Exciting Kruger visit with astounding video...Play on words...

Please watch our video of a very unusual cape buffalo occurrence.

 "Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This warthog's tusks are almost a full circle.
Yea, I know...we're running out of adjectives to use to describe our experiences.  Or, perhaps, we ran out long ago.  I look up words on a variety of online thesaurus' searching for new or different words to use. 
These two cape buffaloes, horns stuck together, were close to the dirt road, making it easy for us to get these photos.
Alas, all I see are the same adjectives we repeat over and over again, such as;  stunning; spectacular; stupendous; amazing; unreal; unbelievable; heart-stopping; heart-pounding; breathtaking; astonishing; surprising; and on and on.
The anguished look on the faces was disheartening.
What can we do to describe over-the-top adventures we encounter almost on a weekly, if not daily basis?  Not much really, unless anyone out there has a better idea.
They could have been stuck for minutes, hours or days for all we knew when we stumbled upon this dreadful scene.
Even if we ranked an experience on a rating system from one to ten, in a short period it would be as redundant as the above over-used adjectives in almost every one of our daily post.

"Guffaw," I say (nice word to use), I'm going to stop thinking about my overuse of these adjectives and just go with the word(s) including all of the above and more, that most effectively describes what we've seen and done.
They tried desperately to become un-entangled to no avail.
So here we go again...attempting to describe yesterday's self-drive in Kruger National Park in search of unique wildlife experience.  Oh, I'll admit, a nice giraffe, zebra or elephant photo op does get blood pumping through our veins eliciting a certain degree of enthusiasm. 
We felt helpless.  There was nothing we could do other than report it and our location at the time.  Would something be done such as tranquilizing them to get them free?  But, most likely this wouldn't be safe when there were dozens of other cape buffaloes in the area.  They can be very dangerous animals.  "It is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Also known as Black Death, the Cape Buffalo can be extremely dangerous, and is said to have killed more big game hunters than any other animal in Africa."
However, a large "parade" of elephants excites us more, as does a "tower" of multiple giraffes, as does a "dazzle" of a dozen or more zebras.  For us, "onesies" aren't quite as stunning as numbers have the potential to be. 
It seemed hopeless until another buffalo came along.  Check the above video as to what the other buffalo did to help.
The exception to the above may be in spotting rhinos; leopards, cheetahs, and of course the often-sought lion or lioness and cubs.  Then again, there are such mysterious creatures such as the pangolin, porcupine, aardvark, and wild dogs including many more nocturnal unlikely-to-spot animals even the most experienced guide seldom spots.
Another buffalo approached wondering what was going on. Check the above video as to what the other buffalo did to help.
For us going into Kruger is all about our so-called "safari luck" or as one may say, "pièce de résistance" when we have the opportunity to encounter something very special to us, which may be mundane to the more experienced participants in safaris throughout the world.

Then again, we're no slouches in having had animal viewing experiences over the years.  One need only peruse our site's 2124 posts (as of today) to see how much we've actually seen in these past 5 years and 7 months since we began our journey.

They have sad faces when content.  But under these circumstances, they looked more miserable.
So, after driving through Kruger yesterday, having no safari luck whatsoever other than sighting lots of impalas (typical), a few wildebeest (a little less typical) and a few zebras (always nice to see but more common), we resigned ourselves to the fact that for once, and only once so far in our numbers of trip to Kruger, we'd leave with few interesting photos and/or videos.

Alas, as we began the return drive on a dirt road back to the Crocodile Bridge forgoing the paved road with the more decent little rental car, we stumbled upon today's highlighted story, the entanglement of two cape buffaloes who's horns must have become stuck during an altercation over supremacy.
After they were free, they immediately started grazing.  Who knows, maybe they hadn't eaten in days?
Upon returning from Kruger, I checked YouTube to see how many other videos had been posted with cape buffalo horns entangled in one another, let alone when another buffalo came to their rescue.  There were none.  This must be unique.  This is the kind of sighting we long to discover.

Dear readers, revel with us in today's video for which there is a lack of redundancy (at last) and, I doubt I can come up with any appropriate adjectives to describe this sighting.  I'll leave that up to you.  
Turtle crossing the road in Kruger.
Please pass this post and/or video on to your family, friends, and neighbors.  Maybe, we can get it to go viral.  We won't make money from it going viral.  That's not our intent.  But we can add to the list of "amazing" readers we have throughout the world.

Have a stupendous day!

Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2017:
Busy port in Skagway, Alaska.  For more photos and Alaskan cruise final expenses, please click here.

