Hot, hot, hot...42C, 108 F...We went to Kruger...Hornbills preparing for mating season...


This is not a birdfeeder.  This is an abandoned bushbaby house which our 12 bushbabies don't care to use.  Recently this male and female hornbills have been taking seeds from our birdfeeder and placing them inside the bush baby house.
"Sighting of the Day in The Bush"
These four bushbucks, two moms, and two babies know the drill.  Stand at the bottom of our veranda steps and you'll get pellets and ice cold lettuce, celery tops, carrots, and apples.  They sure appreciated it today.  When we returned from Kruger a short time ago, they were waiting there for us.
Today's post will be more compact than usual.  We just returned from a full day at Kruger National Park and the time available to get it done before our evening ritual on the veranda begins at 1700 hours (5:00 pm) is limited.
We're assuming they're preparing this house as a future nesting spot since we see them do this almost daily.  They both come to peer inside to check out their handiwork.
So here's how the day rolled out.  This morning as I was getting ready for the day, we experienced a power outage.  With no power for Wi-Fi, we decided today would be a perfect day to head to Kruger.
When they're satisfied with their day's work they head back to the birdfeeder for a little sustenance for themselves as shown below.
With temperatures expected in the 42C (108F) range, it made a lot of sense to spend the better part of the day in airconditioned comfort in the little car while driving through Kruger in search of magical moments.

On top of it, the sugar cane burning fires filled the air with so much smoke getting away was a perfect scenario.  We began packing our iced teas, camera, batteries, passports, and prefilled-out Kruger entrance document and were on our way in no time at all.
Here's the mating pair filling up in preparation for the upcoming spring mating season.
It was still earlier enough in the day not to feel the magnitude of the expected temps but we dressed in shorts and tee shirts ready for however hot it may eventually reach.  
This young male kudu has a long way to go in his maturity to eventually become a "Big Daddy."  In the interim, we're thrilled to provide him with pellets when he stops by.
With a plan to stop at the Mugg & Bean Restaurant in Lower Sabie for breakfast or lunch, we knew we'd be spending our time there, outdoors in the hot weather on their veranda overlooking the Sabie River but didn't give it a thought.  This is Africa...it gets hot here.

And, for those of our readers in other parts of the world, it's still winter here.  Spring begins in the next few days as fall begins north of the equator.  We haven't forgotten how hot it is here in the summer months.  
His horns (not antlers...they don't lose these) will eventually make another twist as he matures.
Almost five years ago we spent three months here during the heat of summer.  It was hot and sweaty.  We managed, as we'll manage now.  In some countries, homes may have full-house airconditioning as we experienced in our old lives.  
Elephants we spotted from the fence in Marloth Park during yesterday's drive.
In Africa and in many other countries throughout the world that cater to tourists, airconditioning is only provided in bedrooms by use of an on-the-wall unit that generally keeps the sleeping quarters comfortable which is the case here.

But, when anywhere else in the house, the heat is felt full-on.  Right now, on the veranda, it is exactly as stated above.  Perhaps, by the time we prep the veranda for the evening, the temps will begin to subside.  In any case, we won't be missing a night outdoors due to the heat.  
Its common to see elephants at the Crocodile River on these hot days.
In our old lives, we'd never had sat outside in such hot weather, preferring to stay cool and comfortable indoors.  But, as we always say, "This is Africa,"  It's not like our old lives.

And today, while in Kruger we're especially reminded of how unlike our day was compared to any day in times long ago remembered.  This is a different life now, not to be compared although at times it's irresistible to mention the vast differences.
Drinking, bathing, and cavorting in the river is a favorite elephant pastime especially with their young in tow.
We can't wait to share today's photos in tomorrow's post.  We took so many good photos, it will take days until we get through the bulk of them we'd like to share here.

Please check back tomorrow for some first-time-sightings (for us) that Kruger bestowed upon us in her magical and mysterious ways.

Have a great evening!  We plan on it!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 18, 2017:
Juan Ramon at the Atenas Railway Museum in Costa Rica, was excited to show us this bottle with a marble inside.  For more photos, please click here.

Late posting today...We went to Kruger...Back in a few hours...

Lion kill on the river...Wow!...


The food chain prevails...a lion killed this zebra.  It's a harsh reality of life in the wild.  
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Ms. Bushbuck, aka "Tom's Girl" with pellet crumbs on her nose. We can identify her by her uneven ears.  Too cute.
Yesterday afternoon, after uploading the post, doing some laundry and hanging it to dry and prepping everything for dinner, we decided to take off on our usual drive through Marloth Park.

