Heat and power outages continue…Exciting new sighting in our garden!!!!…

Spikey has been playing in the mud!

It was quite a night. After an early dinner at 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs, we came inside to stream a few shows on my laptop with the aircon and the fan turned on. Even after showering, we couldn’t seem to cool off from the hot 103F, 39.9C day with outrageously high humidity.

I had a hard time taking the clothes stuck to me to shower and get into one of Tom’s cool cotton tee shirts. My summer night dress was too hot to wear to bed with its silky fabric sticking to me. We got comfortable on the bed in the then-cooled room and watched an episode of shark tank, Billions, and America’s Got Talent.

During this period, yet another thunder and lightning storm shook the house. A few times, the power went off, which we feared would happen. Miraculously, moments later, the power returned much to our relief and amazement. With the delicate and inconsistent power grid in South Africa, outages from storms are more the norm than not.

New tiny bushbuck was eating pellets with mom watching in the background.

By 11:00 pm, 2300hrs, we were ready to doze off, but for some odd reason, neither of us could fall asleep. We both tossed and turned for hours. Fortunately, the bed doesn’t seem to move when one of us is moving every few minutes. It wasn’t until around 1:00 am that I finally drifted off into oblivion, and Tom did the same.

At 1:30 pm, we both bolted out of bed when the alarm went off, for no reason at all from what we could ascertain. Tom promptly shut it off, and we called the alarm company to inform them it was a false alarm, most likely due to the lightning. They weren’t answering the number we always called to tell them it was a false alarm. We kept trying to reach them to no avail.

A short time later, Tom noticed some light through the bedroom shade. It surely must have been the alarm company that was investigating our alarm during the storm. Either their phones were down, or they were too busy to answer. There’s a fee if they have to come out. I will explain what happened to Louise, and she will straighten it out for us.

Last night while sitting at the table on the veranda, I looked up to see a bushbaby sticking her head out of the hole in the bushbaby house.

Speaking of Louise, last night, she texted asking us if we’d like to join them for a braai at Frikkee’s Dam in Lionspruit this morning around 11:00 am. They have eight family members visiting for an early holiday celebration. All ten of them are attending along with a few other “regulars” that always join in on these brunch braais, Flo and JJ and their young adult kids, and Estelle and James, at times with their adult kids.

Everyone brings food to share. We are making our usual brunch egg with cheese, bacon, mushroom, and onions. As I write here, Tom is cooking the large pan on the braai. It’s too hot to turn on the oven in the house. I am back in the bedroom preparing this post in air-conditioned comfort, knowing we’ll be spending the rest of the day outdoors in the heat, expected to rise to 100F, 38C mid-day.

We’ll be bringing the camera, hoping to see some wildlife in the wide-open area where lions, Fluffy, and Dezi reside. We hear their roars night after night when they are on the hunt for their next meal. There is plenty of wildlife to sustain them in Lionspruit, especially after the recent culling and moving many antelope into Lionspruit from Marloth Park. The back border of our holiday home borders Lionspruit so we can hear some action from time to time.

Since bushbabies are nocturnal, she wasn’t quite awake yet.

More old friends have arrived in Marloth Park, Cees, and Rina, who we met and thoroughly enjoyed when they were our neighbors at the Orange house in 2018.  It’s hard to believe that was three years ago. We have already planned to get together for dinner on Tuesday evening at Amazing Kruger View, overlooking the Crocodile River. It will be great to see them again, and we’ll undoubtedly plan other get-togethers while they are here.

Dear friends Kathy and Don are leaving Marloth Park to return to Hawaii for the holidays. There will be a final braai and get-together at their house on Thursday night for a few other friends and us. It will be sad to see them go since they have been close friends since we arrived in December 2013 when they invited us for dinner on Christmas Eve when they’d never even met us.

This was the first time we’d seen a bushbaby in the house since we arrived last January.

Friends Lynne and Mick, whom we hope to see in Jersey, UK, in spring 2022, met us at Jabula a few days before Christmas that year, introduced to us by owners/friends Dawn and Leon. When we all chatted for a bit, they later spoke to Kathy and Don, saying they should meet us. Just like that, Kathy and Don invited us for Christmas Eve dinner along with family and other friends.

We were thrilled and flattered to be included and so warmly welcomed. Now, eight years later, we’ve been included in their circle of friends as we’ve included them in ours. That’s how it is in Marloth Park, one of the main reasons we love it here so much, along with our love of our animal friends.

Soon, she tucked her head back inside, perhaps to sleep a bit longer. Later today, when we get home from the braai at Frikkee’s Dam, we’ll put some sour cream mixed with jelly (leftover from having guests) in a bit of cup for her.

When we reviewed last night’s trail cam, there wasn’t a single photo on the card. We weren’t surprised. We doubted any of the animals would have been out and about during the storm.  When the lightning flashed every few minutes during the night, I often wondered if they were scared. Undoubtedly, the young ones would have been terrified, staying close to their moms for shelter and comfort.