An exciting drive in Marloth Park...Back from Kruger...Great day...Lots of safari luck...

This was our first sighting of a good-sized herd of cape buffalo we spotted from Marloth Park yesterday, on the banks of the Crocodile River.  There were from 24 to 30 in the herd.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Tom's "Little Girl" bushbuck has been so happy he's back, she comes to see him each day.
After yesterday's huge response from our readers on our story on invasive alien plants, (please see our post here if you missed it) we're making every effort to expand our knowledge through education about biodiversity in Marloth Park.
We managed to capture these photos through the electrified wires in the fence that separates Marloth Park from Kruger Park.
Of course, we'll continue to share photos of our visitors as they arrive, our trips to Kruger National Park and any other areas we may visit on occasion.  But, conservation issues are constantly in our minds as we revel in this magnificent place.
We waited patiently while attempting to get a few face shots.
We often ask ourselves, "How long can this keep up?" Will the animals always be here or will the effects of the human footprint eventually impact the numbers of animals in Marloth Park? 
Yesterday was hot and humid so it's not surprising they congregated near the water.
We're on a mission to discover more and currently we're working on a new story we'll share in the next week that may surprise you.  It certainly surprised us.  Please check back for more.
Instinctively many wild animals rest in close proximity to one another as a defense from predators.

After this great sighting, we continued on our way content we'd had a good day.
In the interim, we're having a blissfully busy week since our return from Zambia last Friday evening.  The days are flying by so quickly we can hardly keep track.  Isn't that typical when you're having the time of your life?

Hornbills spend a lot of time on the ground as well as flying and in trees.
This morning, after preparing tonight's dinner to later be baked in the oven, we decided to take advantage of the exquisitely sunny morning and head to Kruger National Park.
Of course, it's equally exciting to see ostriches.
Now that we have our "Wild Card" which we purchased for one year, we can enter the park as often as we'd like at no additional fees.  We try to go at least once every two weeks and are seldom disappointed, especially when "safari luck" kicks in.  Today was no exception.  Tomorrow's post will contain some amazing scenes we captured.
An ostrich's mouth stays open in order to cool off since they have no sweat glands.  They are able to tolerate high heat.
As for the rest of the week, yesterday, Tom had his haircut and is happy with the outcome.  Tomorrow, we go to Dr. Theo in Komatipoort for the balance of our vaccinations and boosters.  For Saturday evening, we've invited Louise and Danie along with Louise's parents from Cape Town for dinner at our place.
It's always such a joy to see the giraffes in Marloth Park.
Tomorrow, we'll grocery shop for the first time since we returned, managing to dine on items we already had on hand in the deep freeze, adding a few items from the Marlothi Center's mini mart.  Plus, we'll head to Obara to purchase more pellets, the pharmacy for odds and ends and a quick stop at the biltong (locally made jerky) store.
Female giraffes have tufts of hair on their ossicones where males do not, mainly since they use these small horns in combat for dominance.
Our friends Kathy and Don return this weekend and surely we'll see them soon once they are settled in.  Well, the list could go on and on.  Need I say, we're content with the level of activity since we always make time to relax and unwind.
Mostly Egyptian geese on the distant shore of the Crocodile River.
The evenings are especially relaxing while sitting outdoors on the veranda waiting for a wide array of visitors to arrive and of course, the dependable arrival of the dozen bushbabies living in the trees in the yard.   No, we haven't seen Scar Face yet but we continue to remain hopeful. 
May you have a pleasant evening as well.  We'll be back at you soon!   
Photo from one year ago today, May 23, 2017:
This day, one year ago, we arrived in Sitka, Alaska. We were the only ship in port and the crowds in the town weren't bad.  For more photos, please click here.

An education in a totally new area for us...Sharing the urgency...

Resultado de imagen de photo famine weed
Famine weed, found throughout the world is a deadly and destructive invasive plant.  See below for details.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Baby, mom, and dad ostriches out for a leisurely stroll in Marloth Park.
There's no way that in a few short hours of education that we can appropriately describe the ravages wrought by alien invasive plants throughout the world.  All we can do today is share a little bit of information we learned after a chance meeting of Marloth Park Honorary Rangers, Uschie and, Evan Powell yesterday morning.
Although its impossible to conquer all of the alien plants in Marloth Park in order to protect wildlife and humans, the dedicated Marloth Park Honorary Rangers spend considerable time (their own free time) pulling out invasive plants.  In the case of "Mother of Thousands" every last bit must be pulled since it will regrow from even the most minuscule portion left behind.
We were doing the usual, sitting on the veranda on a gorgeous sunny day, watching wildlife while I prepared the day's post.  Invasive alien plants were the last thing on our minds.

