What's it really like?


This giraffe was having a "bad hair day!"  The hair on the female giraffe's ossicones is usually short and straight up. 
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"

Cape buffaloes on the Sabie River in Kruger.
Long ago, in 2012 when we booked our first holiday home in Kenya, and then Marloth Park, it was hard for us to even imagine what it would be like living in this type of environment. 

Unaware at the time as to the degree of potential risks, inconveniences, and challenges we might face spending three months in the bush, we forged ahead tentatively optimistic, hoping to fulfill my lifelong dream of visiting Africa.  
A dazzle of zebras hanging out near the road in Kruger.
Although Tom was somewhat skeptical and fearful of the unknown he willingly agreed to visit the mysterious continent.  We ended up spending almost nine months on the continent living in three countries;  Kenya, South Africa, and Morocco.

Many travelers never consider visiting Africa due to their fears.  The distance is also a factor, along with the high costs of airfare from many parts of the world.  But, fear seems to be the biggest deterrent based on conversations we've had with travelers from all over the world.

And yet, millions of tourists visit Africa each year, statistics for which may be found here.  In our old lives, Tom had never known anyone who'd visited Africa and I only knew a handful, all of whom had an extraordinary experience.

A crocodile lounging in the bank of Sunset Dam.
And now, almost six years have passed since we arrived in Kenya in September 2013, which we'll soon visit again in less than seven months, it feels as natural for us to be in Africa as anywhere else in the world, if not even more.

Over and over we've mentioned the challenges and inconveniences; the insects; mosquitoes; malaria and other disease risks; rampant crime in certain areas; the outrageous heat in the summer months; and an infinitesimal but realistic risk of injury from wildlife (snake bites, insects bites. poisonous vegetation and close encounters with dangerous animals).

Yellow-billed storks and other birds not easily identifiable due to the distance when taking this photo across the lake at Sunset Dam.
We've even heard local stories of residents in Marloth Park unwittingly being "stabbed" by the horns of male kudus, male bushbucks and wildebeest when they simply got too close.  These animals generally don't attack humans unless injured or provoked.

Then, of course, we all proceed with caution when lions or leopards have been spotted in the park which poses the most risk at night in the dark.  There are curfews imposed against walking on the roads at night.  Logical, eh?

We surmised this elephant may have been very old based on his size and his bright white tusks.  Scientists can better gauge the age of an elephant by its teeth as described on this site.
All of these aside, we do not, under any circumstances live in fear, although we use reason, caution and care in many situations that could potentially pose a problem. 

Yes, when walking through the heavy bush on our perpetual search for photo ops, we watch where we're walking not only to avoid spraining an ankle from the uneven terrain but always on the lookout for snakes.

Hippos on the bank of the Sabie River.
On the positive side, nothing, anywhere in the world can compare to the joy we experience every day.  From watching the birds enjoy our bird feeder to the nine kudus who visited first thing this morning to the many trips to Kruger as shown in today's photos.

This morning while we had breakfast on the veranda (which we now do each morning) we delighted in the kudu's presence totally entertained by their interactions and gentle antics.  I stand at the edge of the veranda and my favorite kudu licks the toes of my stocking feet.

This was the first time we'd seen giraffes at the Vurhami Dam, located about 10 minutes on the paved road from the entrance to the park at Crocodile Bridge.
It's cool here now in winter.  Most days are sunny and comfortably warm, not hot. There aren't many insects buzzing around our heads in the winter months which will come to an end in September. 

We aren't dreading the onset of the hot and humid summer.  We experienced it in 2013/2014 and know what to expect.  

Wildebeest lounging in the savannah.
Soon, we off to the hustle and bustle of busy, cultural Komatipoort and Lebombo, the streets packed with locals selling their wares and others buying them.  Even, shopping day is an adventure unto itself.

We continue to be grateful and humbled by this life.  We pray good health will keep us traveling for as long as possible.

Several giraffes attempting to drink at the Vurhami Dam.
May each of you have good health and fulfillment!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2017:
Two Mallards sitting on rocks in one of the eight ponds in the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in Nevada.  For more photos, please click here.

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