The winter solstice and holiday season begins again in the bush…Taking care in Marloth park

This male was “standing watch” so the others could relax and nod off.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Playful warthog antics always make us laugh.

Yesterday was the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. It’s hard to believe it’s winter here when the temperature is in the 30C (86F) range most days. Henceforth, the days will be getting longer.

We’ve had a handful of very cool days but overall, few requiring extra warm clothing. Mornings and nights are very cool, often requiring we bundle up. But, once the sun begins to shine almost every day, it warms up sufficiently for shorts and short sleeves.

Last night, shortly before dark, we encountered this “confusion” (yep, that’s right!) of wildebeest in front of the property along the river. 

When summer arrives on December 21st here in the southern hemisphere, it’s an entirely different story. The thoughts one conjures up about heat, humidity, and dust flying through the air will be exactly what we’ll expect.

We remember these difficult conditions when we were here over four years ago during December, January, and February. There were more insects, more dust, and more sweaty days and nights. Thank goodness for air con in the bedrooms. 

We haven’t had many wildebeest visitors at our house, making it especially enjoyable to see these last night.

We’ll do the same as we do now during the days, spending our days and nights on the veranda regardless of weather conditions. The only conditions that drive us indoors will be rain with wind. Otherwise, we’ve learned to tolerate temps in the 40Cs (104F) while being outdoors under the protection of the veranda roof from the scorching sun.

For now, we’ll enjoy the cooler days and nights as we continue to spend our days and nights observing the world around us, which never disappoints, as evidenced by our daily photos.

We always stop to observe these magnificent animals.

Now that it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, we’ll begin seeing more and more tourists in Marloth Park, particularly tourists from Europe who find this environment ideal for their summer family holidays. 

Before too long, perhaps beginning this weekend, we’ll see families with children in their rented four-wheel-drive vehicles driving through Marloth Park and Kruger National Park. 

Often, we spot one lone elephant, often a young male, off to the side away from the rest of the “parade.”

The number of vehicles on the roads definitely has an impact on the number of visiting animals.  We’ve noticed this each time it’s been holiday time. They seem to stay undercover or are preoccupied with tourists feeding them, hopefully, the healthful pellets, fruit and vegetables, and not biscuits, cookies, and potato chips.

Unfortunately, a handful of tourists aren’t respectful of the wildlife, feeding them foods they cannot digest, which may result in illness or even death. Also, Marloth Park is a highly flammable environment with a lack of rain and dry brush surrounding us. 

Elephants grazing on the bank of Crocodile River, as seen from Marloth Park. There’s always a few cattle egret nearby.

We can only pray that visitors will be mindful of the high risk of fire due to the vast amount of alien invasive plants that exacerbate fires in an incomprehensible and ultimately terrifying manner. (More on this later).

The moment I said to Tom, “We often see giraffes on this road.” Just like that, we spotted this giraffe.

Ensuring that no hot coals, embers, or fires are dumped into any areas within the park and all braai fires or bonfires are completely out before retiring for the evening is of the utmost importance for the preservation of human and animal life in this magical place.

Originally Marloth Park was intended as a holiday destination. Over the years, many holidaymakers found it irresistible to be here, deciding to build a retirement or seasonal home here. This building continues within the park, causing quite a bit of controversy as more and more wildlife habitat is lost to construction. It’s quite a debate we won’t get into here. 

A “forkl” of kudu, boys, and girls, also referred to as a harem.

After all, we’re only visitors ourselves making every effort to leave as light a “footprint” as possible in hopes that in years to come, Marloth Park will continue to thrive and welcome our return as our schedule allows.

A happy band of mongoose lapping up raw scrambled eggs we put down for them in a flat bowl.

Today, we’ll embark upon one of our usual drives before the roads become too crowded over the weekend as we continue to search, appreciate and admire the nature surrounding us.

Have a lovely weekend as your summer or winter has begun…

Photo from one year ago today, June 22, 2017:

Southeast Steam Plant, aka Twin City Rapid Transit Company Steam Power Plant. For more photos along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, please click here.