Elephant Plains Game Lodge

Big 5 Sightings 03 to 09 February 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see one Styx female lion and her three cubs resting in the Mholowati River

 

Styx lion pride cubs - Dawie Jacobs

Styx lion pride cubs – Dawie Jacobs

Monday, 3 February 2014

(30ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Safari airstrip
  • Two buffalo bulls feeding on Wetpatch open area
  • The Styx lion pride resting south of Wors Crossing
  • One buffalo bull resting at Big Dam

 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

(32ºC)

  • One elephant bull feeding on Seepline Road
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving south on Leopard Drift
  • Three buffalo bulls resting in the water at Serengeti Pan
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephant’s drinking water at Serengeti Pan
  • One Styx female lion and her three cubs resting in the Mholowati River
  • Tingana, the male leopard, with a warthog kill on Drongo South
  • Kwatile, the female leopard, moving west on Wessels old driveway
  • One elephant bull feeding at Wors Crossing
  • Three buffalo bulls resting at EP open area

 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

(33ºC)

  • Xivambalana, the male leopard, feeding on a juvenile kudu kill on Shirombirombi
  • Four Styx lions resting at Treehouse Pan
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Rhino Ring North
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving west on Seepline road
  • Three buffalo bulls resting on Madash Road
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Horseshoe East
  • One buffalo bull resting at Big Dam

 

Summer sunset in the lowveld - Dawie Jacobs

Summer sunset in the lowveld – Dawie Jacobs

Thursday, 6 February 2014

(31ºC, 4mm rain)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on a warthog kill on Bushcamp West
  • One buffalo bull feeding at Leeukuil Pan
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Shortcut to Wetpatch
  • One elephant bull feeding in Shirley’s Crossing
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Marula Bult South
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Kuala Bear Road

 

 

Friday, 7 February 2014

(29ºC, 10mm rain)

  • Xivambalana, the male leopard, still feeding on his kudu kill on Shirombirombi Road
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Wetpatch Road
  • The Robson’s male leopard moving west from Kudu Drift
  • Four buffalo bulls resting on A-main
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP driveway
  • Shadow, the female leopard, resting next to her impala kill on Mafufunyana Road

 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

(30ºC)

  • Shadow, the female leopard, and her two cubs feeding on an impala kill on Mafufunyana Road
  • Two buffalo bulls resting at Kimbians Crossing
  • One elephant bull feeding at Simbambili Dam
  • A breeding herd of about five elephants feeding on Kudu Drift
  • One buffalo bull resting at Knobthorn Pan

 

Xivambalana the male leopard - Dawie Jacobs

Xivambalana the male leopard – Dawie Jacobs

Sunday, 9 February 2014

(31ºC)

  • Xivambalana, the male leopard, moving south from Wessels old driveway
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Gowrie Main
  • Tingana, the male leopard, moving east on Methlowani Road
  • Two buffalo bulls resting on Tamboti open area
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding at Tamboti open area
  • One buffalo bull feeding at Rhino Pan

 


How stress effects your skin

Stress is part of our everyday lifestyle, that is a given. But did you know that stress can also have an effect on your skin? It causes a chemical response in your body and that is why your skin sometimes becomes more sensitive and reactive during stressful times. With stress, your body produces cortisol, causing your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. This can make it hard for your skin problem to heal.

Stress can effect your skin

Stress can effect your skin

Stress can also cause the following skin problems:

• Eczema

• Hives

• Skin rashes

• A flare-up of fever blisters

After a long and stressful day at work, most women don’t feel like doing their normal skin care routine, which can aggravate skin problems even further.

Here are some simple, easy steps that can help your skin during stressful periods:

• Make time for you skincare routine at night. Cleanse, tone and hydrate. If you leave a mask on for 10 minutes, it also gives you also time to switch off and relax.

• Regular exercise is very good, not just for your skin, but for the rest of your body too.

• Make time for yourself and do something that you enjoy and that will help you to relax – book a day with friends at a spa and get a facial that will also help with your skin problem.

• Yoga is wonderful method for relaxing.

