Manager’s Report July 2013
With the longest night and the shortest day that passed in June already, we now ever so slowly lean towards springtime. With it comes the “four seasons in one day” with some mornings being misty and rainy, followed by strong winds. The moment the sun comes out from behind the clouds it is pleasantly warm, until late in the afternoons when the cold sets in yet again. But as each day moves into the next, the smile on my face broadens as we are clearly nearing spring and following that, summertime. Spring just makes the earth seem brand new; with new grass, leaves and newborn animals all around. In my opinion spring should be our New Year, as it symbolises a fresh, new start and the beginning of new life. The one benefit of winter is that the vegetation is flat and brittle, making life easier for the rangers and trackers, having to spot animals far off into the bush. Sightings wise, this month was off the records, as guests got to see lions on a few different kills, mating lions and mating leopards. They even saw leopards making kills while in the process of mating. But Morné can share more about this in his report. We had a lot of return guests this month, joining us for a second, third or even fourth time. We would like to thank you for supporting the lodge time and again. We hope that we will still see a lot more of you in the near future!
With the rainy season approaching, we brought in Patrick the TLB driver. He is fantastic at operating his machine. I am sure that if you were to ask him to do back flips with it, he would surely oblige! With most of the roads still in a good condition and only a few needed some TLC from the TLB. We cleaned out some of the mitre drains alongside the roads, repaired some of the humps and also filled some sections of road that had washed away. For six days we pushed as hard as we could to get everything done and then it started to rain, a whole 11 mm of soft winter rain. The next day I had a big smile on my face as I could take out the tractor and thumper to compact the sections of road that we had filled. Usually we need to take the water bowser to spray the roads first, but because Mother Nature had sorted that part out the previous day, so it wasn’t necessary. All the roads are now looking great. Bring on the rainy season, our roads are ready! We also got the TLB to also do a small amount of work on the waterhole in front of the Africam. We did not make the waterhole bigger, but just removed some of the soil that washed into it after the floods we had last year. We worked on the southern and eastern sides. Because the flood water moved over the entire waterhole, all the soil settled inside, leaving little space for actual water and causing it to dry up quickly. During this time of the year we have a lot of thirsty elephants that can quickly drain the entire waterhole in one go. The work that was done should ensure that more animals can utilize this precious source of water.
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! We actually had a double barrel birthday on the 24th, being Linda and Dawie’s combined birthday. Linda, who I am sure you will recognise from all her monthly recipes, is our Head Chef. She is responsible for overseeing all the lovely meals at lodge. Dawie started at Elephant Plains as a junior ranger for two years. For the past eight months he has been thriving as a fulltime ranger. He is doing a fantastic job as ranger and one can clearly see the passion he has for the African bush. I hope you all had great birthdays, filled with lots of laughter and fun.
Marlet Swart wrote: “As it is a bit awkward for Wayne to congratulate himself on his birthday this month, I would like to add a big congratulations from all of us at EP! Wayne joined us in 2005. He worked himself up through the ranks from Ranger to Head Ranger and in 2011 we appointed him as General Manager. Wayne is one of the most hardworking guys I know. You will always find him walking through the lodge, checking up on this or that, or otherwise, fiddling with maintenance himself. No job is below him and through his work ethic and commitment to the lodge he has won a deep-earned respect and love from all his work colleagues. I daresay that he loves the lodge as much as Etienne and I do. We wish him a wonderful year. May he celebrate many more birthdays with us!”.
We have some more good news to share this month. Louis and Janine got engaged! As you know, Louis is one of our rangers and Janine is the friendly face you will see at reception. We would like to congratulate them on this great news and wish them the best for a very bright and happy future together.
Over the past few months we have been getting some great pictures of animals on the trap cam. As mentioned in last month’s report, the animals are now using the larger waterholes more often as most of the smaller pans have dried up. This leaves the larger waterholes with more traffic around them during the early mornings and late afternoons, allowing us to capture some great pictures of animals coming to quench their thirst. We get photos of a large selection of general game and this month I chose a photo of a herd of elephants, with their reflection in the water.
I now hand you over to our Head Chef Linda van Heerden, for the delicious recipe of the month. This month’s recipe is a traditional, sweet old favourite for South Africans.
(Makes 12 portions)
Cream the butter and the sugar together until the sugar is incorporated. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the butter mix and beat until the dough comes together. Press into a well greased baking dish. Bake for approximately 2 minutes before resting it.
