Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Manager’s Report April 2013

WILD PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Elephants drinking water - by Louis Liversage

Elephants drinking water - by Louis Liversage

It’s raining again, but this time it’s raining leaves! Summer is slowly disappearing, as autumn starts to take command. The vegetation is now taking on a whole new colour. No more bright greens can be seen, just yellows and browns, with some of the leaves also turning red. What a beautiful sight! With autumn comes the colder mornings and evenings, but being in the Lowveld, the temperatures are nothing compared to some other places in South Africa. In our area, the temperature mainly drops to around 3-5°C. The late morning temperatures rise again to between 18-25°C. So the temperatures are still comfortable in winter time. Our guests have been treated to some great game viewing this past month. It’s not just the guests that endure getting up for the early morning game drives that get rewarded with great sightings, though. Sometimes guests that decide to sleep in are also spoiled with great sightings right on their doorstep. Twice this past month we had wild dogs chasing bushbuck around the open area in front of the Luxury Suites. Then the other morning we had hyenas making a kill on the flood plain, right in front of Zebra Suite. Whilst enjoying our lunch the other day, we were all entertained by a massive bull elephant playing around in the riverbed. Even though having a meal at the coast whilst staring at the deep blue sea is great, nothing beats lunches in the bush with wild animals coming to drink water, grazing lazily or even chasing each other around. Seeing all the day to day wonders that nature has to offer is what roots you to the bush. What a blessing!

Please remember to share your photographs of your EP holiday with us. You can send them to photo@elephantplains.co.za

Sunrise at Big Dam - by Dawie Jacobs

Sunrise at Big Dam - by Dawie Jacobs

A lot of readers that follow our weekly sightings have asked for a map to indicate our traversing area in order to better understand the movements of the animals. We have loaded a map of our western traversing area onto the website and as soon as a map of the eastern area becomes available, we will also supply this. This map includes the following properties: Elephant Plains, Simbambili, Arathusa Safari and Arathusa Private. You can view the map at the bottom of our Game Drives and Bush Walks page.

Once again it has come to that time of the year when Etienne, Marlet, Tersia and I, make the long journey down to Durban. You might ask why? Well, it is Indaba Tourism Show time again. Can you believe it? It doesn’t feel as if a year has passed since the previous one. We are all very excited to get down there and get the ball rolling. I know I’ve mentioned this on previous reports, but for those of you who are not sure what Indaba is I’ll briefly explain. It’s Africa’s biggest tourism marketing expo, where all the role players in the industry come together under one roof to market their products. Anything from accommodation, tour operators, tourism service providers etc. exhibit at the show. It’s amazing to see the amount of work that goes into building the stalls. Some of them are double storey, or have amazing artwork done to them. Some lodges even go as far as setting up their stands to replicate the actual lodge. For most of the year, we are in contact with our agents over the phone and via e-mails. Indaba gives us the opportunity to meet with them in person, discuss new opportunities and to make new plans for the future. We also get to meet new, upcoming agents and explore different travelling markets. It is exciting to have the opportunity to be part of this. For our agents receiving this newsletter, our stand will be situated in the DEC building, number B07. Please drop in and say hello if we do not already have an appointment scheduled with you.

Trapcam photo of the month - Salayexe and her cub

Trapcam photo of the month - Salayexe and her cub

We have been waiting a long time to get Wi-Fi activated at the lodge. Over the last few years, we have tried installing it on a number of occasions. But on most attempts we always used to hit a glitch somewhere in the system. John Oliver, the same gentleman that got Africam at the lodge going, was staying at the lodge for over a week. He worked the whole day and late into every night, in order to make sure that all the settings and connections were correct. After all this hard work, we were able to pull it off. With all the ups and downs I am now glad to report that at long last, we have Wi-Fi hotspots around the lodge. Being out in the bush makes it difficult to have technology on your doorstep. But we’ve managed to overcome those problems and I am sure all our guests would be super excited with this new addition.

The search for a new Spa therapist proved to be quite a challenge, but after a fair amount of interviews, I am glad to say that we’ve found the perfect lady! Her name is Evelyn Viet. She is from the Cape and has a very bubbly personality. Another plus is that she can actually speak French, something that comes in very handy in the lodge industry. Her first day kicked off with a bang and she was fully booked in a matter of minutes. As the saying goes, throw them in at the deep end! By the end of the day she knew her new workplace inside out. The Spa has had its busiest month since we opened its doors and we are looking forward to Eve enjoying a long and happy career at Elephant Plains!

Salayexe and her cub - by Morné Fouché

Salayexe and her cub - by Morné Fouché

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 joyful days to come! This month we had a lot of birthdays at the lodge. Simon was the first to celebrate his birthday on the 3rd. He is the guy who looks after the gardens around the Rondavels. He takes a lot of pride in his job and you will usually find him working the ground with a smile on his face. Mohamed also celebrated his birthday on the 3rd. He is the friendly face that you will see around the main area. He doubles up as a barman / waiter and his friendly chatter entertains all our guests. Then Etienne celebrated his big day on the 13th. Etienne has taken Elephant Plains under his wing for the past 15 years and made it grow into the wonderful lodge it is today. On the 18th Janine had her birthday. Janine is one of the ladies you will meet first when arriving at lodge, as she works the front desk. So, on your next trip to Elephant Plains, the lady who welcomes you with an ice cold welcome drink and a big smile would be Janine. She treated us all with a lovely birthday cake – one of the big reasons we all get excited when her birthday is around the corner. On the 30th Joyce, one of our cleaning ladies, celebrated her birthday. Joyce also loves babysitting our younger guests, so many of you will know her personally as she often looks after the babies when their parents go on game drive. I trust that you all had very good birthdays, and hope you will spent many more here at EP!

I now hand you over to our head chef, Linda Van Heerden, for the very delicious recipe of the month. For those of you with a serious sweet tooth, you’ll be in for a treat with her Millionaire’s Squares.

Millionaire's Squares

Millionaire's Squares

Millionaire’s Squares

(Makes 24)

  • 560g Plain Flour
  • 220g Castor Sugar
  • 340g Butter, melted
  • 3 tins Caramelized Condensed Milk
  • 400g Dark Chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the flour and sugar. Add the melted butter, until it starts coming together. Press into a greased baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes. Spread the caramelized condensed milk over the biscuit and bake for another +- 10 minutes, until the caramel has bubbled up a bit. Allow to cool. Cut into slices and set aside. Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool slightly, spread thinly over the caramelized layer. Serve and enjoy!

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

Wayne Dovey

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