Tom heard a ruckus on the dirt road in front of our house and decided to check it out.  He thought it might be a special animal sighting which gathered a bit of a crowd.  he was surprised by what he saw.
Image result for world map invasive plants
This map illustrates how alien plants have infiltrated countries all over the world.
As he walked toward the voices he found seven or eight people sitting on foldable camping-type chairs bending over and hand-picking and pulling plants from the dry ground in this particular case, the Mother of Thousands, bryophyllum delagoense, as shown in the photo included here today.

Curious, he started talking to Uschie and Evan to discover they are a  part of a dedicated group of Honorary Rangers who try to destroy the wrath of alien invasive plants in Marloth Park.

Today, we can share but a glimpse of the devastation to both wildlife and humans.   In most cases, humans are unaware of the dangers that lie within alien invasive plants many of which are planted by homeowners here in Marloth Park and throughout the world.

When I noticed Tom was gone for quite awhile, I grabbed the camera and headed to the dirt road to encounter this same scene as Tom had stumbled upon. 

Uschie immediately greeted me and explained the nature of the group's work.  Fascinated by their combined dedication, we started asking questions of Uschie and her husband Evan, who both dedicate almost all of their days in a variety of ways in protecting Marloth Park's biodiversity.

As Tom and I listened to the depth and breadth of their work, they invited us to their home to learn more enabling us to write somewhat of a story on this tragic situation that could ultimately change everything we know and love about Marloth Park.

At 2:00 pm we arrived at Uschie and Evan's fabulous bush home.  The grounds surrounding their lovely property are highly conducive to the free roaming and grazing of the myriad forms of wildlife in Marloth Park.  They, like us, offer pellets and bird seed, welcoming many species to wander about freely in a natural habitat.

After sharing some stories of how we all came to cherish this special place, they invited us indoor to watch a highly professional and educational presentation they use when educating local residents.  Some are interested...some are not.

This presentation revolved around the vast spreading of one of the most toxic and proliferating invasive plants in the world known as Famine Weed, Parthenium Hysterophorus which has spread to many parts of the world as shown in the map below.

Image result for Parthenium hysterophorus global map
World map illustrating the spread of Famine Weed, Parthenium Hysterophorus.
Need I say, we were both shocked by the influence this deadly plant has had all over the world, let alone here in Marloth Park.  From the brochure, "Alien Plants of Marloth Park" a copy of which I have as a reference, the following is stated about Famine Weed:
  • Annual weed
  • Very dangerous, invasive plant
  • Toxic to humans and beasts
  • Pale green, hairy leaves
  • Small white flowers
  • Skin and respiratory irritant
  • Pull our wearing gloves
  • Preferably before flowering
  • Do not transport
  • Bury deep
Continuing in the well-prepared brochure; Why are alien plants a problem?
  • They are highly adaptable and vigorous plants with no natural enemies.
  • They will grow in many areas.
  • They use large amounts of water and therefore reduce available water to the area.
  • They overwhelm our indigenous plants and lead to loss of insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals.
  • They invade and destroy lands that could be used for livestock, farming, and conservation.
  • These plants are often poisonous to humans and animals.
  • They increase the heat and intensity of fires.
  • They increase the risk of erosion and flooding by killing of the local bush.
What more can we say to share our shock and sadness over this awful situation in Marloth Park, South Africa, all of Africa and even in our own continent of North America and other parts of the world?

Parthenium weed: Parthenium hysterophorus

Famine weed, Parthenium Hysterophorus

Why do we write this story today?  For one reason only...in hopes of creating interest and awareness for everyone who reads our posts in taking the time to research issues of invasive alien plants their area, including the citizens of Marloth Park.

If you have questions regarding invasive alien plants in Marloth Park, please contact Uschie or Evan Powell, Marloth Park Honorary Rangers at marlothparkhonoraryrangers.co.za or Facebook at www.facebook.com/marloth parkhonoraryrangers.

Suddenly, with this new information, we have an entirely different perspective of the hard work of the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers and the responsibility that property owners must possess in aiding in the process of obliterating this toxic issue as much as is humanly possible.

The Marloth Park Honorary Rangers spend endless hours harvesting invasive plants including this "Mother of Thousands," bryophyllum delagoense which is described in "Alien Plants of Marloth Park as "succulent, grey-green tube-shaped leaves with dark spots.  Orange-red trumpet-shaped flowers forming chandeliers at the top of the stalks."
We won't harp on this topic here but from time to time, we may share the progress that is transpiring here in Marloth Park from the dedication of these hard-working individuals.