• Last but not the least ENOUGH SLEEP is also very important. Aim for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.

Spoil yourself with a skin mask

Spoil yourself with a skin mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEA SALT SCRUB to calm irritated skin:

• 1/8 cup coarse granules of sea salt (do not use normal table salt)

• A drizzle of apple cider vinegar (non-filtered, organic is the best) – it acts as an astringent

• 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint- mint may help with any inflammation present.

Combine salt and mint in a small bowl and drizzle enough vinegar to soften the mixture.

Stir to form a thick paste.

Gently massage into skin and rinse well with warm water.

 

 

 

 

 


Big 5 Sightings 27 January to 02 February 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see Bawuti, the young male leopard, having a stand-off with a buffalo bull at Jaggi Pan

Bawuti, the young male leopard, and a buffalo bull - Louis Liversage

Bawuti, the young male leopard, and a buffalo bull – Louis Liversage

 

Monday, 27 January 2014

(26ºC, 22mm rain)

  • One elephant bull feeding on Rhino Ring North
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Rhino Ring West
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on MMM North
  • Four buffalo bulls feeding on Shirley’s open area
  • Xivambalana, the young male leopard, resting west of Chitwa Chitwa airstrip
  • Two elephant bulls  feeding at Boundary Pan
  • Another two buffalo bulls resting at Serengeti Pan

 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

(28ºC, 8mm rain)

  • Bawuti, the young male leopard, resting at Jaggi Pan
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Konkoni Road
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, resting in a tree on Marula Bult
  • One buffalo bull resting on EP airstrip
  • One Styx female lion resting east of Ingwe Pan

 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

(30ºC)

  • Two elephant bulls feeding on Wetpatch Road
  • Two buffalo bulls feeding on Big Dam Link South
  • Another two buffalo bull resting in the water at Big Dam
  • A breeding herd of about forty elephants feeding on Marula Bult Road
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Rhino Ring South

 

Elephant bull - Louis Liversage

Elephant bull – Louis Liversage

Thursday, 30 January 2014

(34ºC, 6mm rain)

  • Three elephant bulls feeding north of Mnisi Mati
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, resting at Ntoma Crossing
  • Thandi, the female leopard, feeding on a juvenile bushbuck kill west of Mapogo Road
  • Bawuti, the young male leopard, resting in a Marula tree on Chitwa/Annette’s cutline
  • One Styx lioness and her three cubs resting south of Ingwe Pan
  • Four sub-adult Styx lions resting on the northern side of White Cloth open area
  • Mvula, the male leopard, moving north on MMM North
  • Three buffalo bulls resting at Knobthorn Pan

 

Friday, 31 January 2014

(29ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Simbambili/Safari cutline
  • Lamula, the male leopard, mating with Moya, the female leopard, at Big Dam
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Seepline
  • Three buffalo bulls resting on EP open area

 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

(31ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Mfesi open area
  • One Styx female lion resting with three cubs south of Worst Crossing
  • Two buffalo bulls resting on Marula Bult Central

 

Buffalo bull - Louis Liversage

Buffalo bull – Louis Liversage

Sunday, 2 February 2014

(34ºC, 16mm rain)

  • Salayexe, the female leopard, feeding on an impala kill on Simbambili firebreak
  • Two buffalo bulls resting in the water at Gaby’s causeway
  • One elephant bull feeding on Kudu Drift
  • Another elephant bull feeding on Ngala open area
  • The Styx lion pride resting at Ingwe Mati
  • Wabayiza, the male leopard, resting in a tree on Little Gowrie driveway
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding at Baboon Pan

 


Big 5 Sightings 20 to 26 January 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see how a male cheetah stalked a herd of impala’s.

