Oh, no!…Monkey invasion…

There are two Spikey bushbuck males with tiny budding horns. This is the older of the two.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 9 warthogs – inc. Little, Tiny, Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl, One Wart, and others
  • 8 bushbucks – inc. Thick Neck, Bad Leg, Spikey, and others
  • 4 kudus – inc. Bossy, Baby Daddy, Medium Daddy, two youngsters, and others
  • 3 wildebeest – inc Crooked Face, Hal, and  another
  • 7 Vervet monkeys
  • 36 helmeted guinea-fowl
  • 2 Frank and The Misses

When we first came to Africa, we thought monkeys were the cutest animals. But, after our first month here, we felt otherwise. They may be adorable to the newbie, but for the more experienced African resident or traveler, it doesn’t take long to find out how awful they are.

Warthogs and helmeted guinea-fowl, all were getting along nicely. The guinea-fowls also eat pellets, breaking them up into small manageable pieces.

No, we don’t blame them for being the scavengers they are. It’s in their nature to scavenge for food. The problem is they are too clever and can figure out how to drive humans crazy with their tactics and destructive behavior,

The biggest fear for residents in bush areas where they live and propagate is that they will cleverly figure out how to enter the house of an unsuspecting resident and wreak havoc with everything in the house, tearing everything apart, pooping everywhere.

A house can be destroyed by baboons and/or monkeys in record time, leaving a mess unlike anything you’ve ever seen. When we were here in 2018/2019, we heard of many cases where monkeys entered houses when residents/guests were home or away.

Tiny and the first monkey we spotted this morning.

They open refrigerators, cupboards, and freezers, eating everything in sight and then pooping accordingly. They open drawers, cabinets and tear apart anything they can get their nasty little mitts on. It’s a fiasco.

They tear apart pillows and furnishing, often resulting in horrible sums of money to repair and replace. And yet, it continues to transpire even after guests have been warned. Residents are less likely to experience this disaster when they take many precautions to avoid such a costly and time-consuming disaster.

As is evident in many homes, here in Marloth Park, most windows and doors have iron or metal security bars, not only to prevent thefts and home invasions, which do happen but even more so, to keep monkeys and baboons from “breaking in.”

Helmeted guinea-fowl congregating in the empty cement pond.

We are extra careful. We never leave doors and windows open and unattended, although many do. While living in the Orange house for 15 months in 2018/2019, which had no screened door, we experienced a few minor invasions.

The double front door had to be left open during the day when it was so hot in the summer to allow for some airflow in the house. So we were either on the veranda or in the kitchen when we were able to keep a watchful eye on the doorway.

One day, I was cutting carrots and apples for the animals, and a Vervet monkey ran into the kitchen and grabbed an apple and a carrot off the kitchen countertop. I was so startled I screamed and scared it out the door. Here’s the link to that story from three years ago, almost to the day.

A full-grown male bushbuck can cause severe harm or fatality to a human with what ends up being sharp, powerful horns.

On another similar occasion, a baboon blasted into the house and grabbed two or three whole eggs from an egg crate container of 60 eggs we kept out for the mongoose. He ran upstairs with the eggs to the second story of the house and started eating the eggs.

Tom chased the baboon with a broom handle, hoping to send him outdoors before he did too much damage. But, alas, he ate the eggs and pooped everywhere. What a mess!

So today, when we saw the seven monkeys in the garden, Tom turned on the garden hose and chased them all away. Monkeys don’t like being sprayed with water.

Bossy is not happy to see wildebeests in her territory.

So, today, a little warmer and pleasant, we’re sitting outdoors, enjoying the constant stream of wildlife, now monkey-free.

It will be a good day. We hope the same for you.

Photo from one year ago today, June 10, 2020:

Beautiful colors and scenery at high tide from our vacation villa in Bali. For more, please click here.

First time visitor stuns…Gentle musings on a busy morning in the bush…Two must-watch videos…

Notice the train-like mating noise Wart Face makes when approaching
this female, one of two moms that stop by each day.
The interaction with wildlife is not only educational but also humorous.
Each day, we spend hours watching their behavior.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”


A genet as shown in this photo (not ours) appeared last night while we were packing to go inside for the night. Unfortunately, I’d already put away the camera. By the time I went back inside to get it the genet was long gone. Now, I suppose, we’ll be hell-bent on seeing this lovely cat again and taking our own photos.

We’ve had few quiet mornings in Marloth Park since we arrived two and a half months ago.  Whether it’s the four dozen helmeted guinea fowl that live in the bush surrounding our house, a single kudu or a forkl of kudu, a sounder of warthogs or Frank (the francolin) and his wife, it’s always a busy morning.

A good-sized turtle crossing the road.

Often, they begin to appear once we’re up and about but on a rare occasion, as soon as we open the big wooden doors to the house, a variety may be awaiting us.  “What’s for breakfast,” their eyes asks as they stare at us.  Wildlife in Marloth Park is used to being fed.

A part of this outrageous adventure are the sounds in the bush both day and night including an indescribable variety of bird calls, cricket chirps, impala barks, hog snorts, frogs croaks (only the males croak) and the frequent sounds at a distance, often hard for us novices to decipher.  In time we will learn.

Three young monkeys playing in the dirt in front of the veranda.

For now, we sit back in a perpetual state of wonder, rarely ever missing a beat.  The rustling in the bush is often a good indicator that an animal is approaching.  My finely tuned hearing is quick to pick up on a pending arrival for which I quietly alert Tom while we both wait in anticipation as to who will grace our presence in the next minute or two.

They are highly social and spend considerable time playing with their troop-mates.

