Africa 2011, Part 6.

Just because we’ve explored the wonders of Gizzy the Lesser Bushbaby, we have not finished with the magic of Africa, but no, there is still more to see. While staying in Marloth Park, Cricket took a saunter around the grounds. Remember how I said that is all open, no fences, and anything can wander in and out at will? Cricket acquired some excellent photos of that precise thing.

Note the man on the porch and his proximity to the warthog.

Now note the giraffe pretty much eating that house.

We had two personal interactions with beasties while in Marloth Park. One was when we went a neighbor’s house for dinner. She had put papaya pieces in a dish she hung from a tree, and wild bushbabies came and ate from it.

The second one was when we came home that night in the car. Cricket parked the vehicle under the tent-structure-thing next to a combi. (I don’t know why they call it a combi. Perhaps it is because they combine the look of a Jeep with the comfort of a pew of a Protestant church.) I got out of the vehicle and immediately heard a pretty big scrabbling noise on the gravel, like a picnic table trying to make a quick getaway. I took a glance under the combi and saw a very large, very toned gray ass-cheek. Now please consider the fact that it’s dark and I’m in the middle of nowhere with all kinds of nature all around me. I quietly turned back to the vehicle and said, “Ummm, there’s a big animal under that car and I’m going pee my pants if someone doesn’t get out of the (word) car right now (other words).” The warthog (it turned out to be a warthog) went his merry way and Cricket, The Moomins and I made our way into the house so I could have a heart attack and die. I took a picture the next day so you could appreciate the terror I went through. Seriously, people, it was scary.

Back to animal sightings. A male bushbuck:

A tree with perfectly round green orbs hanging from it that look exactly like Christmas ornaments.

Glossy Starling (my favorite of the ordinary, every-day birds).

Not a Glossy Starling.

A stork nest. They can support a lot of weight. Apparently a full-grown human can stand on one.

Two butterflies MAKIN’ LURVE.

A PortaPotty in the middle of nowhere. Really. Near nothing. At first, as we came over the hill I thought it was the Tardis from Dr. Who. Turns out, no, lone crapper. I like to think it’s because some park workers were collecting thatch in that area or something. Cricket likes to think it’s because even the animals want to poop in solitude (and blue plastic).

Sausage pod!

This long-tailed bird is called a shrike. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to yell out, “SHRIKE!!!” in a German accent. (It’s very satisfying.)

Waterbuck! Fun facts about waterbuck: They have a white circle on their butts like they sat on a freshly-painted toilet seat. (Perhaps Cricket is right and they are using the PortaPotties…) Also, the adults taste terrible due to their sweat glands, so no one eats the adults. I kind of want them to be like insects and be insane vibrant colors, the ones that signal “I am poisonous!” or “I taste like an abandoned NY subway station!”, but, unfortunately, they are just brown.

A baboon sitting on a warm rock at sunset.

A banded mongoose. He looks like he hates us.

Super-teeny little birds. They were far smaller than sparrows. They are called waxbills and I love them so much! I wish they lived in this climate. They would definitely up the cute ante of this boring temperate zone we call home. All we have are chipmunks and deer. So lame.

We had a cool herbivore moment one midday. We were driving past a watering hole. Watering holes were especially important when we were there because there hadn’t been rain in quite some time. There was a giraffe. I shall call him Thirsty. Thirsty was standing next to the watering hole when we got there, getting emotionally prepared to drink when dun! dun! dun! a herd of zebra showed up and he got all shy.

After a minute or so, a hornbill flew over and scared all the zebra off to the left. I don’t know how a rinky-dink hornbill scared all those zebra, maybe he told them an offensive joke about their respective mothers, but whatever, they all hastily moved off to the side. Now we were all excited in the car because we figured Thirsty would get his drink. But no! Elephants! A whole herd of elephants showed up and monopolized the watering hole. Meanwhile, three of Thirsty’s friends showed up. They watched Thirsty watch the elephants drink, and then they’re like, “Ahh, the hell with it. C’mon Thirsty, there are other watering holes.” But Thirsty wouldn’t leave. He just stood there looking parched and sad.

After about five minutes, the elephants were done and they walked past our car…

And finally, Thirsty felt comfortable enough to let down his guard and have a drink. I won’t lie, we might have cheered a little in the vehicle. Hooray for Thirsty!

Tomorrow I’ll finish up Kruger Park and move on to Zambia.

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