This morning, they were all back: Spikey, as shown in the main photo, Broken Horn, Frank, The Misses, Lonely Girl, Sigfried and Roy, Thick Neck, Gordon Ramsey, Sylvia, Mom, and Baby Bushbuck. It was a lovely start to yet another hot day.

Be well. Be happy. Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, November 7, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in a hotel in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #229. The end of the elephant’s tail has hairs that act as a small brush, suitable for swatting flies, bees, and other insects. For more photos, please click here.

They’ve all found us again!…Little, Thick Neck, Benny, Henny and Lenny, multiple Franks, and more…Meet Barbara and Lori from Shark Tank…

One Tusk is becoming quite popular around here. Perhaps, a replacement for Tiny, who never returned after we visited the US in July 2021.

We didn’t assume they’d all return to our garden within 36 hours of our return. We thought after being gone for six days that it could take several days until they’d return, having looked for us for the entire time we were gone. But, beginning yesterday morning, our regulars started arriving, leaving nary a single “familiar face” behind.

Little was thrilled we’d returned when he stopped by at his usual 4:00 pm. Immediately, he positioned himself on the right side of the veranda, near where I sit, waiting for his treats and words of affection (from me only).

Yesterday, at the little local market, I purchased the last head of cabbage for the bushbucks and kudus, and it’s already gone. Tom has refilled the big bucket of pellets at least three times already. Soon, we’ll be heading to Komatipoort to buy groceries, and we’ll undoubtedly purchase several more, plus a 10 kg bag of carrots to round out the pellets.

It was fun to see Benny, Henny, and Lenny this morning. We’ve seen Penny on her own but no longer with these three. She could be pregnant and no longer interested in hanging around with them.

Need I say, we’re having a fantastic time. The weather is relatively cool but cloudy. And, although load shedding is currently occurring three times a day for 7.5 hours per day, we are managing fine. Fortunately, as mentioned, we aren’t losing the WiiFi signal during these most recent outages.

With WiFi, the outages don’t bother us at all. With 2.5 hour outages, our food in the refrigerator and freezer stay safe, and with the WiFi working, we can still stream our shows at night when we hunker down for the night. Sleep comes easily for us both, now that our minds are free from worry about where we’d have to go if we hadn’t been allowed to stay in South Africa.

Frank and The Misses, back eating their seeds and drinking from their little container of water. They were so happy. They chirped the entire time they were pecking at the seeds.

Our friends and readers have been writing to us with the warmest of wishes that we’re able to stay, and we look forward to lots more socialization over the following months in Marloth Park.

Our long-time readers, Carrie and Jim, have arrived in Marloth Park for six weeks, and they’re coming over on Saturday for sundowners to meet us in person for the first time. What a joy this always is for us when readers like a location we’ve visited and end up meeting face-to-face! They came to Marloth Park based on our posts.

For a while, Little hung out with Barbara and Lori and their mom. Now, he seems less interested in the two girls. Could he be the dad of mom’s future piglets? There could be several little Little’s on the horizon. We’ll keep you updated.

Sunday is our ninth travel anniversary, and our friends Alan and Fiona and Nick and Joan will join us for dinner to celebrate with us. What a great way to celebrate the special day! We’re making one of our favorite dishes, and hopefully, they’ll be able to enjoy it, along with us.

Last night we made bacon-wrapped fillet mignon on the braai, along with red wine infused sauteed portabella mushrooms, salad, and rice for Tom. We both enjoyed the satisfying meal and are making a repeat for tonight since we had plenty of uncooked tenderloin and mushroom left for a second round.

Are these two young girls Barbara and Lori? See the photo below.

Of course, as usual, as we sat on the veranda at sunset, Little appeared for the first time since we returned. He, like Broken Horn, let us know he was happy to see us. Whoever said animals aren’t emotional hasn’t lived in Marloth Park. Many of them appear animated and enthusiastic when they see us each day, let alone after we’ve been gone for a while.

The mom with the perfect curly tusks has kicked her two daughters to the curb now that she’s pregnant again. Now, the two girls with big white whiskers hang around here nearly all day. We’ve named them Barbara and Lori after the two female leads on Shark Tank, a show we often watch in the evenings. We’ve gone back and re-watched every episode from the beginning. We’re now on season 8 of 13 seasons. We only watch one episode per evening, so we have plenty more to go with as many as 25 episodes per season.

This is Barbara and Lori, now ‘kicked loose” from their mom, arriving on their own with their big white whiskers and bossy attitude, just like their mom. She arrived yesterday with a big pregnant belly without these two in tow.
The power just went out. In an hour, we’ll head to Komati, so hopefully, by the time we return, it will be back on, and we can put away our groceries without much worry over the door to the fridge being open as we load it up once again. Before we left for Zambia, we finished off most of our food, and now it’s time to restock.

Starting tomorrow, Friday, we have social plans for four nights in a row. We love being busy with human friends, as well!

Enjoy the day and weekend to come. Stay healthy and content!