Heat the 750ml milk together with the butter and vanilla essence. Mix the corn flour and cake flour with the remaining milk. Mix the egg yolk and the sugar together. Once the milk is heated, mix the flour mixture into it. Then slowly add the warm mixture into the egg yolks, making sure not to curdle the eggs. Put the milk mixture back onto the stove, and bring to the boil, whisking continuously. The mixture will become thick. Remove from the heat and whisk the egg white to soft peaks. Gently fold this into the warm custard. Pour into the crust and bake at 160C for 30minutes. It will brown slightly on top and be a little wobbly in the middle. Remove to the fridge to set for 4 hours. Decorate with strawberries and sugar work.
Serve and enjoy!
Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!
During wintertime, the bush takes on a mystical appearance, with dry trees standing like skeletons in the misty mornings. Although the early morning drives are chilly, this sight is enough to get you out of bed! As the natural waterholes dry up during the winter, the desperate need for water drives bigger animals to take on greater journeys in search of this liquid gold, because without water nothing can survive in the harsh African bush. As the months march on, we are seeing more breeding herds of elephants quenching their thirst at the waterhole in front of lodge. So if you view our web cam often, then keep an eye out for all the elephant herds moving in and around the waterhole. There have been sightings of large buffalo breeding herds in our traversing area. As it becomes dryer the herds merge, forming larger herds numbering up to 1000 animals. These herds can sometimes be viewed on our webcam as well and what a sight this is! Africam has requested that we link our Facebook Page with them, so whenever there is a sighting on our webcam, an alert would appear on our page. So if you can’t sit and watch the webcam the whole day, just keep an eye on our Facebook Page and you will see the moment there is some action at the waterhole.
Being winter, most travellers from the northern hemisphere are not keen on leaving their summer to take a trip down south. We therefore run winter specials and also welcome a lot of South Africans (who traditionally view winter time as bushveld safari time) to the lodge. Our guests were treated with a bumper month regarding sightings!
I was very sad when the call came over the radio to say that my all-time favourite leopard’s cub had been killed by hyenas. Salayexe is a strong girl though and I hope that her next attempt at cubs will reap its rewards. I am very sorry for her, as the cub was close to a year old. Normally after a year, the odds at survival drastically rise. But sometimes, nature has another plan… It was also unfortunate that Shadow’s cubs were both lost as well. Mvula, the male leopard, presumably killed them as they weren’t his cubs. He was seen mating with Shadow a few days ago, so it is evident that he is trying to further establish himself in the area. And so the circle of life continues.
This month the Sabi Sand, with donations from a few of the lodges and also some of our guests, organised that more rhino horns were treated in an anti-poaching effort. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our guests that made sponsors to this project. We appreciate your help and support in our fight against rhino poaching. With this round of treatments, the guys in the helicopter struggled for a while to find rhino, as the vegetation is very dense up in the north. After getting the rangers from some of the lodges to go out with vehicles to track from the ground, they found our good old faithful Londoz and he was one of the many rhinos that were treated. We were so glad when he was spotted! He has been the dominant bull in the area for as long as I can remember. To all the guests that have stayed with us, you will certainly remember him as he is quite an impressive rhino. The vet mentioned that he might be a good 28 years old and could weigh close to 2400kg. Rhinos can live up to 40 years, depending on the area they are living in. We are all glad that Londoz was found on the day and that his horns were treated, as he is very close to all our hearts. Elephant Plains’ main goal was to sponsor his treatment, but if he was not found on the day any other rhino could have been treated with our donations. I for one don’t want to one day show my children a picture of a rhino, or some statue of one in a museum. I would prefer the real thing! We still have many more rhinos to treat in this anti-poaching initiative and we will keep you updated on when the next infusions would take place.
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! We had three staff members who celebrated their birthdays this month. On the 4th Fanotti celebrated his birthday. Fan has an amazingly soft nature and always has a smile on his face. Fan is Louis’tracker and the two of them make a great team. On the 7th Remember celebrated his birthday. Remember is one of our waiters. He will always place a smile on your face with his stories and most of our guests who have been served by him will remember him.J On the 26th Dudu celebrated her big day. Now most times you would not get to see Dudu, who works in the scullery. She is, however, very hard working and merrily washes the dishes, always with a smile on her face. We hope you guys all had a great day and thanks for your hard work and commitment to the lodge.
