Photos from Tom’s city tour in Quito and a few from today’s journey to The Galapagos…

Those are some big shoes to fill.

Note; There are too many photos and insufficient time for writing captions on all of them. Going forward, we will make every effort to identify each photo we post; We are so grateful the WiFi signal is suitable for loading these photos, but we make no guarantee that we’ll able to post photos going forward. Thank you for your patience.

We are sitting on the Celebrity chartered plane to Baltra, the main island in the Galapagos. It’s 12:21 pm, and our flight just took off. As I peer out the plane window, I see the Andes Mountains surrounding Ecuador and am in awe of their beauty and expanse to the sky.

Snow peak covered Andes Mountains.

There is a scattering of quaint villages in many of the foothills with ample opportunities for farming and cultivation. There’s a pristine quality of it all. In our few short days in Quito, we reveled in this country’s dedication to ecology and preservation of its vast resources, from the refillable metal water bottles to the limited use of caustic materials and amenities.

The process at the airport was meticulous and uneventful. The friendliness of the staff was evident in every area, and we were whisked through each process with dignity and ease. Several documents are associated with entry to the Galapagos to ensure the utmost safety and preservation of their unique wildlife and terrain. We have completed everything as required.

Now that we are flying to sea level, our altitude anomalies should dissipate within 12 hours. We both did fine walking through the Quito airport. Tom carried our three carry-on bags, and I was pleased with how well I did in the still-high altitude.

Our lunch is being served now on the plane. I will take a break to eat only the three pieces of smoked salmon with cream cheese. I will upload a photo later.

We had a lovely breakfast around 8:00 am, and I was hardly hungry since. Most likely, we won’t have dinner until late tonight on the boat. I ate the smoked salmon and a dollop of guacamole to hold me over. Tom ate the raspberry mousse and didn’t like the rest. Tom is very picky, like a little kid, about food, although occasionally, on cruises, he will try something new and enjoy it. I’d eat almost anything if it weren’t for my necessary way of eating for health purposes.

Speaking of health, I am so grateful to have made it through three days in Quito at a 9350-foot high altitude without a major Afib episode. I felt a few flutters and increased heart rate but immediately did the diaphragmatic breathing, and my heart rate dropped exponentially. I was greatly relieved.

The altitude caused me to walk very slowly when we went to meals, but last night, when we were bussed to a restaurant in the city for dinner, I did fine with steps and uneven pavement, always, of course, with Tom at my side.

At dinner, we sat with six of the other 14 passengers and, by now, had met everyone, making every attempt to remember their names. Surely. In the next 24 hours, we will have that accomplished.

Everyone is very friendly, mainly from the UK, but six Americans are traveling with us. The ages range from the late 20s for one newlywed couple to primarily 60s and 70s. Maybe this time, I won’t be the oldest person at the dinner table, but it’s hard to say at this point.

Last night’s dinner at the restaurant in Quito.

Today’s photos include many Tom took yesterday on the Quito city walking tour and the few I’ve taken in the past 24 hours.

Lunch on the plant to The Galapagos.
Roses are $3.75 for two dozen in Ecuador.

Be prepared, folks. There are many more exciting photos to come.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 14, 2013:
The tail end of the great migration in Tanzania…Gradually, the scenery began to change to include the migrating wildebeest, many of whom had yet to make the journey back to the Serengeti. Anderson explained they would continue on, instinctively finding their way to the large herds of millions. For more photos, please click here.

Another horrifying and heartbreaking animal injury in the bush…See below for photos, adults only, please…Could it have been a lion attack?…

Two moms and seven piglets stopped by this morning, and we couldn’t believe the injury on one of the moms, as shown in the photos below.

With all the wonders of the bush, we will inevitably witness horrific injuries inflicted upon wildlife by other wildlife and, sometimes inadvertently, by humans driving too fast on the roads. When feeding this and another mom this morning with their combined seven piglets, our jaws dropped when we spotted this horrific injury on one of the moms.

It may be why she joined up with another mom with piglets since she may know she won’t last long with this severe injury. This morning I messaged Ranger Jaco, sending him the photos, and he agreed this injury was from a leopard or lion.

Did a lion or leopard do this? We’ve never seen such an injury from a horned or tusks animal in the past.

Warthogs are not necessarily territorial but live in groups in a home range, called sounders, and may or may not be together at certain times. Males mainly live alone but may hang out together from time to time, but not in the female sounders and only with females during the mating season. We’ve often seen moms and piglets together and later aunts, nieces, and sisters. We have witnessed all of this.

Jaco also stated that although warthogs are sturdy and often recover from serious injuries, it’s unlikely that flies will eat away the dying flesh from this type of injury. Eventually, she’ll become septic and die.

