For adults only, please…Mature theme…Plus, a little of this and that…

Little Wart Face gave it an honest effort, but he couldn’t get it quite right.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Although Tom has to take down and refill the bird feeder several times a day due to the monkeys eating the seeds, we thoroughly enjoy watching the birds partaking.

We’d hoped to head to Kruger today but have decided to go another day. The sky is cloudy and doesn’t appear it will clear in time for us to go. Instead, today, we’ll make our usual run to Komatipoort and Lebombo for groceries and carrots and apples for the wildlife and head to Kruger on the next sunny day.

Yesterday, I called Obaro, and it appears they now have pellets in stock, and we’ll load up enough for the next few weeks until it’s time to go to Zambia and Botswana on August 16th.

Little Wart Face attempting to mate with this young female.

Although neither of us particularly loves to shop, we find the weekly trips interesting and diverse. The townspeople are friendly, the culture fascinating, and generally, we can find most of the items we need to purchase, forgoing thoughts of those items we can’t find.

Since I’m no longer eating dairy, my options for meals are limited.  Most of our favorite dishes include dairy in one form or another. It appears I have no trouble with butter, but all other dairy products must be excluded from my diet to maintain this high level of feeling so well.

This occurred after dusk, and thus, the photos aren’t as straightforward as we’d hoped.

Day after day, I’m aware of how great I’m feeling for the first time in over two years. From the time I contracted the bacterial infection in Fiji and later the injury in the pool in Bali, I was plagued with constant pain and discomfort.

To be free of pain is such a blessing, and I never forget how important it is I don’t consume a slice of cheese, a dollop of cream, or a smear of cream cheese on a celery stick. It takes no willpower whatsoever. The excellent end result of feeling good keeps me highly motivated.

Snack options are limited so I avoid snacking. I’m slowly losing weight and will share details when I reach my goal in the next few months. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been that difficult. 

He’d been making the train-like noise up until he actually tried to make contact. The bowl in the dirt was left after we’d fed eggs to the mongooses a few minutes earlier.

We now have a hearty breakfast each morning, with two eggs and sardines, which are high in calcium to compensate for my lack of dairy products, while Tom has three eggs and bacon. We don’t eat again until dinner on the veranda around 7:00 pm. This schedule provides us with approximately 11 hours of intermittent fasting which works well for both of us.

As for today’s warthog mating photos, I’d like to stress, we do not include these or other mating photos for any shock value. Our intent is purely to illustrate the magic and mystery of nature at its finest. Having the opportunity to observe the “cycle of life” in nature is truly a gift.

It’s evident in this photo that contact wasn’t fully executed.

In many months to come, we’ll see the park filled with babies from this mating season. For an interesting article in Africa Geographic regarding warthog mating, please click here.

The gestation period for warthogs is 152 to 183 days. Generally, piglets are born between October and February. It won’t be long before we see entirely new batches of youngsters coming to call with their moms (occasionally dads), aunts, and siblings from past litters. 

It’s a rare opportunity to see mating in the wild, but this appeared more to be “practice” than anything.

Warthogs may stay with their family group, a sounder, for a few years, eventually finding their burrows for rest at night. However, they often stay in the same general territory as other family members.

When we see them at night, they tend to wander off by 2100 hours (9:00 pm) to return to their burrow for the night. Moms will place their offspring in the burrow first and follow behind facing the opening to guard the family unit.

Not a night passes without an opportunity to watch these adorable bushbabies enjoy the yogurt we place on their little stand.

Intelligent animals, pigs of all breeds are rated #2 of the top 25 most intelligent animals on earth. See this list for details. This is clearly evidenced to us daily as we carefully observe their behavior. Dogs are rated #6.

That’s it for today folks! Have a fabulous day! We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2017:
Here were our total expenses for the 25 nights we spent in Henderson Nevada.  Please click here for more details.

