Here’s to new beginnings in 2014! I truly hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday time with family and friends and that you returned home safely, rested and ready for 2014!
This is the first January in a few years’ time that I don’t have to mention how we got flooded during the month. I thank my lucky stars that all went smoothly and the drastically heavy rains chose to give us a breather this year. However, there were still two days during which we received some very good rains. The main Manyeleti River did not come down in flood, but the smaller Pungwe River was in flood for a few hours the one morning. It was a bit tricky for a 4×4 to go across, but it was doable. There was just one problem, though… We had two sets of guests that were driving sedans and wanted to leave early the morning. But there was no way that they would have been able to cross in their low vehicles. So we sat it out and gave the swollen river time to calm down. At 9:30 we decided that the smaller cars would now be able to be towed through. Devon and I towed the cars through the river in reverse, so as to prevent water pushing up into the engines and air filters. Both cars got across easily and with no hassle. The month of January was also quite hot, with some days where temperatures reached into the middle 40 °C.
The sightings have reached a point of almost becoming unreal during the past few months. Our January guests were once again treated to various lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah sightings, to name but a few. I don’t want to speak to soon, but it seems as if there might be one or two cheetahs that are possibly considering making part of our traversing area their home, which would be awesome! The reason I am saying this is because we have been viewing them more regularly than in the past. So let’s hold thumbs for this! On one of the morning drives, our vehicles had just left the lodge when they bumped into the Breakaway pride of lions and all their cubs, feeding on a zebra kill on our airstrip. There is no better feeling than to start your drive with a bang, then knowing that for at least the next two days, feeding lions are going to be a stone’s throw away from the lodge!
This month we will be saying goodbye to Braam, who was our maintenance manager. His passion has always been to get involved with anti-poaching, so he is leaving us to pursue his dreams in that field. We would like to wish him good luck with his future endeavours. Anti-poaching is a very important part of the industry and I do hope that he will be happy with his new career path. We have not yet found a replacement for Braam, so you will have to stay tuned to next month’s report to see who gets to fill his shoes.
With the trapcam picture for this month, I thought that I would show you a night time shot. The trap cam has an infrared light with a motion detector. This is so sensitive that it can even pick up movement at night. We always get great day time shots of diurnal animals, but have not yet posted a night time shot of a nocturnal animal. Well, here we go! The trap cam picture of the month is of a hyena drinking water late at night. Hyenas have the reputation of mostly being scavengers. Well, that’s not true at all. Hyenas have loads of stamina and strength in their front shoulders. They also hunt down their own prey by running them down, until the prey cannot go anymore. Once they get hold of the prey, they would start tearing the animal into pieces. I know that this sounds very harsh, but when you come to think of it, it’s quick and relatively painless to the animal, unlike being suffocated over a couple of minutes. Lions are known to take up to 30 minutes to suffocate a buffalo. I hope you enjoy this trap cam photo of the month!
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 the lodge, we had no birthdays this month.
I now hand you over to our Head Chef, Linda van Heerden, for this month’s delicious recipe.
200g Button Mushrooms, sliced
½ Onion, diced
1 tbsp. Thyme
1 tbsp Garlic
2 tsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
½ French Loaf
3 tbsp Basil Pesto
Parmesan Cheese for garnish
Fry the onions in the butter and olive oil mixture, until they are just tender. Add the mushrooms, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms have cooked and all the liquid has evaporated.
Slice the French loaf into 1 cm slices, brush with garlic oil, then toast in the oven until it is golden.
Spread the basil pesto over the bruschetta, and spoon the mushroom mixture over this. Using a vegetable peeler, make parmesan shavings. Drop the shavings on top of the bruschetta. Add a rocket salad that has been dressed with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Serve and enjoy!
Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!