Two things come to mind for us after this sighting. One, will she die nearby since we’ve seen her and her piglets several times since they were born a few weeks ago? Two, is the lion or leopard that inflicted this severe injury hunting nearby in our area?

At first, we were excited to see the two moms with seven piglets between them. We tossed lots of pellets and carrots.

We will be extra diligent in the future. Many have seen lions and leopards during the day and their usual evening hunting time. People walking and biking must be extra careful, knowing an attack is possible if getting too close. Often, unknowing tourists will go to inspect a “kill” only to put themselves in danger. What if the lion or leopard returns to eat the remainder of their kill?

I had a busy morning getting food prepared for tonight’s sundowner gathering. There will only be four of us since one of our guests had a family emergency out of town. It’s a scorching day, so I made a point of making easy snacks that won’t require any fussing when the power goes out for load shedding at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, for at least two hours.

The seven piglets all looked healthy and active.

Right now, as I write, the temperature is 97F, 36C, but the humidity is only 29% with a dew point of 59, much more bearable than it has been for several days this past week, with tomorrow about the same. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll be looking at temps over 100F, 38C, and 103F, 39, respectively, with higher humidity and dew point than today.

I’m glad we planned tonight’s little gathering today rather than over the weekend. We’ll be back at Jabula on Friday and Saturday, but according to the load-shedding schedule, they should have power while we’re there. There’s aircon in the bar, which makes it quite comfortable during hot periods.

This poor mom. Her hind end is horribly injured. This could have occurred while she was attempting to protect her piglets. She must be in terrible pain. We fed her lots of pellets and fresh vegetables this morning.

Tom just took a short nap since he didn’t sleep much last night. Soon, I will join him for a bit of a rest while the fan is on. We don’t use the bedroom’s aircon during daytime hours, saving it for sleeping, which is more important to both of us.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2021:

Medium Daddy and his girls. For more photos, please click here.

Stumbled across a few new Botswana photos…Prepping tonight’s dinner party…Menu…

This monkey appeared to be promoting the cocktail menu.

No, I am not feeling better yet, but I’ve decided to go about living life to the fullest to the best of my ability. So far, the constant head and face pain hasn’t kept me down, and I don’t intend to let it happen if I can help it.

I got up early this morning to chop and dice for tonight’s dinner. Unless we braai meat with baked potatoes, veg and salad, making dinners requires some time and effort. I tried to keep tonight’s meal simple to avoid standing in the kitchen for hours on a scorching day.

Elephants were at quite a distance on the bank of the Chobe River.

So far this morning at 11:00 am, it’s currently 90F, 32C, with an expected high of 98F. 37C. The humidity isn’t too high, making the heat a little more tolerable. According to the online weather, the heat will continue into the evening, when we’ll all be outside on the veranda. Once the sun sets, it usually cools down considerably. We’ll see how that goes today.

Knowing it would be hot today, I decided to make an easy meal as follows, although it requires a few hours of washing and dicing vegetables, most of which I’ve already done this morning. With a lack of a wok or super large pans, I make the main entree in batches, the only way that will work.

Here’s the menu:


Maasdam Cheese with Crackers, both Wheat Based and Keto

Hummus Dip with Crisp Vegetable Sticks

Peanuts & Potato Chips


Chicken Stir Fry Topped with Cashews or Peanuts (as preferred)

Stir Fry Vegetables

Fluffy Buttery Jasmine Rice

Hearty Salad with a Variety of Greens tossed with Homemade Salad Dressing

This was as easy as I could plan, considering not feeling up to par. All I have left is to stir-fry the already diced, marinated chicken breasts and then cook the vegetables in a separate pan. I chose to separate the vegetables from the chicken when a few of our men aren’t big on veggies. Then we each have the option to decide how much veg we want on our plates.

A monkey was contemplating her next move.

The chicken and vegetables will be stir-fried separately with fresh garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions, and a plethora of Asian spices. I’ve made this dish for us recently and have figured out the perfect combination of sauces and spices based on what is available in South Africa, which is less than what we’d be able to buy in the US years ago.

Last night, we had dinner at Jabula with new friends Roz and Les. Whom we’d met a few months ago on a Friday night. Rita and Gerhard didn’t join us since she was also under the weather. However, they will be here tonight along with friends Fiona and Alan, who soon leave the bush during the summer heat.

We had a lovely evening with Roz and Les, not leaving Jabula until after 10:00 pm. 2200 hrs. We were both ready to hunker down for the night when we returned to the house. Once again, taking the tablets Doc Theo0 prescribed, I got a good night’s sleep. I still awaken in the middle of the night, but I fall back asleep. Right now, rest seems to be more therapeutic than anything.