I now hand you over to our Head Chef Linda Van Heerden, for the delicious recipe of the month, Mushroom & Sage tart.
(Makes 10 side servings)
Cut the butter and the sage into flour, if there are bits of butter in the mixture that are half the size of a pea, that’s ok. Add 6 tbsp of ice cold water and mix, making sure not to overwork the dough. It will resemble fine bread crumbs. If you press a bit between your fingers and it holds, then it’s right. Place into a zip lock bag and press into a ball. Allow to rest for 40 mins in the fridge. Lightly flour a surface and remove the dough from the bag and gently roll out until it covers the entire tart pan. Press gently into the pan, trim the excess and allow to rest in the fridge for a further 15 mins. Always make sure that the dough is as cold as possible.
Brown the mushrooms and set aside, fry the onions and thyme in the same pan over a lower heat to caramelize, +- 20min-30min.
Layer all the ingredients into the pie base as follows: onions, mushrooms and then the cream, with salt and pepper over the top of this and then finish with the bread crumbs over this. Bake for about 35min-40mins, until the crust is golden brown.
Remove the tart from the pan, set onto a platter or plate and chill.
Serve and enjoy!
Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!
As always, winter time has provided our guests with great game viewing. There have been leopards in and around camp, lions on the airstrip, elephants feeding all around camp, wild dogs, buffalo… You name the species and it spent time around the lodge. We’ve been doing very well and were quite busy the last month, which is always great as it keeps us on our toes and out of mischief! In the eight years that I have been working here, there has only been a total of ten days that we had no guests in camp. Floods had been responsible for most of the days that we had to close our doors. Having guests in camp every day keeps the place alive and filled with energy. Having no guests feels quite terrible. You start to feel lost and routine falls a bit to the wayside. Luckily we’ve never been closed for more than two days at a time. The Sabi Sand has started work on the low water bridge on the fence line and I hope that this will make a big difference to the condition of our access road when the rainy season sets in again later in the year.
There have been some wicked cold fronts that have come through the Lowveld this month with the temperatures being quite cold at times. Even when we were in Durban we experienced cold weather. It was a bit disappointing as there was still a thought in the back of my mind to go and have a swim in the sea. I did not even make it onto the beach as it was so cold.
As mentioned in the last news letter, Etienne, Marlet, Tersia and I went down to Durban for the yearly tourism Indaba. Concerning the success of the show, I would go as far to say that it was the best Indaba I have attended. The first day it rained nonstop and I felt sorry for the guys that had outside displays, but we still had a good amount of agents that came to visit our stand. We were greeted by sunshine on the Sunday morning and saw agents and different role players in the industry for most of the day. Monday was a very productive day with more meetings, keeping us busy the whole day long. Although most agents return home on Monday afternoon, we still saw a fair amount of role players on Tuesday morning. All in all, we are very happy with the results. We got to say hi to some of our old agents, who have been supporting us through the years and at the same time we must have seen a good 15 new agents who are very excited about our product and would like to start using our lodge from now on. From our side, we would like to thank everyone who came to see us at our stand. We are looking forward to working with all of you for many more years to come.
Back at the lodge the one morning was full of excitement when Salayexe decided to take her bush buck kill up a tree right in front of Leopard Suite. How funny is that? A leopard with a kill at the Leopard Suite! Later in the day she went and fetched her cub to come and enjoy the meal that she had caught for her. The kill was unfortunately dropped and she relocated it just a bit more east into one of the other trees. Exciting times indeed! In camp itself, we’ve had a lot of animals that over the years have become very relaxed with people walking around camp. With the movement of people, strange smells and buildings, most predators will not want to come into camp. The resident bushbuck, nyala and even the odd impala all enjoy the safety of the lodge grounds. Except when Salayexe is around, that is.
We have been building a new laundry for the past few months. Being out in the African bush, things tend to take a little longer then what they normally would in the city. But I am very happy to say that the new laundry is now 100% complete and working like a dream. It is double the size of the original laundry and we are very happy with the end product!
