Wild Photo of the Month

Wild Photo of the Month - by Joshua McPhail, Elephant Plains Guest

Wild Photo of the Month – by Joshua McPhail, Elephant Plains Guest

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.

Buffalo - by Morné Fouché

Buffalo – by Morné Fouché

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!

Trapcam photo - Buffalo Bull

Trapcam photo – Buffalo Bull

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.

Big elephant bull - by Morné Fouché

Big elephant bull – by Morné Fouché

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.

Mushroom and Sage Tart

(Makes 10 side servings)


Mushroom and Sage Tart

Mushroom and Sage Tart

  • 1 ½ punnets mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ onion, sliced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 ½ cup bread crumbs
  • A few sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • 2 cups flour
  • 180ml butter, cut into cubes
  • Pinch salt
  • 6-8 tbsp ice cold water
  • 2 tbsp Sage, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, chopped for garnish



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!

Wayne Dovey