Thanks to Uschie and Evan for welcoming us into their home and sharing this vital information with us and besides,  the four of us hit it off famously as we look forward to some social time together as well.   

As world travelers, we, too share a responsibility of creating awareness regarding this urgent situation as we move from country to country.


Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2017:
Hubbard Glacier was outstanding!  For more details, please click here.

The bush continues to deliver...They're back but not all of them...

We returned on Friday evening.  These were our visitors on Saturday afternoon.  We're back!
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This morning, Miss Kudu was on the road by our house after a pleasant visit after which she wandered down our driveway.  What a glorious morning!
It appears we've exhausted sharing our photos of Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Chobe River and the Zambezi River.  What a fabulous experience, we'll always treasure.  Not only did we love every moment but we had such fun together with never a dull moment.
My favorite, "Miss Kudu" didn't waste any time stopping to see us.
Now, back in Marloth Park, we've had an opportunity to see some friends and more social gatherings will follow soon.  Yesterday afternoon we visited Gail and Mark at their home along the Crocodile River. 

It took a few days for the mongoose to realize we'd returned.  Of course, scrambled eggs were on the menu.
We'd written a post about Gail's heroic experience with an abandoned chimpanzee in Liberia and subsequently had written a book "Her Name is Missy" which is available for purchase here.   They'd joined us for dinner last month and we look forward to spending more time with both of them.

This afternoon we're visiting a new couple we met this morning who are both Marloth Park Honorary Rangers.  We'll be preparing an interesting story we'll share in tomorrow's post after we interview them further.
The two "boys" are back with "Little Wart Face" in the background.
This morning, Louise stopped by to bring me a choice of a variety of tea strainers to use for the delicious loose tea we'd purchased at the Livingstone Airport from the new little shop as mentioned in a post of a few days ago which can be found here.  Of course, I couldn't let her leave without sharing some of my outstanding tea for her to take home.
Tom favorite "Little Girl" bushbuck came to see us the first morning we were back from Zambia.
This magical place is a plethora of fascinating people each with their own unique stories to tell.  Over these next few months we'll be adding more stories and photos about local citizens and their individual contributions to Marloth Park, it's wildlife and it's surroundings.  
Kudus along the side of the road on our way to the little market.

We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and hear about their lives and, their motivation for living in this magical place.  Tom always asks the question, "How did you discover or hear about Marloth Park?
All zebras have those black spots on the inside of their legs.  This spot is naturally callused so when they're lying down they can place their sharp hooves on this spot and prevent from injuring themselves.  Nature...amazing!
 The answers are varied and ultimately interesting.  No two stories are alike.  "And how did we find it?" we've been asked. 

In 2012, shortly after we decided to travel the world I sat in a chair in our family room for nearly 12 hours each day searching for where we'd live in Africa, my dream continent to explore.  It was via a photo Louise had posted on her website as shown below.  
Warthog in the kitchen doing "crumb patrol."  See this post from the day we originally posted this photo.
This photo so bespeaks what triggered our passion to be here.  Those of you who've followed us for years surely understand.  Speaking of warthogs, sadly we have not seen Scar Face in over two weeks. We'd heard a warthog with a huge hole in his face had been "culled" while we were gone.  My heart sank. He was doing so much better, we thought.

But, now after speaking with several locals, they say there were two warthogs with holes in their faces, one large and one small.  The larger of the two was culled.  Scar Face was small so we're hoping it wasn't him.
This bushbuck mom and her baby have been visiting for months.  The baby certainly has grown, hasn't she?
This morning we spoke to the above mentioned Honorary Rangers and they stated they'd seen a small warthog with such an injury in the past week that appeared to be healing.  We hope he'll return and we have the opportunity to see him again.

It's so easy to get wrapped up with certain animals here in the bush.  It's funny how many of us get the same "visitors" and we each have our own names for them.  We've been able to interact with many of our "regulars" since we've returned but not Scar Face, Wart Face or Frank so far.
Last night after dark, "Mom, Two Piglets and Auntie" came back to see us along with another boy group of four zebras.
 We'll be sitting outdoors day and night waiting for them to appear, except for the few times we leave to tour the park or go shopping.  We'll post updates and photos here, of course.

That's all for today folks!  Please check back tomorrow for our new story as mentioned above.

Have a meaningful Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, May 21, 2017:
Photos don't do Hubbard Glacier justice.  It was stunning. It's hard to believe we were there a year ago today! For more photos, please click here.