We have been placing our snap cam up next to roads the past two months, now you would think that setting the camera up at a water hole would get the most action, but not necessarily. We got quite a number of great pictures of many different animals moving on the roads. We will share two photos with you this month. The one is of an elephant bull walking down the road. The other is of Salayexe surprising Dawie and Louis with a visit, just after they mounted the snap cam! Any animal that is territorial would walk the roads and sent mark their territory. Other animals enjoy walking the roads as there is no vegetation to try and squeeze through, no grass in the eyes, no stepping on thorns. Last month we got the picture of Salayexe and her cub along with plenty of hyenas moving up and down the road. This month we tried to set the camera up looking down the road as opposed to be on the side of the road.
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! We had a small handful of staff that celebrated their birthdays this month. On the 3rd Tersia celebrated her birthday. Tersia is the friendly lady in charge of reservations. So when you contact the lodge, you will usually be communicating with her. I must say, to keep track of all the bookings that she receives and to keep them all in order and updated is very impressive. Then on the 4th Oom Etienne celebrated his birthday. We don’t get to see him much, but do hope that he had a great day. Last but not least for the month is Phillip who celebrated his special day on the 5th. He is one of the guys who make sure the gardens stay in pristine condition. The rest of his day is normally spent fishing with little Etienne. I do hope that everyone had a very special day and I hope that you all have many more happy days to come.
I now hand you over to our Head Chef, Linda Van Heerden, for the delicious recipe of the month. For all of you that love cakes, well, you’re in for a treat with this one.
Mix the dry ingredients and then mix the wet ingredients separately. Combine the 2 mixtures. Line muffin trays with cupcake cups, spoon the batter into these and bake until the cupcakes are done. It will take approximately 15-20mins.
Cream the softened butter, add the icing sugar and mix, add the cooled coffee. Continue beating until the mixture is pale and fluffy looking. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with the pecan nuts and some edible glitter. Serve and enjoy!
Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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!
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.
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!
I think I can safely say that the summer’s heat is over and that autumn is arriving. It’s strange how it never feels as though the seasons are changing, until one day you realize that it’s already dark by six o’clock in the evening. On drive in the mornings, the rangers always wear short sleeves during summertime and then out of the blue one morning, it’s pretty cold. The vegetation is still green though and we’ve had loads of wonderful sightings. We are already seeing a lot more elephants drinking in front of camp as all the pools of water in the bush have dried up, forcing the animals to use the waterholes now. So life is just that little bit easier, as on game drive the rangers often find animals at, or at least close, to the waterholes. With the cats, however, there is still a lot of tracking involved, because on most days the big cats enjoy resting in very dense vegetation. The art of tracking is amazing. There have been times when I tracked with our trackers and I truly got blown away by the manner in which they are able to continue following tracks, especially if they go through thick vegetation or over very hard ground. For the untrained eye it’s very hard to spot the track, but as for our guys, well it’s another story. You see them take their foot and mark the back of the track and move on, until you start thinking there is no way we are going to find this animal… All of a sudden you’ll get the hand signal to stop, and right there in front of your eyes would be the animal you have been following. Mind blowing indeed!
A lot of guests always ask what time of the year is not too busy for us. To tell you the truth, we don’t really have a low season. We are always running at a fairly high occupancy, regardless of it being summer or winter. Being a 24 bed camp is a very comfortable number of guests to have. Having such a small amount of people, you get to interact with everyone. Guests are not just a number that come and go and are forgotten. We’ve had guests that have returned from last being with us in 2005 and I still remember them. That’s what makes a small camp great! All the guests were very happy with the sightings that they got to view this month. Salayexe and her cub had a few kills right next door to the camp. The one Breakaway Tsalala lioness has been seen moving around the front of the rooms in the dry river bed. We suspect that she is hiding her newborn cub in the lush thickets of the dry river bed. So our guests are spending a lot of time on their viewing decks, trying to get a glimpse of them.