Photo from one year ago today, October 28, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #219. Cows are always curious, and we laughed when this grazing cow picked up her head to check us out while we were in Fiji. For more, please click here.

Day #4, no water…No power?…We knew what to expect in Africa…

A young giraffe and a few zebras blocking the road on our way to Jabula.

Note: All of today’s photos were taken last evening while going to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for our usual Friday night dinner out. It was such fun to see these fantastic animals blocking the road while all drivers waited patiently for them to pass. Tom and I both said simultaneously, “Where in the world do you see such a sight?” Nowhere that we know of. What a delight!

We had no delusions about what to expect coming to Africa. Our expectations were low, with poverty, crime, and corruption raging through many African countries, including South Africa. Most tourists come to South Africa to experience its wildlife and beauty and don’t stay long enough to get caught up in its downside.

Power, water, and WiFi outages are to be expected rather than viewed as an anomaly. The time spent by various providers to repair such issues can be far beyond what we may be used to in other countries. It’s unlike anything most of us have experienced in the past.

Everyone waited patiently for the animals to clear the road.

This morning as I first began preparing this post, the power went out. No water. No power. Of course, when the power goes out, so does the WiFi. I suggested to Tom that it would be an excellent time to drive to the pharmacy in Komatipoort. I needed a prescription for antibiotics filled when the tooth for which I’d had a root canal was still hurting from six weeks ago.

Yesterday, I contacted Dr. Singh, and he wrote me a prescription. I had initially refused antibiotics hoping it would heal on its own. I’d had enough antibiotics for my teeth in the past year or more. But, after six weeks, he said it was imperative. If the drugs don’t work after the five-day cycle, I’ll have to have the tooth pulled. It’s the last molar on the bottom right, and I suppose I won’t bother to get an implant when the missing tooth isn’t noticeable when I smile or talk.

We drove to Komati, got the prescription filled, and headed back home. All the while, we were wondering what we’d do for dinner tonight. The dishwasher is filled with dirty dishes, and with a single sink in the kitchen, even if we boiled water, it would be cumbersome trying to rinse everything.  I told Tom to forget it. It’s not worth the hassle. We’ll use paper plates or eat out until the water comes back on.

Several giraffes were waiting to make their next move while on the side of the road.

Speaking of dining out, last night we went to Jabula for dinner. The receptionist, Danienne, for Dr. Singh in Malalane, brought the prescription to me since she lives in Marloth Park and, like us, she loves going to Jabula on Friday nights. We thanked her profusely and bought her and her friend a drink.

We ended up dining at the bar we’ve done before when it’s just the two of us. Dawn and Leon were both there, and we had lots of fun with them and other guests while we sat at the bar. Arriving at 1700 hrs, 5:00 pm, by 2030 hrs, 8:30 pm, we were out the door and headed back home for a pleasant remainder of the evening, streaming a few episodes of Netflix series.

Neither of us was in the mood for a day and night without power, water and WiFi. So, this morning when we returned from Komati, around 11:00 am, the power was restored, which made us both very relieved. Now, at almost noon, we are so grateful to have power and WiFi that we aren’t fussing so much over the water.

If it were a nice day, we would have gone to Kruger. But it’s drizzling off and on, and we’ll stay put.  Gosh, it’s hard to believe we’ll be leaving South Africa two months from today to head back to the US once again. If you missed our story yesterday about why we are returning to the US for a short stint, please click here.

Every zebra has its unique markings, not unlike a fingerprint. Note the unique patterns around this zebra’s eyes.

A special thanks to many of our readers who have written to us in support of this tough decision, all of which was precipitated by the difficultly of travel throughout the world right now. Sure, it may be easier to travel for a one or two-week vacation, but with us frequently being on the move or even staying in one location for a few months, Covid-19 has undoubtedly put a damper on our desire to visit many countries.

Plus, news about restrictions and quarantine requirements seems to change daily. We are not interested in losing more money due to this pandemic than we already have, which is well into the thousands of dollars.  We’re still hoping our five scheduled cruises beginning at the end of February 2022 will set sail and allow us to continue on our world travel path and objectives. Only time will tell.

May your travel goals and objectives also be realized over the next year, when we all hope and pray for a better outcome than being experienced now.

Photo from one year ago today, August 21, 2020:

From the year-ago post while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #151. One of many towers at Peterhof Fountain Park and Gardens in St. Petersburg, Russia. For more photos, please click here.

A fine evening in the bush with friends..Fun new video!…Check it out!…

Please take a look at the new video we filmed yesterday morning.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 2 wildebeest
  • 6 warthogs
  • 11 helmeted guinea fowl
  • 5 bushbuck
  • 22 mongoose
  • 2 kudus
  • 1 duiker

It’s a glorious morning. The sun is shining. The temperature and humidity are mild, with a slight breeze. The animals have come and gone over the past few hours, and we couldn’t be more content. Right now, they’re all gone, but that’s going to change in a couple of minutes.

