To the Wildlife of Marloth Park, South Africa

Brown Commodore Butterfly

Brown Pansy (Junonia natalica)

Our wild life in Marloth Park is coming to a close. Tomorrow we head to Cape Town spending our final three South African weeks between Cape Town and the Garden Route . We expect to see a lot of wildlife on the Garden Route including an animal sanctuary or two. Quel voyage!

I’m not in the mood to write a regular post, yet I do want to summarize our experience here in Marloth Park. So I wrote some poems including one “free association” poem and Haikus (my faves). A photographic farewell and some cool bug activity is found at the end. I welcome ALL your comments especially those written in Haiku!

Wildlife Haikus

A red clay castle
Home for mongoose and warthog
Bygone termite mounds

Sixty-one full days
calmly it waits to reveal
time’s true intention

Time to move on now
A brand new journey awaits
How is life so good?

Step in the shower
Oh, a spider. Curious.
Step out of shower

Flies are in my face
Go away little buggers
Bother someone else!

Flitting all around
Are you really that stunning?
A dream manifests

Bright caterpillar!
Watching you, taking my time
How happy I am

A chorus vibrates
Critters of the night singing
Melodic beauty

To the wildlife of
Marloth Park South Africa
Grateful for your gifts

Blue Pansy Butterfly

Blue Pansy

Wildlife of Marloth Park, A Poem

This is a free association poem – a serious of spontaneous thoughts. I’ve conducted this exercise with coaching and training clients. It’s a fun way to exercise the right brain and work toward problem solving or innovation. The poem must have a clear starting point, and the individual must free her mind and try to only think about the topic (this is hard) while simultaneously listen to the thought cropping (thoughts that spring up). My starting point was “Wildlife of Marloth Park”.

8 locks 16 keys
departing is a difficult feat

Where are my animals?
Well hello there.

Zebras, giraffes, warthogs, bushpigs, hippo, impala, vervets, duikers, wildebeest, guineafowl, lions. Baboons! No, you can’t come in. Oh and the genet with the cool tail sneaking up the tree.

Bats flying inches from our faces
Is it really an old wives tale about getting stuck in my hair?
Don’t you have radar or something?
Thank you for eating the bugs that eat us.
Please don’t hurt the butterflies, or the dragonflies or the moths or caterpillars

Bush baby.
Are you seriously that cute?

Mr. Kudu
Who do you think you are?
Mr. Kudu
(sung to the tune of Mister Bigshot)

Snorting, grunting, squawking, stomping, chirping, rutting, peeking, laughing, chomping, sneezing, peeing, browsing, grazing, leaping, hiding, sneaking, riding, cackling, warbled gargled. Shy. Today I was awake before the opening of your show.

Scorching nights
Flashes of light
Torrential rain
Mosquitoes bite

Where is my praying mantis?
Hello gecko. Get to work.

Is it weird I like the word dung?
Elephant dung. Dung Beetle. Sung undung.

Lions grumble
Are you eating one of my animals?
Who gets to win?

Wish I had an oreo cookie
I like oreo cookies.

It’s 5:00 get up! Up!
Peace arrives come morn
A wild gathering ensues
brilliant sunrises
Reds, oranges, yellows, blues
pink
colors of the rainbow coated in a purple mist
Purple rain
Purple haze
I feel lazy

I don’t think pink is a color in the rainbow
ROYGBIV

Uncle Eddie’s are my favorite.
Peanut butter and chocolate chip

A new day is born
quietly moving
graceful grazes
How do you move so softly? I didn’t know you were there. Can I do it too?

Will we visit again?
Not likely.
So far.
It’s been good.
Really good.
Thank you

Watching you and hearing you and sensing you
We’re happy to know you.

Missing Stella.

8 locks 16 keys
Farewell
Goodbye
I have no idea how to spell au wiederzane

Just looked it up
I was way off
Free association buzz killer = stopping to look up words
Does anyone care how I spell Auf Wiedersehen?
Maybe people from Germany.

