Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Manager’s Report June 2014

Wild photo of the month

by Robert and Jose Kok-Cluistra, The Netherlands

by Robert and Jose Kok-Cluistra, The Netherlands

We are now over the halfway mark of 2014 and it is unreal that we will be meeting 2015 in only 6 months! June was a mystical month with amazing sightings and some unexpected excitement as well! We had a pack of wild dogs in our area again. We had some outstanding wild dog sightings and even saw them on the open area one morning during breakfast. As if this was not enough excitement, one afternoon, a wild dog made an impala kill right in front of Rondavel 2! We had some very cold mornings and evenings during this month, but also some hot days where maximum temperatures flew up to almost 30°C. This was rather strange as you would not imagine having the urge to swim during winter, but in Africa, nothing is impossible and some of our guests enjoyed the swimming pools to cool down. We also had a lot of South African guests during June due to all the South African public holidays as well as the lower rates. We are running our winter special rates at the moment, making a safari a bit more affordable. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you would like to check availability, or you can also check availability directly online, on our website. You never know, we might just have some last minute dates available for a crisp winter safari at Elephant Plains!

Tree squirrel by Morné Fouché

Tree squirrel by Morné Fouché

This month we did some maintenance on our airstrip. During the rainy season, our airstrip soaked up a lot of water and needed some TLC to get it back on standard for our guests flying in from Hoedspruit, Nelspruit and Johannesburg airports. We closed our airstrip for a few days and our maintenance team did a wonderful job ensuring a smooth landing! We can now, as usual, transfer guests from our own airstrip to the lodge in only a few minutes.

Matimba male lion by Morné Fouché

Matimba male lion by Morné Fouché

Every year, when the grass is dry and yellow, various properties in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin prepare for the windy winter during which we always have the stressful thought of a veldfire hanging in the back of your head. We will soon start with the firebreaks around the lodge and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin will do some firebreaks. Before you can start burning, you need to get permission and a permit from the Sabi Sand Wildtuin who will first check the weather forecasts and wind predictions to ensure no runaway fires occur. Veldfires can start due to natural causes like the sun reflecting off a piece of glass, igniting the dry grass or due to lighting, so being prepared in all areas is very necessary.

This month, we welcomed another new staff member at the lodge. Louise Du Preez joined us in the beginning of June to assist the day to day running of the reception and will also relieve Amanda in reservations when she goes on her off days. She has a very bubbly personality and enjoys interacting with guests. Louise fitted in to our family from day one and I am sure we will have a lot of days filled with smiles, with her in our presence.

African wild dog by Louis Liversage

African wild dog by Louis Liversage

We were very fortunate to discover a wild dog den site. We closed the area off to give them time to adjust and also placed our Trapcam nearby to try and get a glimpse of the pups. They have proven camera shy up to now, but we were still lucky to catch one of the adults on the move!

We celebrated 2 birthdays at the lodge this month and both are staff from the kitchen side. Our one chef, Millicent, celebrated her birthday on the 4th. Millicent is the shy, friendly personality behind the kitchen door, spoiling our guests with mouth-watering dishes! Remember also celebrated his birthday on the 7th and it was another joyful day for him as always. Those of you who have visited the lodge will remember him as the cheerful, friendly waiter welcoming you for breakfast, lunch or dinner with the biggest smile. To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during June, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter!

This month, chef Linda is sharing the recipe for her Caramelized and Blue Cheese Tarts. These tarts are a winner as a winter starter and also wonderful to serve with a salad for a light lunch option.

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tar

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tar

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tart

(Makes 4 side servings)

2 sliced Onions
2tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2tbsp Butter
2tbsp Honey
100g Blue Cheese
500g ready-made Puff Pastry

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Sauté the onions in the butter for about 10mins, then add the balsamic vinegar and honey and continue cooking for a further 10mins.
Cut the blue cheese into ½ cm cubes.
Line a greased muffin tray with puff pastry, then add the onions to the cavity and sprinkle over the blue cheese cubes.
Bake until the pastry is golden.
The pastry can be served warm or cold.

Serve and enjoy!

All the best till next month!

Tersia Fouché

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