Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Manager’s Report July 2012

WILD PHOTO OF THE MONTH

by Sarel van Zyl (Elephant Plains Guest)

by Sarel van Zyl (Elephant Plains Guest)

During the month of July we experienced a few cold days, but nothing compared to the rest of South Africa, where snow fell in quite a few areas across the country. Despite the cold weather, we still had amazing sightings to share with our guests. It wasn’t only the big and hairy animals that provided excellent sightings, though! We had more than one amazing sighting that involved our feathered friends this month… The first one was a Dark Chanting Goshawk that swooped down and caught a Grey Lourie, whilst in flight. Watching the speed and agility with which the Goshawk hit the Lourie out of the air was one for the record books. This was indeed a rare sighting and one that would be remembered for many years to come. The other really interesting sighting was of a Slender Mongoose, running around the airstrip looking for something in particular to feed on. At last it found its victim – a Crowned Lapwing chick that the mongoose quickly popped into its mouth. After a few seconds the chick’s mother flew down and crashed so hard into the mongoose that he dropped the chick and hurried away into the bush. There’s an important lesson to learn here: never mess with a mother and her baby, no matter what the species might be!

Giraffes - Photo by Louis Liversage

Giraffes - Photo by Louis Liversage

As mentioned last month, Salayexe gave birth underneath a deck at one of the neighbouring lodges. But after a few days we saw her walking over our open area, with what at first appeared to be a mongoose in her mouth. At a stage she carefully placed the object on the ground to catch her breath. What was thought to be a dead mongoose started moving and we realised that she was actually carrying one of her cubs! She carefully picked the cub up again and moved through the riverbed. To our amazement, she chose yet another deck to shelter the cubs – this time the viewing deck of the camp situated right next to our swimming pool, close to the Rondavels. Because this privately owned camp doesn’t always have guests, it is an ideal, quiet place where no predator will hassle neither her, nor the cubs. Predators move their cubs around a few times during the first few months. This is to prevent other predators from finding the cubs and killing them to minimize future competition. What made her situation worse was that the father of the cubs, Tingana, was hanging around in the area, mating with every possible female in the north. This has drawn the females closer to Salayexe, creating a lot of stress for her. If these females were to find the cubs, they would quickly kill them. On the 23rd of July our guides saw Salayexe and two cubs close to Kudu Drift. This new den site was closed and we will give the cubs some time to grow stronger before we will begin viewing them again.

Snapcam photo of the month

Snapcam photo of the month

Maintenance around the lodge and surrounding bush is an on-going project and we have started to clear some overhanging branches on our traversing roads. It is a hard job that takes a lot of pounding on your wrists and arms. But needless to say, it’s great to get out and spend the day in the bush, getting a great workout whilst enjoying the surrounding nature. We are trimming the overhanging branches now, because the moment that the first rains start, branches will shoot out in every direction. So keeping them in check now is better than waiting for them to grow even more during summer.

To all our guests who celebrated their birthdays during the month, we hope you had a fantastic day filled with love, happiness and laughter. May your future hold many more! This month we had a lot of birthdays at the lodge. Phissy celebrated her birthday on the 22nd. She is one of the cleaning ladies, working hard in the luxury suite section in order to make sure that your room is always spotless and fresh. Chef Linda celebrated her birthday on the 24th. From our recipe of the month, you will see that she can cook up quite a storm! Dawie also celebrated his birthday on the 24th. He is one of our junior rangers, who will be able to start guiding one of these days as he has just turned 21. Willie celebrated his birthday on the 25th. Willie is an amazing guide. I am sure that any guests, who’ve had the opportunity to go on game drive with him, would agree. Last but not least, I celebrated my birthday on the 29th.

I now hand you over to Chef Linda, who shares a special bread recipe with us.

Caramelized Onion & Pesto Bread

Caramelized Onion & Pesto Bread

Caramelized Onion & Pesto Bread

  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 5ml salt
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 30ml sugar
  • 500-700 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp. oil

2 caramelized onions

  • 125g basil pesto
  • Caramelized Onion
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 100g butter
  • Pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients into a sauce pan and sweat until translucent.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, pour in the wet ingredients, mix to form bread dough and leave to raise. Roll out the bread dough, spread the pesto and sprinkle over the caramelized onions. Roll up, place the dough into a well-greased loaf tin and leave to rise until double in size. Bake for 60 minutes and golden brown, or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped.

Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!

Wayne Dovey

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