Cookie
Goodbye Bokkie and Goosie

A Photographic Farewell

Sunrise over Crocodile River Marloth Park

Sunrise over Crocodile River…ahhhh

For the past few mornings, we’ve been getting up and moving our arses early enough to walk to the river (about 20 minutes) to see sunrise.

Sunrise on Crocodiile River Marloth Park

Sunrise on Crocodiile River

his-photo-is-unaltered-it-was-sunrise-and-the-greens-are-really-THAT-green-including-my-clothes-which-happen-to-be-ALL-green

Hiking Marloth Park

Hiking with my man in Marloth Park

Goodbye Dinkie and Mr. Mongoo

We often see Dinkie (Duiker) hanging eating in our yard and sometimes he’ll come up to us, but he can usually be found chilling out at Louise and Phil’s house. And Mr. Mongoo is growing! He has a chubby bum, and his stripes are beautiful and distinctive. Check out the slideshow.

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Goodbye Antelope

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Goodbye Giraffes

Conjoined giraffes

Giraffe Marloth Park

Just a’strollin’ down the lane

Goodbye other 4-legged friends and random blind snake

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Want to hear how the hippo sounds when he chuckles?

Bush Babies!!

Our neighbors, Louise (see Dinkie and Mr. Mongoo above) and Phil have a family of Bush Babies (Galagos) living in their thatched roof – on the INSIDE of their thatched ceiling. Our last morning (5:00 AM!), I went over to see those Bush Babies before they went to sleep for the day (they’re nocturnal). Louise keeps treats for them on top of her fridge, and the Bush Babies take several leaps from the ceiling landing on various solid places in the room until they make it to their treats. Incredible.

This Busy Baby

This Bush Baby had a treat and stopped to watch me before negotiating a large wall decoration to leap back to her bed in the ceiling.

Goodbye Yellow-billed Hornbill

We often see Hornbills outside and sometimes they come to the window and check up on us. This guy was going bonkers tapping on the window. I went outside and stood just two feet from him, and he continued to tap. From my perch, I could see that he could see his reflection.

Hornbill at the window

Cheerio is anyone home?

Yellow-billed Hornbill Marloth Park

By George. Who is that dashing chap?

Goodbye Zebras

Zebra Marloth Park

I’ll miss our visiting zebras

baby zebra marloth park

This baby is growing!

Video #1: This Mama came for a rest. We captured this video from the upstairs balcony.
Video #2: These two were just strolling on by while we were sitting outside.

Not sure what kind of ivy this is. Sure is pretty.

Bugs and the Critters Who Love Them

African Monarch Marloth Park South Africa

African Monarch – just as beautiful as our Monarchs back at home in the US

Red Legged Golden Orb Spider (Nephila) marloth park spiders

Wow. Red Legged Golden Orb Spider (Nephila) the size of a crab

spiders marloth park

Red Legged Golden Orb Spider (up close and personal)

spiders marloth park

Red Legged Golden Orb Spider (I think) – A brilliant golden web spun over a setting moon.

This is a bad photo of the biggest gecko I’ve ever seen – bigger than the door handle. But I didn’t want to use flash photography on him, because that can BLIND a gecko. He tried to shimmy away when we spotted one another, but he’s too big to go too fast.

spider marloth park

I’ve been calling these spiders Baboon, but I think she’s a Flattie (Selenopidae Family). This 7-legged gal came to visit several nights in a row (bathroom) until one day she disappeared. Everyone I know will be shocked to read this: I was beginning to look forward to her visits and sad when they abruptly ended. The photo is blurry because I didn’t want to use a flash and scare her.

praying mantids marloth park

One night we had five humongous praying mantids in the house. My heroes.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis – I was worried about this little guy being stuck in the house after we departed. He walked right up on my hand and flew away once we got outside.

What’s That Bug?

Elegant Grasshopper or Rainbow Locust marloth park

Elegant Grasshopper or Rainbow Locust

I love the site What’s That Bug? I have mentioned them in a recent post, and here’s another shout-out. Recently while taking a walk along the river, I spotted a striking, colorful grasshopper in the bush. We stared at each other for about 5 minutes. I, incredulous about her unique design and vibrant colors, and she wondering when I was going to take the photo and leave already.

