Malaria risks......Big Boy is back!...The excitement continues...We can't get enough!...

Three-for-One....on the Crocodile River; a White Fronted Plover, a female impala, and a male waterbuck.  We'd wish it had been a sunny day for this shot but cloudy days can mean more rain and rain is desperately needed.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
A vervet monkey sitting atop a lion statue in the yard of a house.
No, we won't be spending this entire next 12 months in Africa sitting on the veranda waiting for visitors and posting photos of the same species over and over again.  We have many exciting plans on the horizon.

Big Boy is easily twice the size of this other adult male warthog.  We're assuming this may be the same "Big Boy" we saw four years ago as shown at this link.  Warthogs have a lifespan of 18 years.  Once males mate, they don't hang out with females nor are involved in the care of their offspring.  However, who knows, perhaps another male with whom they wander and graze, may, in fact, be an offspring.
But, after the last few months having sailed on two major cruises (30-nights and 17-nights) and spending 33-nights in Buenos Aires, we're both thoroughly enjoying this time doing exactly what we feel like doing...relishing the quiet, the never-ending stream of "visitors" and time with our friends in Marloth Park.
Part of the joys of traveling the world is spending time, just like all of you, settling into a comfortable and pleasurable routine with little requirements of our time.  We can go out.  We can stay in, sitting the veranda.  Our time is our own.

"A face only a mother could love," and yet I find them so adorable with their quirky personalities.
In Marloth Park and in much of South Africa, it's often hot, humid with plenty of mozzies and other insects.  We're having to reapply insect repellent several times a day especially during this second stay in South Africa, we aren't taking malaria pills. 

The high-risk malaria season is ending in March or April, depending on the rains. It made no sense to be taking the pills for over a year where there are side effects and hazards in doing so over the long haul. 

Up the steps he goes, to see what we've got in the way of pellets!
Taking the risk of getting malaria or taking the risk of possible side effects from taking the medication for an extended period was a toss-up.  With a diligent repellent application, primarily with DEET, the only sure-fire ingredient, there's another round of risks.

Warthogs tend to eat on their knees due to their long legs and short necks, making foraging for food easier.  They have special knee pads that make this possible.
We didn't take these considerations lightly.  After speaking to several of our local friends, we opted to do what they do...stay protected with strong repellent and don't kid ourselves that "natural' repellents are strong enough to prevent bites.  We know this from past experience after trying several natural repellents and yet, we still got bit, Tom, less than me.

"Whew," says Big Boy.  "I need a rest after eating all those pellets."  He has to comfortably position his head with those razor-sharp tusks, used for digging up roots and for his personal defense.  Warthogs aren't naturally aggressive but will defend themselves vigorously if need be.  Females will become very aggressive in defending their young.
Plus, taking malaria pills is no guaranty one won't contract malaria.  They aren't 100% effective.  Many tourists coming to Africa for a few weeks begin taking the pills a week or two before they arrive, during their stay and a few weeks after they leave the area.  Generally, this provides good protection.

After about 20 minutes Big Boy perked up and was ready to continue his day with his male friend, who hung around waiting for him while he napped.
But, our circumstances are different.  After considerable research and in speaking with our friends here in Marloth, we feel comfortable with our decision not to take the pills with a few adaptations.

Roadside shop with potatoes, onions, and miscellaneous items.
One means of reducing the risk of mosquito bites is the removal of these "tire chairs," from our close proximity as shown in the photo below.  These tires can easily hold water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.  Yesterday, after it rained, Tom tipped them all over to remove the water.  Today, when our pool and groundskeeper Josiah arrives, we're asking him to move these chairs in a distant area in the yard,
Visitors checking the ground for pellets near the "tire" chairs.
As pointed out on Saturday night by our friend Don and longtime resident of Marloth Park, these tire chairs could easily provide an ideal hiding place for a deadly black mamba.  Last time we were here, four years ago, Don told us a terrifying story about finding a black mamba in his storage room. 

Don escaped unharmed but it was an incident he'll never forget and a story we easily remembered after hearing it so long ago.  One can't ever be too careful in ensuring their safety from potential risks in certain environments and there's little room for foolhardiness.

This is the bush house we first rented when we arrived in Marloth in December 2013.  We prefer the house we're in now due to it's easier view of the yard while indoors (for checking on visitors). However, we're spending every hour of the day outside as we'd done at that property.
The weekend was spectacular for both human and wildlife visitors.  At one point on Sunday, we had eight large animals in front of us.  We have no doubt as they become used to our presence, we'll see more and more.

Today, we're finalizing a few details for my upcoming birthday party at Jabula tomorrow night.  We can't wait to share photos from the party and also of the most unusual birthday cake which is being prepared by the "cake lady" here in Marloth Park. 

Life is good, even better than we'd expected.  We hope yours is as well!

Photo from one year ago today, February 19, 2017:
Huon River from the highway in Tasmania.  We were nearing the end of our six-week stay.  For more, please click here.


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