The season is busy changing to autumn and together with that, we’ve also had a big change at the lodge. As you have read in last month’s report, we’ve said goodbye to Wayne Dovey after almost ten years at Elephant Plains. He did a great job managing the lodge since 2011 and we will all miss him dearly, but know that he will be very happy with his new family in Pretoria. We wish him the best of luck with all his future endeavors! I had some mixed feelings when Etienne and Marlet offered me the position of manager. Quite a daunting task, even though I’ve been working here for almost five years now. It is an honour and a privilege and I know that they would not have offered me the position, if they did not think that I’d be up for the challenge. I am looking forward to my new role and hope that I can follow in the very big footsteps that Wayne left behind!
It is now very obvious that we are moving closer and closer to winter. Some of the trees are already changing color from the dark green that we got so used to, to a paler green or yellow colour. This colour change happens so fast and soon we will have a lot of autumn shades around us, as the Round Leaf Teak and Jackalberry trees will start transforming to orange and red before shedding their leaves for the winter. With the lowering temperatures at night, we have placed the blankets and patio heaters back in the boma for dinner to fight off the worst cold so our guests can still enjoy dinner under the star lit skies.
After the recent floods, Hendrik, our maintenance manager, has spent a lot of hours fixing the roads that were damaged by the huge amounts of water. Thank you Hendrik, I am sure that our guests appreciate the smooth drive to the lodge and that the rangers are also enjoying the newly fixed roads. It is amazing to see how much water still seeps out of the ground in some areas. There are also a lot of water pools in the riverbed in front of the lodge. This is proof that the water table is still very high after the March rains, which is a good thing, going into the dry winter months. With all the water pools in the area, there is always a concern that we would see a lot more mosquitoes, as they breed in still standing water. We spray the lodge on a regular basis to keep breeding mosquitoes at bay and we were also glad to welcome the Department of Health to the lodge on the 17th of this month. They work in teams in order to also spray the whole area against mosquitoes. Thank you guys, we appreciate all the effort and hours you put in to keep our guests and staff safe and protected from mosquito bites!
The month of May is always an important one on the Tourism calendar and this year is no exception. The World Travel Market will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of May in Cape Town. Although we won’t be attending this show ourselves, our marketing representative, Samantha Chatham will be representing us at her Somewhere South stand, A30. Etienne, Marlet and I will then take on the journey to Durban, for the annual Tourism Indaba, 10-12 May. We are just as excited as every other year to meet with all our existing agents and also to present our lodge to some new and upcoming agents and tour operators. It is always great to see all the familiar faces and to make new contacts in the industry. For those of you attending Indaba this year, we look forward to meeting with you! If we do not have a meeting scheduled yet, please visit our stand at ICCG06.
We also had some birthdays at the lodge this month. On the 3rd Simon celebrated his birthday. He is one of the gardeners who keep the lodge surrounds in a tip-top condition. On the 13th, Etienne had his big day. As Elephant Plains was his brain child and he build it up from a small, ten bed lodge 16 years ago, to the successful business it is today, he is an inspiration to all of us and a wonderful boss to work for! Just one day later on the 14th, Amanda also aged another year. Anyone who has recently made a booking at the lodge would have gotten to know Amanda’s bubbly personality, either via a telephone call or while exchanging e-mails. Short on their heels was Janine, who celebrated her birthday on the 18th. She is the friendly face that will check you in during your arrival and make sure your stay is an unforgettable experience. Then, last but not least, Joyce celebrated her birthday on the 30th. Joyce is one of our cleaners that make sure that the rooms are comfortable and cleaned to perfection. Happy Birthday to all of you! I hope you had wonderful birthdays and may you enjoy many more at Elephant Plains! To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during April, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter!
This month we decided to place the Trapcam at the open area in front of the lodge to see if we could capture some interesting animal behavior and activities. When we get the camera back from a certain spot, it is always a big excitement to download the pictures to see what was captured. This month, Louis had to sift through over 1000 images and we decided on this photo of a female giraffe standing quite close to the camera. It looks as though she noticed the camera in the tree and went closer for an inspection…
Our head chef, Linda Van Heerden, is spoiling us with the recipe for one of her vegetarian options, a lovely Broccoli tart. Don’t be fooled though. Even the meat eaters out there would enjoy this as a light lunch! Those of you who cannot enjoy a meal without some meat, why not add this as a veggie starch to your next braai menu?
All the best till next month!