Elegant Grasshopper or Rainbow Locust

Elegant Grasshopper or Rainbow Locust

I emailed the photo to What’s That Bug? and the founder, Daniel Marlos the Bugman, responded in less than 4 hours. Totally surprised and delighted. Here is his response:

Your beautiful grasshopper is appropriately named an Elegant Grasshopper or Rainbow Locust, Zonocerus elegans , and it is one of the Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae.

Given how I see many unusual bugs around here, twice more I sent the Bugman another question with another photo. And twice more, he responded quickly with answers.

This is a millipede exoskeleton I found outside (confirmed by the Bugman)

The caterpillar might be a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae, though we were unable to locate a matching image on ISpot.  The Millipede might have fallen prey to Millipede Assassin Bugs or a Glowworm.

Possibly a Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Video: The Lost Caterpillar
Clearly we have a lot of time on our hands if we can stop and watch a caterpillar. Not too much time. It’s just about perfect.

If you are fascinated with bugs or know someone who loves bugs, check out the site. They operate off of the sale of Mr. Bugman’s book, The Curious World of Bugs and also from donations, so please keep that in mind (paypal button at the top). The site clearly states they do not endorse extermination and have a page devoted to unnecessary carnage of beneficial bugsCool.

Savvy Globe Tripper Sidebar

One thing I’m happy to report for the fellow savvy globe trippers is that we are way under budget – in all categories and particularly for FOOD. For the month of April thus far (today is the 21st), we spent $105.50 US on food, and that includes the restaurant meal in Sabie. Mostly due to the fact we eat beans and rice every night. Yeah, we’re ready to switch things up despite the fact I love the hubby’s beans. And this change will come not a day too soon in Cape Town, because: 1) we’ll have a stove and 2) there are vegetarian restaurants I’m chomping on my lip to try.  I’m craving – in a big way – Indian food and falafel. Keep an eye out for a full report on our full bellies.

Sergeant Pepper's Slowly Hot Cooked Beans

Sergeant Pepper’s Slowly Hot Cooked Beans

On our last morning in Marloth we saw: The sunrise over Crocodile River, Egyptian Geese, Francolin Chicks, Guineafowl, Duikers, Bushbuck, Impala, a Kudu Buck, a Baboon, Vervets, Warthogs, about 8 species of Butterflies, Elephants (!! at Crocodile river), Bush Babies, a Banded Mongoose, and Zebras. Wow. Just wow.

**I’ve been enjoying the Facebook page Visit South Africa. Check it out if you’d like to get some travel info and see some awesome photos.**

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We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

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Photos, videos and stuff*** Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use. And please do follow this blog and/or write comments. A million five-hundred thanks.

Check out the other South Africa posts below:

South Africa Post #1: Our first Kruger National Park Safari
South Africa Post #2: Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park
South Africa Post #3: When Zebras Visit
South Africa Post #4: Daily Living in Marloth Park, South Africa
South Africa Post #5: Kruger Restcamps: Skukuza, Satara and Olifants
South Africa Post #6: Kruger Safari: Full Moon over Letaba
South Africa Post #7: Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie
South Africa Post #8: There’s a Mongoose in my Ear!
South Africa Post #9: Peering through God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #10: The Dam Boat Tour at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #11: Rare Sexual Encounters of South Africa
This is South Africa Post #12: To the Wildlife of Marloth Park
South Africa Post #13: Nelspruit to Cape Town
South Africa Post #14: Moved to Tears on Freedom Day
South Africa Post #15: Penguins in South Africa?
South Africa Post #16: The Southernmost Tip of Africa
South Africa Post #17Birds of Eden at Plettenberg Bay
South Africa Post #18: Dear South Africa: I love you, but…
South Africa Post #19: Elephants at Addo National Park 
South Africa Post #20The Garden Route: Nature’s Valley and Wilderness
South Africa Post #21: Endangered Bontebok
South Africa Post #22Top Five Cape Town ExperiencesSouth Africa Post #23Chasing Rainbows in South Africa
South Africa Post #24: Vegan Wanderlust in South Africa
South Africa Post #25: Ubuntu