Two Go-Away birds were drinking from the birdbath. Unlike many brighter forest-dwelling turacos, these are birds of an African open country and have drab gray and white plumage. In southern Africa, these birds are known as kwêvoëls, but they are also referred to as loeries with other turacos. The go-away birds are named for their raucous “go away” call.

Last night’s dinner with Dawn and Leon was a great time. The food was good, the company superb, and the three wildebeest in the garden all evening added to the entertainment. I’d made an easy steak dinner with sides and spent little time in the kitchen while our guests were here, having prepared everything earlier in the day.

It’s a busy weekend in the bush with many holiday homes booked with guests from other parts of South Africa and a few overseas due to pandemic travel restrictions in many countries. A band of 22 mongooses just stopped by, and we offered them some leftover meat which they devoured.

Three wildebeests were lying in the driveway shortly before Dawn and Leon arrived.

Some novice holiday renters have been fed mongoose bread, which is not appropriate for their diet. In one instance, I watched a guinea fowl steal the mongoose’s bread and escape. We noticed that three of the mongoose had whole pieces of white bread in their mouths, which they weren’t eating, but carrying around in somewhat of a frenzy, wondering what to do with it.

Sure, animals love “human food,” but it’s not safe for them to eat in most cases. It’s always disheartening to watch that. Feeding wildlife, especially now that vegetation is diminishing by the hour, is good if it is appropriate for eating. The best feed to supply the animals is game pellets. Fruits and vegetables humans eat may contain pesticides and other dangerous chemicals to animals (and humans too).

Wildebeest Willie is drooling over the veranda table, begging for pellets.

We occasionally offer them carrots and apples, which we wash first and cut into bite-size pieces. Imagine a bushbuck or a tiny duiker choking on a big chunk of a carrot or apple. It would be horrifying to witness it, but it could easily happen.

This is a hot issue here in Marloth Park with many different opinions and perspectives. Many don’t believe in feeding wildlife. Based on the fact that they are fenced in, living in this conservation without being able to wander towards greener pastures, we feel compelled to feed them.

A hornbill was eating out of Frank and The Misses container of seeds.

To cull or not to cull is also a frequent point of contention. We avoid controversy and do what our conscience dictates: feed wildlife food appropriate to their species. We don’t hand-feed or use troughs, breeding grounds for TB, and other wildlife diseases and illnesses that are always prevalent in the bush.

Last night we had good news that Rita and Gerhard will be arriving at Marloth Park on Sunday afternoon, and we will all be heading to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for dinner. Gerhard has been chomping at the bit over the prospect of ordering their spare ribs, which Tom eats each time we go for dinner. We always go to Jabula on Friday nights, which we’ll be doing again tonight and then again on Sunday night.

A wildebeest, resting in the garden, a common phenomenon of late.

We’re so thrilled to see Rita and Gerhard. We hope they will stay for a few months, and of course, we hope to be able to survive or return after June 30th, when our current visas expire. Only time will tell.

A Go-Away bird was sitting at the edge of the pool.

That’s it for the day, dear readers. Be safe. Be happy. Cherish every day of life!

Photo from one year ago today, May 14, 2020:

A small lagoon between Anini Beach and Ke’e Beach while we were in Kauai, Hawaii, on this date in 2015. Please see that link here. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Gentle musing on a quiet day…I’m often wrong…

This wildebeest looked angry and ready to charge. But, generally, they aren’t aggressive to humans who keep their distance.

At times, my thoughts run wild as to the topic we’ll cover in our post on any particular day. Let’s face it, after over 3100 new posts. The subjects may be thin and repetitive. I don’t deny this. How we manage to hold the attention of our worldwide readers often baffles us, a topic Tom and I often discuss based on the sheer wonder of it all.

Although I don’t spend more than a few minutes each morning contemplating the day’s topic, at times, I’m left staring into space, wondering what’s on the agenda today. But, this dilemma is short-lived. I press my fingers onto the keyboard and let them, as “they” said, “do the talking.”

The wildebeest was curious about us stopping by.

No doubt, the redundancy is glaring at times. Even I recall a topic I may have written about 2000 posts ago. Somehow they are all decorated in my mind, popping into the forefront, the minutes I start to type. Oddly, today’s very topic didn’t precipitate or surface any recall of a former post. But I could be wrong. I’m often wrong.

Being wrong is the “nature of the beast.” It’s impossible to avoid errors, misuse of the English language, for which I often zealously assume I have a reasonable mastery. That may be wrong also.

Oh, my. Certainly, I’m known to use the same adjectives, pronouns, prepositions, and so forth, as described here ad nauseam. It would help if you got sick of me from time to time. Even the few “haters” who read our posts, one of which refers to us as a “train wreck,” continue to read for whatever perverse satisfaction she may glean from coming back over and over again.

A group of wildebeest is called a “confusion.” Go figure.

Tom, a railroad man for 42½ years, knows what a train wreck is, and it is not us. But, perception is everything. I ask the universe if you hate something and have the option to avoid it without consequence, then, by all means, avoid it without effect. Does she think that her hateful dissertations in an email or “comments” are going to change how we do this?