 Expense   US Dollar 
Housing (Richard’s home)   $                         
 Gifts & Misc.   $                  299.00
 Airfare    $               1,137.00
 Rental Car & Fuel  $                  926.00
 Groceries   $               1,245.30
 Dining Out   $                  402.52
 Supplies & Pharmacy   $                  609.32
 Entertainment   $                  310.25
 Total   $               4,929.39
 Avg Daily Cost 25 days   $                  197.18

OMG!…It doesn’t get any better than this!…Quite a “Sighting of the Day in the Bush!”…

Soon, there were nine until the tenth arrived.  At this point, the three warthogs were on the scene, a mom, an auntie, and a tiny baby.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Today’s sighting of the day in the bush couldn’t be more befitting of what life is like in Marloth Park. Please check out this video when ten zebras, three warthogs, and two kudus came to call.

There are fewer visitors over the weekends when tourists flock to Marloth Park, staying in holiday homes or one of many lodges in the park. They too feed the wildlife that visits their surroundings, and often with the extra cars and added weekend noise, many of the nature take cover and don’t come around as much.

They don’t waste any time letting us know they’d like some pellets.

Usually, by Monday or Tuesday morning, we begin seeing them again. Besides humankind, on both Saturday and Sunday, that’s not to say we don’t have visitors over the weekend. Many animals visit us on weekends, just not as many as during the weekdays.

We tossed out a few handfuls, and they were all over it.

Based on the fact we spend 14 to 15 hours a day on the veranda, less our almost daily drives in the park, visits to Kruger (upcoming again this week), trips into town for shopping and appointments. Time spent socializing. The wildlife has come to realize. We’re an easy mark for pellets, apples, and carrots most of the time.

In a matter of moments, more zebras arrived in the yard.  Check out the young one in the back center of the photo.

On a day like today, we’ll be gone from 12:30 to 7:00 pm for two planned events, both of which we’ll share with photos in tomorrow’s post. Our dinners are already prepared, ready to be reheated, and by 7:15 this evening, we’ll be back on the veranda prepared to begin “watching and waiting” once again.

This zebra came up to the veranda, licked my bare toe to let me know she wanted more.  I complied, cutting up several apples for her and the others.

For us, avid wildlife observers and prominent commentators in one form or another, we never seem to become bored with this interminable hobby that is a way of life as we live in what we’ll always refer to as “this magical place.”

Their stiff upright manes are an indicator of good health.

We’d love to hear if any of our readers have been to or heard of such a place anywhere on this earth, where one could live for a few months at a time, socializing with beautiful people and embracing daily life surrounding by visiting wildlife.

There was plenty of kicking taking place as they competed for the pellets and apples.

If you know of such a place, please let us know. We’ll want to go there! But, as the well-traveled residents of Marloth Park always say, “There is no place on earth quite like this place.”

The three warthogs held their ground, refusing to let the feisty zebras intimidate them. Tom made sure to toss plenty of pellets toward them.

Sure, many locations throughout the world offer sightings of bears, moose, antelope, whales, endless varieties of birds, farm animals, and on and on. But, as we perused this world so far (not even the “tip of the iceberg” so far), we haven’t encountered anything comparable to Marloth Park.

The youngest of the dazzle of zebras (yep, dazzle) got in on the action without hesitation.

In a way, it reminds me of when I was a child, and we visited Disneyland, only about 35 minutes (much longer now with more traffic) from where I grew up in Long Beach, California. There was one exciting moment after another, and as a kid, it was easy to feel I’d never get enough.

The cement pond is a favorite spot from which to drink after eating the dry pellets.

And, although this place isn’t “manufactured or artificial” (except for the homes, lodges, and few shops), this wildlife environment was here long before the people. For me, it feels like Disneyland every day, one wonder after another.

The young zebra rarely moved from the others to allow for a good photo.

For Tom, who’s a little more reserved in his outward display of enthusiasm, he too is caught up in the wonder of it all, especially when a few days ago, he was responsible for discovering and booking the upcoming cruise back to Africa in November/December 2020. Click here for the details if you missed the post describing that cruise.

Tom mentioned these three had been by earlier in the morning while I was getting dressed. I was thrilled to see them return to check out the little one.

