April was, once again, another very productive month at the lodge. We finished the general maintenance on all the thatch roofs and also made a few changes to our bar and lounge area. We blocked the lodge out for two days and in this time we had to break down the old fireplace in the lounge, build in a new gas fireplace, plaster the wall and repaint the whole lounge. While we were at it, we also repainted the dining room, as well as the wine cellar. Whew! It might sound impossible, but we did it! Of course, we had the help of a very special team of builders, who worked tirelessly to get the job done in the allocated time. Thanks Quartz Construction, you did a great job! I must say that the end result was worth it all. The rooms look brand new and we are happy with how it turned out.
Although we are in the midst of autumn, moving into winter time, the surrounding bush is still lush and green. This is good as it means that there will be enough food to keep the animals through the winter. The dams are still quite full, so the animals won’t have a problem with food or water during the next few months. Because the grass is still too green, we haven’t been able to burn firebreaks around the lodge yet. We will have to wait for it to dry out some more in order to be able to burn sufficient breaks.
Early morning and evening game drives are starting to get a bit chilly, but we have adjusted game drive times accordingly. We also supply guests with blankets on the vehicles and later on in the season we will also start using the hot water bottles to warm the game drives up. During the middle of the day temperatures are wonderfully mild though. Some guests say that it’s so warm that it feels like summertime and a lot of our overseas visitors use the ample amount of sunlight to relax next to the swimming pools.
We have decided to change from Land Rover game viewers to Toyota Landcruiser game viewers. We now have a total of five game viewers in our fleet, with the last one being converted in Nelspruit at the moment.The basic reason for making the change was the fact that the Landcruiser is a bit longer and wider than the Land Rovers, creating more space and comfort for our guests on the vehicles.
We have decided to add a Trapcam photo of the month to our reports. The Trapcam is strategically placed in the bush, or at a waterhole and each month we will see which interesting photo we can share with you! This month we caught a big buffalo bull walking around inside Leeukuil, while drinking water during the middle of the day.
The month of May is synonymous with the Indaba Tourism Show in Durban. This year the show will take place from 12-15 May. We are excited to go down to Durban, meet with all the role players in our industry and to establish some new contacts as well. Like last year, Etienne, Marlet, myself and Tersia will be there. Our stall number is DEC2E04, so if you are at Indaba 2012 and you do not already have an appointment with one of us, please feel free to drop in at any time. To everyone travelling to Indaba, have a safe journey and we are looking forward to seeing you there!
To all our guests who celebrated their birthdays this month, we hope you had a fantastic day filled with love and laughter. May your future hold many more! At the lodge we also celebrated a few birthdays. Simon celebrated his birthday on the 1st of the month. He is one of the gardeners, who work hard to make the gardens look stunning. Etienne celebrated his big day on the 13th of this month. Etienne is the owner, who loves this lodge more than anything. Janine celebrated her birthday on the 18th. She is the lady who works front of house. She will be the friendly face you first meet when you arrive at Elephant Plains.
We often have guests with special dietary requirements staying at the lodge. But we never let a food allergy stand in the way of a delicious dessert! Chef Roxanne shares a mouth-watering recipe for guests with special gluten free dietary requirements this month.
Gluten Free Biscuit Base
Cream the butter and the sugar together, add the flour and mix together into a dough. Roll in golf ball sized rolls and then press onto a greased baking tray like you would normally do with biscuits. Bake at 180?C for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Mix the above ingredient together and set aside. Crush the biscuits that were baked earlier. Mix together with 50ml melted butter. Press into a standard Cheesecake form, pour in the Cheesecake mixture and place in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours, or until set. Decorate with fresh berries and sugar lace.
Serve and enjoy!
Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!