Yesterday, I received a thoughtful message from a reader reminding me that I misuse the word “alas.” She included the definitions from a reliable online dictionary source, and I thoroughly agreed with her. Her message was kind and considerate. I took no offense. As we advance, I will be more mindful of my use of the word “alas,” thanks to her well-written and well-intentioned interjection in a private email.

Wildebeest crossing the road.

Would I continually appreciate comments and observations regarding words I may use incorrectly or in a slang manner? Probably not. After all, this is not an essay contest. This is a log of our daily lives, both perfect and imperfect and mostly somewhere in between. I dare anyone to write daily, over 3000 times, over eight years and not make verbiage, punctuation, and spelling errors.

At one time in my life, I was a perfectionist. I gave that up when we began this journey, knowing full well that being perfect in this year’s long world journey would not serve me well, only resulting in frustration and stress. Now, I wear the same shirt for two days, misspell words in posts and texts, and haphazardly draw on a disappearing eyebrow, a byproduct of old age,

We spotted these giraffes at quite a distance.

Over the years, I’ve learned that no one will say they were glad to be a perfectionist on one’s deathbed. They will espouse love, life, adventures, and contentment, of which we’ll have plenty.

Be happy. Be well. Thanks for being here.

Photo from one year ago today, April 15, 2020:

Beach view in Kapaa, Kauai six years ago today at this link. For the year-ago post, please click here.

Life in the bush during the busy Easter weekend…Happy Easter to those who observe!…

A zebra friend came up onto the veranda to say hello!

We plan to stay put over the busy Easter weekend in the bush. It’s surprising how many vehicles are zooming up and down the paved road in Marloth Park, many with little mindfulness of the precious wildlife often crossing the road. As much as the property owners deserve and appreciate their holiday rentals being booked this weekend, we all hold our breath, hoping everyone will appreciate the majesty and delicate balance in the bush.

We were surprised to see many wildlife visitors this morning, which is unusual during times where many tourists are in the park. Often, they find their way to the bush houses where tourists may (or may not) be feeding them “human” food which like our pets, is often preferred over their species-specific diet, in this case, the vegetation nature has to offer supplemented by ranger approved natural-vegetation pellets.

Zebra’s tails appear to be braided..

Starchy foods like corn, fried potatoes, and chips can be damaging to their digestive systems, let alone candy, and sugary treats. For many, avoiding the cost of purchasing pellets is easily accomplished by feeding the animals cheap human junk food. A 40 kg, 88-pound bag of pellets generally runs around ZAR 250, US $17, more than most tourists are willing to pay.

Smaller bags of pellets are sold at Daisy’s Den here in the park, for considerably less. The larger bags usually last us almost a week. If tourists are only here over the weekend, the smaller bags could easily keep them busy feeding the wildlife during their stay.

Don’t eat the seeds!

I easily recall taking my kids to the zoo, (a lifetime ago) and hesitating to spend ZAR 73, US $5 for a bag of feed for the animals, (but always purchased them anyway). We can only hope the tourists purchase the smaller bags and enjoy feeding the wildlife.

Also, another huge area of concern in the park during busy holidays, as mentioned above, is speeding on the main paved road, Olifant, and also on the uneven dirt roads throughout the park and Seekoei Road, along the Crocodile River.

Each holiday season, several animals are hit by cars resulting in death or the necessity of euthanasia. We can only imagine how horrible this is for the rangers, who work so hard to protect the wildlife, who have to “put down” innocent animals who’ve been injured by careless, speeding drivers. No doubt, accidents do happen, when animals may dart out onto the road, even when drivers are observing the speed limit. We have seen how easily this could happen.

“I want a crack at those seeds when he’s done!”

Last night, Friday, on our return from dinner at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant, many vehicles flew by us on Olifant as we slowly meandered down the road on our way back home. With their windows down, loud music blared from one of the vehicles. This is the bush, a quiet place to relax, unwind and be one with nature.

Loud music and noisy talking, imposing on the quiet so many visitors and locals cherish as a respite from life in the big city, doesn’t fit in here. And yet, night after night, especially during holiday periods, property owners are notified of raucous behavior at a holiday rental. Now, fines are being imposed upon by the municipality to the owners when this occurs which may or may not be charged back to the renters.

“Ah, my turn!”

We’re very grateful we’re in a secluded area close to the Lionspruit fence. Not only do we hear Dezi and Fluffy roaring at night, but we rarely hear any loud human sounds. When we lived at the Orange house in 2018/2019, we were often astounded by the noise surrounding us on the weekends, especially during holiday weekends.

Another area of concern is how many drivers allow their children to not only sit on their laps while driving through the park but, at times, we’ve observed pre-teen children and younger actually driving the vehicles. This is not only dangerous for the children and passengers in the vehicle but also for wildlife and those out on walks to enjoy the exquisite nature this unique paradise has to offer.

This zebra’s ankles and hooves appear to be deformed from aging.