 

Cheetah - Morne Fouche

Cheetah – Morné Fouché

Monday, 20 January 2014

(32ºC)

  • The four Breakaway lionesses with their nine cubs resting at Big Dam Link South
  • One buffalo bull feeding at Mfezi open area
  • One buffalo bull drinking water at Serengeti Pan
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, moving west from The Rocks
  • One bull elephant feeding at Ellie Ally

 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

(31ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants drinking water at Safari Dam
  • One buffalo bull feeding east of The Rocks
  • Tingana, the male leopard, moving east of The Rocks
  • One buffalo bull feeding at Boundary Pan
  • One bull elephant feeding on our Southern Boundary

 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

(32ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants drinking water at Big Dam
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Hawk Eagle Road
  • Lamula, the male leopard, drinking water at Serengeti Pan
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Madash Road
  • Three buffalo bulls resting in the water at Serengeti Pan
  • One elephant bull feeding at Serengeti open area
  • Three buffalo bulls feeding on Grsscut Road

 

Elephant bull - Morne Fouche

Elephant bull – Morné Fouché

Thursday, 23 January 2014

(34ºC)

  • One male cheetah moving north from Nkorho open area
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding at Gowrie Main
  • One buffalo bull resting at Rhino Pan
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Madash Road
  • Three buffalo bulls resting in the water at Serengeti open area
  • One elephant bull feeding at Serengeti Pan
  • Three buffalo bulls feeding on Grasscut Road

 

Friday, 24 January 2014

(35ºC)

  • Lamula, the male leopard, drinking water at Big Dam
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants drinking water at Big Dam
  • Seven buffalo bulls resting in the water at Serengeti Dam
  • One elephant bull moving west towards EP airstrip
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants drinking water at Buff Pan
  • Two buffalo bulls drinking water at Buff Pan
  • One buffalo bull resting on Rhino Ring South

 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

(35ºC, 6mm rain)

  • The Styx lion pride resting close to little Gowrie/Wessels cutline
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Wetpatch Road
  • One buffalo bull resting in the water at Rampan Pan
  • Lamula, the male leopard, resting on our Southern boundary
  • Mvula, the male leopard, moving north on Little Gowrie driveway

 

Carmine Bee-eater - Morne Fouche

Carmine Bee-eater – Morné Fouché

Sunday, 26 January 2014

(29ºC)

  • Three buffalo bulls feeding at Serengeti Dam
  • The young Robsons male leopard, resting on Serengeti open area
  • The Styx lion pride resting close to Grasscut Road
  • Two elephant bulls feeding on Safari airstrip
  • One  elephant bull feeding on EP driveway

 

 

 

 

 

 


Big 5 Sightings 13 to 19 January 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see a female cheetah and her two cubs hunting impala on Safari airstrip.

 

Three cheetahs resting - Devon Becker

Three cheetahs resting – Devon Becker

Monday, 13 January 2014

(32ºC, 13mm rain)

  • Four Breakaway female lions with their 9 cubs feeding on a zebra kill on EP airstrip
  • One elephant bull feeding on EP airstrip
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Kuala Bear Road
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, resting up in a tree on Josie’s Road
  • Two buffalo bulls feeding in Kimbians Crossings
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Safari driveway
  • Three buffalo bulls resting at Big Dam

 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

(29ºC)

  • One elephant bull feeding on Methlowani Road
  • The four Breakaway female lions and their 9 cubs still feeding on a zebra kill on EP airstrip
  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on an impala kill on Methlowani Road
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on A-main
  • Two buffalo bulls resting at Simbambili Firebreak

 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

(29ºC)

  • One female cheetah and her two cubs resting at Ingwe open area
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding at Mnisi Pan
  • One buffalo bull drinking water at EP open area
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving east from Leopard Drift
  • Thandi, the female leopard moving east with her male cub from Mnisi Pan
  • Kurula, the female leopard, feeding on an impala kill with her two cubs on Parallel Road
  • Four Breakaway female lions resting south of EP open area
  • Another breeding herd of about thirty elephants feeding on Simbambili Firebreak

 

Hyena cub - Devon Becker

Hyena cub – Devon Becker

Thursday, 16 January 2014

(31ºC)

  • One female cheetah and her two cubs hunting impala on Safari airstrip
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on EP driveway
  • The four Breakaway female lions resting on A-main
  • The Styx lion pride feeding on a kudu kill on Safari/Donga North
  • One elephant bull feeding on Big Dam Link South