The holidaymakers were in abundance on the bumpy dirt roads, especially along the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park overlooking the Crocodile River.
When we embarked on our usual drive along the Crocodile River, we spotted this scene along with many others clamoring for space at the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.
The Crocodile River is a dangerous place with crocodiles lurking in the water, a wide array of venomous snakes, dangerous insects and of course, myriad apex predators, such as lions, leopards, cape buffalo, and hippos, all of which can cause great harm or fatal injuries to humans.

As a result, boats and/or humans are not allowed anywhere near the river, except in designated viewing locations in various places in Marloth Park and also in the vast Kruger National Park.  When holidaymakers are here these viewing locations are often packed with cars.

Many others watching this scene stayed at the viewing area for many hours, eventually spotting as many as six lions feasting on this female's kill.
The advantage to the number of spectators is the fact that if they find a sighting before we do, we can follow the crowd to see what they've spotted, a common practice for safari-goers and wildlife-watchers in national parks abundant with wildlife.

But even after seeing the people with their cameras, cell phones, and binoculars it's still not easy to find lions when their coloration blends in with the rocks and dry vegetation making them nearly impossible to see without some guidance.

Then, when we spotted elephants coming down the embankment to the river, we took off to take the following photos.
We've been fortunate to encounter spectators who are more than willing to help point out the scene with detailed descriptions while others may be at a loss scanning the terrain through camera lenses and binoculars.  We are always thrilled to share the information with others.  

However, there are a select few who appear to want to keep the sightings to themselves.  This makes no sense whatsoever.  Why not share the wonder of nature with others for whom this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Could these three zebras be watching the scene of the kill when it may have been a  member of their family?
When we saw all the vehicles near the overlook at Two Trees, we had no doubt it had to do with lions.  Portable chairs and tables, coolers (called chill boxes here) filled with beer and other drinks, and people of all ages had set up camp to watch the lions for which may have been for hours.

Had we desired to "camp out" we certainly would have.  But for us, as much as we'd prefer to get even more stunning photos, we shot what we could and were on our way.  
Each day, many mongooses have visited piling atop one another for the raw scramble eggs Tom brings out to them.  Now, after these months, they've come to know us and stare at us making funny noises to show us how much they want the eggs.  Mongooses are omnivores eating both plants and animals, with an infinity for snakes.  They are immune to snake venom.
We always have a vast array of scenes we're seeking and it isn't always about lions, although we are definitely intrigued with their behavior.  But, we can spend the better part of an afternoon interacting with a band of mongoose while observing their adorable demeanor.  

These funny little rodent-like creatures are smarter than one might think.  They already know how to beg for eggs, making their funny noises while making eye contact with us.  Known as possible carriers of rabies, we don't get too close or touch them, never feeding them by hand. (Although, we've both been vaccinated for rabies, recently getting boosters).
Some nights, she faces this way and other nights, she faces the wall.
Even the pesky helmeted guineafowls, of whom we have about 60 in residence, are smarter than one might think with their pea-sized brains.  They love breaking up the pellets and eating them.  They wait in the nearby bush and when they hear us talking to other wildlife, they come running knowing full well, pellets are on the horizon.

It's all special and meaningful, every single creature including our new resident frog who continues to appear at night on a light fixture on the veranda.  Each time we see her/him in that spot, she/he's in a variety of positions and we can't help but laugh.

Once we're done here today, we're off for another drive in the park and then heading to Daisy's Den for more birdseed and outdoor repellent.  We'll be back with more tomorrow...you can count on that!

Have a day filled with wonder!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 17, 2017:

In this photo, taken from the veranda of our holiday home in Atenas, Costa Rica before a big storm.  For more photos, please click here.

Thinking of future plans for visiting family in the US...Giraffe attack in South Africa...


Kudus are usually early morning visitors although we'll occasionally see them during the day and evening. 
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Guess who always has the right of way?  He stopped traffic while leisurely meandering across Oliphant Drive, the paved road in Marloth Park.
As much as we strive to live in the moment, its hard not to think about future plans, especially when they include returning to the US to see family.  With our current itinerary, we'll land in Minnesota on April 8, 2019, staying until April 25, 2019, for a total of 17 nights.
It's always exciting to see hippos by the river.  Hippos are the most dangerous land animals on the planet, killing more humans than any other:  "The hippopotamus is often cited as the most dangerous large animal in the world, killing an estimated 500 people a year in Africa.
As it turns out we'll be returning to Minnesota again 17 months later (in September 2020) for daughter Tammy's 50th birthday boating trip which Tom will attend while I spend time with son Greg and his family.

