Two days and counting...Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana...Here we come!...

 
An ostrich by himself walking along the road near the river.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
There's a round fenced in area in the driveway filled with a variety of vegetation.  The intent was to keep the monkeys out but they always find a way inside.  It's fall now in this part of the world.  Leaves are rapidly falling from the tree and only a few forms of vegetation are changing color such as this palm frond.
In two days, we'll make the 90-minute drive to Nelspruit to the airport to fly to Livingstone, Zambia for our one-week getaway.  Seeing Victoria Falls has always been a goal of ours since our first visit to Africa over four years ago.

When we were here in 2013-2014, we'd hoped to see the falls but once we became entrenched in life in Marloth Park, we couldn't bring ourselves to leave when we loved it so much.
It's always such a joy to see elephants on our local drives.
Now, with our 90-day visas ready to expire in a few days, it was time to make this important trip which includes a stay in a hotel near the falls and embark on a variety of tours we've already booked for the week away.  We'll be returning on May 18th.
The elephant's trunk is comparable to a human's hand in its dexterity.
I wish I could say we're excited about leaving and I'm certain once we arrive in Livingstone, we'll be thrilled to be there.  But, this blissful routine we've established in Marloth Park isn't all that easy to leave.

Only this morning, we've had kudu, bushbuck, Frank and a band of mongoose and who knows what the remainder of the day will bring our way? Oddly, we haven't seen Scar Face in a number of days and I'm concerned something has happened to him.
Taking a drink.
Last night, we stayed outdoors extra late while several other warthogs came to call but not Scar Face.  The mating season is stirring up a lot of interesting behavior patterns between the males and females which we're especially enjoying but without Scar Face it just isn't quite the same.  Hopefully, he'll appear in the next two day before we have to leave.
Another elephant was heading down to the Crocodile River.
Yesterday afternoon, we made our usual every-other-day drive through the park.  The quiet and the lack of other vehicles was definitely noticeable.  We may have encountered only three or four other vehicles as we drove along the Crocodile River, checking out the action.

It was a gorgeous sunny day as most have been these past few weeks now that the fall season is upon us.  This morning, as is the case most mornings now, we have to add extra layers of clothing to stay comfortable outdoors.  By 9:00 or 10:00 am, it begins to warm up to ideal conditions suitable for shorts and tee shirts.
"Elephants may spend 12-18 hours a day feeding. Adult elephants can eat between 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 50 gallons of water a day about as much as a standard bathtub holds."
As chilly as it may be in the mornings and evenings, we're thrilled with the coolness and are grateful we kept a few warmer items to wear during these cooler periods.

Yesterday Josiah, our pool, veranda, and yard maintenance man spent a few hours raking the leaves that have accumulated in the dirt (no lawn here) that had fallen from the trees.  This way, when we feed the wildlife they don't have to dig through piles of leaves to find the pellets and vegetables.
Little Wart Face was sniffing one of the two moms who come by each day with their two fast-growing piglets.  He was making the train-like noise while sniffing but she was having nothing to do with him.  Mating season is upon us.
Now, as we sit here on the veranda on this perfect day, the leaves are falling in big swooshes as each gust of balmy wind wafts through the yard.  The bush is a mixture of green and brown and in itself isn't particularly pretty.  Few flowers or colorful blooms are visible this time of year.

The often "raining" leaves create a scene that is enchanting in its own way as we anticipate the coming of winter in this part of the world, never cold enough for snow although we can see our breath some mornings.
Young male visit stopped by in the dark to see what we had for him.  We complied with pellets, apples, carrots, and lettuce.
It's hard for us to believe three months have passed since we arrived on February 11th, most definitely some of the most pleasurable months in our world travels.

Coming off the trip to Antarctica could have been a big letdown.  As Tom always says, we came from seeing elephant seals to seeing elephants in less than one week.  What more could we ask for?

Today, I'll pack for the trip.  Tom prefers to wait until the day prior to leaving.  We each have our preferred packing routine with neither of us putting on any pressure for the other to do it any differently.  The only thing I help Tom with is folding his shirts.  Tom lifts and carries the bags for me.  It works.
Such handsome animals.  We welcome them almost every day.
We won't be posting any final expenses for South Africa since we'll be coming back.  At the end of the upcoming week, we'll post the expenses for the trip.  We're hearing the Wi-Fi at the hotel is good and we're hoping to post each day, although we have a few all-day safaris and excursions that may prevent us from doing so on those days.  In any case, we'll let you know.

The next few days until we depart we'll be staying in, getting things done, packing, making nice meals before we depart and then by this time in two days, we'll already be at the tiny Mpumalanga Nelspruit Kruger International Airport, getting ready to board the non-stop flight to Zambia.

Stay tuned, folks.  Lots more is yet to come. 

Have a pleasant day!
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Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2017:
A view of Honolulu from the ship as we made our way back to mainland USA.  For more details, please click here.

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