We’ve welcomed Devon Becker as our new ranger this month. He is doing very well and has quickly learned all the game drive roads in our traversing area. The truth is that learning the roads in our traversing area can be quite tricky. There are no high mountains to use as a land marks. But after a few drives you start getting used to some of the main roads in the reserve. A ranger needs at least 20 drives to get used to the roads, so you can’t just give a ranger a map and guests and say “enjoy!” What also helps is the fact that our trackers know the roads very well, so even if a new ranger still forgets the name of a certain road, his tracker would be able to help him out. A funny story a few years ago with one of the other lodges in the north, was that the new ranger drove together with a new tracker so they were still unsure of all the roads. They found a leopard on their first game drive, and it was indeed the first leopard that this ranger ever saw in the wild. Being super excited seeing his first leopard and being the one who found it, he screamed over the radio that he had found a leopard. We all thought this to be great news and asked if we could join his leopard sighting. Well! He had absolutely no idea where he was, so this made life a little interesting. We all had a good chuckle and went out not to find animals, but to find the lost ranger with his amazing leopard sighting. We did find him after a short time later and enjoyed a great sighting. The best part of it all was that the ranger did not feel embarrassed about his situation, he was just very proud as he found one of Africa’s most beautiful cats. I sat and watched his excitement and it reminded all of us in the sighting why we love being in the bush so much.
Dawie is now doing game drives permanently at Elephant Plains and he has already received a lot of compliments. Dawie has been with us for just over two and a half years now, and in that time he went on game drives with the other rangers, plus did a lot of work on the roads. Doing road maintenance means that you literally get to know the roads like the back of your hand. Mostly when we are doing road clearing, it involves cutting overhanging branches that end up brushing up against the side of the vehicle. You walk up and down all the roads for days on end. So by the time you are finished with the maintenance, you know exactly where every rock and special tree on that road is.
Some of our rangers did their Advanced Rifle Shooting this month. The entire exercise is very nerve racking, yet exciting at the same time. It consists of having to load your rifle with five rounds then unload the rifle, blind folded. You then shoot a target on your own time at fifteen meters. The following drill is to shoot one shot in the bull’s eye at fifteen meters, then ten and lastly at five meters. Then it starts to get difficult, you do a whole lot of speed shooting. The shooting part is fine; it’s remembering the whole sequence that you need to perform that makes it tricky. Then the last shoot is a picture of a life sized lion dragged on wheels to simulate a real charge down by a lion. It is very difficult, but as long as you think through the whole charge quickly in your head you should do fine. It is important to be confident with your shooting, as you might need this skill anytime when out in the bush.
On the 27th of this month we had the privilege to be part of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin’s anti-poaching initiative. The Sabi Sand, in an effort to fight the high incidence rate of rhino poaching in South Africa, has decided to make use of the services of the Rhino Rescue Project. The rhino’s horn is treated by infusing it with a compound made up of depot ectoparasiticides and inedible dye. This contaminates the horn and makes it useless for ornamental and medicinal use. The treatment, however, has no adverse effects on the rhino itself. The rhino was treated on Elephant Plains and we got to witness the process, which was an amazing experience. Etienne and Marlet Swart have decided to sponsor another treatment as these are entirely dependent on fundraising. The Elephant Plains rangers have also decided to take initiative in holding a fund raiser between themselves and other rangers in our area, in order to sponsor another rhino. This is a project very close to our hearts and we would like to do everything in our power to ensure the future of our beautiful rhinos. If any of our readers are interested to join the initiative by sponsoring funds for the future of rhinos at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, as well as the rest of the Sabi Sand, please feel free to contact Marlet Swart for more information: email@example.com.
To all our guests that 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! We had a busy month with all the birthdays at lodge. Yoldah celebrated her big day on the 6th. You will rarely see Yoldah as she is hard at work in the laundry. She manages the laundry, with the help of her four best friends, the Speed Queen machines. She is a very delightful person that always has a smile on her face. I take my hat off to her for the amount of laundry she does on a daily basis. Sidness had her birthday on the 23rd. She works at Etienne and Marlet’s house and also helps look after the very energetic little man, Etienne junior. Clement, one of our trackers, also celebrated his birthday on the 23rd. Just goes to show you how time flies, Etienne junior turned five on the 26th. The little man is starting to grow up very fast indeed. Last but not least Louis celebrated his birthday on the 28th of this month. I am very proud of Louis. He started at the lodge as a junior ranger and five years later he is our new assistant Head Ranger. He has come a very long way in the past few years. Well done Louis! Just shows you what hard work and determination can achieve.
I now hand you over to our Head Chef Linda Van Heerden, for the delicious recipe of the month.
This month’s recipe is an Herbed Cucumber Salad, a fresh addition to any meal.
Makes 8 side servings
Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs. Combine the cucumber and onion, drizzle with the yogurt mixture. Toss to coat. Arrange on a serving platter and serve cold.
Well, that’s all from my side this month. Have a good one!