Hottest day since we arrived last January!!! What a scorcher!…Expected to be 105F, 42C…Trail cam photos…

There was Little hanging around in the garden at 5:45 am. We weren’t up yet, Little!

Other than in Africa, we’ve never experienced such heat without using air conditioning during daylight hours. Thank goodness we have aircon at night, or we’d never be able to sleep on during these heat peaks that often occur in the spring, summer, and fall in Marloth Park.

Not all locations in South Africa are as hot as it is in Marloth Park. Right now in Cape Town, it’s 59F, 15C, a far cry from what’s going here right now at noon at 100F, 38C, and rising by the hour. The peak will be reached in about three hours. We can’t help but be indoors right now. Even Johannesburg is a comfortable 81F, 27F.

But this is the bush, the savannah, and the plains in Africa, and it’s consistently hotter in these areas.

A case of malaria was reported in Marloth Park a few days ago. The mozzies are back in their rampant mission to consume human blood, and without Deet, we have no chance of avoiding their annoying and potentially lethal bites. Every six hours, I apply another dose to any exposed skin, which I keep to a minimum.

Clothing is a good mosquito deterrent, and I am seldom bit beneath my clothes. In the morning, after showering, I cover myself from head to toe and then let it dry. If my clothes potentially rub off any exposed skin areas, I reapply them promptly. Its become quite a habit. I don’t give it much thought except when it’s time to reapply, which I rarely forget to do.  At night, when preparing for bed, I make a similar application.

This is Thick Neck at 3:08 am, who often stays in the garden most of the day and night.

When we go sit on the veranda in the evenings, Tom sprays the bedroom with Doom and keeps the door shut to kill any mozzies that may invade the room during the day. Tom doesn’t get bit, and thus, he doesn’t apply repellent except on a few rare occasions we may be out in the bush after dark. Lucky him.

With all these diligent precautions, I still get bit. Right now, I have a few bites on my neck and two on my arms. They are easy to pinpoint. The itching lasts for five days or more. I’ve tried every cream on the market, and nothing makes the itching go away for any longer than an hour or two. It’s not unusual to awaken during the night with all the bites itching at once.

Need I say, we’ve become used to this, and other than mentioning the heat, the insects, and the snakes here to provide our readers with the raw facts of the discomforts of the hot months in Africa, both of us do pretty well. In our usual way, we don’t complain to one another. Not even right now, as the temperature has risen to 102F, 39C, since I began preparing this post, neither of us, mentions how hot it is, other than the curiosity of how high it actually goes.

When we were in Henderson, Nevada, in summer 2019, staying at son Richard’s home in Henderson, we sat outdoors on his veranda by his pool, dunking every 15 minutes when the temperature was 115F, 46C.

This is Holey Moley and an unknown friend at 11:54 pm. She spends most of her days and nights with us. Note the huge temperature drop at night, as indicated by the camera’s description.

According to this chart, the temperature we are experiencing today is within a few degrees of the highest record temperature in this area of 106F, 41C. But even these highs may be surpassed from time to time. When this happens consistently, the power grid can’t keep up with the electrical use of air conditioners, and we lose power.

Hopefully, our electricity will hold, and we’ll make it until tomorrow when we’ll see a substantial drop in temperature to a high of 69F, 21C. It’s hard to believe there will be a considerable drop in 24 hours. We’ll see how that rolls out and welcome such a huge change, one that may require us to get out the hooded sweatshirts once again.

This morning I prepared most of the food for tonight’s dinner. I made a prawn and vegetable stir fry for myself, a huge salad, and a batch of homemade dressing. Later Tom will cook his pork chops on the braai, which he’ll have with rice, green beans, and salad. His muffins, ice cream, and apple crisps are no more. He’s back to eating healthy, along with me.

Somehow, Tom can eat white rice, called a “resistant starch,” and still lose weight. That’s not the case for me. For more information on resistant starches, please click here. Lucky him. Good genes.

I hope you are experiencing a relaxed and comfortable day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India,  on day #207. As more guests from Camp Olonana arrived, the women and children waited patiently to begin their welcoming dance. For more, please click here.

An eerie phenomenon captured by night trail cam!!…An apparition?…Cannot be explained!!…

Who’s in the garden this morning?

3 wildebeest

4 warthogs

6 bushbuck

3 kudus

47 mongoose

Last night, when Rita and Gerhard stopped by for sundowners, we showed them this series of photos posted here today. With Gerhard’s tremendous experience in aviation, he, too, had no idea what these photos could possibly be and they were as awestruck as we continue to be.

So far, using the trail cam, we have seen several thousand photos taken at night. In researching extensively online, we perused others trail cam photos, never seeing anything similar to what we’ve shown here today. There’s no way we can explain it.

Notice the bushbuck looking at “it.”