With Tom’s years of hearing loss from “working on the railroad,”  with difficulty hearing certain tones, he’s often dependent on me to let him know someone is approaching.  But, then, his keen eye often spots action in the bush long before I see it.  We’re a good team as observers of wildlife in the bush (along with other things).

Monkeys use rocks and boulders as tools to open nuts and fruit.

One may ask, “What do we have to gain from this?”  Other than the joy of knowing we’re providing some sustenance for the wildlife who often suffer during droughts, why do we have this peculiar passion, that us and many homeowners and visitors to Marloth Park and nature reserves throughout the world also possess?

As populations of wildlife diminish worldwide due to human intervention and a natural cycle of life, death and extinction, we’ve added the experience of seeing and being entrenched in the beauty of nature and wildlife which our great grandchildren may never be able to see.

Monkeys such as this Vervet, come by in troops, swinging through the trees and carrying on in our side yard.  Vervet monkeys are smaller and less destructive than baboons.

Perhaps our stories and photos here will provide them with a peek into “what it was like” decades ago to help them have a better understanding of cyclic changes in nature precipitated by myriad forces often beyond our control.

This monkey picked up this pellet off the ground and wiped off the dirt before eating it.

Did “humankind” wipe out the dinosaurs?  No.  Nature did.  Any maybe, just maybe, nature naturally has played such a role over the millennium.  Once, humans weren’t on this earth.  Will one day we be gone as well? We don’t know, nor can we accurately surmise or assume we can change what is yet to come in our destiny.

This is a blue-tailed day gecko we often see close to the river.

In the meanwhile, many of us are given the opportunity to play a role, however small and seeming insignificant in the realm of things, that may or may not impact the future.  If doing so, brings us peace and purpose then the effort and dedication was valuable and meaningful.

Our cute little bushbuck baby with her mom on the left is growing up quickly.

Some may say, everything we do is for our own personal pleasure.  And, we’d be foolhardy to deny that reality.  But, if somehow through our daily stories and photos we can provide a moment of pleasure to others throughout the world who may be reading our posts, then this daily commitment was all worthwhile.  For this, dear readers, we glean our greatest joy.  For this, dear readers, we thank all of YOU. 

_________________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2017:

The coral reef in the Isle of Pines was exquisite.  For more details, please click here.

Slow down, you move too fast…Customs fees on a package we received…Scroll to the end for a favorite new photo…

Yesterday morning, on our way home after refueling the pink car at the “petrol” station this giraffe made it clear that she had the right of way.  
We’ve found that every three months or so, it’s necessary to place an order for supplies. As we’ve mentioned in the past, the shipping costs are outrageous, particularly if we need the package to arrive quickly.
After one of our surge protectors were confiscated from our carry on at the Dubai airport and an electrical converter and another power strip burned out in Kenya from the generator, we were operating our digital equipment with minimal supplies. Appropriate replacements for these were nowhere to be found in Kenya nor in South Africa.
“Yum, these taste better on this side of the road,” she says. 
After the annoyance of swapping the plugin for our laptops every few hours, we decided it was time to place an order which we did as usual through Amazon. Plus, I needed a pair of Keds leather slip-on. The pair I’d been wearing (one of only a few pairs of shoes that I own) were worn beyond one more wearing.

Most items are shipped free to our Nevada, USA mailing serviceWhen all of the items arrive, they remove the packing materials and ship them all in one box.
The treetop munching was still pretty good on this side of the road for these two.
This time, we chose to send it through the US Postal Service sending it the slowest and least costly way, which hopefully would arrive in six weeks or less. Earlier than expected, Louise walked in the door with our box of supplies on Tom’s birthday, December 23rd, handing us a slip of paper saying we owed ZAR $279, US $26.97 to the local post office for customs fees.
Immediately, we knew the cause of the extra fees, the pair of shoes. While in Kenya, placing the order a few days before we’d left, I’d read that South Africa doesn’t allow pairs of shoes to be shipped, only one shoe per box.
A pile of Vervet Monkeys we spotted when we went to the post office to pay our outstanding bill. They were living near a dumpster situated behind the little strip mall.
Thus, when customs opened the box and saw the pair of shoes, they’d decided to let them go through but would charge the fee.  But, I have my shoes, never having been so happy with a new pair of shoes, extra fees and all.

Having hooked up our two new power strips, we no longer have to swap back and forth, making life a little easier, not that life in Marloth Park is tough.
Skittish around people, they aren’t shy around food, constantly on the lookout for scraps.
Sure, there are many insects, some scary, the heat can be unbearable at times (with comfortable days in between), most of the roads are unpaved and bumpy, but who’s complaining?

Had this been a holiday/vacation for a mere week or two this by far would have been the most glorious holiday/vacation of our lives. Knowing we have over two more months in Marloth Park, enjoying its many wonders makes our hearts leap with joy.
Flowers aren’t prolific in Marloth Park.  The few that grow are stunning.
Tonight, we’ll dine in, the second night in a row, savoring a giant piece of trimmed beef tenderloin that we cut into amply sized fillets, enough to last both nights with sauteed portobello mushrooms, two side vegetables, and a bowl of our daily staple, coleslaw.  

Today, a cooler day than yesterday’s scorcher, we’ll lounge on the veranda awaiting visitors and later take a sunset drive to search for more.
This photo was taken a few days ago with the sun in my eyes.  It wasn’t until I downloaded it to my computer that I realized that the two birds were on the impala’s back. Check out the babies sitting in the grass near their mom.


Tonight, we’ll watch the second half of the recent movie, “The Butler.” I could do this forever. Life is good.