In between these two planned trips we'll be returning to the US, again to visit son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, and sister Susan in Las Vegas, Nevada where we'll spend Thanksgiving, 2019.  It looks like I'll be cooking the Thanksgiving dinner since Richard also follows a low carb way of eating and its fun to adapt the traditional menu items accordingly.
They all get along well when there's plenty of food on the ground.  As soon as it gets low, they start pushing, shoving and kicking one another, although not with much vigor.
After Thanksgiving, we'll head to Apache Junction, Arizona to see Tom's three sisters (and two spouses) who spend their winters in the warmer weather, as opposed to "roughing it" in frigid Minnesota.  We may stay a few weeks which will depend on available accommodations which are pricey in Arizona.
Female zebras often stop by with their young, all looking for pellets, carrots, and apples.
From there, we'll be heading back to South America which is an easy flight from the US.  We're still up in the air as to which countries we'll visit and in which order but we'll decide over this next year.  We'd like to see a number of sites we missed last time we were there.

It will be great to see family during these three US visits which will occur between April 8, 2019, and around September 25, 2020. In total, we'll be spending approximately 53 days in the US during this time frame. Then, we'll be off for the next chapter of our world journey.
A new mom and baby bushbuck stopped by the first time. Bushbuck moms hide their young for the first few months of their lives while she forages during the day enabling the baby to nurse freely at night.  The mom eats the baby's feces to deter predators.  After a few months, the youngster joins the mom in her daily grazing.  This was the tiniest bushbuck we've seen, who may have been out with mom for the first few times. 
Other than staying at son Richard's home in Henderson, the remainder of these periods we'll be staying in hotels.  We don't want our grandchildren in Minnesota giving up their bedrooms for our visits and, I'm allergic to cats which two of our three kids have as pets.  It will all work out.
"Elephants may spend 12-18 hours a day feeding. Adult elephants can eat between 91 kg - 272 kg (200-600 pounds) of food a day. As herbivores, elephants consume grasses, tree foliage, bark, twigs, and other vegetation daily. Elephants can also drink up to 189 liters (50 gallons) of water a day about as much as a standard bathtub holds."
For now, our top priority is reveling in whatever time we have left in Marloth Park, South Africa. And celebrate, we do!  Again, last night we had a spectacular time at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant, always being made to feel so welcomed by our hosts, Dawn and Leon.  

The food as always is fresh, hot and delicious, cooked perfectly for my diet. It couldn't have been any more enjoyable, except...when we pulled out of the parking lot at the end of the evening, there were four giraffes blocking the road.  I tried to take a photo in the dark but their placement made it impossible.  
During the dry season, the elephants are able to sustain themselves grazing on surrounding greenery.
It's foolhardy to get out of the car around giraffes.  Only recently, we'd read a new story of a giraffe with her calf who attacked a woman and her three-year-old son while at a game reserve.  Click here for the news article on this dreadful situation.  
During the upcoming rainy season, this entire area will be covered in water providing a rich source of water and surrounding vegetation for wildlife to thrive.
The huge animals are very protective of their young and one swift kick could be deadly.  Apparently, according to this article, the giraffe and her calf are being relocated to another reserve.  

This is why when we spot giraffes on our daily drives through Marloth Park, we stay in our little car, regardless of how motivated we are for good photos.  Otherwise, locals and visitors may be on foot, on bikes and on paths staying mindful to remain at a good distance when encountering large animals.
With no rain to speak of for many months, the elephants take advantage of any water they can find on the Crocodile River.
After all, these are wild animals regardless of how attached we become to them in their frequent visits and how generously we feed them pellet, carrots, and apples.

Today, we'll head out on yet another drive.  It's cool and cloudy and a perfect day for a drive. A nice Sunday dinner has been prepped to be cooked when we return, a beef roast for Tom and a chicken "flattie' for me.  It will be another good day.

May your day be good as well!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 16, 2017:
We didn't see any reason to walk on the rickety old railroad bridge in Costa Rica.  For more photos of the railway station please click here.

Recalling a post from six years ago today, September 15, 2012...Wow! Life has changed so much but have we?

This is the same family with seven chicks we'd seen a few months ago.  See how the chicks have grown by clicking here at our earlier post.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
A muddy ostrich meandering down Volstruis St.  In Afrikaans, Volstruis means "Ostrich."  There are usually ostriches on this road.  Go figure.
Today, we're including photos from yesterday's two-hour drive through Marloth Park, some close to the river, others in the bush. We have many more to share over these next few days.  We've had safari luck each time we've gone out, often more here by the fence than on those days we've visited Kruger for a self-drive photo safari.
This time we counted only six chicks, one less than our earlier sighting. Could this be a different family or did one of the chicks not make it?
For clarification's sake for our newer readers, whenever we use the word "safari," it's always in reference to "photo safaris."  Under no circumstances would we ever participate in a safari intended to kill wild game for "trophies."  I won't get into the politics on this topic but it simply does not fall within the realm of our beliefs about wildlife.