It’s not unusual to see vehicles packed with passengers with many riding on the open tailgate. Imagine, the driver having to stop quickly to avoid hitting an animal or human and the risk to those human lives in the process.

Then, of course, this all leads to Covid-19, mask-wearing and social distancing. We hesitated to go to Jabula last night considering the potentially large holiday crowds. Although there was more of a crowd than usual, we felt safe at an outdoor table, distanced from other guests, and with the staff wearing masks properly. We make a point of avoiding the use of the restroom or tight spaces when out.

They certainly enjoyed the pellets in the garden.

Nothing is perfect. We certainly aren’t and don’t profess to be. We can only choose to do our part to protect this special environment for as long as we’re allowed to be here. We chose this magical place, as have many locals and tourists alike, to surround ourselves in the mystery, fascination, and pure pleasure of embracing nature in a way we never dreamed possible.

For those who are here during holiday seasons and all other periods throughout the year, please join us in the commitment to keep this amazing place safe for wildlife and for human life in everything we do.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who celebrate. And to our friends in India, may you enjoy observing Ambedkar Jayanti, upcoming on April 14th. Be safe. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 2, 2020:

Tom in front of the Taj Mahal. For more photos, please click here.

A storm unlike any other…Power stayed on!…Yeah!..Wet, humid and muddy terrain…

Wildebeest Willie, also known as a gnu, gave us quite a thrill when he arrived. In no time at all, two more Willies stopped by. It’s nice to see the animals drinking from the birdbath.

Last night, our dinner reservation at Jabula was canceled via text due to the outrageous storm that started around 4:00 pm (1600 hours). We hadn’t taken anything out of the freezer for dinner, not anticipating we’d be dining at home. With the prospect and the likelihood of the power going out due to the thunder, lightning, winds, and rain, we were at a loss as to what to eat for dinner.

It’s not as if we have a freezer filled with prepared store-bought frozen foods. We only consume fresh, non-processed meals except a few canned fish, zero-carb condiments such as mustard, and spices. We were at a loss as to what we’d prepare. With all the meat frozen, it would have taken hours for anything to defrost.

But, they say, “A drink from the pool is quite acceptable.”

The stovetop and oven are electric, and with the lights blinking off and on during the storm, Tom suggested we have tuna salad with hard-boiled eggs. The trick would be to get the eggs boiled before the power went out. We hurried and placed six eggs in a saucepan of purified water and put it on high.

We held our breath while the pan of eggs came to a boil. If we could get a vigorous boil, we could turn off the burner and let the eggs finish cooking in the pan with its lid on, the method we typically use to make hard-boiled eggs. Thirty minutes after turning off the burner with the lid on the pan, the eggs would be cooked perfectly. As soon as the vigorous boil started, the power went out, and we immediately covered the eggs. Whew! We’d have tuna salad after all.

And then, there were three.

We made a huge batch, dividing it between two plates, and enjoyed our dinner inside the house. There was no way we could sit outdoors while the pouring rain continued. Shortly before we ate, the power resumed, and much to our surprise, we had electricity all night. We’d heard several homes in Marloth Park are still without power, yet to be restored. We dodged a bullet.

Tom just read me a message on Facebook from the Marloth Park Municipality stating there’s a water shortage. It was a busy weekend with holidaymakers staying at many bush homes in the park, using water resources. We’ve all been asked to reduce our water consumption over the next several days.

They shared the pellets harmoniously.

The property owners and managers have struggled during the pandemic, with few tourists booking any properties. Many bush homes have sat empty for over a year. It’s been a tough time here as well as all over the world. With Easter weekend coming up soon, more activity will be in Marloth Park, not many foreigners, but more likely South African citizens.

Tonight, Linda and Ken arrive for dinner at 4:00 pm (1600 hours) for sundowners and starters (appetizers). While it was still cool this morning, I spent time prepping most of the meal in the kitchen before working on today’s post. We’ll start with a wide array of starters and finish a few hours later, cooking lemon pepper seasoned flatties (flat cut whole chickens), which Tom will prepare on the braai, along with rice, roasted vegetables, and a green salad with fresh feta and grape tomatoes. We won’t be having a dessert after such a hearty meal.

Other wildlife was on the sidelines but thought twice before entering the space of this trio.

This morning, we’ve had several visitors, including more wildebeest, which stopped by yesterday before the storm, as shown in today’s photos. Several bushbucks, kudus, and an endless stream of warthogs, commonly seen most days, visited. Frank and The Misses have been hanging around regularly, often right at our feet, asking for seeds. We don’t waste a moment offering them a good-sized portion.

Speaking of sightings in the garden, Tom spotted the porcupine run across the garden for the fourth time last night. I have yet to see it, although I look for it many times during the evening. They are nocturnal. We’re considering purchasing a waterproof night-vision trail cam before our shipment goes out in the next few days. Amazon will deliver it to our mailing service in 24 hours in time for the load to go out to us. We’ll check this out today and decide on which model to purchase.

A new female warthog we don’t recognize. If she continues to return, we’ll give her a name.