On February 11, 2018, coming back here this time was a gift from Tom for my 70th birthday on February 20th, knowing how anxious I was to return. But, now returning in 2020 is not only for me. He, too, is fully engaged and loving the life we live here.

Two female kudus came prancing into the yard to check out the activity. When the zebras wouldn’t allow them in on the pellets, they left.  No doubt, they’ll return later.

No, we won’t eventually move here as many have asked. We have no plans to permanently “live” anywhere. Nor will we stay so long next time. We’ll stay the 90 days allowed by a South African visa and be on our way. 

This time, we wanted to see Victoria Falls on both sides from Zambia and Zimbabwe, safari in Chobe National Park, the Chobe River and, cruise on the Zambezi River. Mission accomplished.  

When we book plans for our next 90-day required exit in August, we’ll share all the details at the time of booking and while we’re on that next adventure. However, we don’t need to travel from Marloth Park, South Africa, for an experience. 

The kudus left, deciding a few pellets weren’t worth a kick from a zebra.

We need only open the giant wooden doors to our lovely holiday bush home on a morning like this to behold a scene such as this morning’s and, the adventure has just begun.

Thank you to all of our readers for sharing this particular time with us. All of you have given us such purpose as we document all of these magical moments. Without YOU, we may have smiled, laughed, and taken a few photos along the way. 

With YOU, it’s immemorial, as we feel dedicated and determined to document this life we lead 365 days a year.

Have a pleasant Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2017:

As we continued to have quality time in Minnesota with family and friends, we added more photos of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia.  We didn’t want those we love to feel every get-together was a photo op posted online. For more garden photos, please click here.

What happened to Scar Face?…The progression of his injury…If only love can help…

Scar Face’s right eye is above the injury but may have been affected.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Last night’s partial moon.

We have no delusions about life and death in the wild. It’s all a part of nature. Wild animals kill for food, and seeing this occur while on safari the first few times is a heart-wrenching experience for many. We were no exception.
In time we came to accept the “pecking order,” realizing that if one cares to embrace the bush, revel in the wild, and participate in photo safaris, seeing these events is inevitable at one point or another.  

In actuality, although harsh, witnessing such an event can be a life-changing experience as we mature and grow in our vast appreciation of the animal kingdom worldwide.

He stops by several times each day, and we always feed him generously.  He needs food to help him heal.

In Marloth Park, few predators hunt and kill the wildlife located within the park. On occasion, there’s a sighting of a lion, a cheetah, wild dogs, or hyenas. It’s not unheard of for residents to occasionally spot a carcass in the park, left behind for the vulture’s next meal.

In the day-to-day existence of living in the park, primarily it’s a happy place, filled with loving kudus, skittish duikers, gentle bushbucks, and determined zebras, trudging through the bush with heavy hooves, quickly alerting us to their arrival.

At the beginning of his injury, each day, it looked worse than the previous day. We were distraught. He was so busy eating; we had a hard time taking photos.

Of course, there are dozens of other species we see weekly, including the “small and smaller things” such as insects, lizards, mongoose, rodents, birds, rats, snakes, and many more.  

As a result, we seldom have seen injuries and the death of wild animals in Marloth Park. Like I said, “it’s a happy place” for both grownups and children who can learn so much in this magical environment.

We were fearful of reporting his injury to the rangers. See the reasons in the text.

But, when several weeks ago, a special warthog stopped by to see us, we were shocked by what we saw, the right side of his face had been severely stabbed by either the antler of a large antelope such as a male kudu or wildebeest, during an altercation with another warthog or as he ran into a protruding branch of a tree when he was on the run.

We’ve seen how fast warthogs can run, upwards of 48 kilometers (30 miles) per hour. We’ve also seen them dash through the yard at such high speeds when they become frightened, making it entirely possible for Scar-Face to have run into a protruding branch.

At times, he was covered in mud. Was that his way of attempting to heal the injury?

We’ll never know what happened to him to cause this horrific injury. All we know is we didn’t want to report his injury to the Rangers, who, when they’d see such a devastating injury, may have decided euthanasia was the way to go. We had hope. We didn’t report it.

