the housie in the bush

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Sometimes getting away from it all is just what the doctor ordered.


If you read my blog last week, you know that it was road trip time. My folks & I piled into the Landy at 2am on Friday morning for a long weekend at their place in Marloth Park.


While the trip there wasn't that scenic since it was still completely dark all the way up until Machadadorp, arriving at sunrise was truly amazing. We were greeted by a herd of about 15 Kudus who became our permanent hosts for the entire weekend.

When we make the trip out here, we usually do at least one day in Kruger Park - it's only 10 minutes away - but being a long weekend, we thought we'd avoid the crowds & relax around the house instead. Days were spent on the patio with a cold one seeing what animals & birds come through for a visit. Let me tell you, we were not disappointed!


Aside from the herd of kudus seemingly on permanent duty, there were also a few warthog families, some grey duikers & bushbuck coming to see what was potting at the little housie in the bush. While I do love seeing them, the highlight for me this time of year is birding.



My friend, Megamalist, does such an amazing job of attracting creatures to her garden in the west rand that she can enjoy sightings of the Brown-Hooded Kingfisher at home! We aren't quite so lucky & have to travel all the way to the bush to see it...

This guy spent a few hours hunting bugs right in front of the house. Many thousand shots were taken but this is my favourite.




Having left the bird book at home, there were a few guys that we weren't able to identify on the spot - it was made even more difficult by the time of year as this Red-Headed Weaver demonstrates. This bloke is coming into sexual maturity so his bright yellow head starts to change to the vivid red that you usually see on mature males. I felt quite silly when I was checking the book on Monday - the beak should have been a dead giveaway!


This little Yellow-Breasted Apalis was a great find! Just getting a shot is tricky as they're only 12cm tall & flit between branches faster that the eye can see. When she finally sat still I was lucky enough to shoot off about 5 shots before she sprung off again to continue foraging in the tree tops. (Top tip: always consider shutter speed when buying a camera!)


An activity we love is taking a drive to the river in the mornings & afternoons to see what's going on inside Kruger Park. (Marloth Park borders the crocodile river). Often you're able to see lions, elephants, crocodiles, hyenas & a myriad of antelope species. The birding here is also great & we were lucky enough to see a Goliath Heron with her two small chicks perched in their rock nest in the middle of the river. The two shots on the left were when we arrived on Friday & on the right was Sunday afternoon - can you believe how they grew?


These Southern White-Crowned Shrikes were just the best. They have perfected the art of thievery & distraction over the years & have figured out that cars mean snacks. One of them perched itself on the side mirror of the Landy for hours - checking every so often if the window is open. This shot of them sitting together reminds me of a famous Bob Marley song.


When things got a bit slow at the house in terms of birding, I began to play around with macro shots around the garden. How awesome are these Impala & Swazi lilies?

Come nightfall, the nocturnal creatures begin to come out in droves. Bush Babies, Janet the Genet, Night Jars, fruit bats & even predators. Sitting outside on Saturday my dad caught a glimpse of a spotted hyena cruising past and Janet paid us a brief visit, but I was in the shower & missed it! The most amazing thing was listening to a leopard nearby calling for hours. This haunting sound, to me, couldn't of been more than 50m away but I was reassured by dad that she was definitely further than that: "probably in the next street".


Chantelle is wild about the outdoors, probably Barking Wild in fact. Where have we heard that before?


For more info on stays inside Marloth Park, pop a mail to chantelle@barkingwild.co.za & we'll sort you out. If you're a bush lover it's the perfect place for you!

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