Now I need to get back to work on the treadmill, which I avoided this morning while busy in the kitchen, and finish some tasks for tonight’s dinner guests.

We hope you’ll have as good a day as we expect you to have. It’s cooler today after the rain, although very muddy and humid. But, that won’t keep us from having a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 22, 2020:

What beautiful sunsets over the Arabian Sea while we sat outdoors by the pool, awaiting our fate as Mumbai began to shut down. For more, please click here.

Part 1…An exciting opportunity in the bush…

Duikers are shy and elusive, rarely coming close for pellets. This adorable male has stopped by a few times, checking us out but not quite ready to partake of the pellets.

Last night, while out to dinner at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant in Marloth Park, while laughing and chatting with owners, Dawn and Leon, Leon got a call on his phone from Louise, who had been trying to call me my phone but I failed to answer. For some reason, I’d turned off the ringer. But, knowing Louise, she knew where to find us.

She told Leon she had an urgent message for us. We couldn’t imagine what it could be. Quickly, we listened to what she had to say and were surprised when she asked us to come to their Marloth Park Info Centre at 7:30 am tomorrow, Saturday, to be interviewed for a radio station in Nelspruit, Radio Lowveld, 100.5 FM.

When Louise and Danie, who provide a fantastic resource for tourists at their Marloth Park Info Centre located at 3043 Olifant Drive, asked us to come to the center at 7:30 this morning to interview Radio Lowveld, at first, we hesitated. It was early to get up, shower, dress, and be out the door.

This is newly named Peter, Paul, and Mary. They have become quite regular visitors to our garden.

But, when Louise explained that the purpose of us being interviewed was to promote tourism in Marloth Park, we jumped at the chance. The early morning time would work fine for us if we managed to leave Jabula early enough to get back to our bush house and get a good night’s sleep after getting to be at a decent hour.

We continued schmoozing with Dawn and Leon, ate our usual delicious dinner, and left before 8:00 pm, with me even leaving an unfinished full glass of red wine, something I’d rarely do. More on my mind was being fresh and sharp for the early morning interview. As it turned out later in the evening, Louise texted saying we could arrive at 8:15 am instead of 7:30. That helped.

This photo was taken from the car window when we drove along the Crocodile River yesterday afternoon.

Once back at the house, we settled in, watched a Netflix series on my laptop, and by 10:30 pm, I was asleep, Tom shortly after that. With no time to prepare an agenda for the interview, we realized we’d have no choice but to “wing it,” focusing on the reasons why we continue to return to Marloth Park, now for the fourth time, for a total of 20 months, when repeat stays anywhere in the world weren’t on our radar when we decided to travel the world, beginning on October 31, 2012.

Early on, Tom and I made a pact that we’d never return to the exact location, other than to visit family in the USA, to ensure we continually expanded our horizons by seeing more and more countries and points of interest along the way. After all, the world is a vast place.

Hopefully, soon, zebras will come to see us in the garden.

Anytime one does a broadcast interview or a public speech, it’s easy to think back, wishing we’d said “this or that.” In this case, I wished I had focused more on promoting tourism to Marloth Park than on our reasons for coming here again and again.

But, perhaps, that’s what listeners want to hear…why a typical couple, like us, keeps returning to a favorite vacation/holiday spot, regardless of travel goals and aspirations, simply because they want to, as opposed to what one “should do” when traveling. For us, the reasons we love Marloth Park are uncomplicated:

  1. The access to viewing animals in the wild, up close and personal, is a rare experience in this world. Who wouldn’t love a traffic jam with six or more giraffes blocking the road? When have you ever had a zebra, kudu, warthog or wildebeest, in your backyard or garden? Who wouldn’t love some of the best bird watching in the world while sitting on your holiday home’s veranda?
  2. Meeting some of the friendliest and most welcoming locals on the planet, based on our past worldwide experiences which provide us with an extensive social life.
  3. Easy access to the Big Five in a short 25-minute drive to enter the massive Kruger National Park at the Crocodile Bridge entrance gate, which covers an area of 19,485 km2 (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 km (220 mi) from north to south and 65 km (40 mi) from east to west.”
  4. Conveniently located to many other stunning tourist activities, too many to mention here. But Louise and Danie have tons of information available at the Info Centre, conveniently located in the center of Marloth Park on the main paved road.
  5. Fantastic restaurants with great food, conversation, and warm, welcoming
  6. Local shops for supplies, food, biltong, liquor, with a post office, hair salons, ATMs, hardware, feed shop, fantastic water park ideal for kids and families, and so much more, contained in two easy to access shopping centers
  7. A short minute drive from any direction to see the Crocodile River, which separates Marloth Park and Kruger National Park with viewings of lions, elephants, cape buffalo
  8. Endless options for holiday rentals, including private houses, lodges, resorts, and hostels with prices suitable for all budgets, all right within the borders of Marloth Park. For us, Louise and Danie are our chosen hosts for the holiday homes we’ve rented during our four visits over the years providing exemplary services and properties. There are countless other properties you may choose offered by other property owners and managers.
  9. Visiting a game reserve, Lionspruit, located within Marloth Park with lions, whose roars often fill the air at night, music to our ears.
  10. A leisurely-paced, quiet environment offered the utmost of holiday options in a unique setting unlike anywhere else in the world. This magical place leaves every visitor with stories and photos to share for a lifetime.
Kudus were stopping by for some treats and a drink from the pool.

