Protests in Kruger National Park...Easter and school holiday...Burning sugar cane results in ash everywhere...


A hornbill in the bush.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
A lizard-like gecko found on the veranda.
We'd planned to go into Kruger in the next few days but when re realized it's Easter break and many tourists will be coming to the area for holiday and the school break (the equivalent of Spring Break but is fall, not spring here now), we decided to wait until the commotion dies down.
The Crocodile River has been rising due to recent rains.
Also, we'd read online that there are protests at various gates in Kruger which will add to traffic and the very type of commotion we choose to avoid.  We'll be here a year.  We don't have to go now. 

Here's an article we found regarding the protests in Kruger.  Apparently, its peaceful at this point but one never knows.  We feel it makes sense to stay away.
These may be European Mergansers along the banks of the Crocodile River.  Please comment if you know otherwise.
Late yesterday afternoon we drove to Komatipoort for a few items we needed at the market.  We didn't do all of our grocery shopping for the next week since its important for us to shop on Fridays or Saturdays going forward when off, we find they're out of many items we need, mainly in the produce department. 

A baboon in the bush.
New shipments come in on Thursday but often aren't on the shelves until late in the day, making Friday the best day to shop.  By Monday,, most of the produce we use is sold out.  Thus, going forward we've chosen Fridays are our preferred shopping day.  There's no doubt this Friday will be packed with shoppers buying food for Easter weekend.
A solitary waterbuck on the river.
When we returned, the veranda was covered in black soot.  Tom checked around the neighborhood but couldn't find any fires.  Could a neighbor's thatched roof caught on fire?  We didn't smell smoke.  Tom swept the veranda before dinner but only minutes later it was covered in soot again.
Animal footprints in the sand.
Tom had the idea that the soot was a result of the burning of the sugar cane fields, done before the harvest.  This morning, as Marta swept piles of soot in the house, she explained it was in fact from the burning of the sugar cane.  Once again, (duh) Tom was right.
The sunset on our return from Komatipoort last night.
Here is an article regarding the burning of the fields before the harvest.  Also, here is a quote from the article for those who prefer not to follow links:

"Sugarcane field burning is carried out before harvesting the cane to make the process easier and require less manual labor. It takes place during the harvest season.  In the burning process, the field is set fire to and the leaves are burned off of the stalks. About 80% of the “trash,” including straw, the tops, and green and dry leaves, are burned off. These components constitute about 25% of the entire sugar cane stalk. The burning kills microorganisms and burns the trash, both of which keep the soil rich when left in the fields. In place of burning the cane, the leaves could be removed and burned to create steam for electricity generation or be converted into fuel themselves.
The river is looking better but now as we're approaching the dry season.
Whoever thinks of this stuff?  We learn something new each and every day.  So, between Marta, Josiah and us, we'll keep the veranda and house free of soot by sweeping it all away as it comes.
Female waterbuck lounging in the grass along the river.
We have no bigs plans for Easter.  We'll cook one of our favorite recipes as always and enjoy a quiet day in the bush.  On Monday, we're going to Kathy and Don's bush home on the river for Easter fun.  They are returning from their home in Pretoria in a few days and it will be great to have them back in Marloth Park.

Today, is a gorgeous day, sunny and not too hot, a perfect day for another hopefully exciting drive in the park.

May your day be gorgeous and sunny! 
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 Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2017:

Surfboard shop in Manly Beach, Australia.  For more photos, please click here.

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