 

Friday, 17 January 2014

(31ºC)

  • The Styx lion pride resting on Safari/Donga North
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Horseshoe East
  • One buffalo bull resting at Big Dam
  • One female cheetah hunting and killing an impala with her two cubs on Safari airstrip
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, hunting and killing an impala on EP open area
  • Tingana, the male leopard, chasing the three cheetahs of their kill on Safari airstrip
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Seefs Pan Road
  • Three buffalo bulls resting south of Leeukuil Pan

 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

(31ºC)

  • The four Breakaway female lions and their nine cubs resting in Shirley’s Crossing
  • The Styx lion pride resting on Safari driveway
  • A breeding herd of about forty elephants feeding on Rhino Ring East
  • One elephant bull feeding on EP/Shirley’s cutline
  • Anderson, the male leopard, mating with an unknown female leopard on A-main
  • One elephant bull feeding at Serengeti/Manyeleti Crossing
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving east on our Southern Boundary

 

Lamula the male leopard - Devon Becker

Lamula the male leopard – Devon Becker

Sunday, 19 January 2014

(31ºC)

  • The four Breakaway female lions resting with their nine cubs on Rhino Ring West
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on MMM-North
  • One buffalo bull feeding at EP/Manyeleti Crossing
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving west on Seepline Road
  • Tingana, the male leopard, moving east from EP open area
  • The young Robsons male leopard, moving south from Shirley’s Crossing
  • One elephant bull feeding at Big Dam
  • Two buffalo bulls feeding at Lowveld Link

 


Manager’s Report December 2013

WILD PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Wild photo of the month - by by Eric Leboucher, Voiron, France

Wild photo of the month – by by Eric Leboucher, Voiron, France

Wow! The end of the year has come and gone. I truly hope that everyone had a fantastic Christmas and New Year’s, filled with love and lots of laughter! On behalf of all the staff at Elephant Plains, I would like to wish you a fantastic 2014, with lots of happiness and good fortune. The saying goes “end it with a bang” and that’s exactly what we did. The year 2013 did end with a massive bang, with game viewing being off the charts. Our guests were spoiled with amazing sightings, including different lion prides, cheetahs, wild dogs and mating leopards… But not just one pair of mating leopards, some of our guests saw three different pairs mating. Rangers often work for years without seeing mating leopards and we got to see three different mating pairs in a just over a week’s time. What a privilege. We also had the wild dogs around the water hole in front of camp once again and a kill just behind our lodge one night. I truly hope that they will now stay around so that they can den somewhere within our traversing area. That would be so amazing. To top off a great month of game viewing, our guests got to see a very relaxed pangolin, feeding in the open. Normally a ranger would only ever get to see pangolins once or twice in their career. Imagine what a special sighting this was. Not only seeing a pangolin, but also being able to watch him move around while foraging.

African wild dogs by Dawie Jacobs

African wild dogs by Dawie Jacobs

With all the rain, the vegetation has turned into a wall of greenery. The grass is long, the water holes are full and as a result, all the animals are in a great condition. With the baby boom we had last month, there are hundreds of little ones running around the bush, which in itself makes for great game viewing.

The lodge itself is also looking good. During winter time we water the grass to keep all the gardens up to standard. But in summer, all the goodness contained in the rain water just makes such a big difference, so the gardens are looking extra lovely. The longest day and shortest night has come to pass on the 22nd of this month, meaning that we now slowly start the countdown back towards the shortest day and the longest night in June. But there are still lots of long summer days left to enjoy and we have plenty of fun to look forward to.

Tersia's Creative Christmas Trees

Tersia’s Creative Christmas Trees

Christmas day started off overcast and cool, but by nine the sun came out in full force. The day itself was amazing. Our guests had a relaxed day around the pool, with Walter pouring cocktails for them. Although the humidity was very high during afternoon drive, it was the first Christmas in years that it did not rain. Christmas dinner was a festive affair. Tersia was in charge of the decorations and the whole area was transformed into a lovely pallet of reds, whites and silver. Chef Annika made sure that the dinner was a highlight of the evening and her mini Christmas cakes were to die for. I am sure that all the guests that spent Christmas with us would agree. For New Year’s, Lanette was responsible for the decorations. Candles and fairy lights created a lovely ambiance. The braai menu was delicious and our guests celebrated until well after midnight!