The above reasons are why we chose to return again and again to Marloth Park for some of the finest experiences we’ve had in over eight years of world travel. This visit right now is by no means our last. We will continue to break our pact of not repeating locations in our worldwide travels and return to Marloth Park over and over again.

Please check back tomorrow when we’ll share a link to our interview with Radio Lowveld, 100.5 FM. We’re excited to share it with all of you.

Now I need to get back to work preparing tonight’s dinner for friends Linda and Ken, who will be arriving in about four hours.

Have a safe and pleasing day!

Photo from one year ago today, February 27, 2020:

The photo was taken while on a road trip to our following location on our private tour of India. Please click here for more photos.

Due to a glitch from our hosting company…

Frank, fluffing up his feathers to impress The Misses. Maybe it’s time to expand the Frank Family once again.

Yes, it is so frustrating for us when our site is down. I hardly slept a wink last night when I figured out what was wrong and how to fix it.

It had nothing to do with our web developers, and they, too, were at a loss as to how this could be repaired. It looked as if we’d lost everything. Now, our site has been restored, much to our great relief.

Unfortunately, although we are “back up” with the help of Hostinger.com, our hosting company, the actual post from yesterday, February 3, 2021, is gone, gone, gone with no way to restore it.  Thus, this post will constitute the post for February 3, 2021, and we will prepare a new post with new photos for today, February 4, 2021.

If not, we will start a new post to make up for the one we lost. We have no idea why we’ve had so many issues these past months and apologize for the inconsistency. Some things are just out of our control. If we’d been able to stay with Blogger, we would have, but they made some changes that made it impossible for us to continue with the size of our site.

That was why we moved to WordPress and have had to bear the expense of monthly fees, annual fees, and new design fees. It was a costly and time-consuming process during the difficult time of lockdown in India, and for all of you, seeking consistency and reliance during times of Covid-19.

Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to offer greater reliance and consistency. But, please know, businesses worldwide are experiencing challenging times with their support and staffing. We’ve all felt the brunt of such inconsistencies of the consequences of these unusual times in the long run.

With the most heartfelt appreciation, we thank all of our readers all over the world for staying with us through “thick and thin.” Now, we hope to settle into a peaceful and dependable state as we strive to share our journey with you.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 3, 2020:

Both of us were excited to be on our way to the palace and Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India. For more photos, please click here.

Resolving the issue with photos but power is out now…

Cute little warthog resting in the lucerne.

At the moment, “load shedding” is happening and I can’t use my laptop. For some reason, I can’t get my phone’s data to tether to my laptop. I can’t worry about that now Eskom, the power company shuts off power to specific areas at certain times to reserve power resources, an average of twice a day, usually for two to three hours.

Last night the power was out between 1:00 am and  3:30 am. Danie rigged up an inverter for us so we could use two fans to keep cool. Although we awoke when the power went off the two fans served us well. It’s very hot at night in this area. Sleeping is nearly impossible without at least a fan.

Mom and two babies enjoying some pellets.

\We experienced load shedding during our past visits to Marloth Park. We can live with this. It’s a reality of life in the bush, a small inconvenience in the realm of things.

As for the issues with photos not showing in the posts, I believe I have resolved it with a suggestion from our web people. It was entirely my doing. After today, I will replace all of the posted photos with the correct extensions and the photos will appear at these links:

January 14, 2021 link here.

January 13, 2021 link here.

I was uploading photos from my phone without changing the extension as a JPEG. I don’t know how I missed this!

My camera isn’t taking good photos due to humidity issues. We will figure out all of this to ensure we can capture decent shots to upload. It may take a few days, but rest assured, I am working on all of this

Soon, Moses, Louise, and Danie’s electrician will arrive to set up the inverter to work with the router. Once done, we’ll be able to be online during the outages. This will help greatly, especially since I do the posts in the mornings in order to free up my afternoons for other tasks, photo ops, and sightseeing.

It’s been so long since we’ve taken photos we are a little rusty. By no means an expert photographer, it’s always a work in progress.

Two visiting girls.

The wildlife continues to visit with two new species today. We look forward to sharing our photos in the months to come. Due to the fact I will be removing and replacing all the photos from the past few days, I may not do the India expenses today after all. The temps are in the 90F, 38C, range and it’s just too hot to think about numbers.

Thanks for your patience with our photo issues. Hopefully, now it will be resolved.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2020:

Three years ago, Tom and I sat in the hotel bar in Palermo, Buenos Aires watched the Minnesota Vikings playoff game. We were the only patrons in the bar, but had a wonderful evening together. For more, please click here.