What’s it really like?…

This giraffe was having a “bad hair day!” The hair on the female giraffe’s ossicones is usually short and straight up. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Cape buffaloes on the Sabie River in Kruger.

In 2012, when we booked our first holiday home in Kenya and then Marloth Park, it was hard for us even to imagine what it would be like living in this type of environment. 

Unaware at the time as to the degree of potential risks, inconveniences, and challenges we might face spending three months in the bush, we forged ahead tentatively optimistic, hoping to fulfill my lifelong dream of visiting Africa. 

A dazzle of zebras hanging out near the road in Kruger.

Although Tom was somewhat skeptical and fearful of the unknown, he willingly agreed to visit the mysterious continent. We spent almost nine months on the continent living in three countries; Kenya, South Africa, and Morocco.

Many travelers never consider visiting Africa due to their fears. The distance is also a factor, along with the high airfare costs from many parts of the world. But, fear seems to be the most significant deterrent based on conversations we’ve had with travelers from all over the world.

And yet, millions of tourists visit Africa each year, statistics for which may be found here. Tom had never known anyone who’d visited Africa in our old lives, and I only knew a handful, all of whom had an extraordinary experience.

A crocodile was lounging on the bank of Sunset Dam.

And now, almost six years have passed since we arrived in Kenya in September 2013, which we’ll soon visit again in less than seven months. It feels as natural for us to be in Africa as anywhere else in the world, if not even more.

Over and over, we’ve mentioned the challenges and inconveniences; the insects; mosquitoes; malaria, and other disease risks; rampant crime in specific areas; the excessive heat in the summer months; and a small but realistic risk of injury from wildlife (snake bites, insects bites. poisonous vegetation and close encounters with dangerous animals).

Yellow-billed storks and other birds are not easily identifiable due to the distance when taking this photo across the lake at Sunset Dam.

We’ve even heard local stories of residents in Marloth Park unwittingly being “stabbed” by the horns of male kudus, male bushbucks, and wildebeest when they got too close. These animals generally don’t attack humans unless injured or provoked.

Then, of course, we all proceed with caution when lions or leopards have been spotted in the park, which poses the most risk at night in the dark. There are curfews imposed against walking on the roads at night. Logical, eh?

We surmised this elephant might have been ancient based on its size and its bright white tusks.  Scientists can better gauge the age of an elephant by its teeth, as described on this site.

All of these aside, we do not live in fear under any circumstances, although we use reason, caution, and care in many situations that could pose a problem. 

Yes, when walking through the heavy bush on our perpetual search for photo ops, we watch where we’re walking not only to avoid spraining an ankle from the uneven terrain but always on the lookout for snakes.

Hippos on the bank of the Sabie River.

On the positive side, nothing, anywhere in the world, can compare to the joy we experience every day. From watching the birds enjoy our bird feeder to the nine kudus who visited first thing this morning to the many trips to Kruger as shown in today’s photos.

This morning while we had breakfast on the veranda (which we now do each morning), we delighted in the kudu’s presence, totally entertained by their interactions and gentle antics. I stand at the edge of the veranda, and my favorite kudu licks the toes of my stocking feet.

This was the first time we’d seen giraffes at the Vurhami Dam, located about 10 minutes on the paved road from the entrance to the park at Crocodile Bridge.

It’s cool here now in winter. Most days are sunny and comfortably warm, not hot. There aren’t many insects buzzing around our heads in the winter months, which will end in September. 

We aren’t dreading the onset of the hot and humid summer. We experienced it in 2013/2014 and knew what to expect.  

Wildebeest lounging in the savannah.

Soon, we off to the hustle and bustle of busy, cultural Komatipoort and Lebombo, the streets packed with locals selling their wares and others buying them. Even shopping day is an adventure unto itself.

We continue to be grateful and humbled by this life. We pray good health will keep us traveling for as long as possible.

Several giraffes attempting to drink at the Vurhami Dam.

May each of you have good health and fulfillment!

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

Two Mallards sitting on rocks in one of the eight ponds in the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Nevada. For more photos, please click here.

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