Young Fourway pride males by Dawie Jacobs

Young Fourway pride males by Dawie Jacobs

During December, we welcomed a new member of staff. Amanda Truter joined our team and will be doing accounts, as well as relief reservations. With her bright, bubbly personality she has settled right in and we hope that she will enjoy working with us. I sometimes wonder if wanting to work in the African bush is in your DNA… Some of our staff members have been working out here for more than thirteen years, with no urge to return to city life. Yet there are some that would not be able to stay in the bush for more than a week. Some people need to feed off of the rush of a city, or as they call it, the “buzz”. But for bush people, the only buzz that we enjoy isn’t man made. It’s the roar of a lion on a cold winter’s night, the excited begging ritual of the spotted hyena and the low, deep grunts of a leopard on your lawn at one ‘o clock in the morning. No matter how many times you hear these night time sounds, they will always give you goose bumps, confirming why you belong out here and not over there. So it just goes to show, whether it’s in our DNA or not, we all have our differences in life and that’s what makes life just that much more interesting.

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! To have your birthday close to Christmas must be great and hopefully you all received gifts twice this month! We had two birthdays this month, one being the youngest staff member at the lodge. Who am I talking about? Well, Martin Swart of course. He is really a sweet little guy and when he’s around us in the office, he always has a smile on his face. The big man celebrated his first birthday on the 11th of December and we were treated to a Jack Russell birthday cake. On the 24th Linah celebrated her birthday. She is one of the cleaning ladies who make sure that the rooms are spotlessly clean and what a great job she does! I hope both of you had fantastic birthdays.

Trapcam photo - zebra and impala at Kraaines

Trapcam photo – zebra and impala at Kraaines

This month’s trap cam picture was taken at Kraaines, one of the waterholes just west of our airstrip. In the early hours of the morning, we normally find some of the herbivores resting on the airstrip next to this waterhole, as they would often spend the night on the airstrip. Because the airstrip is a large open area, it is a safe haven for these animals. Sleeping in an open area, the animals have a 360° view of their surrounds and would be able to see when a predator tries to sneak up to them from the tree line. Once the predator has been spotted, they would all sound the alarm, alerting each other of the predator. So this month’s photo is of some impalas and zebras coming off the airstrip to have their first drink of water after the long night.

I now hand you over to our Head Chef, Linda van Heerden, for her delicious recipe of the month. These cupcakes are evil, as it’s really hard to stop eating them once you’ve started. I know that a lot of guests have asked for this recipe, so here it is.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

(Makes 24)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • Salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups oil
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup syrup
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups cream (extra)

Icing

  • 350g icing
  • 100g butter
  • 45ml milk

Line a muffin tray with cupcake cups. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then mix all the wet ingredients and then combine the two mixtures. Divide the mixture into the cupcake cups, and bake for 15-20mins, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For the sauce

Bring all the ingredients to the boil until it starts to thicken slightly. It should be a dark, caramel colour. It will take around 15 – 20mins. Beat the 1 ½ cups of cream until stiff, and then spoon half of the sauce into this and beat until it is all incorporated. Keep the other half of the caramel sauce for garnishing later on. The caramel cream should be stiff.

For the icing

Beat the butter for around 2 mins, then add the icing, and beat until combined, adding a little milk at a time and add the vanilla. Spoon into a piping bag.

To assemble

Using an apple corer, make a hole in each cupcake and fill the cavities with the caramel cream. Then pipe the icing over the top, covering the hole that was made. Use the extra sauce to drizzle over the top of the cupcakes.

Serve and enjoy!

Well, that’s all from my side this month and for the year 2013. We are looking forward to a brilliant 2014. Have a good one!

Wayne Dovey


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