Another holiday weekend has begun and the pounding next door is earsplitting.  Often part-time Marloth Park owners/dwellers come here during the short or long holiday periods to work on their houses.  
It is quite interesting to us as to why ostriches always hang around at this particular bush house.  Nine of out 10 times we drive by, there are ostriches there, including when we were here in 2013/2014.
There are specific rules in Marloth Park stipulating that no building work with any type of noise can be conducted after 1700 hours (5:00 pm) on weekdays or after 1300 hours (1:00 pm) on Saturdays and, not at all on Sundays.
A Big Daddy and his harem on the side of the road.
Last night as we set up the veranda for the evening when it was after 5:00 pm, Tom walked next door to kindly ask the workers to cease working for the evening.  If we don't ask, we have the option of "reporting" them anonymously to Field Security who will send a security officer to the property to tell them to stop.  Fines are possible if work doesn't cease within the specified timeframes.

Marloth Park is intended to be a quiet and peaceful place without blaring music, loud talking, and rowdy social interactions.  Unfortunately, not all holidaymakers and residents appreciate this concept.  
It's always a joy to see elephants along the Crocodile River from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.
The wildlife is often frightened off by human noises as evidenced by the fact that we haven't had a single visitor this morning other than much-appreciated and admired birds who are currently clamoring around our birdfeeder.  Yesterday, when the holidaymakers moved in, the wildlife visits diminished exponentially.
This big girl quietly enjoying time by the water.
In the afternoon, we took off for our usual two-hour drive and found many wonderful sighting by the river, a few on the bumpy dirt roads and in the bush. Those wonderful almost daily drives provide us with our wildlife fix during these busy weekends when few visitors make an appearance.

Last night after dark we did see a few of our "regulars" including Tusker and his new girlfriend; Mr. Duiker; Wildebeest Dad and Son; and our most frequent visitors, Ms. Buchbucks and Babies.  Of course, Frank and the Mrs. stopped by for seeds before they went off to "make their noise" at dusk.  
The elephants were many but they were scattered about the river bank.
As we continue to write post after post, adding new photos each day, we revel in how much it means to us to share the morsels of our daily lives with all of our worldwide readers.  In doing so, we are gifted with something we'll treasure for years to come...being able to look at old posts from years past.
One hippo within range for a photo.
This morning I looked up the post from the first year we'd begun to post in 2012, specifically the post from September 15, 2012, six years ago today.  Looking back at these older posts certainly puts big smiles on our faces as we often read aloud to one another.

What a wonder it is that in two clicks we can reread a story and see it's photos from years past, just like that.  Neatly organized in our archives on the right side of the page, you can do the same if you've missed older posts having joined us a few years into this journey.
There's often a cattle egret near the elephants, partaking of their insects and scraps.
Here's an excerpt from that September 15th post from six years ago:

"As a person entrenched in the details, it's not unusual to me that I have six tools one could use to crack crab legs: two types of crackers, two types of crab scissors, a pick and a small fork, service for eight. It's not coincidental that I have service for eight.  Who would want to "shell out" (couldn't resist) enough crab legs for more than eight people? 

This came to mind yesterday when I recklessly spent $48 for two bags of king crab legs plus $28 for the accompanying grass-fed New York strip steaks.  

This is for three of us for Sunday night's dinner; Tom and I and our friend Sue, who comes for dinner every Sunday night since the passing of her dear husband and our beloved friend Chip. She's a trooper.  Our hearts break for her. They were our role models as a happily retired couple.  Now, we witness the depth of the loss of a beloved partner, excruciatingly sorrowful, a double whammy.

We laugh, we cry and we tell endless stories of our 26 years here on the point. (You can read about Chip in my post on June 1, 2012, found here in the archives).  We three deserve steak and crab."

A mom and her growing calf.
If you'd like to read the balance of this old post, please click here.  We still talk about our friend Chip and have seen Sue each time we've returned to the US for a visit.  We relive wonderful memories we all shared over many years as great friends and neighbors.

Hmmm...life was good then and life is good now, just very different.  No more do we have kitchen gadgets for eating crab.  No more do we eat crab legs.  We don't see them in Africa.  No longer am I so "detail orientated" or...do you look up a photo of Martha Stewart and see me (an expression used by a friend in Minnesota).  That life is no more and most likely will never be the same again.

This is our "new normal."  Tonight, we'll head out to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for yet another fine dinner, often running into friends we've made in this magical place.  We'll sit at the bar and commiserate with owners Dawn and Leon and chat endlessly with other friendly Marlotians.

I don't know if we've earned the right to call ourselves Malothians but for now, we'll afford ourselves this luxury, as opposed to others.

Have a very happy weekend, wherever you may be!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 15, 2017:
The blue locomotive at the train depot with a dual cab, Puente Ferrocarril Rio Grande Atenas in Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.