A Royal Wedding watching party in the bush...Close encounters of the elephant kind...

Albert our guide in Chobe National Park and on the Chobe River had pulled the safari vehicle close to the river so we could check out some crocs near the end of this post regarding this story).
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Impalas are very skittish around humans making it difficult to take photos of them when they rarely visit.  This male was moderately interested in a few pellets.  But, when he heard a noise in the bush he took off.  When fighting for dominance during mating season, they bark like a  crazed dog, the weirdest sound we've heard in the bush.
Today, we're sharing two stories, one an unreal elephant encounter in Chobe National Park and another, yesterday's Royal Wedding viewing party I attended on Saturday at Jabula Lodge.
I sat at this table with Gail, Leslie, Pat, and Jeanine.
I'd hesitated to commit to attending the party when the invitation was posted on Facebook several days ago.  My concern was we'd be preparing to leave South Africa if and when our passports didn't get stamped for another 90 days and the last thing on my mind would have been the Royal Wedding.

As it turned out, for those of you who may not have seen yesterday's post (please click here), we were able to have our passports stamped for another glorious 90 days we're able to stay in South Africa...in Marloth Park.  We couldn't have been more thrilled.
Also, included in our viewing group Gail, Danelle and Rhona.
Thus, I kept my RSVP intact and joined the lovely women after I'd completed and uploaded yesterday's post.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep the prior night, our first night back in Marloth since I kept awakening wanting to see if any visitors were stopping by. 
Dawn, Felix and Lynn (behind the bar).  
"Settle down," I reminded myself, "They'll be plenty of time for visitors." But, sleep alluded me and I was awake from 3:00 am on.  Last night, I did better after a great homemade meal on the braai and managed to sleep a full eight hours, only awakening from time to time.  It's amazing how a good night's sleep makes us feel the next day.
Dawn, the owner of Jabula, had arranged a beautiful spread for the ladies.  She'd offered to make something for me but I wasn't hungry.
The party was fun.  I knew a few of the women in attendance and had the opportunity to meet several others.  The food, the champagne, the decorations and the festivities were totally delightful. 
Three baby elephants were off at a distance and the moms were angry they'd wandered off.  They started calling for them and they came running.  This happened so quickly we had no time to react and take a video.  When the babies returned it appeared the moms were scolding them as they kicked up sand while bellowing.
Although there wasn't food suitable for my way of eating, Dawn offered to have the kitchen prepare a few items for me but I politely declined.  I wasn't hungry and eating was the last thing on my mind.
They were so close to us we didn't need to use any zoom on the camera.
I didn't have much interest in the Royal Wedding but it was fun to see her dress and the hats and clothing worn by the guests...such a wide array of colors,, styles and personalities. 
The huge matriarch came from a short distance and ran toward the herd to see what was going on.
The chatter around the table was entertaining and interesting and I was never bored for a moment.  With my short attention span, a true personality flaw, I always make every effort to stay engaged and connected whether in a group or one-on-one.  It was no problem yesterday with the playfulness and banter between the women.
A few stragglers who'd been grazing followed suit.
By 2:00 pm, Tom stopped in to pick me up, taking a few minutes to meet everyone and then we were on our way back "home."  I hesitate to use the word "home" when we truly are homeless nomads but here in the bush, it feels like a home not so much due to the house, but as to our comfort in living in this environment.

As for the second part of today's story, we are still reeling from last week's exceptional elephant encounter in Chobe National Park.  I don't need to write much about it here today.  
 One baby insisted on suckling after all of the action.
By following the photos and the captions, the story will be clearly told.  All I can add is that it was unlike any elephant encounter we've had in the past, one we'll always remember.  What a spectacular week we had!
Things started to settle down.
Today, we'll embark upon our usual drive through Marloth Park to see what we can find.  However, after yesterday's rainy day and predictions for more rain today, we may have to postpone for another day.
Finally, they decided to wander off.
We've only had a handful of visitors today; one guinea fowl, one female bushbuck and one male impala as shown in the above photo.  

Weekends tend to be quieter in the bush when there are more tourists and subsequently more cars in the park.  We always look forward to Mondays for that very reason.
The worry exhibited by the moms was heartwarming to witness.  We were grateful to have witnessed such an event.

And, another calf began suckling.

Have a peaceful and meaningful Sunday, wherever you may be.

Photo from one year ago today, May 20,2017:
In each of the ports of call in Alaska, we've noticed several fur shops including this shop in Juneau.  For more details, please click here.