At times, his good friend Mutton Chops comes to visit with Scar-Face. They get along well when sharing the pellets. (Previously posted photo).

If at any time, we’d seen him failing, unable to eat, lying in the yard, and in great distress, of course, we’d have had no choice but to report it. When he’s showed up in our yard several times a day looking for some quick and easy nourishment, we anticipated we’d made the right decision to “wait and watch.”  

Certain animals in Marloth Park, when injured or ill, will be treated by volunteer medical professionals, after which they’ll be returned to the wild. Recently, a bushbuck’s leg was caught in a scare and had become infected. The injured bushbuck was darted, treated, and released.  

Was it improving a little, we wondered?

Unfortunately, warthogs, who multiple prolifically and are pretty sturdy, don’t fall into a category of a species that the Rangers and medical professionals feel are “worthy” of being treated. Many warthogs are culled each year. Many are left to fend for themselves when illness or injury strikes or are euthanized if they can be found.

As the days passed, Scar Face began to look better and better. Some days, his face was covered in thick mud, which he must have been using to heal the severe wound. Animals are unique, and many are intelligent enough to care for themselves and one another using available resources in the wild.

It has been heartbreaking thinking he’s been in pain.

He’s come to visit every single day, eating a massive number of pellets, apples, and other vegetables, and frequently drank from the cement pond in the yard. He’d scratch his face on a tree. There’s no doubt that as the wound began to heal, it became itchy.  

Danie told us that warthogs like to eat bones. We cooked meats and saved all the bones for him. He especially loves the bones, quickly chewing them. Warthogs are omnivores and not only graze on grasses, roots, and tubers but will eat dead animals encountered in the wild, although they won’t hunt for meat.

Now, the injury appears to be drying up, and he seems more animated but extremely cautious around animals other than a few friendly warthogs, like Mutton Chops and Little Wart Face (as opposed to big Wart Face, who’s very grumpy).

Each time he stands in the dirt near the veranda staring at us, asking, “What’s to eat today?’  We can’t help it as we both jump to our feet, scurry around gathering food for him. We stand on the edge of the veranda tossing food to him, which he enthusiastically devours.

Now, as we see him looking so much better, we can only hope he’ll remain on the road to recovery.  No doubt, he’ll continue to return as we carefully and hopefully watch his recovery progress. We’re thrilled.

Then suddenly, two days ago, he started looking better with minor oozing.

Tonight, friends Kathy and Don are coming for dinner. With all the socializing we’d done with them four years ago, and since our return to the park, this will be the first time it will be just the four of us. We plan on an enjoyable evening.  

Tomorrow, at 4:00 pm, Okey Dokey, our dear friend and former driver in Marloth Park in 2013/2014, is coming with her husband and baby, whom we’ve yet to meet, for happy hour along with Louise and Danie. We’ve stayed in touch all these years and are excited to see her and her family. It will be a great weekend, for sure.

May your “May Day” weekend be busy with those whose company you especially enjoy!

Photo from one year ago today, April 29, 2017:

A tiny rowboat at the ready in the Isle of Pines in the South Pacific. For more photos, please click here.

Ten species visited us in one day…Check out who came to call….

These two zebra boys have now figured out it’s worth visiting us for some treats. We can hear the sounds of their hooves coming from the bush. They don’t like sharing with “Little Wart Face” (shown in the background) and can get very pushy with him and with Frank.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A single damaged feather from a guinea fowl I found on the ground.

The majority of the holidaymakers have left Marloth Park, returning to their homes in South Africa and many other parts of the world. Often, visitors come to Marloth Park for a mere three to five days. We can’t imagine how they can reap the benefits of being in this wonderland in that short period.

During the busy holiday season, wildlife may rarely wander into their yard or be seen on the roads in three to five days. They could come here and only see a few impalas, hornbills, and perhaps a kudu or two.

Male impalas showed up, which we don’t often see in the yard.
But, nothing compares to the activity residents of the park are experiencing now that the bulk of the tourists have left. Although this could be disputed and, I assure you, it’s a topic of conversation in the bush that wildlife may not wander into the yards of bush houses when so many humans are around.

