The month was a very short, but productive one, with the lodge being very busy and game viewing being out of this world! The guys saw the wild dogs on our open area a few times and also had a lot of lion sightings. The Tsalala Breakaway Pride has been moving around the airstrip and the driveway on a regular basis. Hearing the lions calling at night close to camp has been great. People always think that it’s a sound you get used to after living in the bush for a while, but that is not true at all. Every time I hear the deep roar of a male lion, it gives me goose bumps. Hearing the sounds of the African bush is what keeps reminding you why you are here and not out there in the concrete jungle with cars and sirens, continually buzzing in your ears. Sometimes you might hear people talking about the three ultimate sounds of the African bush. Well, of course it’s the male lion at the top of the list, second would have to be the African Fish Eagle and thirdly the hippopotamus. Another amazing sound to hear at night is the spotted hyena, especially when they are feeding, giving off laughing sounds that pierce through the African night. Also don’t forget the low grunts that remind you a leopard is walking past nearby. One interesting sound that one can hear during the heat of the day is the very loud buzzing sound of a Cicada. As the heat of the day intensifies, so does the volume of the male Cicada.
The main entrance to the lodge is now looking very impressive as the area around the entrance and fountain is now a beautiful circularly paved area. There is now proper drainage for water racing down from the airstrip’s side and we believe that this project has been a great addition to the lodge.
This is the last month of working at EP for Richard, as he will be joining Roxanne in Dullstroom to run their new restaurant. We wish him all the best and hope it will be a great success. We have been very busy doing interviews and searching for the right candidates to replace the two ranger’s positions, as well as the spa therapist. One of our new rangers will be Devon Becker. For the past couple of years he has been working as a trails guide for Eco Training. We are looking forward to welcoming him onto the team. We have decided to offer the other rangers position to Dawie Jacobs. For the past two years Dawie has been working as a junior ranger at EP, learning the ins and outs of the industry. We believe that through hard work and determination, he has proven himself to be a valuable staff member and we are looking forward to watching his career as a fulltime ranger unfold at Elephant Plains.
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 happy and joyful days! At lodge itself, we had a number of people celebrating their birthdays. Morné celebrated his birthday on the 1st. Morné is our Head Ranger. You should all know him as he writes all the Rangers Reports. I have been teased by the staff for the past three years after turning 30. Well, now I am glad to say, we have a new member in the 30 + club. I would like to be the first to welcome Morné Fouché to our elite group! Derrick celebrated his birthday on the 2nd. Derrick is Morné’s tracker. He is one of the old school trackers as his whole life has been spent tracking animals. As a youngster he had to follow his father’s cattle around. Some days whilst the cattle were feeding, one would go missing. He then would have to go and track the cow until he found it. If he was to return home with one cow missing, he would be in serious trouble. Therefore his skill is immaculate and we celebrate him for this. On the 24th Marlet celebrated her birthday. Marlet is one of the owners who is very involved in the day to day running of the lodge. If you read all the replies to TripAdvisor and posts on Facebook, you will see her name appear a lot.
I now hand you over to our head chef, Linda Van Heerden, for the recipe of the month. Her Cranberry Muffins are delicious and they will compliment any occasion: breakfast, high tea, low tea… any tea of the day!
( Makes 12)
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, add the sugar and dried cranberries to the flour mix. Mix the oil, egg and yogurt together. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being sure not to over mix the dough. Spoon the mixture into greased muffin pans and bake for +- 20 minutes at 180 °C until a testing needle inserted comes out clean.
Well, that is all from my side this month. Have a good one!