Please scroll down slowly, in succession, toward the last photo to achieve the full impact of what we’ve seen. The photos were taken by the trail camera on May 14, as indicated by the sequence of the photos. We entered them here as they occurred. We’d be curious if any of our readers have an idea what this could have been. Please comment at the bottom of the page, if you have any ideas you’d like to share. You may choose to do so anonymously, if preferred.

For a few days, we hesitated to post this, wondering if our readers would think we are totally crazy after staring at wildlife all day and night. But, last night, after Rita and Gerhard left, we decided we’d post them today to see if anyone out there in cyberspace can offer some input.

In reality, we may never know, nor will we ever see this again. Of course, the most astounding photo taken by the trail cam is the last photo, as shown at the end of this post, of the female bushbuck “looking up” when it appears the apparition or whatever it was, drifted up toward the sky, causing the bushbuck to stretch her neck to see where it was going. Oh, good grief! This is quite unusual.

We don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, nor have we ever encountered anything like this. Both of us are very realistic and practical. This is not some effort on our part to sensationalize what could have been a moth or a puff of humidity in the garden that night.

We’ve seen many photos from the trail cam with moths, butterflies and insects passing over the camera lens, never leaving such a profound image. Surely, at night, the bushbuck would hardly stretch her neck to such a degree to follow the flight of an insect when insects are all around them day and night. Plus, as mentioned, we’ve seen such images fly across the lens, looking nothing like any of these.

The bush is filled with wonder and mystery. Regardless of how much we observe the wildlife, we’ll never have a full understanding and appreciation of what they experience, what they feel and their ability, however limited, to communicate with humans.

Perhaps, we’ll simply have to let our curiosity wither away in time and, on occasion, refer back to this post in the sheer wonder of the amazing world around us, some of which we will never be able to explain.

Few captions were added to today’s photos. We’ll let you use your imagination on how you perceive these photos.

This photo astounded us even further.

May your day be filled with wonder and awe.

Photo from one year ago today, May 19, 2020:

A lone tree near the shore on the Kauai Path. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from our new trail cam…What we’ve learned…

Two duikers at night.

When our package arrived from the US through DHL, a few days ago, we were excited that the trail cam we’d ordered from Amazon was inside. Also, my new Fitbit Sense was in the box. We decided Tom would set up the trail cam while I worked on setting up the new Fitbit, both of which presented a few typical set-up challenges.

Finally, we had both pieces of equipment working and I was able to do my first ECG using the Fitbit which had been approved as a reliable device for this purpose by the US FDA (that’s not to say I trust everything they recommend). With a normal result, it did provide me with a little peace of mind, knowing at any time, I can check this on my own.

Most likely, a mating pair.

As for the Campark T-75 trail cam, that setup was a little more time-consuming and still requires some adjustments which we’ll tackle today. After using the trail cam for the first time last night, we realized the first thing we’ll do today, is reducing the number of shots it takes in one night. We ended up with over 5000 photos, way too many to go through each day.

We actually managed to go through all the shots and have included a few of them here today, not necessarily anything unusual from those we see during the day.  No porcupine, yet! But we’re committed to getting a night photo of her and other nocturnal visitors, we may not see during the day. We won’t be using the trail cam during daylight hours, instead, sticking to using our camera and posting those photos in most posts. We’ll post the more interesting trail cam photos.

The same two duikers in the garden at night.

We’d assumed that photo ops would be at a minimum during the busy school holiday week. But, as we sit here now on Sunday close to 1:00 pm, 1300 hours, we’re in awe of how many animals have been here this morning, including two Big Daddies, once of whom stood at the edge of the veranda and barked at us, forcing us to gingerly make our way indoors to give him the space he needed.

This was a first for us. We’re very careful around the Big Daddies. They are huge and dangerous and we take no risks whatsoever. Now, as I write this he has wandered off into the bush, ducking his massive horns as he makes his way through the dense trees and bushes.

We weren’t able to determine which warthog this was.

He ‘tipped” his horns a few times at two young warthogs who seemed determined to antagonize him for pellets. But, they squealed off when he reminded them of his power and strength. The tree he tore down a few days ago has been eaten by a wide array of antelopes and is beginning to look sparse. He meandered over to it this morning but didn’t seem interested in any of the remaining leaves.

It’s amazing how almost every day something new and exciting transpires in the bush. Yesterday, we had a dung beetle rolling a nice-sized ball of dung right next to us on the veranda. The ball got stuck against the edge of the grass and the pool and Tom, using a mop handle, released it for him. Soon, he’s back on his way, happily rolling his ball of dung, hoping to encounter a female in his travels.

We knew warthogs visit during the night.

We only need to sit here long enough for yet another magical event to take place all the while relishing in the regulars who come to call on a consistent basis. Sometimes, when it’s totally quiet, I begin to wonder if they’ll ever return. Then, to our delight, there they are again, gracing us with their presence in exchange for a tasty morsel or two.

