of exciting events right before our eyes, although it may be a little sparse right now at our holiday home during this busy time.

Unfortunately, back at home, we’ve had fewer visitors than ever over these past few days. A tourist wrote on Marloth Park’s Facebook page, “I’ve been here since Thursday and the only animals I’ve seen from our holiday home is bushbabies at night.”

Lots o kid-friendly products were offered for sale.

We certainly understand their frustration. People come here to experience wildlife. Last night, much to our delight, we had eight warthogs stop by at dusk, staying well into the evening, some we’d never seen before. Interestingly, these animals, who all look alike, are easily distinguishable by specific markings they possess.

Whether it’s the color of their coarse hair, the shape of the male’s warts, the size of their tusks, and for those we’ve come to know, their response to my annoying high pitched voice, in most cases, we recognize the frequent visitors. The same applies to the other species.

Several “bouncy” activities were available for kids.

With high winds picking up, we called it a night earlier than usual. We streamed a few shows from Showtime, “Billions” and “The Affair,” both of which we’ve watched through their previous seasons. Sometimes, it feels good to get “out of our heads” by watching a few shows. 

This morning we awoke to rain pounding on the roof. It hasn’t rained here in a few months. It wasn’t enough to do any good for the wildlife and vegetation, but it was enough to keep nature even further undercover in the parklands, often where they “hide” when there are too many visitors in the park.

Our friend John from Daisy’s Den had an excellent display at the fair.  John is actively involved in community safety as well as running the store with his family.

Most of the European summer “school holidays” will end in mid-August when the commotion settles down in Marloth Park until Christmas time. In the interim, we’ll continue to scour the river and look forward to any visitors who’ll come our way. At this point, we find a single frog interesting. 

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, July 15, 2017:

Climate data for Henderson, Nevada
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 75
Average high °F (°C) 54
Average low °F (°C) 41
Record low °F (°C) 11
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.70
It was scorching while we were in the Las Vegas area last July, the hottest month of the year.  For more, please click here.