Sunday is the best day

because I get to do nothing at all, or just wander around looking for animals.

Today I got asked at 7:50 a.m. to drive the two British girls who were leaving over to the lodge. They said they wanted to drive the alternate route as there had been 4 very large elephants just outside our gate a bit earlier, looking like they were coming in. AND NO ONE WOKE ME UP!!!! The nerve !! So I missed that – too bad.

But coming back, just as I turned out of the lodge gate and rounded the first corner, there were 3 elephants standing in the road. One very large and three smaller – which doesn’t mean they were ‘small’ by any stretch of the imagination. I backed up a bit, then phoned Ernest at the lodge to tell him I was stopped for traffic and not to run up my back end if he came around the corner. They sauntered off after a few minutes and I cruised by, stopping to take a picture of one guy’s behind – amazing how close you can be.

Then I finally got a picture of a wart hog. Never have had my camera with me before. I’m getting quite fond of the wart hogs. They are really quite beautiful when seen close up and after you get used to their oddness of form.

And when I got home and went to the kitchen there were three female nyala standing near the front door. They are so beautiful. All russet and stripy – computer at the camp is down again after only one day – I think it must be the sand in the air that is getting to the drives and contacts. The computer is in a screened room and I can’t see that being good for anything mechanical with the constant fine grit in the air. So what I’m saying is, no pics again today. (Maybe now some pics – we’ll see)

Also saw a pair of hammerkop, I’m pretty sure, but the picture just shows their silhouette. My camera is not really good enough for bird pics unless the birds are 3 feet away, but I wanted to take this to get confirmation of my identification.

And found out that the raptor that Bongani and I saw while elephant monitoring – and whose name I still can’t remember – is a quite rare sighting. So I’m pretty happy.

With the British teens gone, there are only Vanessa, Oscar and myself at the camp, and Vanessa leaves on Thursday. It will be peaceful and quiet – maybe too much so. I’m going to miss the British roses, though they were young.

And I asked Oscar to marry me at the braai on Friday. He can cook and hook up computers, so I figured, what the heck, eh? He turned me down <G>. I’ve really got to quit teasing him, but it’s kind of like having a younger brother around, and I find it hard to resist.

Anyway, going to get back on the road and look for more creatures before the sun goes down. Nightfall is very early here, and it seems to be that way all year. Must be closer to the equator than we are. Don’t know, never looked it up.

Met some nice S African folks who just arrived as guests, who have lived in Holland for the past 12 years. They’re just counting the days until their daughter finishes Uni and he can retire so they can come home. Many, many people seem to be very passionate about the ‘new South Africa’ and I don’t blame them. They’re building something wonderful here.

Miss you all – drop me a line or leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Breakfast at the lodge

Pretty Miss Nyala

They mean it, too!!

McDonald’s arches mark the Impala



  1. RBC said

    Am watching 60 Minutes (repeat) while reading your stories. The subject is the “One Laptop Per Child” segment. Makes me think of you and the kids you’re teaching. What a wonderful idea it would be! Some of the places these computers have been given have no running water, no electricity, “nothing” and yet the kids are given laptops and attendance in school soars. Plus, they take them home and teach other members of their family. They’re $100 each so the aim is to get governments or sponsors on board to pay for them. URL

    I want to run out and look at National Geographic mags when you write about all the animals! I’d be terrified of an elephant coming my way…. mind you, if *I* was behind the wheel, he’d be frightened of me!

    Working the Ontario Elections doing enumerations so it’s nice to come home and relax by reading your daily entry 🙂

    * * * *
    Thanks, Rhonda.
    I saw that segment, and you know Bill Gates is trying to do everything he can to skunk the deal, since the laptops will be loaded with Linux. Mean while, he’s trying to rush out his own version. That man is just evil.
    No entry today, I think. It’s well over 90F and all I can do to keep upright and not melt into a puddle of grease, especially in the “computer room”.

  2. MT said

    Howzit, grannym?!

    Living vicariously through your latest journal entries. One year ago exactly I had just arrived in S.A., starting an almost two-month visit. How I envy you your adventures! Saving for my next trip as we speak – but that does not help for this year. My S.A. family is preparing for another trip to the wilds of Zambia next month. If you think you are in the bundu now, you should go up the Zambesi to W. Zambia. Then you would think Manguzi is a metropolis. You mentioned how fast it gets dark there in ‘winter’. It really doesn’t change that much in summer at that latitude. Think you are about 17 degrees south – T.O. is 43 north. Like you – love the African sunsets. It’s all that fine dust in the air that makes them so spectacular. However, you’ll need to get your camera professionally cleaned when you get home to get rid of that same dust.

    Thanks for mentioning the camera cleaning – I might not have thought of it, though goodness knows it’s a logical thought. And thanks for the geography info. Darned if I can remember to look it up.
    And you know, I’ll be expecting your blog next year – no getting out of it!!!!

    Isn’t the birdlife the best? I think you have been hearing the emerald-spotted wood dove throughout the day. Have you seen a secretary bird yet – something to behold for its size and stern appearance? The hamerkop is a weird thing with its triangle head. Check out the nest – a huge, unorganized pile of sticks low in a tree. The raptors are fantastic as well. Have you heard the cry of the fish eagle? Ask Oscar about the gymnogene (think it is African harrier hawk), a raptor that can dislocate its leg and twist it around so that it can pluck little birds out of holes in trees – wicked thing. One of the shrikes you mention is nicknamed Jackie Hangman for skewering insects on thorn bushes or barbed wire fences. And then there’s The Rainbird – Burchell’s coucal – who supposedly predicts precipitation. Bet you are hoping to hear him soon.

    Birdlife is wonderful. Just got some good pics of the Natal robin and the Yellow-breasted Bulbul. I think you’re right about the wood dove. What I saw the other day wasn’t a Hamerkop as I had thought, but a crested hornbill. Is the gymnogene the one that sounds similar to the Canada goose? There is one that flies over us all the time, which I have yet to spot and his cry is a cross between and “Ow-w-w” and a honk. Zulu legend has it that he is afraid of flying, thus the noise.
    And yes, I could do with the rainbird right now. I’m about perished with the heat – but it’s very strange knowing that right after dark I’ll still want two blankets.

    Signing off now. Be careful of those ellies! Amazing how they can ‘hide’ in the acacias just off the track. Stay safe. MT

    Thanks MT. No entry today. It’s beastly hot in the ‘computer room’, and I wouldn’t be here at all if it wasn’t for the lesson I have to give.

  3. elaine said

    Hi Marilyn,

    I’m just letting you know I love checking in. Also posted more on our previous regarding the grammar. Jan knows her stuff, and I’ll see if I can get her to post to you directly.

    Take care,

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