As I write here now, 20 or more mongoose have returned after we’ve already fed them this morning, only a few hours or so ago. We gave them scrambled eggs and bits of meat and bones we’d saved for them. They’ll circle around the house a few times and return, perhaps thinking we “forgot” we already gave them treats, suitable for their diet as omnivores with a propensity for meat. Fortunately, today, we’ve saved a little meat for their second visit.

Always searching for pellets.

Today will be another quiet day. So far, the only noise we’ve heard from holidaymakers was the sounds of adults and kids talking loud and screaming in a pool. After a short while, the noises ended and we were able to enjoy another quiet evening in the bush, only occasionally interrupted by the sound of the roars by lions Dezi and Fluffy nearby. Blissful!

Another shot of the two mating duikers whom we rarely see during daylight hours. They are very shy.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2020:

Happy caterpillar dancing across the floor! Later on, we learned these caterpillars cause a nasty itch that lasts for days when coming in contact with their venom. We also learned these are Processionary Caterpillars who form a train and crawl up walls, verandas and form a train across the garden. Not so cute after all. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.

Our DHL package arrived!!!…Out with the old, in with the new!…

Lots of zebras in the garden eating pellets.

After the dreadful experience with FedEx in India when it took over three months for our package to arrive from the USA, we are thrilled that we received the package yesterday, after only 16 days since it was shipped from our mailing service in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is probably the quickest we’ve ever received a package. Also, based on the fact all the items in the box were personal effects of one type or another, we weren’t charged any customs fees. As it turned out, the package sat in customs for a week, while the contents were supposedly inspected.

But, after receiving the items, most of which were in unopened Amazon and other sealed white or black plastic bags, we wondered if they did in fact inspect any of the items. South Africa Customs through DHL, contacted us early on inquiring as to the content of the box and required we fill out a detailed form submitted with copies of my passport and the purpose of the contents. It was nowhere near as complicated a process as it had been in India.

This was the first time we had so many zebras stop by.

Tom laughed that my opening the box was compared to opening gifts at Christmas. I must admit it was kind of fun. I had ordered two new bras from Victoria’s Secret and couldn’t wait to toss the tattered bras that were four years old. It was interesting for me to know that three bras alternated regularly, washed but never put into a dryer actually lasted for over three of those four years. While in India, I didn’t wear a bra for 10 months, knowing I needed to extend their wear.

Also included in the box was my new Fitbit Sense watch which I’ll set up today and much to our delight, the recently ordered trail cam from Amazon, that syncs to our phones so when we’re out we can see who’s visiting the garden. That’s exciting. Our only concern is that a nefarious individual(s) may stop by while we’re out and steal it.

Then again, the newer gas braai, a fan, a table, and other items stay outdoors on the veranda at all times and so far, nothing has been taken. Most thefts in Marloth Park have been taking TVs and digital equipment “inside” the house, not necessarily from the exterior. Tom wants to bring it indoors each time we leave the house, but, I am working on convincing him to leave it hooked up outdoors, enabling us to watch the app on our phones while out and about.

We always love a visit from Wildebeest Willies.

I was very excited about the many new tee shirts for me in the package which included short and long sleeves. With winter on the horizon in the next 60 days, it will be great to be able to wear long-sleeved shirts while seated outdoors on the veranda. I’ve been hauling the same tee shirts with me for years, as old as seven or eight years, many with tiny holes and misshapen.

Normally, I’ve only worn, tattered clothes around the house, but lately, I’ve been looking forward to having some new things. The pants I currently have are in good condition when most days, around the house, I wear Capri-length jeans which seem to last forever. When going out to dinner or visiting friends, I always wear long pants or long jeans to protect myself from mosquitos.

It’s hard to get a shot with their heads up. They are always scrounging for pellets or other tasty morsels.

Also, based on the horrific infections and cuts on my legs from ankle to thigh after cardiac bypass surgery, I no longer care to wear shorts, even around the house. It’s a painful reminder of a time I’d just as soon put behind me.

After the box was completely empty, I folded all my new things and neatly placed them in the chest of drawers I use in the second bedroom. Soon, I’ll start tossing the old items. If they were in good condition, I would donate them locally but I don’t care to donate old worn clothing when we see the local workers so nicely dressed.

Then, of course, there’s always Little, back for more love talk and pellets.

That’s it for today, folks. Tonight, we’re off to Jabula for dinner, hoping it won’t be too crowded with holidaymakers. If it is, we’ll order our food to go and head back to the house.

Have a fantastic weekend and be well.

 Photo from one year ago today, April 23, 2020:

A parade of elephants kicking up a lot of dust in Chobe National Park in Botswana. This photo is from a two ago post. See here for details. For the year-ago post, please click here.