Some tourists come to relax and unwind in this calming environment, staying up late on the verandas of their holiday homes, talking loudly, playing loud music, and drinking alcohol in excess. This type of noise is not appealing to wild animals. 
A forkl of kudus and a herd of impalas.
Other tourists come here to utilize whatever time they may be available to glean morsels of heaven found in this veritable paradise for animal lovers, sadly going away with having seen very little.

Even trips into Kruger, as we so well know, can be disappointing. There’s no guaranty one will see more than impalas and birds in a single day’s visit. Now that things have settled down here, we plan to go back to Kruger this week to see what we can find.
Several handsome impalas stopped by, which we seldom see in our yard.  More often, we see them on the sides of the road when driving through the park.

However, there’s no shortage of guaranteed entertainment right here on the veranda in the “Orange…More Than Just a Color” house we’ve rented for an extended period. If South Africa immigration allows, we’ll spend a year here until next February or March.

With the crowds thinned out and perhaps only 700 or so people living in the park right now, the wildlife is literally “pounding at our door” all day and evening. At times, we can barely keep up feeding them pellets, carrots, apples, and any raw vegetable scraps from our daily food prep.

Many helmeted guineafowls have become regular visitors.
Yesterday, we had ten different species visit us in one day, some multiple times, some in various groups as appropriately named in our above photos. As I busily prepared the food for Louise and Danie to join us for dinner,  I frequently stopped what I was doing to cut up apples and carrots for our animal friends.
We couldn’t believe our day when we had the following wildlife visit us in one day:
1.  Kudu
2.  Bushbuck
3.  Impala
4.  Warthog
5.  Mongoose
6.  Francolin
7.  Helmeted Guineafowl
8.  Zebra
9.  Duiker
Frank, our resident francolin, doesn’t miss a thing!  Sometimes, he brings his girlfriend, but most often, he’s alone hanging out with the other animals. Francolins are territorial, and he won’t hesitate to scare off a warthog or kudu.

Of course, we didn’t include the dozens of birds that flew into the yard throughout the day. The most we’d ever counted, including when we were here four years ago, was a total of eight. We love all birds but mention the guineafowl and Frank (francolin) since they rarely fly, spending their days walking about the bush and our yard.

Last night’s dinner was a big hit. How could it not be when we were with Louise and Danie? We so enjoy time spent together and never hesitate to arrange another perfect day or evening in each other’s company.

A band of mongoose comes by almost daily.  We feed them water mixed with raw scrambled eggs. Most likely, due to their presence, we won’t see too many snakes around here. 
The previous Sunday, we had a fabulous dinner and evening at Sandra and Paul’s home two doors down our road. The food was superb, and the companionship delightful. 

Whew! Our social life is astounding!  But, as typical here in the park, people come and go. Our friends Kathy and Don are gone now but should be returning in a few weeks. Ken and Linda are traveling and should be returning in a few months. Lynne and Mick won’t return until November. Janet and Steve have company from the UK, but we plan to see them soon.
And…here’s our girls…kudus, of course.
Even Louise and Danie will be gone for a week to visit family in Cape Town beginning on Friday. But, they’ll be back to continue to handle their very active holiday home rental and house building businesses. We’ll look forward to their return. 
Each night we put out the little cup of peach-flavored yogurt on the stand, and the bushbabies appear around 6:15 pm, just after darkness falls.

This doesn’t include all the other fine people we’ve met here who are permanent residents, all of whom we look forward to spending time with again soon. We can’t thank everyone enough to show our appreciation for including us in their busy lives. 

Where in the world is it like this? The only other place we’ve found so easy to make friends was in Kauai, Hawaii. Perhaps, someday we’ll return for another visit.

Duikers are extremely shy and seldom come near.
For now, we’re looking at our upcoming itinerary and any modifications we are considering. Today, we’ll be doing some planning and figuring out our best options for the future.

Have a great day enjoying your best options. Back at you soon! 
Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2017:
This was a tile roof we spotted in Fairlight, Australia, one year ago.  For more photos, please click here.