I was feeling a little under the weather in Botswana.

Load shedding is back and operating at Stage Four over the weekend, resulting in 7½ hours a day without power spread over the 24 hours. While our guests are here this evening, we won’t have power between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, 1900 hrs, and 2100 hrs. Hopefully, we’ll have eaten dinner by then and remain outdoors in the dark on the veranda by candlelight. We’ve done this in the past when we had guests, and we have a good system with candles and lanterns.

That’s it for today, folks. I will try to remember to take photos of the food and the people. I will get back to you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, September 10, 2021:

Tom was tossing pellets to Broken Horn and a young male kudu we call Medium Daddy. For more photos, please click here.

Our friends, Rita and Gerhard have arrived with a treat for Tom…Videos from the garden…

Yesterday, I spent part of the day prepping chicken and vegetables for a stir fry dish I concocted that meets my criteria for low carb and yet would be pleasing to Tom. I cleaned and chopped portabella mushrooms, zucchini, onions, celery, yellow/green/red bell peppers, and fresh garlic and ginger.

Tom likes onions, celery, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms but refuses to eat bell peppers which many don’t like. So, before dinner, I stir-fried the items he wants, added the chicken, seasoned everything with sauces, and set it aside. I quickly stir-fried the other vegetables with sauces in the same pan, placing half of them on my dinner plate and then adding the chicken ingredients. Tom added rice to his meal and ate only the cooked chicken with the veggies he liked.

Two male kudus in the garden with horns locked.

It worked perfectly. He didn’t have to pick out the vegetables to put them on my plate while I had plenty of veggies with the chicken. We each topped our dish with peanuts for a special added touch. It couldn’t have been more delicious.

Just when we were about to sit down at about 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs., we heard a light tap on the door. (Lately, we’ve been eating early since we have only a light breakfast around 8:00 am and don’t eat anything all day). By 5:30, we are hungry and ready for a nice meal. We usually eat later when we dine out or have company for dinner.

We both jumped up to see who was at the door, to find Rita, Gerhard, and their male friend Lee who traveled with them and was joining them during their short stay here in Marloth Park, most likely less than a month.

There stood our wonderful friends. The hugs and the hellos were intense. Gerhard was holding two three-packs of Krispy Kreme donuts for Tom. It wasn’t the first time Gerhard had brought these donuts for Tom. By this morning, all six donuts were eaten. Piglet. Ironically, when Tom went to Spar yesterday to pick up my light wine, he purchased two big bags of Lay’s potato chips, Gerhard’s favorite.

Rita and my friendship is only four years old, but we’ve grown to be like sisters in that time with lots of hugs and love bestowed upon one another.  I am blessed to share this same type of lifelong friendship with other incredible women in the years we’ve spent in Marloth Park. It’s hard for us to believe that it was almost nine years ago when we first came to Marloth Park in 2013.

They didn’t stay. I had invited them for dinner earlier in the day but knew there would be shopping in Woolie’s in Nelspruit and plenty of unpacking. Rita is one of the most organized people I know, so we know we won’t see them again for several days until she feels like everything is in order.

She keeps her drawers, cupboards, and closets so pristine I drool when I see them. But, I gave up my attempts at perfectionism when we left the US in 2012. My cupboards are only moderately organized, although my clothes (and Tom’s) are neatly folded in the cupboards since there are no drawers in the bedroom here.

As for the non-perishable food in the kitchen…well, it could be tidier, but it works for me. There are no above-counter cabinets in the kitchen (typical in Africa), so space is at a premium. The low hard-to-reach space for plastic containers (Tupperware type) is difficult for me to organize since I have trouble bending down that far, a common dilemma facing most who’ve had cardiac surgery. I have resigned myself that it’s not the tidiest spot in the house. There are no doors on the storage spaces in the kitchen.

When we visit Rita and Gerhard at their house in the bush, I will enjoy seeing Rita’s organization but feel comfortable with the system I have in place that works for me.

Surely sometime in the next few days we’ll all get together and catch up and will do so many more times while they are here. We’ve already informed David at Jabula to save a table for four of us; now, we’ll change it to five for the addition of their friend Lee or more if others join us.

We have great leftovers for tonight, so this morning I busied myself with laundry, making a fresh salad for dinner, working on today’s videos and photos, and now, wrapping up the post. For the afternoon, we’ll enjoy more time on the veranda as animals stop by to say “hello.”

Enjoy our three new videos!

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2021:

Don  (Don and Kathy), who are in Hawaii now, and Rita (Rita and Gerhard), who arrived here last night, were toasting the occasion. I don’t recall what occasion it was, but there was always cause to celebrate. For more photos, please click here.

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.